Schematic Capture & Component Library
Generally this is the starting point of the design. The circuit will need to be entered into Altium, this can be done in 3 ways

1. A hand drawn schematic can be provided and will be redrawn in Altium

2. An Altium file can be provided

3. A netlist from another CAD system can be imported into Altium, currently CAD systems that can be imported are:

  • Cadence Allegro PCB Editor
  • Mentor Graphics DxDesigner
  • Orcad
  • PADS
  • Protel 99 SE
  • Cadster
Importing files is always a challenge, imported projects will need to be thoroughly checked.

As a standard the IPC library specification will be used for the creation of library components, therefore only new/non standard parts will need to be created. However if you require your own symbol & footprint specifications then a unique library will be created for your design, this is a time consuming task and will add cost.

There are 5 key stages to the layout:

1. Design rules

Basic design rules such as track widths, track spacing, via sizes are entered.

2. Electrical constraints

For more complex designs or high speed designs, electrical contstraints such as impedance control requirements, differential pairs and track lengths need to be considered.

3. Mechanical constraints

Using the mechanical information supplied, either drawing or .dfx file the board outline will be drawn and hole positions, keep out areas, height restrcitions, critical component placement added to the board area.

4. Component placement

Components will be placed on the board according to the above constraints. A pdf or gerber, if preferred, will be created and sent to you for checking.
You will need to approve the design at this stage.

5. Routing

Critical nets will be routed first, a pdf or gerber may be sent to you at this stage for review, then the remaining nets will be done.

Data will be sent to you in two stages, firstly Gerber outputs or pdf's of each layer will be sent to you for review. A .dxf file can be sent for you to import into your CAD system to check the fit and for clashes. While you are doing this I will continue with the drawing pack, on completion this will be sent to you for checking also.