Altium Designer pseudo track

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Hi,

How can I disable pseudo tracks which show node connections in pcb design? I just have the nodes name and I will connect them by highlighting the nodes and do not need those tracks.

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ereihani wrote:
Hi,

How can I disable pseudo tracks which show node connections in pcb design? I just have the nodes name and I will connect them by highlighting the nodes and do not need those tracks.

You need to turn off the layer that that is on. In the latest version of Altium Designer, press O, L, and then uncheck the first box in the "system colors" section, labeled "Default color for new nets". Then click OK and it should be gone.

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Not to Hijack th ethread BUT...

nleahcim: Do you know how to convert an altium schematic symbol, and it's associated PCB foot print to pcad ASCII or to DipTrace?

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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jgmdesign wrote:
Not to Hijack th ethread BUT...

nleahcim: Do you know how to convert an altium schematic symbol, and it's associated PCB foot print to pcad ASCII or to DipTrace?


Altium is super awesome at importing, and pretty mediocre at exporting.

However, I can definitely export an Altium PCB to PCAD ASCII PCB. If you want just the footprint, here are my export options:

"PCB Library file (*.PcbLib)" (default Altium file)
"PCB 3.0 library file (*.lib)"
"PCB 4.0 library file (*.lib)"
"PCB 5.0 library file (*.lib)"
"export P-CAD V16 PCB library file (*.lia)"

Not sure about the schematic. Here are my export options:

"Advanced schematic binary (*.SchDoc)" (default, this is an Altium file)
"Advanced schematic ascii (*.SchDoc)" (I'm guessing this is the older style of Altium file)
"Schematic binary 4.0 (*.sch)"
"OrCAD schematic SDT (*.sch)"
"Advanced Schematic template (*.SchDot)"
"Export Autocad Files(*.dwg*.dxf)" I imagine that isn't useful for you.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks nleahcim.worked.
Is there a to know how to place parts so that it ends up with minimum vias and faster tracing? I usually place the parts with similar nodes close to each other but always find several nodes which can not be traced within two layers and again I place them in different orders til I can connect them. It takes such a long time and do not know if it is ok to use vias so much.

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ereihani wrote:
Thanks nleahcim.worked.
Is there a to know how to place parts so that it ends up with minimum vias and faster tracing? I usually place the parts with similar nodes close to each other but always find several nodes which can not be traced within two layers and again I place them in different orders til I can connect them. It takes such a long time and do not know if it is ok to use vias so much.

There are auto placement tools but very few people use them. Honestly - the best way to figure out placement is experience. The first couple layouts are painful.

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And usually it's possible to optimize pin assignments to ICs/components in such way routing becomes much easier. That's an iterative process that can take a couple of rounds.

It's known in the industry as gate swapping, a term from an era when 74... logic was still dominant I guess.

Component placement is definitely the most important step. It can make the difference between a barely routeable board and one that's a breeze :)

I always enjoy looking at boards and see how they are routed. Usually it's also very clear when a (low-end) autorouter was used.

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Thanks jayjay1974. I googled for gate swapping and found the following but do not know if it pertains to what you mean:
http://www.altium.com/files/Altiumdesigner6/LearningGuides/AP0138%20Pin%20and%20Part%20Swapping%20with%20Dynamic%20Net%20Assignment.PDF
How do u place parts so that routing becomes a breeze? :)

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If routing were a breeze, then designing pcbs would be easy! By 'pseudo tracks' are you referring to the rats nest? The rats nest gives you an idea of the connection density in a given area. In areas of high density you need more space to run tracks. Also try to align components so that you have short connections. I frequently spin components around to shorten and optimise the connections. Frequently there are compromises. The 'gate swapping' JayJay refers to is when you have multiple elements in the one package eg 4 nand gates. You would swap these around to suit the pcb. I also change port pins if possible to ease routing. Vias are inevitable but i try to minimise them where possible. With many pavkages being quad sided, you cant reallly use the old top- vertical, bottom- horizontal rules. It is an iterative process so the aim is to get the board routed. Once routed, then you can look at where you can optimise it. I frequently do a couple of tries. With experience you tend to make smarter choices earlier. My basic process:
Define board outline
Nail down Items that have a specific position - connectors, mounting holes etc.
Place components based on the rats nest
Divide the board into logical sections
Route
Rinse and repeat.

Last week i did a fairly simple pcb with about 20 components. It had some mechanical constraints- it had to be a specific size.i did two designs. The second go i rotated the cpu (quad flat pack) 90 degrees and re-assigned some non critical port pins. This allowed me to position resistors and capacitors better as i had less travks running across the board and less vias. Don't worry about having the components sequentially numbered - you can re-annotate to correct this.

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nleahcim:
I'll PM you the altium symbol and footprint with the parameters I need. Let me know what I can do in return Thanks

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Quote:
If routing were a breeze, then designing pcbs would be easy!

Correct. There's no free lunch you just have to enable the rats nest and move things around until you think you have a good layout. Experience is required but then we all started without it. Be thankful you aren't using Bishop decals and tape :)

Quote:
you cant really use the old top- vertical, bottom- horizontal rules.

That's something I have discovered having returned to PCB layout after many years. In the "old" days you would religiously stick to that rule, vertical one side, horizontal the other. With SMDs it's almost totally out the window and it's every trace for itself.

______
Rob

Scattered showers my arse -- Noah, 2348BC.
Rob Gray, old fart, nature photographer, embedded hardware/software designer, and serial motorhome builder, www.robgray.com

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Rob, you're showing your age! Bishop Graphics stuff! I remember it well. I also remember colored pencils on greaseproof paper for the initial layout.

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Quote:
you're showing your age

Yep. I think I used to use a single pencil but dashed lines on one side and solid on the other. And there was the the plastic templates for doing common components like DIP pads etc. All 2x and large boards so I had a massive light table.

THIRD YORKSHIREMAN:
But you know, we were happy in those days, though we didn't have CAD.

After that we were one of the early adopters of the DOS-based Protel, used to get pre-release versions for testing from the guys in Tassie but we often thought we'd be better off going back to tape.

FIRST YORKSHIREMAN:
And you try and tell the young people of today that ..... they won't believe you.
ALL:
They won't!

_____
Rob

Scattered showers my arse -- Noah, 2348BC.
Rob Gray, old fart, nature photographer, embedded hardware/software designer, and serial motorhome builder, www.robgray.com

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Rob,
bleedin luxury! I was explaining to a young-er engineer how things were done in the 'old days'. He was surprised at how the solder mask expansion was done by a vibrating table.

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Quote:
Bishop Graphics stuff!
Oh you mean this stuff? Well used as you can see (1981 edition).

Attachment(s): 

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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The horizontal-vertical thingy is still alive; I have a PCB of a 2003 Dell/Lexmark laserprinter here that uses it.

Another technique is to fan-out each pin of each/a component to a via. Orcad Layout even has a tool for it that does it automatically for you.

The first CAD program I worked with was SmartArt IIRC.

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What, you mean like this?

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Someone stole your power tracks! Yes, things were relatively simple with DIPs, you could thread a track or two between pins. With many of the packages nowadays, you're lucky if you can get a couple of vias in the inside area. The design i recently did was a QFN32 package with the 0V being the middle pad. It was my first go at using iteadstudio for pcbs. At$9.90 for 10 5x5cm boards how can you go wrong? I'll report back when i receive the boards.

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Yes, with DIPs it was pretty easy because the trace density was not high, with SMDs I struggle a bit but am getting the hang of it.

For example in this board

I have a TQFP144 that takes up about half the space of a DIP40 but has 100 extra pins.

I have actually stuck pretty much with the HV scheme (red and blue) but relented and ran tracks on an internal layer (yellow). I didn't want to but after it got me out of trouble a few times I was a born again convert and used that layer a lot.

It also took a while to get my head around having components on both sides, it's certainly not as clear what's what but you mostly just have to trust the rats nest I think.

On my current board I'm running tracks on all four layers, I don't know if that's a good idea but it just won't work without it.

One problem is that the tight pin spacing creates a huge no-go zone for one layer, but fine geometries and extra layers come to the rescue.

______
Rob

Scattered showers my arse -- Noah, 2348BC.
Rob Gray, old fart, nature photographer, embedded hardware/software designer, and serial motorhome builder, www.robgray.com

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You'd better step to a 6 layer board then, with the two extra layers dedicated to GND. The price difference between 4 and 6 isn't that big I guess. Going to 8 is another major price step, like going from 2 to 4 layers.

More layers don't make it that much easier.

Here a part of one of my designs, 6 layers, ground planes not shown. Quite a mess when displayed this way :)

There are not many traces on the two inners layer that are mostly dedicated to three power supply rails. I did not route one single trace in the two ground planes.

Attachment(s): 

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Thank you freaks for your suggestions. I have chosen usbasp circuit and have placed the components as below. I have used two red leds instead of 3.6 zener diodes. I routed it but two nodes remained and could not do anything so I erased them all again. The circuit, the top layer and bottom layers are as below. I have placed components according to their distance.

Attachment(s): 

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Two things about that circuit.

You do not have the ISP reset signal connected to the processor. Instead you have a signal called SELFPROG connected to a header. How will the ISP programming work?

I don't know much about USB but I would say you can't just hang LEDs off the signals.

Quote:
I have used two red leds instead of 3.6 zener diodes.

What zeners? Their circuit has what look like two TVS diodes on the USB lines, but that's a whole different thing to driving some LEDs.

______
Rob

Scattered showers my arse -- Noah, 2348BC.
Rob Gray, old fart, nature photographer, embedded hardware/software designer, and serial motorhome builder, www.robgray.com

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I'd not be surprised when those LEDs actually provide some ESD protection :)

It's better to replace with the intended components, or just don't bother with them.

I see no reason to put components on the backside of the PCB. Overcomplicates things too much for such simple PCB.

You can route this one a single sided PCB. With a bit of effort I think you can even do without jumper wires too.

The MCU does have decoupling cap as it should, but no connection to VCC that goes to the USB connector.

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I wanted to put all components within a USB flash drive frame but seems not possible. I think 3.6 zener diode clamps the 5V voltage to 3.6 volts which two leds in series do the same work. The selfprog is the same in usbasp schematic. I should also add the decoupling capacitors.

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Quote:
The selfprog is the same in usbasp schematic.

Yes I see that now, you can jumper it if required.

______
Rob

Scattered showers my arse -- Noah, 2348BC.
Rob Gray, old fart, nature photographer, embedded hardware/software designer, and serial motorhome builder, www.robgray.com

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jayjay1974 wrote:
I'd not be surprised when those LEDs actually provide some ESD protection :)

Is ESD protection necessary for digital circuit? If so, how can I use such a protection for my circuit?