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2.11 Release Blog - What's new inside inspectAR

Procedures Integration with Allegro

You can now document step-by-step processes and procedures which you need to perform on a manufactured PCB design directly from the Cadence Allegro PCB Editor. Once created the procedure can be ‘ran’ by a different individual who uses inspectAR to complete the task. Once completed a task is sent back to Allegro for review, closing the loop on the process.

Each step created in a procedure contains a set of 2D overlays which will be activated inside of inspectAR once ran, as well as instructions from the procedure author and a list of required responses from the inspectAR user, or procedure ‘runner’.

Figure 1: A procedure in use on a real board

This solution is ideal for ‘left shifting’ development before it gets to the lab or production floor.

In many situations, including board bring up and routine debugging a procedure will be the preferred way to go for a PCB designer since it implicitly documents the process which engineering would like to have completed and allows the task to be delegated to another individual asynchronously if needed.

A simple example would be to have a technician verify the noise of a power supply. Power quality is critical for any engineering design and all supplies are designed with a certain operating noise level in mind which ought to be verified in most cases.

The task itself is fairly simple, provided you know where to connect the test and measurement equipment. To complete this task using a procedure a designer will first need to open the Allegro PCB Editor and select the inspectAR project which they wish to use in the procedures pane. Once selected the associated EDA artwork will be downloaded and you can be creating steps and adding overlays to the procedure. First create your test instructions and then add the appropriate overlays or that step. For example step 1 might include a safety check to make sure the working area is clear of hazards, step 2 might include finding the correct test locations on the board for the power supply. Later steps would cover taking the measurement and documenting the results.

Of course, the procedure itself can be used to document results and reviewed back inside Allegro is that is convenient for you. This would be preferred especially in a use-case where the user has to run the procedure to verify multiple copies of the same design.

Figure 2: A procedure being built in the Allegro PCB Editor

Add Nets Through Pads

Users love selecting a component graphically from their camera feed using inspectAR. The same is now possible for nets, by clicking the pin of a connected component. Once a component has been selected, clicking any pin will display the net name of that component, and then clicking again will activate that net overlay.

Figure 3: A pin highlight with net name

If you already know which pin of which component your net is connected to then no need to select it graphically on your board, you can use our updated search menu.

New Search Pane

The new search pane has some efficient upgrades meant to support our new pin selection method. You can now search for a signal via its pin number using a succinctRefDes.PinNumber syntax. For example for pin on of resistor one you would use‘R1.1’. For the 452nd pin of a large BGA a more complicated syntax might be needed depending how you set up your design with alphanumeric pins such as ‘U1.AB12’. However whether your pins are numeric or alphanumeric  inspectAR will alias them to the correct net name and let you select this for your board.

Figure 4: Nets can now be searched by pin number

Overlays Autosave on Close

You can now find a setting for your overlays to autosave when you close an AR session. This is a useful feature if you need to leave your bench and start other work.

New Color Options

Pin colors and highlight colors can now be selected to account for challenging background colors (eg a red highlight on top of a red board is not ideal). Additionall your colour selection menus can now all be selected via a drop down so they are less disruptive to use.

Figure 5: New color options