6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2017 9:59 AM by bugrobotics

    Schematic design workflow hints please?

    gwideman

      Hi folks. I'm looking for some hints on how to use CircuitStudio to develop schematics without having to commit to very specific components prematurely.

       

      I often want to design the approximate schematic first, for example including resistors and capacitors whose values I haven't calculated yet, and certainly haven't decided on a package/footprint, let alone a supplier.  All the tutorials I've seen so far place very specific components immediately, which is not what I want.

       

      So I guess this amounts to the following questions about a workflow for this iterative process:

       

      1. How do I place a generic component, be it a passive whose value I don't yet know, or an IC whose package I haven't decided.

      2. How do I later set the value of the generic component.

      3. How do I later still set the package, and then specific part number?

      4. Even later, how do I change any of the above?

       

      Thanks. Graham

        • Re: Schematic design workflow hints please?
          e14softwareuk

          I'll chip in with a suggestion, please feel free to join in this discussion as it's an excellent topic.

           

          Taking a resister as an example. It is possible to just place on a schematic and use the same symbol for every resistor instance. Later on you can assign values to each instance. The library part may contain multiple footprints and you can tailor each resistor on your design once you have decided on the package type required. The ECO process will keep the PCB up to date with the footprint changes. Symbols support extra parameters (name value pairs) so you can make use of these if you wish to specify manufacturer, supplier, part codes etc.

           

          Another option would be to place generic components and then later in the design process delete and replace with the specific one required. There is a lot of flexibility, once you understand the possibilities you should be able to design your own workflow that works for you.

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Schematic design workflow hints please?
              gwideman

              Hi Peter, thanks again for your answers -- I seem to be keeping you busy this past day or so :-).

               

              I do not like at all the idea of having to delete and replace components. That requires breaking the connections and rewiring, which strikes me as very error prone.

               

              However, the generic resistor (capacitor, LED, etc) whose value can be set as a parameter, and which has multiple footprints from which to later choose -- that sounds good. Where do I find such components?

                • Re: Schematic design workflow hints please?
                  e14softwareuk

                  There are no generic components with lots of footprints attached as standard, you would need to build your own library. However you don't need to start from scratch as you can make use of existing symbols and footprints (beware of attempting to copy symbols from the Online Vault as they tend to default back to their original state if copied and edited locally).

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Schematic design workflow hints please?
                    batuu

                    Hi Graham,

                     

                    you said that you do not prefer to use dummy components and replace them with the real ones later, but I highly recommand this approach. When I delete a component, the wires stay in schematic. No auto-deletion.

                    If you just put components and change the value as you need it, you loose a lot for documentation and production purpose of your design. With a single component symbol with a single footprint you get an easy BOM creation workflow and parameter management.

                     

                    So it realy depends. For small projects your approach would be ok, but for complex projects you easily can get lost.

                     

                    Have a look at the nice videos from Robert Feranec (FEDEVEL). They are made with Altium Designer but most of the tips apply to CircuitStudio as well.

                     

                    Aspecially : TIP #006: Always create specific schematic symbol for every component type

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRaPwBUokJQ&index=95&list=PLXvLToQzgzddPKq_txEXNe0pxaSHqPtMO

                    2 of 2 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Schematic design workflow hints please?
                        gwideman

                        Peter and batuu, thanks for your answers. I do take your points about using and later swapping dummy components, and that is greatly facilitated if the wires don't disappear. Though it also supposes that it's unambiguous how the replacement component wires up. Even replacing a diode or polarized cap could result in a mistake, I fear.  However let's assume that's the more robust way to go.

                         

                        The bigger picture, I guess, is that I am at the beginning of a bit of a CS-specific learning curve regarding the entire library system, in order to understand what moves are easy, and what moves are hard or tedious, within which context my original questions and others would be better illuminated.  The more I look into this, the larger that learning curve appears. I am doubtless not alone in puzzling about the library system -- I would think that a comprehensive overview and tutorial on that system would be a boon to new users. (I am not at all new to component libraries, just CS's scheme.)

                         

                        I already see that there are multiple different types of libraries, apparently global ones, ones local to a project, integrated ones, not-integrated ones, and somehow the integrated ones have some relationship to the not-integrated ones. And then there's the Vault with its ability to deliver components from an (or more than one?) online repository. But then does use of a Vault component result in some local data, or does a schematic/PCB always have to refer to the cloud? 

                         

                        And inevitably one will end up making one's own components, and perhaps that's easier starting with an existing component. But apparently the most-readily provided components, those from the Vault, are not good candidates for copy-and-customize because, as mentioned by Peter and elsewhere, they revert to pre-modified state under some mysterious conditions that lack an explanation.

                         

                        Then again maybe it's a good idea to skip the Vault altogether and use plain old dependable not-entangled-with-the-cloud libraries downloadable from https://designcontent.live.altium.com/  ... where there are around 600 libraries to choose from... which apparently have to be downloaded individually, and there seems to be no unified database of the entire thing.

                         

                        No doubt once you understand all corners of this sprawling and disjointed library landscape an efficient path can be found. But getting to that point of understanding seems more daunting than it needs to be.

                          • Re: Schematic design workflow hints please?
                            bugrobotics

                            Hi Graham,

                            Workflows are really dependent upon the person using the software, especially with ECAD, where for some reason, the workflows are sometimes mind-numbingly bad.  My advice would be to avoid the vault and create your own components and libraries and get good at creating them efficiently.  Using other's components can be an error prone practice for a variety of reasons.  The learning curve is certainly steep for any ECAD but if you stick with it for a few days you'll start gaining some traction.  Good luck!

                             

                            If you have any particular questions regarding component creation let me know and I'll try to address them.