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PCB Design Blog

19 Jan, 2015

Vern Wnek Shortly after I graduated with my Associates degree in technical drafting, I entered the world of computer aided design. I trained in CAD technology on one of the very first computer design systems – CEADS CAD, and we young bucks could not wait to jump right into drawing designs on the computer screen. Our teacher, a tall Texan with a big stern voice, told us that we might come across many CAD systems … Read More

14 Jan, 2015

PCB Products are Hot Again at EDN

Posted by Gary Lameris

Gary Lameris It’s interesting that in only 2 of the last 5 years PCB design tools made the EDN top 100 Hot Products. In 2013 and again in 2014, of the 7 products in the EDA category of the Hot 100 only 3 were PCB product related. At Mentor Graphics we are therefore absolutely delighted that for 2014 we received 2 of the 3 top 100 Hot product ratings for the high end of PCB System design with Xpedition® xSD  and … Read More

12 Jan, 2015

Behind the Design: Seagate

Posted by Vern Wnek

Vern Wnek This is the second post in a series showcasing the winners of the 2014 Technology Leadership Awards. View the first here. First place winner in the Computers, Blade & Servers, and Memory Systems category: Seagate Technology, United States. Design: The team used all of the “tricks in the book” to achieve placement and routing within the speed/timing parameters on their mid-range enterprise solid-state … Read More

9 Jan, 2015

Charles Pfeil As you may already know, the Xpedition VX.1 release is now available to customers. I encourage you to take some time to evaluate it because if there is one thing to mention about this release, it is that you will be able to increase your productivity significantly. It can be downloaded at SupportNet. We have added some new interactive routing styles that complement the existing ones quite well. The … Read More

7 Jan, 2015

Quick Starts to PCB design

Posted by Gary Lameris

Gary Lameris Have you ever designed a PCB in less than an hour?  Did you include part searching and designing the schematic in the hour?  Now you can… In December 2014, Mentor Graphics in partnership with Digi-Key Corporation released an innovative PCB flow called Designer.  Designer Schematic and Designer Layout are basic PCB schematic and layout tools but with the addition of PartQuest, these tools out perform … Read More

7 Jan, 2015

Behind the Design: Alcatel-Lucent

Posted by Vern Wnek

Vern Wnek This is the first in a series showcasing the winners of the 2014 Technology Leadership Awards. The votes are in for the 2014 TLAs! Congratulations to the 2014 Technology Leadership Award winners! Started in 1988, this program is the longest running competition of its kind in the electronic design automation (EDA) industry. The competition recognizes engineers and designers who use innovative methods … Read More

16 Dec, 2014

In Memoriam: 2014 PCB Design

Posted by Vern Wnek

Vern Wnek Typically my blogs speak of PCB layout technology and the company I work for, but this one is a bit different. During this season of reflection and celebration, I’d like to take some time to honor the special friends that have passed during the year. We place these friends and our fondest thoughts “into memory,” in hopes to keep their legacies alive. I’d also like to recognize another great PCB … Read More

4 Dec, 2014

Vern Wnek As I sit here still recovering from the Thanksgiving feast of turkey and all of the trimmings, I am reminded that this is the time of year we give thanks and gifts to our friends and loved ones. Christmas is just around the corner, and the holiday season is in full swing. Speaking of giving thanks…I’d like to thank you for following along with me here on the blog! I also have an exciting announcement … Read More

18 Nov, 2014

Sketch Routing: A New Paradigm

Posted by Vern Wnek

Vern Wnek In my last post I mentioned my recent conversation about autorouting with several PCB designers at the IPC Council meeting in Irvine, California. Take a look at the previous post, Auto Assisted Routing: “I ain’t got time for that!” You will see that there are mixed feelings about autorouting, and many think we needed something better. The IPC meeting that I’m referring to happened to be all about routing … Read More

12 Nov, 2014

Length matching for 10GHz links

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier For most busses, length-matching a group of signals to 5 mils is a bit of overkill.  But, if length-matching to 5 mils is as easy for your layout personnel as length-matching to 100 mils, why not get the extra margin?  However, for very fast serial links, length-matching the two side of a differential pair is absolutely crucial.  That is one of the key steps I discuss in my article “Ten Steps … Read More

6 Nov, 2014

DO sweat the small stuff

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier My grandma always told me not to sweat the small stuff, and since she just celebrated her 100th birthday, I am inclined to take her advice.  Unfortunately, that advice does not extend well to 10GHz serial links on a PCB, where you really DO need to sweat the small stuff.  With edge rates on the order of 50ps (that’s about 300 mils long on a PCB), 10GHz signals get affected by almost any discontinuity … Read More

5 Nov, 2014

Hitting 100 ohms, the right way

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier When designing the trace configuration for your differential pairs, you are typically targeting 100 ohms differential.  That means each trace would be a 50-ohm trace, if there were no coupling between the traces.  But, you usually want some decent coupling between the traces, so a good single-ended impedance target for each trace is between 60 and 75 ohms.  That means that the differential pairs will … Read More

27 Oct, 2014

Charles Pfeil When tuning a set of nets in Xpedition Layout, there are methods to do it automatically or manually – or both. The previous post in this routing series explored the use of Auto Tune and the Target Lengths dialog. In this post, we will look at the manual tuning features and the options available for using them in a productive manner. The intent here is to reveal the new capabilities in the context of … Read More

16 Oct, 2014

Vern Wnek Recently at the IPC Council Meeting in Orange County, California, two of the top PCB design EDA vendors presented some of their current and upcoming technology for routing automation. The day was geared towards PCB designers and the methods they use for routing their designs. The day started off with the typical questions that we spoke of in my first blog in this series, The Myth of the Pretty Design, … Read More

29 Sep, 2014

Defining the “Perfect” Taxonomy

Posted by Andre Mosley

Andre Mosley Defining the “Perfect” Taxonomy (Catalog Structure) A taxonomy is the “classification” of elements otherwise known as “catalogs” or “partitions”; and is an important component in your design process to help users find the ECAD data they are looking for. You can imagine that a confusing or complicated structure increases the overall design process and that the best developed classifications can translate … Read More


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