Creating the symbols and footprints necessary to complete your designs can be a difficult task. Many designers utilize manual processes that are becoming unfeasible with the growing complexity of both the designs and the components used. Secondarily, manual processes are often error prone and provide few efficient methods of error checking. Designers need an efficient way to create schematic symbols and PCB footprints, and validate these models.
The Cadence OrCAD Capture Marketplace and Online Store for Apps provide two new apps, SymbolGen and FootprintGen, to help solve this library creation problem.
The SymbolGen app reduces manual data entry by allowing you to extract and use component pin information. Data is taken directly from the PDF datasheet in the form of pin tables, BGA maps, and/or SOIC diagrams.
Designers can format and edit this information very quickly using customized spreadsheets which are natively aware of things like negation codes and differential pair tags. Once you have the data formatted you can run a number of error checks and even preview the symbol before generating it in OrCAD Capture. This app can save you some real time, in both the initial creation of the symbol and verifying its correctness, especially when working with high pin count components.
The FootprintGen app, accessible from within OrCAD or Allegro PCB Editor, automates the generation of IPC-7351 compliant or user defined PCB footprint (land pattern) models. You are able to input dimensions directly from the manufacturer datasheet and the app will generate a footprint with the appropriate pad length and width, spacing, and arrangement.
A single comprehensive GUI displays the full footprint and all its elements in one view so you can see the effects of individual changes on the part as a whole. Padstacks are user configurable and can be assigned to unique locations, including specific corner pads or row and column locations. D-shape, oblong, rectangular, and custom pad shapes, including rounding and chamfering specifications, are also easy to accomplish.
When using both the SymbolGen and FootprintGen apps designers have the ability to visually perform error checks and verify that the footprint and symbol models match. Without this capability, locating the errors between the symbol and corresponding footprint models can be a very time consuming task and a costly one if not done properly.
I encourage you to try the free trials of SymbolGen and FootprintGen to experience the value of these tools for yourself. They can be accessed in the OrCAD Capture Marketplace (see my recent blog posting) along with many other useful apps.
EMA Design Automation will be hosting a free webinar to demonstrate the capabilities of these tools. This webinar will be held on Thursday, February 23, 2012. To register please visit www.ema-eda.com/training/webinarlanding.aspx
Jerry "GenPart" Grzenia