Software packages for PCB designers have always been a bone of contention with the feedback being they haven’t kept up with the advancement of technology. As the end customer is ultimately looking for something that is compact but intelligent, the accountability goes back on to the designer to make this happen as effectively as he can. Some of the recent versions of Altium have had very positive feedback as they look to have taken the voice of the customer and the designers into account as much as they can to come up with a simple solution to PCB design software.
Below are some of the details of how this software works.
Design using CAD
Most designers have heard of CAD and this is the basis of how Altium works. CAD has been used commonly to design nuts and bolts to jet engines. In terms of how it is used in the PCB world, you would do your normal design using the CAD tools specifically for round PCB designs which seem to be more common nowadays. The CAD tools are pretty basic and there are help icons available for anyone that is struggling (or you could even get specific training from Altium if that was your requirement).
When a designer makes a mistake, it is extremely important that this gets picked up before anything goes out to manufacture. Failure to do this could result in a PCB being manufactured faulty. Not only would this cost the business money but it would give the company a poor quality name. When a designer has finished his work on CAD there is only so much checking he can do on his own to make sure that the design aligns with the needs from the customer but also will function properly. This is where the Altium simulation tool is priceless. If you run this tool on a sub assembly, you will immediately see if there is a positive result. Most of the design flaws should be picked up at this stage (but not all). Furthermore, when you have all the sub assembly parts created and you bring it together as an assembled unit, you will be able to see via the simulation if the end result will be positive or not. The Altium simulation tool is probably one of the most powerful we have seen and helps support a designer in a more pro-active way.
Talk with Previous Versions
With technology in this area advancing extremely fast, you will find that the software packages are now beginning to step up and different version of existing software being updated or even additional software packages being launched. It is important that you keep your current software packages up to date with the latest versions in order to ensure that hic-ups are prevented. This can be done all online. Altium also talks with other similar software package types so that if you have a designed unit on another package – it is likely that this can be transferred to Altium hassle free.