Author Topic: Layer assignment standards? Other CS best practices?  (Read 173 times)

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Offline evb149

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Layer assignment standards? Other CS best practices?
« on: July 13, 2017, 01:41:37 PM »

Well if I'm "starting over" switching from other CAD packages (for hobby use that is) to CS, I'm wondering what the
suggested "best practices" (or at least recommended ones by considered opinions) are for using CS in terms of things like CAD library design?

Specifically on my mind are:

* What parameter names and formats are "standard" for Altium CS and also Altium Designer and their combination of company made or "component vault" libraries?  I don't know if I have ever seen a semi comprehensive list for parameter names though I have in the past seen Altium Designer / Vault related documentation mentioning some specific ones for things like supplier documentation URL links and such that have particular meanings in Designer.  I don't know what is new or different in Circuit Studio and its Vault.  Do you have personal "standard" parameter templates you use for particular component classes / types, and if so, care to share?

* What are "standard" or recommendable layer assignments for Altium CS and also whatever Designer and their respective Vault systems tend to use these days?  What are recommended ways to augment that?  Obviously I see certain "named" default layers like "Courtyard top", "Assembly Text Top" etc. which are clear.  But it seemed like there were still several relevant others (e.g. 2D part dimensional boundaries but not the footprint courtyard or what you'd put on the Assembly drawing layer, mirrored layer pairs for the sheet, MCAD like dimensioning layers, etc.) that were "missing" and probably should be standardized at least locally to enhance the library consistency / utility / design.
What do you use and why?

Along those lines it seems like I have run into what seemed like inconsistent use of Mechanical 16, if I recall correctly that's now labeled as a "Courtyard" (Bottom I think?) layer in CS's default setup but I think I have seen it used otherwise either in some vault or Designer or 3rd party components.  So I'm not sure if that has changed in the Altium recommendations ecosystem.

* What do you use for "nice" flexible Schematic and PCB sheet templates of different sizes?  Nice non-"branded" title blocks, maybe already emplaced reasonable special strings for Project / Document parameter substitution, etc.
I looked at some of the included ones and so far I'm not thrilled about what I have seen but I should check it out more maybe I missed something very much better in another file.

* What about design rule sets other CS UI / CAD "configuration" parameters / use other than what obviously must be adjusted to suit a particular manufacturing process / vendor / PCBA? 

* What 3rd party open "vendor libraries" are worth importing because of good quality / utility if they're downloadable in a format CS can read (I'm not talking about Vault so much as WWW based but recommendations for either are fine).

* Approach to configurable shortcuts  etc.?  Tips / tricks / ...


Offline tarribred61

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Re: Layer assignment standards? Other CS best practices?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 01:56:16 AM »
Wow, that is a lot of material to cover in an answer.  Here is my two cents....

I found the default layer names in CS to be good enough and close to what I used to use when I used Altium Designer.  I don't use Assembly Text Top or Bottom but put the .Designator special string on the Assembly Top in PCB symbols along with an outline box.  This then makes the assembly drawing.  For very small parts (0402 and smaller) I make the assembly layer outline box as big as possible (as big as the courtyard).  On larger parts I make it the size of the component body.

You don't need the .Designator string on the silkscreen layers as it will automatically be done.

As for parameter names, make them whatever you want.  I haven't found any standards.  Where I worked previously (under AD) these parameter names were used as key field names and sorted and matched to an MRP system.  At a minimum you want.
CompName   ; this is special and you can put =CompName in the Default Comment box and make it visible.
Component Description ;
ComponentLink1URL text; where text is what you put for the URL of a manufacturer
ComponentLink1Description  text; where text is "Manufacturer Link"

You can have more; make then ComponentLink2URL, ComponentLink3URL, etc. I hope you get the idea.

Manufacturer Name
Manufacturer Part Number
Package Type
Value  (for passives)

I also put a field named Component DNP that I can then set to (DNP) and make visible on the schematic for parts I don't want populated.

With these fields you can make a reasonable BOM and get it out into an Excel file.  Web search on Altium Designer BOM templates on how to do that.

For parameters I also have other fields specific to parts.  For example you need a Value field for resistors, capacitors but maybe not for ICs.  I also have a Value Note field that I can add non-standard notes (e.g. a non-standard tolerance, resistor power rating, capacitor dielectric type, etc).
You may want a local part number field if you use an MRP system you want to cross reference.
You may want an alternative/substitute part number if you want this information also.

If you work with other CAD packages you might want to coordinate parameter names between them.

If you pull from the vault then you will see you need to add in the parameters to get what you want.  So I tend to make a part from my template, edit the parameters and then copy/paste in the symbol primitives from a vault example.  You will find that CS has issues trying to copy/paste primitives from the symbols though.  I can get it to work by being patient and knowing you need an extra left click to set the origin of the copy.

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Offline evb149

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Re: Layer assignment standards? Other CS best practices?
« Reply #2 on: Today at 12:52:06 AM »
Thank you very much.

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