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Schematic Design Software Supports Quality Design

Key Takeaways

  • The schematic is the representation of a circuit’s components and electrical connections. 

  • The PCB schematic is not concerned with the PCB stackup, layers, or performance. 

  • Schematic design software offers other features including grid setting, title blocks, circuit name, and version number. 

Schematic Design Software

The very first step of a PCB design is to draw a schematic of the circuit

Usually, the very first step of a PCB design is to draw the schematic of the circuit. The schematic of a circuit is a functional diagram complete with the components and electrical connections. In any PCB design, the schematic is created before moving to the PCB layout design process. Schematic design software is essential for design engineers, as it aids in building and troubleshooting even the most complex of circuits. 

Schematic Design Comes First

Usually, PCB schematics is the first step in the PCB design process. The PCB schematic details a two-dimensional view of the circuit under consideration with all its functionalities and connections. PCB schematics explain the plan of the circuit that is to be printed on the board. However, in the schematic, the position or location of the components and their arrangement do not matter.

Generally, symbols that are globally accepted are used to create the schematic design. The components placed according to the circuit diagram are connected using wires, and the connectors required are also inserted in the schematic. By seeing the PCB schematic, any person with circuit knowledge should be able to understand the components involved and what the connections made are.

Once the PCB schematic is complete, the design process can be started.

PCB Schematics vs. PCB Design

The usual procedure of any PCB design is to create a complete schematic and then move to the layout design process. The PCB layout design process includes the physical placement of the components, their arrangement, board sizing, routing, mounting hole drilling, etc. PCB layout design is a craft that depends on the designer's experience, artistic skill, and space constraints.

Optimizing the PCB design depends on the layout design. According to the space constraints or PCB size required, components can be arranged in different patterns, and the electrical connections can be given. If you find any missing components in the later stage and add them to the design, switch to the schematic window and add the component there. The newly added component will appear on the layout design, and you can place and route it according to optimum sizing requirements. The 3D view of the PCB design is also available to guide the designer with the actual physical appearance of the board. The table below gives some insights to distinguish between PCB schematics and design. 

PCB Schematic

PCB Design

PCB schematics are not scaled to make connections visible

Components are placed close to each other

Connections can overlap

No copper routes can overlap since the physical version matches the layout design

Electrical connections can be on the same side without any issue

Copper tracks are routed in different layers to avoid shorts through overlapping

From the discussion so far, we can conclude that the PCB schematic is the blueprint, and based on that, the layout is built. The PCB schematic is not concerned with the PCB stackup, layers, or performance; the PCB schematic just forms the basic structure based on which one can start the layout design.

Product Design Depends on Schematic Design Software

As we know, electronic products are mostly based on PCBs. The time to design, build, and test boards increases the time-to-market of the product. There can be heavy monetary losses due to delays in launching a product on time. PCB design is a time-consuming section of any product design. The level of complexity in the circuit further extends the design time. Time can be saved by drawing the PCB schematic without error and with full functionality. If the schematic is prepared properly, the layout can be designed in a shorter amount of time.

Schematic design software helps designers create schematics. It provides the symbols for building the circuit and ensures the schematic is electrically correct. Most schematic design software provides the provision of creating symbols if required. It is useful when using custom-made components, especially inductors and transformers. Schematic design software offers other features including grid setting and title blocks. Notes and comments can be incorporated into the schematic design to easily establish connections and troubleshoot.

Modern PCB schematic design software reduces the time of PCB design. Troubleshooting and circuit repair are easier with PCB schematic design software. Cadence offers you the best schematic design software, with excellent integration with PCB layout platforms. Cadence OrCAD enables changes on the PCB to be transferred to the schematic and vice versa.

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