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Best way to place track and vias without a schematic?

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  • Best way to place track and vias without a schematic?

    Hi, I am not lazy, and I do have the Altium schematic tools.

    What I am attempting to do is to create a very simple microstrip stackup with tracks that extend to the edge of the board. The reason is that I want to import this stackup into Ansys HFSS full wave solver for EM simulation. I might even switch layers with vias to show the difference. The tracks at the end of the board could have lumped HFSS port added for the stimulation.

    Of course, another way to do this might be to create a board from a schematic and then use one of the Ansys tools to "cut" a section of the board and import that into HFSS but I think that just adding tracks and vias manually might be a cleaner way to do it.

    Thank You
    Tom

  • #2
    I always create schematic even for this kind of boards - usually I create them as simple connectors. This is often important because in simulation you may need pins / components / nets to setup and run the simulation (I do not know about Ansys).

    It is not difficult to create the schematic and it just makes everything easier (you do not have to think how to go around it).

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    • #3
      Agree with Robert, but I think the way to do it if it is to be done is to edit the netlist in the PCB doc to add nets to the design, place an object, such as a track or fill or pad, then assign that object a net from the netlist. If you select an object and look to the properties panel, it will have a drop-down list box of all available nets in the design to assign to the object. Please report back how it goes and whether you find it's easier to work without a schematic.

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      • #4
        WhoKnewKnows, I like your idea. If it is not too much trouble, I have a question or two about your suggestion.

        I have designed schematics for decades and have rarely had to edit, say, a Gerber file, by hand. I am just starting to get around in Altium Designer, having taken Robert's course about a year ago.

        1) When you say "edit the netlist in the PCB doc" I am going to assume that you are saying to edit the schematic using the "normal" schematic editor, not editing the file in a text editor which is not possible due to the formatting of the file. Correct?

        2) When you say "place an object, such as a track or fill or pad, then assign that object a net from the netlist" I think that what you are saying is, in effect, place tracks in the layout editor. Is that correct?

        Again, sorry for the elementary nature of the question but as i said, I am just starting to get around in Altium after having used Orcad, Cadence, Mentor, etc.

        Thank you
        Tom

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        • #5
          Originally posted by robertferanec View Post
          I always create schematic even for this kind of boards - usually I create them as simple connectors. This is often important because in simulation you may need pins / components / nets to setup and run the simulation (I do not know about Ansys).

          It is not difficult to create the schematic and it just makes everything easier (you do not have to think how to go around it).
          Robert, as always, I agree with you but perhaps I do not understand your suggestion "usually I create them as simple connectors". Do you actually mean, for example, putting two real connectors on a pcb and connecting traces in between?

          Thank you
          Tom Cipollone

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          • #6
            I mean start a new project and add a pcbdoc to the project. Open the pcb doc, then look in the menus, perhaps in design menu or tools menu for the netlist editor. Use the netlist editor to add various net names to the design.

            Next, if the pcbdoc doesn't have a board shape established, create a board shape. Now place tracks or pads or whatever on the board. Assign the objects you just placed to have one or more of the net names that you put in the netlist.

            You can place footprints on the board and assign the pads in the footprint net names too.

            Theoretically, hypothetically, this is a way you could do pcb design sans schematic.

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            • #7
              Do you actually mean, for example, putting two real connectors on a pcb and connecting traces in between?
              Not necessary a real connector. They can be just simple pads.


              PS: The goal is to have some pins, nets or some components in the board as they can be then used in simulation software, e.g. some Pins, Nets and Components are needed when I use ADS:

              Click image for larger version

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