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PCB Design Blog

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

29 Sep, 2014

Recent Articles Published

Posted by Charles Pfeil

Charles Pfeil A couple articles that I wrote have been published and I invite you to check them out: The PCB Design Magazine – August 2014 Sketch Routing, Part 1: Taking Control The article begins on page 42. It is the first of three parts that discuss the essence of sketch routing in the Xpedition Layout product. The three parts are: control, quality, and performance. Electronic Design – September 2014 What’s … Read More

15 Sep, 2014

Andre Mosley It’s like moving furniture around and then finding out later you don’t like the sofa. Much of the your end PCB product costs can be directly influenced by the parts selected up front during the schematic capture phase of the design process.  When you incorporate information into the designer’s part selection interface such as preferred part status, compliance, and/or obsolescence; you can reduce the … Read More

9 Sep, 2014

The Future of Integrity

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier I have recently been blogging about signal and power integrity, how the two are related, and how they can cross over.  This was prompted by an article I recently wrote for the DesignCon branch of EDN.  Twenty years ago, one of the biggest barriers to designing high-speed PCBs was ensuring signal integrity.  About ten years ago, power integrity started becoming a serious issue.  So what is next?  Is … Read More

8 Sep, 2014

An Integrity Cocktail - Mixing SI and PI

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier There are a lot of reasons to mix SI and PI analysis – trying to figure out a worst-case stimuli to determine PDN performance, trying to see the effect of a poor PDN on signals due to SSN issues, or just being able to properly analyze a single-ended via.  In fact, to get an accurate model of a single-ended via, you have to mix SI and PI.  The reason is that the power distribution network, or PDN … Read More

3 Sep, 2014

SI and PI - two flavors of Integrity

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier Power integrity (PI) is an analysis discipline that has been around for years.  Signal integrity (SI) has been around for a few more years.  Basically, they both deal with the proper analog operation of digital circuits.  So why these specific realms of analysis?  The main issue is that there is no such thing as “digital” – what we call “digital” data transmission is really … Read More

25 Aug, 2014

Charles Pfeil I’m taking a brief break from the routing series to share this upcoming event with you because it’s a great opportunity for you to learn more about the new release of Xpedition. Mentor Graphics is sponsoring a U2U conference for the automotive community at the Adoba Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan on Wednesday, September 10 from 8am to 5pm. If you are able to attend, share your feedback and questions in … Read More

13 Aug, 2014

The Myth of the Pretty Design

Posted by Vern Wnek

Vern Wnek I often talk with friends and colleagues in the PCB design community about trends. A subject that comes up often, and has probably been beaten to death, is the use of auto routers in today’s PCB designs. The answer I hear more often than anything else is, “We don’t use auto routing on our designs.”  Why is this? Is there something that auto routers are not providing? Is there something more they could … Read More

4 Aug, 2014

Charles Pfeil What comes to mind when you are ready to tune the routing on a design? Among many thoughts, I seriously doubt that exclamations of joy are running through your head. Sure, after completing the routing of a circuit there is some excitement that a new phase of the process is starting; yet it doesn’t take too long for the fun coupons to run out as you have to deal with the tuning complexity and lack of … Read More

28 Jul, 2014

Back side cap mounting

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier Earlier this year I wrote an article on maximizing capacitor effectiveness.  I have since received a number of inquiries on mounting capacitors directly to a power via on the opposite side of the board from the IC.  This is actually a fairly common design practice that I have seen on many boards.  And, the question is, is this better than mounting the capacitors around the outside of the IC on the top … Read More

22 Jul, 2014

Taking a new Route

Posted by Gary Lameris

Gary Lameris The weather has been warm in Colorado this week, so that means the windows and doors are now off the jeep. When I’m enjoying the open air I prefer to go on the less used roads, even if my journey is longer. This means I have to turn off the automatic mindless driving mode and think about the journey.  For example, I don’t automatically turn left to get on the main road, I want to go forward … Read More

21 Jul, 2014

Vern Wnek This is the third post in this series. View the first and second one. In this series we have talked about the placement challenges that occur when we, as PCB designers, do not get complete information from the engineers. Without enough information, we can’t move forward independently. So, how do we correct the issue? Training. But, in order to create a “rock star” design team, training must be a two … Read More


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