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All About Electronic System Design With OrCAD X

Key Takeaways

  • The success of electronic system design hinges on the selection of components, considering factors like functionality, energy efficiency, cost, and reliability

  • Efficient Power Delivery Networks (PDN), coupled with dynamic power management techniques and thermal management strategies, are crucial for minimizing power consumption.

  • OrCAD X facilitates a seamless, optimized design process, enabling the creation of high-quality, manufacturable electronic systems.

Animated people look at enlarged PCB that they are designing

ESD requires keen detail over every aspect

Electronic System Design (ESD) is the process of conceptualizing, creating, and optimizing the hardware and software components of electronic devices and systems. ESD involves integrating electronic components, often including microprocessors, memory units, sensors, and power supplies, into a cohesive and functional system. Many factors, including performance, power consumption, size, cost, and reliability, must be considered to create systems that meet the desired specifications and constraints.

Electronic System Design Process

Engineers must consider factors such as functionality, performance, cost, and manufacturability while adhering to industry standards and regulations. This process demands a focused and innovative headspace, where each decision is critical to the success of the final product. 

Major Technical Parameters for Electronic System Design




The function of the electrical system is primary, dictating component choice based on communication abilities, power requirements, required sensors, motors, etc.

DC Electrical Characteristics

Includes supply voltage(s), input-output voltage tolerances in systems with multiple supply voltages, and logic levels (VIH, VIL, VOH, VOL) that determine component compatibility within the overall system.

AC Electrical Characteristics

Covers operation frequency, rise time, fall time, propagation delay, setup and hold times for AC-utilizing components like oscillators and memory modules. Engineers consider both minimum and maximum values.

Power Consumption

Desirable to have lower power consumption, especially in portable, battery-operated systems. Features like sleep modes or idle modes help reduce power usage during periods of inactivity.

When selecting components for ESD, verify that interfaces, protocols, and communication channels align. Components should be compatible with system elements, such as connectors, buses, and communication standards. 

Power Delivery Network (PDN) Design

The Power Delivery Network (PDN) is the network of power supply components that ensures power stability. A well-designed PDN ensures power distribution to all components, mitigates issues like EMI, ground bounce, and power ripples, and provides clear return paths for sensitive signals. Power and ground distribution should be balanced, with controlled impedance routing. Using tools like constraint management systems can help optimize PDN design.

Efficient thermal management ensures system reliability and longevity through heat sinks and fans, thermal interface materials, thermal simulation and modeling, and dynamic thermal management.

Energy Efficiency Techniques for Electronic Systems

Optimizing energy efficiency prolongs battery life, reduces operating costs, and minimizes environmental impact. Some techniques that enhance energy efficiency are:

  • Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS):

    • Dynamic Voltage Scaling: Adjusts the supply voltage based on workload. Lower voltage during idle states reduces power consumption.

    • Dynamic Frequency Scaling: Varies the clock frequency to match computational demands. Lower frequency during light tasks conserves energy.

  • Power Gating:

    • Sleep Transistors: Isolates inactive blocks or subsystems by cutting off their power supply. This minimizes leakage current.

    • Body Biasing: Modifies transistor threshold voltages to reduce leakage when circuits are idle.

OrCAD X for Electronic System Design

OrCAD X offers a user-friendly interface for a streamlined PCB layout. Enhanced visualization and analysis capabilities include an interactive 3D canvas for real-time product visualization, aiding in issue identification and ensuring design integrity within space constraints. 

Real-time part information access enhances decision-making. Live DRC provides immediate feedback on design violations. Integrated analysis tools, such as in-design analysis and OrCAD PSpice, optimize component selection and placement, and perform smoke analysis for component reliability and sensitivity analysis for cost optimization. 

OrCAD X Benefits in Electronic System Design



Simplified Manufacturing and Documentation

  • Live DOC: Ensure accurate and synchronized fabrication and assembly drawings.

  • DesignTrue DFM: Identify common manufacturability errors early in the design process.

Enhanced Environment Control

  • Personalization: Customize your environment with shortcut keys and tailor it to your workflow.

  • Seamless Navigation: Cross-probe and visualize seamlessly for efficient design exploration.

Improved Visualization and Analysis

  • Interactive 3D Canvas: Visualize your product in 3D during design. Identify issues and ensure design integrity within space constraints.

  • Real-Time Part Information: Access part details as you work, enhancing decision-making.

  • Live DRC (Design Rule Checks): Get immediate feedback on design violations.

Integrated Analysis and Insight

  • In-Design Analysis: Optimize component selection and placement using real-time visual guidance. Understand simulation impact throughout the design lifecycle.

  • OrCAD PSpice: Perform smoke analysis for component reliability and sensitivity analysis for cost optimization.

Elevate your electronic system designs with OrCAD X. Experience how this cutting-edge PCB design tool can streamline your workflow, enhance efficiency, and bring your innovative designs to life. 

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