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Is There an SPI Trace Impedance Requirement?

There is no SPI trace impedance requirement? The reality is that SPI lines only start to need impedance control when the length of the interconnect becomes very long. And because there is no specific impedance requirement in the bus, you have some freedom in channel design and termination. So what exactly qualifies as “very long” and when is some termination method needed? We’ll break it down in this article.

NEW
Embedded thumbnail for How to Remove Unused Pad Shapes
How-To's
How to Remove Unused Pad Shapes

Unused pad shapes can cause distortion among other problems so it is best to exclude them from your designs. This video shows how to remove unused pad shapes.

Embedded thumbnail for Stackup Presets and Templates
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Stackup Presets and Templates

In this video, we will learn how to apply predefined layer stacks to the board, as well as how to save the layer stack file as a template.

The Skin Effect and EM Fields
Blog
The Skin Effect, Current Density, and the Electromagnetic Field

During this year's AltiumLive CONNECT event, I recall receiving an interesting question about the skin effect and the distribution of current due to the presence of ground in coplanar transmission lines. In this article, we'll look at the electric field around a transmission line carrying a signal, and how this might be impacted by the skin effect.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Assembly Drawing
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Assembly Drawing

If you need to create an assembly drawing of your PCB Footprint for your outjob files we can show you how in Altium Designer. We’ll walk through all the different options for your assembly drawing in your Draftsman document, how to create your assembly drawing and assign it designators.

Packaging for your PCBAs
Blog
What You Need for PCB Packaging and Shipping

When you get your PCBA back from an assembler, you’ll notice the packaging materials used to pack and ship the PCBA. Those materials are specific to electronics, and if you build products on behalf of clients, it’s important to know the packaging materials used for packing and shipping electronics. In this article I’ll show the main set of materials and equipment used to package electronics assemblies.

Embedded thumbnail for Using the ActiveBOM
How-To's
Using the ActiveBOM

Using the ActiveBOM: The Bill of Materials (BOM) contains a list of all the components with their designators, part numbers, values, and other parameters. An ActiveBOM manages the mapping from the design component (part) to the part that is purchased. This video describes how to use the ActiveBOM document to create an up-to-date list of components needed for your project.

Embedded thumbnail for Using Back Drills in your Stackup
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Using Back Drills in your Stackup

In this video, we will learn about Back Drilling technology, how to set up back drilling using the layer stack manager, and how to set up the Stub Length sizes for back drilling by specifying applicable nets using the Design Rules Editor.

PCB Output files
Blog
How to Make PCB Gerber Files in Altium Designer Step-by-Step

Once you've got your PCB layout finished and you're ready to start preparing for manufacturing, one of the critical steps is to create PCB Gerber files. When you're ready to create your Gerber files, you need the right set of CAM processor tools that can take data from your PCB layout. In this article, we'll guide you through this process of how to make PCB Gerber files and show some example tasks you might need to perform to generate them.

Component composition
On-Demand Webinar
Help Ensure The Best Designs With Component Management

There are many aspects to designing a PCB. One of the larger aspects has to do with managing your components. We all need components for our designs, but are those components in our library and designs up-to-date or even purchasable? These questions need to be answered before we can safely use them. Altium Designer® has several tools to help you manage the components in your libraries and designs.

Teardrops on Differential Pairs?
Blog
Should You Place Teardrops on Differential Pairs?

One of the major factors impacting reliability of a PCBA is the use of teardrops on traces in the PCB. Like many aspects of reliability, the considerations also span into the signal integrity domain, particularly as more high-reliability products require greater data handling capabilities and run at higher speeds. In this article, I’ll break down the issues present in teardrop usage on differential pairs and how these may affect impedance.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Customize The Properties Panel
How-To's
How to Customize The Properties Panel

How to Customize The Properties Panel: This video will go over how to customize the look and feel of the properties panel in Altium Designer. By being able to personalize your workspace you can greatly improve your efficiency

Embedded thumbnail for How to Create and Use Impedance Profiles
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
How to Create and Use Impedance Profiles

Using the Altium Designer Layer Stack Manager, we will show how to create impedance profiles for transmission lines and how to apply them to the circuit board using the PCB Rules and Constraints Editor.

Broken PCB
Blog
The High-Reliability PCBA Design and Test Challenge

High-reliability electronics must go through multiple rounds of testing and qualification to ensure they can withstand their intended operating environment. Designing to performance standards, whether the baseline IPC standards or more stringent industry standards, is the first step in ensuring a reliable circuit board. In this e-book, readers will gain a thorough look into PCB testing and analysis, starting from basic tests performed on bare boards and completed assemblies.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Courtyard
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Courtyard

The courtyard is an essential piece when you want to create a PCB Footprint in Altium Designer. We’ll talk about what a courtyard is, how to create a courtyard, and how to format a courtyard correctly for your PCB footprint.

Where to place AC Caps on PCIe Lanes
Blog
AC Coupling Capacitors in PCIe Routing

Coupling capacitors find plenty of uses in analog applications and on differential protocols, acting essentially as high pass filters that remove DC bias carried seen on a signal. In the case of PCIe, there are a few reasons to place AC coupling capacitors on differential pairs beyond the fact that AC coupling capacitors are listed in the standard. In this article, we’ll look briefly at where to place coupling capacitors on PCIe links, as well as the reasons these are placed on PCIe links.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Edit Existing Tracks in Altium Designer
How-To's
How to Edit Existing Tracks in Altium Designer

This new design rule flags a violation when the creepage distance across non-conductive surface and edge regions of the board, between the targeted signals, is equal to or less than the specified Creepage distance.

Tuning dialog
Blog
Altium Designer 22.7 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.7 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.7 continues to focus on improving the user experience, as well as performance and stability of the software, based on feedback from our users. Check out the key new features in the What's New section on the left side of this window!

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Silkscreen Overlay
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Silkscreen Overlay

When creating a PCB footprint in Altium Designer creating a silkscreen overlay is an important requirement. We’ll go over the standards for creating a silkscreen overlay for a footprint and the steps to creating one, such as constructing lines and measuring distance of objects and primitives.

The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost
Blog
The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost

Design to cost is a lofty idea that is only perfectly executed when supply and demand for components are in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, the current landscape for component sourcing makes design to cost more of a balancing act rather than an exercise in price reduction. To help designers in their efforts to balance cost, capabilities, and procurement, we created this ebook to help users understand how modern supply chain tools can help in these complex design problems.

Tag
NEW
Blog
Is There an SPI Trace Impedance Requirement?

There is no SPI trace impedance requirement? The reality is that SPI lines only start to need impedance control when the length of the interconnect becomes very long. And because there is no specific impedance requirement in the bus, you have some freedom in channel design and termination. So what exactly qualifies as “very long” and when is some termination method needed? We’ll break it down in this article.

The Skin Effect and EM Fields
Blog
The Skin Effect, Current Density, and the Electromagnetic Field

During this year's AltiumLive CONNECT event, I recall receiving an interesting question about the skin effect and the distribution of current due to the presence of ground in coplanar transmission lines. In this article, we'll look at the electric field around a transmission line carrying a signal, and how this might be impacted by the skin effect.

Packaging for your PCBAs
Blog
What You Need for PCB Packaging and Shipping

When you get your PCBA back from an assembler, you’ll notice the packaging materials used to pack and ship the PCBA. Those materials are specific to electronics, and if you build products on behalf of clients, it’s important to know the packaging materials used for packing and shipping electronics. In this article I’ll show the main set of materials and equipment used to package electronics assemblies.

PCB Output files
Blog
How to Make PCB Gerber Files in Altium Designer Step-by-Step

Once you've got your PCB layout finished and you're ready to start preparing for manufacturing, one of the critical steps is to create PCB Gerber files. When you're ready to create your Gerber files, you need the right set of CAM processor tools that can take data from your PCB layout. In this article, we'll guide you through this process of how to make PCB Gerber files and show some example tasks you might need to perform to generate them.

Teardrops on Differential Pairs?
Blog
Should You Place Teardrops on Differential Pairs?

One of the major factors impacting reliability of a PCBA is the use of teardrops on traces in the PCB. Like many aspects of reliability, the considerations also span into the signal integrity domain, particularly as more high-reliability products require greater data handling capabilities and run at higher speeds. In this article, I’ll break down the issues present in teardrop usage on differential pairs and how these may affect impedance.

Broken PCB
Blog
The High-Reliability PCBA Design and Test Challenge

High-reliability electronics must go through multiple rounds of testing and qualification to ensure they can withstand their intended operating environment. Designing to performance standards, whether the baseline IPC standards or more stringent industry standards, is the first step in ensuring a reliable circuit board. In this e-book, readers will gain a thorough look into PCB testing and analysis, starting from basic tests performed on bare boards and completed assemblies.

Where to place AC Caps on PCIe Lanes
Blog
AC Coupling Capacitors in PCIe Routing

Coupling capacitors find plenty of uses in analog applications and on differential protocols, acting essentially as high pass filters that remove DC bias carried seen on a signal. In the case of PCIe, there are a few reasons to place AC coupling capacitors on differential pairs beyond the fact that AC coupling capacitors are listed in the standard. In this article, we’ll look briefly at where to place coupling capacitors on PCIe links, as well as the reasons these are placed on PCIe links.

Tuning dialog
Blog
Altium Designer 22.7 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.7 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.7 continues to focus on improving the user experience, as well as performance and stability of the software, based on feedback from our users. Check out the key new features in the What's New section on the left side of this window!

The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost
Blog
The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost

Design to cost is a lofty idea that is only perfectly executed when supply and demand for components are in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, the current landscape for component sourcing makes design to cost more of a balancing act rather than an exercise in price reduction. To help designers in their efforts to balance cost, capabilities, and procurement, we created this ebook to help users understand how modern supply chain tools can help in these complex design problems.

Evaluating Stubs on PCIe Lanes
Blog
A Brief Study of Stubs on a PCIe Connector

Stubs are an important topic in high-speed PCB design, and there is a longstanding guideline that stubs should always be removed from all vias on high-speed digital interconnects. While stubs are bad for high-speed lines, they do not always need to be removed. What is more important is to predict the loss profile and frequencies, and to floorplan appropriately to try and prevent such losses.

Surface Layer DFM and Cleanup
Blog
PCB Layout Cleanup Before Manufacturing

Once you finish your placement and routing in your PCB layout, it can be tempting to wrap up the layout and send everything in directly to manufacturing. The reality is that the board may still need some work before it is considered finished. The cleanup you perform at the final stage of PCB layout will help you catch any outstanding errors that can't be programmed into your DRC engine, and it gives you a chance to add any outstanding details to the surface layers.

Low Cost and Professionally Built LED Panel
Blog
Insulated Metal Substrates: Building an LED Panel

In this project we’ll be building a moderate sized LED panel on insulated metal substrate (IMS). This light panel has three different white balance High CRI LED types on it, warm, neutral and cool. By changing the brightness of the different white balances, the light from the panel can be adjusted to match other lighting, making it perfect for film use - but also creating perfect lighting for electronics work. As with all my projects, this LED panel is open source, you can find the Altium project files over on my GitHub released under the permissive MIT License.

DFM For Your Materials
Blog
DFM in PCB Material Selection

Every design should begin with selecting the materials that will appear in the PCB stackup, as well as arranging layers in the stackup to support layout and routing. This section of our PCB manufacturing andc DFM crash course focuses on selecting the right materials for your PCB design. Materials should be selected given the particular design requirements outlined in your specifications.

PCB Layout for an BGA
Blog
How to Start an FPGA PCB Layout For Your Embedded System

FPGAs come in quad or BGA packages that can be difficult to floorplan, especially with the high number of I/Os often implemented in these components. FPGAs offer a lot of advantages in terms of their reconfigurability, but they can require a lot of effort to layout and route without headaches. If you’ve never worked with an FPGA in your PCB layout, we have some guidelines that can help you get started.

2-port VNA on a 3-port Network
Blog
How to Get 3-port S-parameters From a 2-port VNA Measurement

S-parameters are fundamental quantities in signal integrity, and an ability to understand them from measurement or analysis is very important. If you have a 3-port network, like a power divider or circulator, it may appear that you must use a 3-port VNA to measure these S-parameters. It is always acceptable to measure between two ports, but you need to know what exactly it is you are measuring. In this article, we’ll look at the relationship between the true 3-port S-parameters with a 2-port measurement.

Fab and Assembly Crash Course
Blog
A Day in the Life of the PCB Manufacturing Process

Before implementing design for manufacturing, it is important to understand the underlying process behind producing a physical PCB. Regardless of the various technologies present in each facility, a large majority of industry-leading manufacturers follow a specific set of steps to turn your design from a drawing in a CAD application into a physical board. In this article, we'll cover the basics that designers need to know as part of our crash course series on PCB manufacturing.

Tag
Further Enhancements to Sheet Cross-referencing
What's New in
Schematic Capture Improvement

Adding cross-references to the project allows you to easily follow the connective flow of nets between the schematic sheets in a project. 

NEW
Embedded thumbnail for How to Remove Unused Pad Shapes
How-To's
How to Remove Unused Pad Shapes

Unused pad shapes can cause distortion among other problems so it is best to exclude them from your designs. This video shows how to remove unused pad shapes.

Embedded thumbnail for Stackup Presets and Templates
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Stackup Presets and Templates

In this video, we will learn how to apply predefined layer stacks to the board, as well as how to save the layer stack file as a template.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Assembly Drawing
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Assembly Drawing

If you need to create an assembly drawing of your PCB Footprint for your outjob files we can show you how in Altium Designer. We’ll walk through all the different options for your assembly drawing in your Draftsman document, how to create your assembly drawing and assign it designators.

Embedded thumbnail for Using the ActiveBOM
How-To's
Using the ActiveBOM

Using the ActiveBOM: The Bill of Materials (BOM) contains a list of all the components with their designators, part numbers, values, and other parameters. An ActiveBOM manages the mapping from the design component (part) to the part that is purchased. This video describes how to use the ActiveBOM document to create an up-to-date list of components needed for your project.

Embedded thumbnail for Using Back Drills in your Stackup
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Using Back Drills in your Stackup

In this video, we will learn about Back Drilling technology, how to set up back drilling using the layer stack manager, and how to set up the Stub Length sizes for back drilling by specifying applicable nets using the Design Rules Editor.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Customize The Properties Panel
How-To's
How to Customize The Properties Panel

How to Customize The Properties Panel: This video will go over how to customize the look and feel of the properties panel in Altium Designer. By being able to personalize your workspace you can greatly improve your efficiency

Embedded thumbnail for How to Create and Use Impedance Profiles
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
How to Create and Use Impedance Profiles

Using the Altium Designer Layer Stack Manager, we will show how to create impedance profiles for transmission lines and how to apply them to the circuit board using the PCB Rules and Constraints Editor.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Courtyard
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Courtyard

The courtyard is an essential piece when you want to create a PCB Footprint in Altium Designer. We’ll talk about what a courtyard is, how to create a courtyard, and how to format a courtyard correctly for your PCB footprint.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Edit Existing Tracks in Altium Designer
How-To's
How to Edit Existing Tracks in Altium Designer

This new design rule flags a violation when the creepage distance across non-conductive surface and edge regions of the board, between the targeted signals, is equal to or less than the specified Creepage distance.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Silkscreen Overlay
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Silkscreen Overlay

When creating a PCB footprint in Altium Designer creating a silkscreen overlay is an important requirement. We’ll go over the standards for creating a silkscreen overlay for a footprint and the steps to creating one, such as constructing lines and measuring distance of objects and primitives.

Tuning
What's New in 22.7
Ability to Change Tuning Object Layer Properties

Design of high-speed PCBs becomes easier with this latest release. Now, when you need to quickly move tuning elements to a different layer, you can do so from the Properties panel with a single click.

Simulation models
What's New in 22.7
Auto-assign Simulation Models for Components without Models

This latest version of Altium Designer makes schematic simulation even easier. System intelligence automatically recognizes SPICE models and assigns them to components from available sources.

Paste
What's New in 22.7
Control of Paste Mask Output for Variants

Output data needs to be as accurate as possible. For multi-variant designs you can now ensure that the paste mask is only displayed where it is really needed.

Embedded thumbnail for Adding Designators for Assembly Drawings
How-To's
Adding Designators for Assembly Drawings

Designators for assembly drawings are added on the assembly layer. This video shows how to add the designators.

Embedded thumbnail for Stackup Material Library
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Stackup Material Library

In this video we will learn more about the Altium designers Layer Stack Mangers built-in materials library, and how to add new material and use it in our board stack. We will also look at how we can save the user materials to an xml format.

Tag
Component composition
On-Demand Webinar
Help Ensure The Best Designs With Component Management

There are many aspects to designing a PCB. One of the larger aspects has to do with managing your components. We all need components for our designs, but are those components in our library and designs up-to-date or even purchasable? These questions need to be answered before we can safely use them. Altium Designer® has several tools to help you manage the components in your libraries and designs.

PCB Comparison
On-Demand Webinar
Getting Started With File Comparison

One major benefit of using a version control system is the ability to compare PCB design revisions against one another. If you are comparing PCB designs, you need a version control system that is electrically intelligent. It’s important to know who made a change, and when they made it. Altium Designer® and Altium 365® make file comparison easy.

High-Speed Design
On-Demand Webinar
Fundamentals of High-Speed Design

This track is for the designer who is new to high-speed layout and routing practices and wants to understand how they relate to signal integrity, and how to get started designing for high-speed digital applications.

Advanced Topics in High-Speed Design
On-Demand Webinar
Advanced Topics in High-Speed Design

This track is for the engineer who understands high-speed design requirements and wants to learn design practices to help ensure signal integrity and EMC with fast digital protocols, mixed-signal boards, and high layer counts.

What’s New in Altium 365
On-Demand Webinar
What’s New in Altium 365

Now you can assess your library’s health at a glance with the Library Health dashboard, view and share your bill of materials (BOM) and view and download PDF documents, all in your web browser. We improved the existing diff and compare features, and released a new version of MCAD CoDesigner. Register for the webinar to learn more!

Design Reuse
On-Demand Webinar
Rapidly Creating New Designs And Reusing Existing Ones

It's no secret that software developers often use completed code fragments from other projects for quick and predictable results. The same can be done for PCB Design, there is no need to spend time rewiring schematics or laying out components on boards you’ve done before. Join us this webinar where we’ll go over how you can use your existing designs to create reusable design blocks, speeding up the design cycle for your future projects.

Component Management
On-Demand Webinar
Help Ensure The Best Designs With Component Management

There are many aspects to designing a PCB. One of the larger aspects has to do with managing your components. We all need components for our designs, but are those components in our library and designs up-to-date or even purchasable? These questions need to be answered before we can safely use them. If not, we could just be wasting our time designing with invalid components. Altium Designer® has several tools to help you manage the components in your libraries and designs. You can determine if the components you’re using in your designs are safe to send off to production.

Component Creation
On-Demand Webinar
Increase Productivity With Easy Component Creation

Component creation is a necessary evil when it comes to design, and it’s something we all need to do. But instead of spending hours creating your components and having them turn into a complete roadblock, let it be just a simple bump on the road. Altium Designer has several tools available to you in order to create the different aspects of a component, including the symbol, footprint, 3D model parametric data, supply chain information, and more

Altium Designer Interface
On-Demand Webinar
Preparing your files for Fabrication Release

When you’re done creating a new board, it’s time to send your design data to the manufacturer. Before releasing your designs, you’ll want to make sure that everything is ready and works as intended. In this informative video, we’ll review some of the must-have checks before sending your output data for fabrication. 

Webinar Preview
On-Demand Webinar
CoDesigner and MCAD Component Placement On-Demand Webinar

We design products not just PCBs requiring effective collaboration between MCAD and ECAD engineers. We need to consider how we can reduce the likelihood of errors when placing critical design components. Component placement in the context of enclosures can be easily handled in an MCAD environment while it is more difficult to achieve in the ECAD domain. Learn how to place components from the MCAD side and synchronize them with Altium Designer ECAD models, designators, and sourcing data to simplify your design process.

On-Demand Webinar
Intelligent Supply Chain Webinar

Many factors can affect your supply chain. Currently, supply disruptions are being felt due to the effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In this webinar, learn how Concord Pro on Altium 365 can mitigate disruptions in your supply chain and help you stay on schedule and budget for your designs.

Altium Designer interface
On-Demand Webinar
Preparing your files for Fabrication Release

When you’re done creating a new board, it’s time to send your design data to the manufacturer. Before releasing your designs, you’ll want to make sure that everything is ready and works as intended. In this informative webinar, we’ll review some of the must-have checks before sending your output data for fabrication.

Stackup Manager in Altium
On-Demand Webinar
Mastering The Layer Stack Manager

What most people don’t seem to grasp is that every aspect of the PCB is critical. It all plays a significant part in the operation of the final product. The layer stack is no different. We need to keep in mind materials and the intricacies therein, including thickness, weave, dielectric constants, and more. A proper layer stack is needed for each and every design, so it's important to know how to navigate the layer stack manager and all of its features.

Part Search in Altium Designer
On-Demand Webinar
How to Overcome PCB Component Availability Problems

Supply shortages have become and continue to be a common problem, especially when it comes to the world of electronics. It's hard to get all the different components for our boards. Heck! It's even tough to get the board themselves too! When electronic components become obsolete or out of stock, design and production can suffer lengthy delays. With current supply chain delays and with an average of 15 end-of-life notices issued every day, obtaining the parts you need is a challenge.

Preparing your files for Fabrication Release
On-Demand Webinar
Preparing your files for Fabrication Release

When you’re done creating a new board, it’s time to send your design data to the manufacturer. Before releasing your designs, you’ll want to make sure that everything is ready and works as intended. In this informative video, we’ll review some of the must-have checks before sending your output data for fabrication.

Article preview
On-Demand Webinar
Efficient PCB Routing Using Gloss and Retrace Tools

The primary goal of your traces is to carry signals throughout your board without losses. To do this properly, you must familiarize yourself with the requirements for signals on the printed circuit board and how to optimize the topology of the board in terms of signal integrity. We will analyze the most popular routing cases applicable for using the Gloss and Retrace tools in Altium Designer to optimize your signal integrity.