This is the first of a series of tutorials to help you get better acquainted with Novarm’s PCB design software, DipTrace. We will start with creating a part in DipTrace and working our way out into designing a PCB. These tutorials are broken down into four sections Pattern Editor, Component Editor, Schematic Capture and PCB Layout.
PATTERN EDITOR WORKSPACE:
When a library is loaded, all the patterns are listed in this column with a thumbnail view of the pattern.
The objects bar has tools for measuring distance, centering and placing pads. You are given several options for laying pads making the process much easier when you to lay a bunch down at equal distances from each other. The drawing toolbar is what you use to design the silkscreen outline of the part you are creating.
This is the starting point for your component patterns. Here you can select the pad pattern layout and designate the spacing and alignment of the pattern. Here you will also name the pattern and provide a reference designator. All of this will covered in more detail later on in the tutorial.
Every time you add something to the pattern it is placed in a layer. If you have had any experience with some decent image editing software, this works much in the same way. You can rearrange the layers to make parts of the pattern more visible than others.
OPENING AND EDITING AN EXISTING LIBRARY:
If you’re one of those people that like to keep everything organized and in one spot you’ll most likely want to keep similar patterns together. DipTrace has pre-made libraries however; there not complete. DipTrace should automatically take you to the libraries folder when you go to open them. If not your files should be located at the following file path.
Users/‘Your username here’/Library/Application Support/Wine/prefixes/DipTrace/drive_c/Program Files/DipTrace/Lib
Now if you’ve already browed through the component library you’ll notice that the pattern libraries aren’t separated into the same categories. Instead they are broken into package categories.
Once you open a library, the patterns will populated in the left hand column. At this point you can edit any of the patterns. If you happen to be working on a project and just want to inject a new part in the library while in the schematic capture, just save the pattern library. Go back to schematic capture select a different library and then reselect the library you edited and the changes should be applied.
To add a new part to the existing library, go to the patterns menu and select ‘Add New to Library’. This will create an ‘untitled pattern’ at the bottom of the list. You can change the pattern name in the ‘Pattern Properties’ dialogue box in the top right corner under ‘Variable Parameters’ -> ‘Name.
PATTERN PROPERTIES DIALOGUE BOX:
In the Pattern Properties dialogue box you can select from seven different types of patterns.
Free – With Free you can use the Objects bar, as previously discussed, to place pads in any manner you wish. Keep in mind you don’t need to have Free selected in order to place pads and you can edit the placement of individual pads using Default mode.
Circle – Creates a circular pattern. You can adjust the number of pads and the radius of the circle.
Lines – Most likely choice for your dual-in-line packages, but with some tweaking you can also create matrix patterns with it. You can change the number of lines and pads as well as the line spacing and pad spacing. Note: If you select a number of pads that does not equally divide by the number of lines DipTrace will automatically round down to the nearest factor.
Square – Square and Rectangle are similar. Square only has options to set the number of pads and change the pad spacing and line spacing.
Rectangle – Rectangle is more robust in that is offers options to change the number of pads on the vertical lines and horizontal lines, separately. Instead of the line spacing option you can designate the width and height of the pattern.
Matrix – Matrix gives you the option to define the number of rows and columns and the spacing along the X axis and Y axis.
Zig-Zag – Zig-Zag is similar to Lines the difference is, you are only allotted two lines and they are off set by the spacing of the pads. You are also able to designate an odd number.
CHANGING PAD PROPERTIES:
There are two ways to reach the pad properties. The first way is to select ‘Pad Properties’ under the ‘Pattern’ drop down menu. The other way is to right click a pad and select ‘Properties’ at the bottom of the menu.
Using the ‘right click’ method will open a window. You’ll need to select the ‘Type / Dimensions’ tab and then push the ‘Pattern’s Pad Properties’ to open the Pattern Pad Properties options. Right it’s almost easier to take the extra effort to drag the mouse all the way to the top menu however, if you just want to change the properties of one pad, right click the pad you want to change and in the ‘Type / Dimension’ menu, uncheck the ‘Use Pattern’s Pad Properties’. This should reveal pad properties in the tab for the specified pad.
Pictured are the option available for defining the pad. You can adjust the width and height of the pad along with the hole.