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What's Good About TCL, P&S, STUFF in ASA? The Secret's in the SPB16.2 Release!

Comments(0)Filed under: PCB design, ASA, Allegro, SPB 16.2, SCM, TCL, ActiveTcl

OK - so maybe I got a little bit too happy with acronyms (STUFF doesn't represent anything other than ... more stuff).

We're back to exploring the new SPB16.2 features in Allegro System Architect (ASA)/System Connectivity Manager (SCM).

For those who may not know - "Tcl (Tool Command Language) is a very powerful but easy to learn dynamic programming language, suitable for a very wide range of uses, including web and desktop applications, networking, administration, testing and many more. Open source and business-friendly, Tcl is a mature yet evolving language that is truly cross platform, easily deployed and highly extensible." The source for all things TCL - "Tcl Developer Xchange". A good site that I've used to obtain TCL and Perl development tools is ActiveTcl. You can review ASA TCL commands from the System Connectivity Manager TCL Commands Reference located at /doc/comm/comm.pdf.

While TCL capabilities within ASA have been available for the past couple years, the SPB16.2 release has been enhanced to support the SCM user interface commands.

Designers and corporate rules require guidelines or methodology for most of the design content. These guidelines or methodology could contain naming conventions for the power and ground signals used in the design or the libraries which need to be used. To perform these repetitive tasks and minimize the manual effort required, designers and CAD groups can create TCL scripts to automate the design process.

You can start the TCL shell from SCM View menu - Open TCL Shell.

Beginning with the SPB16.01 release, all tasks performed in one session of SCM get recorded in the projectTCL.tcl file. This file captures the commands specified in the tcl shell, as well as the actions performed using the SCM user interface. Any messages displayed by SCM during the design process are also captured in the projectTCL.tcl file. This file is saved in the temp directory, under the project directory.

Physical and Spacing Constraints
Now in the SPB16.2 release, you can use Constraint Manager connected to the System Connectivity Manager to create, view, edit, and assign physical and spacing constraints to groups of nets or directly to nets in addition to electrical constraints.

Global Find and Modify for Associated components
Enhancements have been made to the Global Find and Replace functions. You can now search for Associated components, highlight the parent component and modify the associated component by selecting another PTF row from the same component.

Block Packaging options
This will allow changing block packaging options on the fly. Now you can change block packaging options for a hierarchical block instance from any previous option used to package that block. New prefix / suffix values will be applied to the reference designators of the block.

Pin Swaps and Net Swaps in front-to-back flow
Pin Swaps that are performed on the board are now reported as either Pin Swaps or Net Swaps in the Visual Design Differences window. The algorithm has been modified to check for the type of component - for components where the Pin name is the same as Pin number - Pin Swaps are reported as Net Swaps. You can override this default behavior by attaching the property ALLOW_CONN_SWAP to the component.

BOMHDL support for the SCM design
The SCM report generation utility does not support mechanical parts. To generate the BOM report with the mechanical parts, the DEHDL BOMHDL utility has been enhanced to support the SCM design. To generate the BOM report with mechanical parts, follow these steps:
  • Set the following environment variable: setenv DS_PRESERVE_PSTFILE 1
  • Define the PPT directive in the Global section of the project .cpm file for the ppt file path of the cell associated with mechanical parts. This is because the canonical names in SCM generated pst* files do not have the primitive binding in their canonical names for bom to get the cell level ptfs
  • Run "bomhdl" from the command line as: bomhdl -proj -mode scm


Please post your experiences with using these new SPB16.2 features.


Jerry "GenPart" Grzenia


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