Alignex Blog

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

TongWei Qi on May 3, 2018 at 11:30 AM

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Let’s get one thing straight, electronics designers are not paid to draw component symbols and footprints all day. Ideally, one would be able to obtain ready-made symbol & footprint for all the components he or she ever needed to use and drop them directly on the design. However, the reality is even though there are a great deal of verified library components on the web for download, there will always be a quite a few component symbols or footprints that you need to create by yourself.

For example, creating symbol & footprint for a multi-pin device such as a 121-pin BGA. Without the right tools, it could take hours to accomplish. Now with SOLIDWORKS PCB, let’s do a quick run at some efficiency tools in the software that may cut down your time creating a multi-pin component from scratch.


Step 1 - Supplier Search


Powered by Altium, SOLIDWORKS PCB enables you to do component research right inside the design software. In this video, you will see how convenient it is to bring supplier links to your design:

 


The
supplier search is launched by clicking  View | System | Suppliers while displaying the schematic library document:

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Activate supplier search panel


The supplier search panel accepts your component queries and fetch information from a long list of supplier websites to present you the best matches. With a click of a button, now you are able to select the most cost-effective part for your design. Better yet, you can directly import all component parameters and hyperlinks to datasheets to your schematic symbol, meaning you no longer need to hand-type all the property fields. (There is way to populate attributes in a systematic way, which is through the daba base link, but that’s a topic for another day)

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Steps to create a schematic symbol with populated attributes via supplier search


Step 2 - Symbol Wizard (New in 2018)


There is no need to rename and place pins one by one while creating a multi-pin schematic symbol. In this video, you will see how the symbol wizard can boost your productivity by reducing time spent drawing multi-pin symbols and leaving you more time to focus on the design:

 


The symbol wizard is launched by clicking  Tools | Symbol | Symbol Wizard while displaying the schematic library document:

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Activate symbol wizard

You can easily define the number of pins and layout style to generate the symbol graphics:

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Assign pin count and pin layout style


Now with pin count defined, here comes the best part of the symbol wizard. You can copy pin information (designators, pin names, etc.) from datasheet, then smart-paste them all at once to the symbol you are creating. That is tremendous amount of time saved from manually typing:

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Smart-paste pin information


Step 3 - IPC Footprint Wizard (New in 2018)


Spending hours creating an IPC compliant footprint by drawing the exact pad and track dimensions is not how you do it in SOLIDWORKS PCB 2018. With the IPC footprint wizard in SOLIDWORKS PCB 2018 and a component datasheet, you can literally create an IPC-7351 compliant footprint in less than a minute. Not to mention it also automatically renders a detailed 3D model of the device. In this video, you will see how the footprint wizard can save you time while delivering worry-free results:

 


The IPC footprint wizard is launched by clicking Tools | Footprint | IPC Footprint Wizard while displaying the footprint library document:

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Activate IPC footprint wizard


With the listed IPC-compliant packages, you no longer need to worry about manually placing BGA pads to dimension or deciding whether to drop vias or through-hole pads on QFN thermal pads.

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Assorted IPC-compliant packages


Thanks to the formulas built for IPC-7351 standard, the footprint wizard can generate 2D/3D patterns simply based on the components’ physical dimensions described in datasheets (don’t forget to make use of the datasheet hyperlinks in your schematic symbol):

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Type in parameters to render 2D footprint and 3D model


Following the steps and customization, you will generate a IPC compliant footprint with detailed 3D graphics in no time.

3 Ways to Cut Down Your Electrical Design Time

Multi-pin component with parameter-rich SCH symbol and IPC compliant footprint

Combining the power of all three efficiency tools, you should be able to forge library components with ease. Now it is your turn to enjoy the time, effort, and money saved by using SOLIDWORKS PCB.

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