How to Be a Good Altium Designer?

How to Be a Good Altium Designer?


Altium Designer combines a myriad of features and functionality, including:

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lAdvanced routing technology

lSupport for cutting-edge rigid-flex board design

lPowerful data management tools

lECAD Libraries containing over 300,000 ready-to-use components

lPowerful design reuse tools

lReal-time cost estimation and tracking

lDynamic supply chain intelligence

lNative 3D visualizations and clearance checking

lFlexible release management tools


All of this functionality is delivered through, and the entire design process performed within, a single Unified Design Environment - the only one of its kind. MAD PCB has been committed to educating professional PCB designer.

The unified nature of Altium Designer allows for seamless movement of design data from one design realm to the next, but to begin with, the perceived steep learning curve can appear a formiddable blockade to this productivity-enhancing landscape, and the wealth of features it contains. This, the core space for documentation specific to Altium Designer, provides all the information needed to quickly get you up and running with the software. From high-level overviews and stepped walk-through, to full coverage of all the nuts-and-bolts resources delivered through the software's intuitive interface, the Altium Designer documentation literally provides a 'tree of knowledge' at your fingertips.


Jumping into PCB Design (and Altium Designer)


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New to board design and/or Altium Designer, and wondering where to begin? This tutorial will take you from a blank schematic sheet all the way through to generating the files needed to fabricate the bare board for a simple 9-component circuit.


The design you will be capturing and then designing a printed circuit board (PCB) for, is a simple a stable multi vibrator. The circuit – shown to the left - uses two general purpose NPN transistors, configured as a self-running a stable multi vibrator.


The tutorial touches on many of the areas of the software that you will need to become conversant with, in your day-to-day design work - what better way to familiarize yourself with, and get to know, your powerful design 'partner'.


Exploring Altium Designer


Altium Designer includes all the editors and software engines needed to perform all aspects of the electronic product development process. All documents editing, compiling and processing is performed within the Altium Designer environment. Underlying Altium Designer is the Design Explorer (DXP) Integration Platform, which brings together Altium Designer's various features and functionality - dependent on purchased license - and provides a consistent user-interface across all the tools and editors. And providing further flexibility, this environment is fully customizable, allowing you to set up the workspace to suit the way you work.


You can explore Altium Designer's features and interface by simply experimenting with the software, by diving in to create a new design project, or better still, by first scanning through this documentation to give you a head start!


Extending Altium Designer


Altium Designer's Installation Management System allows you to handcraft your installation of the software at any time after initial install. This covers not only updates to the core functionality (or system resources), but also the ability to install, update, or remove additional functionality. The latter is made possible through the provision of optional Extensions.


An extension is effectively an add-on to the software, providing extended features and functionality. A core set of features and functions are installed and handled transparently as part of the initial install, referred to as System Resources. In addition, a range of Optional Extensions are available - packets of functionality that are optionally installed or removed by the user as required. It is the extension concept that enables the installation to be handcrafted in accordance with design needs. This functionality could include a new importer or exporter, a tool for schematic symbol generation, or maybe support for mechanical CAD collaboration. In short, any targeted packages of functionality that extend and enhance the feature set of Altium Designer.


Extensions are offered either free or paid (subscribed), and can be from Altium itself, or from a Third Party. In addition, and with the Altium DXP Developer extension, you can extend the functionality of Altium Designer yourself through use of the Altium Designer SDK (Software Development Kit) - creating your own extensions for the software.

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