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  • On-Board printed Antenna

    Dear forum, I've been developing a board in my company and now Im curious about how can I use altium tools to draw printed antenna on PCB. I searched for it on google but I didnt find any tutorial about how to design or how to get antenna draws for my applications, in this case I need one for Wifi/Bluetooth around 2.4Ghz and GPS around 1.565Ghz. I would like to know if there are any web calculator to help me to design it on Altium or anything which should help me to achieve this task. Thanks

  • #2
    Normally when I have antennas in my projects I used to use the ceramic ones. It is not so expensive and in https://johansontechnology.com/antennas you can find a lot of materials about how to use them correctly. But if you really need to reduce the cost of your project, the size of the board is not a concern and you still want to make your own PCB antenna, I have to say that it is not so hard to find documentation about it. I think that what you are missing is to use the correct terms in your research.
    For example, I just google it: "PCB antenna Bluetooth" and the first link that I got is an excellent design guide provided by NXP that explains exactly what you need to build your own PCB antenna for Bluetooth https://www.nxp.com/docs/en/user-guide/UM10992.pdf. You can use a similar term for the GPS antenna as well.

    I hope that this helped you.

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    • #3
      Hi batistalex thanks for your tips. I know about johansontech and nxp bluetooth antenna tutorial, but I wanna to how to do it on Altium Design, I found several tutorials how to design bluetooth antenna and GPS on internet, thats not problem but anyone show how to do it on Altium Design, thats my question. What I know about antennas I studied in during my undergrad major, I used ADS software to modelling antennas but I dont know so deep how to do it, and we use ansoft design as well to simulate lot os specs, etc. I know about ceramic chips as well... Again thanks for your repply but I need how to do it on Altium Design, I know there are other softwares dedicated to model antennas, but focus on Altium.

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      • #4
        I don't believe that Altium has a specific feature to construct antennas in a similar way that the software that you mentioned does, at least by default (I don't know if there is some extra plugin to do that available, I have never seen one). You can do your PCB antenna in the same way that you do any footprint for a component. In this specific case, you can do the following:
        1. create a new footprint
        2. draw the tracks on the top layer as the documentation describes and then copy the same tracks to the top solder layer.
        3. Put an SMD pad on the tip of the track that you just drew and that is all.

        Is that the answer that you are looking for? Let me know.

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        • #6
          As batistalex is suggesting, there is nothing special about drawing antennas in Altium. What is important is to follow the design guides and recommendations - these will usually tell you the shape, size, etc. As an example I copied the instructions from the document what batistalex attached - you will need to find the specific antenna and you need to follow the recommendations (you may want to be sure that you follow instructions not only for the shape of the antenna but also PCB stackup recommendations).

          So here are some examples what you may need to search for and follow from the document (depends on your antenna):

          The dielectric constant for the FR4, substrate is 4.4, the thickness is 0.5mm.

          Here are some other examples from the document (just to give you ideas what you may want to be careful about):
          1. The feed arm should be fed with a 50ohm CPWG transmission line. The length of the
          transmission line should be as short as possible. The transmission line can be
          covered by mask.
          2. The short arm should be connected to the reference ground plane with at least 2 vias.
          3. The ground plane under the antenna should be removed.
          4. The solder-mask plane on and under the antenna should be added.
          5. The ground plane on the different layers should be connected together by vias along
          the ground plane edge.
          6. The dimension of the ground plane is as important as the antenna dimension itself.
          7. The layout of the matching net should not alter the impedance of transmission line.
          8. One “T” or pie matching net is generally enough for all kinds of antennas. The
          matching net should be as simple as possible.


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