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OrCAD/PADS Altium migration workflows

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  • OrCAD/PADS Altium migration workflows

    Hi all! I'm currently importing our existing designs into Altium. In our case we do not have the libraries, we only have the schematic and PCB documents. My main goal is to generate libraries, link the libraries together, and then push them to our cloud repository. I've streamed lined this process a lot, and I can do simple boards in only a couple of hours. I'm interested in what sort of work flow others use, as well as contributing my own experience.

    My work flow is as such: I generate a library from the PCB file > view PCB BOM organized by designator, where every designator is on it's own row in the table > copy all of the "footprint" cells> organize components in "Parameter manager" by designator > paste all of the "footprint" cells over the existing/blank cell in the schematic > cross reference our companies BOMs with the data in the parameter manager and replace/amend where needed (I have a custom query written that organizes our BOM data to use the same organizational system as the parameter manager)> generate a library from the schematic file(s) > double check that all components in the library have appropriate data and are properly linked to the footprints that are generated from the PCB > check that all footprints are uncorrupted and match our original PCB footprints as they appear on the PCB> upload to our cloud repository > use the "Item Manager" tool to link all of our cloud components to the components on the schematic.

    here are a few reasons for this seemingly unconventional workflow. Our OrCAD schematics have generic design item IDs, so all caps are just "CAP" or "CAP_NP", this prevents linking the library to the schematic through normal means (without meticulously linking every single component) because the linking is done through design item ID. when using the "update schematic using PCB" option under "design" the footprints are not consistently linked to the respective item, I have had some boards where they populate properly, but most don't. This all falls apart though if your schematic doesn't have enough data to differentiate unique components and take advantage of the custom query functionality of the item manager. Luckily like I mentioned, I have BOMs that contain all the necessary DATA and I am able to insert it very efficiently through the "Parameter manager"

    Before I developed this work flow our engineers were manually making footprints and schematic libraries, and then linking those to the components in the schematic, a single simple board took more than a week. To me, this was unacceptable haha. So I ask; what are your work flows for this scenario? Do you have anything to add that could streamline what I am doing currently? Any criticism of my process? Did this help you improve your own workflows? thoughts and opinions are welcome!

  • #2
    - I normally create libraries from components and then replace them in the schematic (I use Tools -> Update From Library). Occasionally I use Tools -> Footprint manager - but only if it's very messy.
    - Usually I don't update whole boards - so I don't really have any standard methods for that.