Why Getting The Right Schematic Design Software Matters For PCB Designers

October 8, 2019 Cadence PCB Solutions

Close-up of a schematic shaded in blue

 

I pride myself on having a superior sense of direction. Back then, I relied on maps in getting my way around the cities. When GPS navigation apps start flooding the market, I insisted on sticking to my directional instincts. Eventually, I realized I was stubborn and foolish for holding on to such egoistic pride after trying, and failing, to find a coffee shop seven blocks away for over an hour. 

Today, I'm a firm believer of letting technology do the hard work of guiding me on the road. Thankfully, I'm more level-headed when it comes to electronics design. As technology evolves, I anticipated improved software programs, particularly for schematic design. 

What Is A Schematic Design Software

Schematic design software is a computer program that allows electronics designers to create digital representations of the circuit. It works by allowing the designer to place schematic symbols and making electrical connections. 

The schematic design software serves two basic purposes. When the circuit is completed, the circuit designer can perform simulations to analyze the behavioral performance of the circuit. Besides simulation, the schematic design software is an important program that precedes PCB design.

Why You Shouldn't Overlook The Importance of Schematic Design Software

When you're in a career of turning electronics concept into functional products, it can be tempting to focus all your attention on the hardware design phase. This means getting excited aboutin laying out the PCB while overlooking the significance of the schematic capture process.

It is a mistake to neglect the importance of schematic design software. An excellent schematic software can mean shaving off a huge chunk of development time on the project that you're working on. By the same logic, using a subpar schematic design software leads you to frustration as you try to piece together the circuit that you've envisioned.

Like it or not, schematic capture is the pillar where PCB layout is built upon. You'll need a software that perfectly captures your ideas in digital format. Not only does the resulting schematic needs to be accurate, but the process of doing must also be accomplished efficiently. 

 

Man writing a schematic design in the sky

The schematic design software is the fundamental of electronics prototyping.

 

Schematic design software has come a long way during the past couple of decades. Back then inserting a component takes a few clicks and involved scrolling a list of symbols. Moving electronics symbol and creating connections can be a drag as software in the past are less intuitive. 

Modern-day schematic design software has shown tremendous improvement. While the basic functions are well-taken care off, advanced features are introduced to enable electronics designers to cut down development time. 

How To Choose The Right Schematic Design Software

Some electronic designers do not have the luxury of time as industries are getting ever more competitive. With a shortened time-to-market, electronic designers are pressured to reduce the development time of the products they are working on.

 

Woman drawing trace routing against a screen

Having the right schematic design software cuts down development time.

 

It's obvious that getting the right schematic design software matters to make the design process more efficient. If you're looking for a schematic design software that does the job right, consider the following factors.

Comprehensive Component Library

Whether it is passive components or functional ICs, you wouldn't want to spend precious time creating them from scratch. Therefore, you'll want to choose a schematic design software that is built and updated with a comprehensive component library. Selecting and using a component shouldn't be more than a couple of clicks away.

Design Reusability

Chances are, parts of the design that you're working on can be reused in the future. For example, you don't need to recreate the power regulator circuitry for projects that share the same power specifications. 

It makes perfect sense to choose a schematic design software that supports reusability. This often comes in a feature that allows you to create and manage subcircuits in a modularized manner. 

Cross-Probe

You sometimes need to revisit an existing schematic for revision or troubleshooting. Having a cross-probe function helps in locating a component in a complicated schematic quickly and save precious time.

Documentations

Electronics designers are mere humans, and sometimes we may forget how and why we design a schematic in such manner. Having documenting features in a schematic design software is handy in noting down changes or instructions related to the schematic. 

Of course, you mustn't miss the point that a good schematic design software has perfect integration with the PCB layout module. The OrCAD Schematic Capture software ensures that any changes on PCB are transferable to the schematics.

If you’re looking to learn more about how Cadence has the solution for you, talk to us and our team of experts.

About the Author

Cadence PCB solutions is a complete front to back design tool to enable fast and efficient product creation. Cadence enables users accurately shorten design cycles to hand off to manufacturing through modern, IPC-2581 industry standard.

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