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PCB Design Blog

21 Mar, 2014

PCB and Routing Solutions: Introduction

Posted by Charles Pfeil

Charles Pfeil This is the first of a series of blog topics related to routing PCBs My name is Charles Pfeil and my role at Mentor Graphics is one in which I always have a primary focus on routing technology and methods – although I do get involved in numerous other projects. I began in this industry working my summers in high school inspecting Ruby-Lithe designs for scratches and repairing them. Sounds rather antiquated? … Read More

13 Jan, 2014

How to connect a capacitor?

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier Capacitors are the backbone of a board power distribution network, or PDN.  However, just as important as having the capacitors connected to the PDN is how they are connected.  If you think that connecting them with inch-long 5-mil traces is a good idea, you might want to reconsider (or maybe you are still living in the ’70s?).  Obviously that is an extreme example, but there are a number of nuances … Read More

9 Jan, 2014

What capacitor values do I use?

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier A common question when designing a PDN (power distribution network) for a printed circuit board is which capacitor values to use.  A common practice is to use values in each decade – values like 10uF, 1uF, 0.1uF, and 0.01uF… and there is some reasoning behind that, but a little knowledge of decoupling capacitors can help you pick values that make more sense.  There is a great deal of information … Read More

19 Nov, 2013

An Introduction to Xpedition

Posted by Ed Goldman

Ed Goldman Both veterans and newcomers to PCB systems design may appreciate this video on our website that showcases the evolution of PCB design over the past decades and the role that Mentor Graphics has played in this journey. While visiting our website, you may notice something else—we have introduced Xpedition, the new identity for our flagship PCB design flow. Why have we introduced this new identity? The … Read More

16 Aug, 2013

Jim Martens

Hello.  Sorry for the lag from the last blog answering questions from the Start Smarter webinar.  Between vacation with my family in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and a trip to the PacRim, I’ve been slow getting back to this.  On the positive side, it’s given many users time to view the on-demand version, which generated some more questions!  So here’s part 3: Q:  Oscar Z asks if PADS has provisions

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3 Jul, 2013

Patrick Carrier When designing a PCB, part of the design process is making sure the PCB works correctly.  At the very least, someone does some functional testing.  But what happens if problems are found?  A more detailed look at the design must be performed.  And in fact, the best way to end up with a working design is to check the performance during the design process. So if you have to choose between simulating or … Read More


28 Jun, 2013

Correlating simulation and measurement

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier

We go through great pains to ensure that our analysis tools give highly accurate answers in the most efficient manner possible.  That requires accurate field solving – in both 2 dimensions and 3 dimensions, as appropriate – as well as accurate simulation.  Accurate simulation includes simulation of S-parameters in the time domain, which requires appropriate handling of causality and passivity

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26 Jun, 2013

Simulation and measurement

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier A few months ago my colleague Chuck Ferry posted a blog about a correlation study he did for DesignCon, where he compared results from a multi-Gbs SERDES simulation to some measured results and showed excellent correlation.  If you are interested, scroll down and you can find that blog, or you can click on this link: Correlating … Read More


3 May, 2013

Gary Lameris

Do you use PADS?  Did you know that the PADS ES Suite ships with the DxDesigner Schematic Editor providing a robust and powerful design environment tightly coupled to PADS layout with DxDatabook a powerful component information system and cross probing. With an innovative and reliable architecture, designed from the start to support hierarchy; a user needs only to create a circuit once before reusing

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Schematic Design

1 May, 2013

Michael Ford

Unbelieveable! Don’t get me wrong, it is not the fact that pop-up ads appear all over commercial websites that annoys me; after all, we have had the same thing in magazines and newspapers for many years. Advertisements appear almost everywhere these days, the funding from which is an important part of many companies’ business plans. This is not the issue. The issue starts with the difference between

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10 Apr, 2013

Jim Martens

Have you ever wanted to, or had the requirement to, print a color image of a Decal? This can be done directly in the Decal Editor. In this PADS Tip and Trick, Bill Tkachuk from CSD explains how to: 1. Load a decal into the Decal Editor and zoom to extents, 2. Define the visible colors you want printed, 3. Open the Output Window by going to View > Output Window, and 4. Select the Macro tab within the Output

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5 Apr, 2013

Nepcon China – The Chinese Way

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford

Nepcon China Rocks! There is so much going on, so much potential, so many companies focussed on success, to be the best in their field, to be number one. Electronics in the West is like the Mississippi river, huge and powerful, but slow moving, quite boring actually. In China, it is like the riding the rapids. This is where skill and vision come in to play. Creating the best production factory is the

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28 Mar, 2013

FPGAs are Still Cool

Posted by Randall Myers

Randall Myers

Altera goes back to 1984, when you could get 720KB on a floppy.  After all these years, FPGAs still provide the right mix of being flexible like software while still being fixed and fast like hardware.  Why does this cool idea persist in new product designs? Fortunately the big FPGA vendors, such as Xilinx, have continued to invest in R&D.  Innovations from internal genius and acquisitions have

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21 Mar, 2013

Michael Ford

They say that you are what you eat. If so, it means that many people in the UK are rather more horse than they thought. Endless jokes about “why such a long face?” aside, this really shouldn’t have been a surprise. For years now, there has been food on sale in the UK simply described as “meat”, such as meat pies, meat sausages etc. When someone asked about what the meat actually was, DNA testing was

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6 Mar, 2013

Ed Goldman

In an article published last Semptember on the Huffington Post there was a claim that the United States is facing a serious STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) talent crises. The author pointed to a study by the US Department of Labor claiming that the STEM workforce accounts for 50% of economic growth while only 5% of the working population are employed in STEM fields. The article

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