Altium pcb design examples [Updated]



Last updated : Aug 23, 2022
Written by : Iesha Drozdowski
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Altium pcb design examples

How do I design a PCB using Altium Designer?

The process for how to convert a schematic to a PCB layout in Altium Designer follows three simple steps: Step 1: Preparing to Synchronize the Design. Step 2: Use the Schematic Capture Tool to Import Design Data to a PCB. Step 3: Define Your Layer Stack.

Is Altium easy to learn?

Altium's intuitive user interface makes it easy to get started, even if you're new to printed circuit board design. Behind this simple interface lies extreme design power.

What can you do in Altium?

Altium Designer System Engineering (SE) is a fully-featured editor for schematics that includes powerful collaboration capabilities and a rich set of schematic capture tools to quickly create, edit, simulate, and document schematics.

Which software is best for PCB design?

  • Altium.
  • Altium 365.
  • Fusion 360.
  • Ansys RedHawk.
  • NI Multisim.
  • Autodesk EAGLE.
  • KiCad EDA.
  • EasyEDA.

What is the first step in PCB design?

Schematic Capture: the First Step in the PCB Design Process The schematic is the logical representation of the electronic circuitry of the circuit board to be built and uses industry-standard symbols and notations to represent different components and their values.

How long does it take to learn PCB?

Time to completion: 2 to 5 weeks The PCB layout will be designed using the same software used for the schematic diagram. Three types of designs will add considerable complexity and time to the design of the PCB layout. This includes custom wireless design, high-speed microprocessor design, and high-power design.

How do you draw in Altium?

  1. Choose Place » Drawing Tools » Line from the main menus.
  2. Click the Line button ( ) in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the design space.
  3. Right-click in the design space then choose Place » Drawing Tools » Line from the context menu.

Is Altium used in industry?

Altium develops software that is used for designing of electronic products including printed circuit board. Its products are designed for use in a Microsoft Windows environment and used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, defense, and telecommunications.

Is PCB design a good career?

Key Takeaways. Why circuit board design is such a rewarding career. The professional and personal growth you can experience as a PCB Designer. Not only do you design next-generation electronics, but you get to use the most advanced tools.

Which is better OrCAD or Altium?

Reviewers felt that Altium Designer meets the needs of their business better than OrCAD Capture. When comparing quality of ongoing product support, reviewers felt that Altium Designer is the preferred option. For feature updates and roadmaps, our reviewers preferred the direction of Altium Designer over OrCAD Capture.

How many layers are in a PCB?

Depending on the desired level of complexity, PCBs can range from two to eight layers—every increment means the addition of two more layers. It comes as no surprise that differences exist among these layered PCB types.

Can I use AutoCAD for PCB design?

AutoCAD blocks are used for all pads on the PCB.

What are the basics of PCB design?

  • Choose appropriate components and package sizes.
  • Avoid long lead-time components.
  • Schematic checks.
  • Add test points to all important signals.
  • Make sure your BOM is up to date while designing.
  • Stack-up preparation in PCB design.
  • Carefully inspect your footprint development.
  • Placement of components.

What are the PCB design layout rules?

  • Rule 1: Choose the right grid-set and always use the grid spacing that matches the most components.
  • Rule 2: Keep the path shortest and most direct.
  • Rule 3: Use the power layer as much as possible to manage the distribution of power lines and ground lines.

What are the different types of PCB?

  • Single-Sided PCBs.
  • Double-Sided PCBs.
  • Multilayer PCBs.
  • Rigid PCBs.
  • Flex PCBs.
  • Rigid-Flex PCBs.

What file type do you convert schematic to?

The . sch file extension is used to indicate a circuit schematic file by various electronic design automation programs, all using different file formats.

How do you make a component in Altium?

  1. In the Components panel, right-click, then select Operations > Create.
  2. In the Create new component dialog, select the type of component by double-clicking on the component type or click on a component type then click OK.
  3. Let's complete in the fields in the component editor.

Is Altium design free?

Altium Designer Free Trial Contact us for a 15-day full featured evaluation license with no technical limitations. We'll send you an email with access to the trial so be sure to check that your address is correct. Let's get started.

How do I become a PCB Designer?

  1. Earn a bachelor's degree.
  2. Get additional certifications.
  3. Gain relevant experience.
  4. Apply to jobs.
  5. Basic electronics.
  6. PCB knowledge.
  7. PCB design software.
  8. PCB layer stack-up.

Is Altium open source?

CELESTIAL ALTIUM LIBRARY IS. PROFESSIONAL Open Source & free.


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Altium pcb design examples


Comment by John Prindle

if you're searching for how to make pcb with altium then search no more because in this video i will show you how to get from this to this so from an idea to a pcb ready for manufacturing i will discuss every step in the process of making your own professional pcb so in this video i will be using a simple led chaser circuit which uses 555 timer and four zero one seven counter so let's get to it we need to create a new project new project and i'll just name it led chaser now in this project we need to create a new schematic in which we will start to draw our schematic so this schematic is quite simple it has a 555 timer and 4017 counter so the simplest way to put in components in your schematic is to go to manufacturers part search then you just search for what you want so in this case i want an 555 timer so let's put it in and search i can use so i can use both dip and not dip but in this case i will use a dip so you can click to preview the model and the pad for it and you can see the suppliers from where you can get this component so like mouser network digikey doesn't have in stock it but yeah so here's our component you can see it in 3d2 so let's put it in you have to right click on the component and then place if you want to rotate it you press space and you can rotate if you want to mirror it you press x so okay let's put it now we want our timer oh sorry we want our counter c4017 again we want to get dip let's check it okay so i think this one works just fine place and put it in okay if you have a not original version of altium and you can go to manufacturer's part search you can simply find those parts on additional sites like snap eda or ultra librarian so for example let's find our timer and e555 and here you can see there are plenty of models of it from texas instruments like this one and let's just download the symbol and footprint we need for altium and here it is we already downloaded you can just simply drag the library of of the component and its pcb pad into the altium and just extract sources now you're already imported the component the question is how do you find it you just check it here and here you can see the ne 555 and just drag the component into your schematic to access the properties of the component just double click on the component or click once and go to panels and properties here you can see the component and its footprint this is how you can import the component not from manufacturers part search but i will use components from manufacturer's parts search you can also find components not by searching them but going through like i'm searching now for resistance so i'm going to passive components and here are the filters you can just find what you need by checking the right filter so i need one mega ohm resistors and i would also prefer it if it would be not an smd let's go with excel so i'd say this is quite all right right here and now i need a one mega ohm potentiometer so okay so let's go to resistors and then check the potentiometer okay so as you can see one mega ohm does not have a model so this does not work for us well no matter let's just input this uh smd type potentiometer of 50 kilo ohms let's just place and okay rotate nice so now i'll just find the rest of the components okay i have found all my components so now it's time to give the components their names and values so connector will be a g1 and i am going to leave the connector comment but for simple components like leds and resistors i am going to not show this value so like this resistor is r1 but i will not show its common however i will add a if there is not oh here it is the resistance so here shows a half a mega ohm but we need a one mega ohm so i'm just gonna change it by hand yeah so you can see r1 is one mega ohm so it's finally time to connect everything to connect the components you use the place wire and start connecting to place wire you just left click it and to stop placing it you just right click it and if if you already have started putting it you simply left click and it stops as simple as that so i forgot one more component i need a one more capacitor of 10 nano farads and the circuit is done of course we can also put things like net label this allows us to label the whole net if you keep your mouse a little bit on the net you can see that it has a basic name of default name of net c1 some sort of nonsense but now since i inputted this net label and i can change it to vcc you can see that this net now has name of vcc and in near future you will see that this helps quite a lot let's of course save let chaser and save so now let's start creating a our own new pcb so we create a pcb of course new file pcb and let's save it to give it a name and so it would be connected to our project so before starting our pcb let's just say check some of the options so go to project project options do clash generations and uncheck the generate rooms and component classes why am i doing this well because i won't use these things so unchecking them will just make it much simpler press ok and now it's time to update the pcb so design update pcb document led chaser.pcb dot and now we just check if there are any problems or something like that so validate changes so as you can see no problems at all and execute changes and you can simply close so here you can see all the components i'd say that's pretty nice let's start placing our components these yellow wires show where what has to be connected so i would suggest to start by putting the biggest not the biggest but i mean the whole brain of this operation in the middle and putting every other component around it you can of course rotate these components by space now i'll place my components so i have placed my component if you want to change the grid settings you can just press g and here you can select the wanted grid and i will select like one millimeter if you want to write your own grid you can just simply press ctrl and g and here i can see it gives me the window where i can just select my own grid so i'll do like 10 well not 100 10 millimeters since i'm from europe i'm using millimeters if you're from not europe you can simply use mil or whatever you prefer so here you can just change dots to lines dots to lines and their color press ok but before drawing we need to do a few things the most important part rules so go to design and rules first of all we need to check our clearance so clearance is basically it's the minimum distance between the components where you can put one near to each other i in my projects mostly use 0.25 millimeters of course in the whole project you can change it anytime press apply as you can see i have a problem because i'm using american units i would like to use european units i'm just gonna change it so if you want to change it just nothing has to be checked then you go properties and then you go to bottom and you can see mills and me and millimeters sorry not mimi you go mmm and that's it so now i go again to design rules and as you can see 0.25 millimeter nice the next thing is in routing we go to with and here we are checking what kind of tracks we wil


Thanks for your comment John Prindle, have a nice day.
- Iesha Drozdowski, Staff Member


Comment by Sherilyn

hi i'm phil salmony a technical consultant for altium and in this video i'd like to go through some common beginner pcb design mistakes and how to remedy them i'll show you some guidelines for layout and routing and that'll really help you improve your pcb designs i do a fair amount of design reviews for pcb design engineers and these are issues i come across quite frequently these issues can be harmful for signal integrity emi and so forth so it's really good that we tackle them in this video if you'd like to give autumn designer a try for yourself please check out the link in the description to get a free trial of altium designer without further ado let's get started the most common pcb design mistake i see that novice pcb designers make is that of trace spacing and to me this is one of the most important aspects normally from a manufacturer's website or when contacting your manufacturer they'll let you know what their manufacturing capabilities are so what are the minimum clearances they can produce trace spacing track to pad to through holes to vias and so forth and this information you would then enter into altium designer going to design rules and you'd import all of your information from your manufacturer and this sets up your minimum clearances and trace widths and so on now this is all fine and good and usually this is the first step a pcb designer should usually do with an initial board design but then once this has been imported that doesn't mean you should stick to the minimum clearances and trace widths possible for example this design here this is a microcontroller with a lot of these pins needed to be rooted out this might be adc channels and digital channels and so on what i often see is this kind of pattern immediately coming out of the irrelevant ic the pcb design has chosen just to simply to use the minimum clearance and route all of these traces next to each other this is bad for several reasons first of all this is right at the edge of the manufacturer's capabilities so things could go wrong if we're right at the manufacturer's capabilities means we might get a lower pcb yield but more importantly because of these really narrow spacings between these traces we're going to get cross coupling between these signals so a signal may be apparent at adc input 5 will couple over quite strongly depending on the length of these parallel segments and the rise time of these signals adcin15 we'll couple in over to adc in one six and vice versa simply because we are not keeping enough clearance between these traces let me show you a better way of routing these traces we have the space so let's use it i would like to root out the pad and immediately go as far away as i can within reason of course taking account decoupling capacitors and so on and give myself as much clearance as possible from all these other traces for example like so compare this to the situation before we've increased our spacing considerably and this will minimize our crosstalk a good rule of thumb is to keep a minimum spacing or clearance between traces of three times the dielectric thickness if we go to design layer stack manager we can see the board stack up so layer one signal to ground we have a dielectric in between of 0.1 millimeters so this rule means keep at least three times the dielectric thickness space in between traces which is 0.3 millimeters in this specific example so for example this trace on the left here has a clearance of 0.6 millimeters so we're well above 0.3 millimeters now there might be situations where you can't keep this spacing it will be inevitable in some pcb designs the important thing is that if you have the space you should use it also try to keep the parallel segments between traces as short as possible another common beginner pcb design mistake is to use the same trace width for any type of trace so be this an adc trace a high impedance node a high speed signal trace or power trace it might seem convenient to just use the same trace with everything but it certainly isn't optimal for example if we look at this adc input trace over here this will be high impedance for high impedance trace which is very sensitive to noise i want to minimize any coupling to this the way i can do that is by reducing my trace width so i root out of this i don't want to use for example a 0.5 millimeter trace i want to use something quite considerably smaller it can't of course be generalized to what trace width you should always be using but 0.5 millimeters is a very broad thick trace so i might use something for example 0.2 millimeters remember you should stay within your manufacturing capabilities and far away from it from any extremes compare that to for example routing this 3.3 volt trace 3.3 volt trace i don't want to route for example 0.1 millimeters or 0.2 millimeters typically power traces will carry some form will carry more current than the signal trace and then again this depends on the example sometimes you might even want to use whole planes to carry power in this case this is simply to feed some sort of external circuitry maybe a couple milliamps with a trace width of 0.5 millimeters for example as i'm rooting out here you can actually carry quite a considerable amount of current to see what current a trace can carry i highly recommend saturn pcb design pcb toolkit if you go to the conductor properties tab we can type in a conductor width pcb thickness copper weights and so on you can leave most of this as default but we can vary the conductor width so we're typing 0.5 millimeters as in our example and click solve on the bottom right you can see the conductor current the maximum is over one and a half amps for such a fairly small trace so we shouldn't overdo the size or the width of a conductor traces we should always optimize for the situation we're in even if we go down to 0.2 millimeter trace and click solve this can carry almost an amp which is quite surprising to most people we can also of course see the voltage drop over a certain distance power dissipated and so forth so remember to vary your trace width depending on what signal or power you're routing a special case of course needs to be made for controlled impedance traces but this is not in the scope of this video as with trace width we can also look at via sizes and dimensions for vias we have a few more parameters that we can play with in this example we'll just be looking at simple through-hole vias so nothing fancy such as buried or blind vias and so on you can see a couple of example vias on the screen at the moment we might have typical vias we look at the top one that has a 0.9 meter diameter so this is the entire via diameter with a hole size of 0.5 millimeters if we take the diameter 0.9 millimeters subtract the hole size 0.5 millimeters and divide that by two we get the size of the annular ring so 0.9 minus 0.5 over 2 is 0.2 millimeters so the width of this ring here is 0.2 millimeters and this is oftentimes a very determining factor for the manufacturer or the manufacturer's capabilities typically you want an annular ring of around 0.15 millimeters of course t


Thanks Sherilyn your participation is very much appreciated
- Iesha Drozdowski


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