7 Replies Latest reply on Jan 12, 2018 1:14 PM by lamabrew

    Test points and mounting hole library components?


      Hi, I'm just starting an eval of Circuitstudio but I seem to be stuck on what I would have thought was a basic need in all designs. I searched the docs/forums and came up empty, apologies in advance if I missed it.


      I can't find any schematic library components for test points (through hole or SMT pad), nor for mounting holes (with a pin for grounding or just a plain hole, though maybe the latter isn't really a schematic things in the CS worldview?).


      I found a post that referred to a "Testpad" library but I can't find that.


      I was hoping to not have to tackle component creation on day 1.


      Thanks for any pointers/advice.

        • Re: Test points and mounting hole library components?


          I create all of my components.  I create all 3D models.  Sure, there are libraries out there that are free and easy to use.  Sometimes I feel like they are improperly created or difficult for some of my designs.  Sometimes I want an extra added feature.  Sometimes the soldermask or overlay isn't what I want.  So after years of using Altium and after purchasing CircuitStudio, I made the decision to make all of my libraries.  It may take a little bit of extra time sometimes.  My theory behind this primarily resides in component selection.  I want to know exactly the size of each component.  I want to know that I am placing the exact component that I want.  Sometimes generic is fine.  In the case of test points, I created my own in multiple shapes and sizes.  I can always add more if I choose.  Library development is a crucial skill to fully understand.  Here are some screenshots:

          RF test points may require a secondary adjacent pad that is ground.  Super easy to make in CS.

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
            • Re: Test points and mounting hole library components?

              Hi James,


              Thanks for the feedback. Without straying too far from my original question, here's a bit more why I'm asking about library components.


              This upcoming project is a bit unique in that it's starting with a totally clean slate. Most of the boards to be designed will be simple 2 or 4 layer things < 40 in^2 (260 cm^2) though a few are considerably larger. Almost no high speed signals, no fine pitch parts, etc. My criteria during for evaluation has become (there's a much longer list, this is just the part relevant to my question):

              1) fast learning curve (as everyone will probably come from a different background)

              2) easy to get designs done quickly with low error rates

              3) easy to get the job done for engineers that don't normally do PCB design (at some point there may be a dedicated layout resource, but not initially)


              These days seems just about any schematic editor/layout tool can handle the technical needs. Though I've seen some that seem to retain the same UI thinking of their DOS version and while they may work, would have a painful learning curve with their totally non-intuitive UI, particularly for occasional use. Some newer tools still seem to have somewhat fatal bugs with questionable workarounds.


              Dropping tools stuck in the past (fear of losing their user base perhaps?) I see no shortage of technically competent tool choices.


              For me that leaves the next big pain point that I've experienced as the main decision point: Building, maintaining, and using component libraries to get useful schematics, correct layouts (electrical and mechanical), and BOMs that correctly map to vendors and suppliers, all while trying to minimize the use of gratuitously different components that drive up production costs.


              Tools with fully validated libraries that are easy to use are going to score big in this evaluation. If the tool has extensive libraries then the ease of adding new components within the context of the overall goals will be the next criteria as I wouldn't expect to find more than half the parts to be there. My simple trial board does have mounting holes and test points, and this is the first time I've hit a tool that doesn't appear to have them in a library. 95% of projects I've been associated with in the past decade have that need so I perhaps somewhat presumptuously assumed they would be part of a library for a tool that promotes its comprehensive libraries as a reason to pick the tool


              Regardless, thanks for the comment. I guess time to crack open CS component creation.

            • Re: Test points and mounting hole library components?


              You can find testpoints like this in Altium Vault ( File - Vault Explorer):

              But, as James said before, component creation is most basic and important part of PCB design. Most of PCB errors are component related, so I also prefer to make my own components.

                • Re: Test points and mounting hole library components?

                  Hi Aleksander,


                  Sorry, I should have probably said "test pads" and "test holes" instead of test points, which could be interpreted as the physical type like what you pointed out versus the example that James showed in his response. Though I find through hole ones preferred when possible so the (scope, meter, whatever) probe doesn't slip.


                  I'm just kind of surprised that what seems like a basic thing (and was part of the out-of the-box package of two other tools I tried, so maybe I'm spoiled) is missing from an a package that claims comprehensive libraries.


                  Though I find your statement "Most of PCB errors are component related..." curious. I agree with it, and that's exactly the reason I don't want to make components as I make mistakes. Vendor validated libraries (the point of Altium Vault if i understand the literature?) would save me a lot of time and frustration fixing my own dumb mistakes?

                • Re: Test points and mounting hole library components?



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                  • Re: Test points and mounting hole library components?

                    Self followup to my original post. Not sure why I didn't find it before, but while looking through Vault for other parts I came across some mounting holes in:

                    Board Templates -> Components -> Board Connectors -> Mechanical


                    Can't say they result in the correct final thing in a PCB but it has a couple different types so it's a place to start.

                      • Re: Test points and mounting hole library components?

                        Another self followup for any future Googlers. The mounting holes in the Mechanical section of Vault seem to give the PCB DRC heartache, and I didn't feel like adding rules for just those without understanding them better. They also used tiny screw sizes. So for now just made my own mounting hole components.


                        Quite by accident when searching for fiducial components in the stock libraries I came across some test points. I have no idea why my initial search didn't find them. I have had Vault crash several times this week, as well as sometimes it comes up blank for large parts of it and have to quit out and restart. So maybe that played in the failure to find these before (as well as the painful UI on Vault...I hate to complain but I can only describe it  as inexplicable...)


                        Here's where to look: