AnalogHome - News
June 2010 - AnalogHome uses Altium Designer for PCB Design Work

This is actually a very interesting full circle for me. The first real PCB design tool that I used was PCAD back in days of DOS
(Before that I used a customized AutoCAD Setup). Now I'm back to the successor of PCAD - Altium.

Altium Designer is a PCB Layout tool that is not only modern, but is also very amenable to Analog and RF design. In Analog
and RF most modern tools fail miserably because they feel free to move and change the copper at will, naturally this wrecks
havoc with any design that depends on exact copper placement for function, like RF and Microwave work does.

We have developed a very simple and powerful parts database system for Altium that allows us to change manufacturers
ordering part numbers very quickly. This allows us to quickly swap in our clients purchasing information into any schematic
that we have designed. This extension was written in C# .NET and is Spreadsheet based for simplicity and speed.

We have also developed a complete 3D library of PCB footprints that exploits the power of Altium. Frankly Altium is light years
ahead of the competition in the use of 3D and really allows us to reduce errors by visualizing how the board will look before
it is fabricated.

We have written a article on the capabilities of Altium and it has been published on PCB Design 007.  
Get it 'Right the First Time' With 3D STEP Models

More to follow on how AnalogHome uses this fine tool.

Figure - With Altium Designer not only do we get a superb PCB Layout tool, we can now do the Mechanical Engineering
Integration process right inside the PCB Layout tool. This is because we now have the ability to import the mechanical
packaging directly into the PCB Layout package to check for interference and fit issues with all the PCB Components before
we finish the design. This capability along with our 3D footprint library really helps to reduce possible errors and interference
issues that just can't be easily seen in a 2D flat PCB view.