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Next-Generation Electronic Circuit Design Software

Key Takeaways

  • Electronic circuit design software has to account for all aspects of electronic design, from schematic design through prototyping.

  • OrCAD X Presto PCB Editor introduces numerous features that improve layout performance while prioritizing the UI for a smoother design experience.

  • Focusing on design data being synced at all times, functionality such as Live BOM, Live DOC, and OrCAD X Cloud, keep your designs better connected to the supply chain, manufacturers, and your team.

Electronic circuit design software like OrCAD X continues to optimize high-density layouts, like this LGA fanout with length-matched differential pairs.

Electronic circuit design software like OrCAD X continues to optimize high-density layouts, like this LGA fanout with length-matched differential pairs.

Now more than ever, designers need robust and expansive circuit design software to realize complex modern circuit designs. The balancing act between software usability and capability can be a precariously fine line: designers know when they’ve found software that hits the sweet spot, but getting to that point can be an aggravating experience. Modern electronic circuit design software needs to be all-inclusive in all stages of circuit design – the more features interact and logically flow from point A to B, the easier the workflow and, ultimately, the learning curve of the software. OrCAD X brings a familiar and industry-recognized performance with a re-envisioned workspace optimized for ease of use. Along with many new design features, OrCAD X improves the user experience and quality outcomes.

How OrCAD X Improves Electronic Circuit Design Software



Library Management


Manufacturing Output

Live BOM simplifies procurement and gives designers an overview of design sensitivity to sourced components.

Native PSpice schematic integration for rapid simulation.

A standard library of general circuit elements and specific manufacturer parts.

OrCAD X Cloud unifies file management between team members – no matter where they are.

OrCAD X Presto PCB Editor offers a new view on layout design that focuses on a streamlined interface.

Two users can simultaneously collaborate – no design partitioning is necessary.

Live DOC keeps documentation and design automatically synchronized.

3DX Canvas visualizes MCAD-ECAD constraints.

Electronic Circuit Design Software From Start to Finish

Schematic and BOM Setup

Superficially, the schematic represents the physical connection between components, but it also supports the association of component footprints to the appropriate schematic symbol. This relationship is the basis of the netlist for the board layout, as the design needs to know the connection between parts and components representing the endpoints. The key here is the reference designator: an alphanumeric code unique to each instance of a schematic symbol.

Assigning component reference designators to footprints requires a bill of materials (BOM) once the component list grows appreciably. The BOM is the master document for procuring the PCB assembly components; it contains all the relevant information about the components, such as packaging style, manufacturer’s part number (MPN), footprint, quantity, reference designators, and more. The unit cost, availability, reliability, and materials (for manufacturing suitability and environmental compliance) are additional metrics that will play a factor in component selection beyond the base functionality and performance of the components. Tracking all of these aspects can be a full-time position at a PCB assembly house, especially as the size of the BOM grows in unique entries and overall purchase size.

Live BOM is the OrCAD X solution for BOM management. With an easy-to-read overall assessment of procurement broken down by component manufacturing status and compliance, designers can be sure their project’s BOM provides the necessary long-term reliability customers expect off the shelf. By interfacing directly with a global component distributor with billions of unique components, users can improve procurement sourcing to counter new and ongoing availability issues while tracking live lead-time updates and forecasts. And when unforeseen component issues do arise, it’s easy for designers to find form, fit, and function replacements that keep production running smoothly.

Live BOM fully incorporates sourcing and procurement into the schematic.

[Sourced from Live BOM video]

Simulation Tools

Electronic circuit design software continues with simulations: engineers can test and simulate circuit response using various parameters to replicate real-world performance accurately. This process starts with segmenting the circuit into block diagrams representing discrete functionality. Splitting up the circuit in this fashion allows engineers to obtain a more accurate view of how the sub-circuit acts isolated from the larger system. This process then segues naturally into simulation testing to calibrate the signal response.  

With OrCAD X, users can quickly move between schematic and simulation with PSpice. A wide range of standard and specialty simulation library parts are available, and customization options support additional simulation needs. Designers have many analysis choices, from standard AC/DC sweeps to Monte Carlo simulations for worst-case performance and sensitivity testing. 

Footprints and Data Management

Designers (or dedicated librarians) can move on to footprint creation with the BOM mostly or entirely finalized. Whether provided directly by the manufacturer or built from the datasheet measurements, accuracy is paramount to avoid production errors with mounting or soldering the components to the printed circuit. Verification of footprints is a standard procedure necessary to ensure the integrity of the footprint library for current and future designs. For larger design teams, data management will be essential. Fortunately, OrCAD X Cloud allows teams to quickly set access levels for footprints (and other project elements) to maintain organization and protect master files. 

OrCAD X Cloud users can share and manage file hierarchies.

OrCAD X Cloud users can share and manage file hierarchies.

[Sourced from Cloud Connectivity video]

A Powerful, Flexible Layout

With the footprints created, netlisting of the schematic is complete after associating schematic symbols and footprints. Diving into OrCAD X Presto PCB Editor – the new layout environment for OrCAD X – designers will notice a UI geared towards ease of use and navigation for newcomers and seasoned OrCAD users alike. Focusing on an open design space and floating menus, OrCAD X Presto PCB Editor keeps the design front and center. An exciting new feature is the ability for two designers to perform layouts simultaneously. Gone are the days of partitioning and merging two independent files after a design fork: live layout collaboration enhances communication and offers instant feedback that accelerates turnaround times for even the most complex printed circuits.

OrCAD X Presto PCB Editor empowers designers to route dense layouts more quickly.

[Sourced from Place & Route video]

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) at the Forefront

Beyond simulation purposes, a design is only as good as its manufacturability, and the Constraint Manager supports extensive customization options to realize designs. Designers can rapidly set and alter violation flags across electrical and mechanical rulesets that instill high reliability throughout a device’s service life. MCAD-ECAD integration is even easier with 3D clearance Design Rule Checks (DRC) that grant designers immediate visualization of enclosure fit. When it finally comes time to output manufacturing drawings, the new Live DOC functionality keeps file outputs automatically synchronized with the design, so there’s no worry about packaging or sending files that aren’t the most up-to-date revision.

Users can seamlessly switch between 2D and 3D layout views for visibility.

Users can seamlessly switch between 2D and 3D layout views for visibility.

[Sourced from Integrated 3D video]

Cadence Helps Solve Today and Tomorrow’s ECAD Challenges

Designers need their electronic circuit design software to work as hard as themselves to meet the modern demands of printed circuit DFM. We’re bringing our industry-recognized design platform into a new era with the release of OrCAD X, but don’t take our word for it, download the new OrCAD X platform and see for yourself. Our supporting PCB Design and Analysis Software enables deeper design insight and solutions that synergize with OrCAD X.

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