Friday, January 27, 2012

Outsourcing your PCB work?

Have you ever considered outsourcing your PCB design work to a freelancer such as  or want to make a few extra bucks?


There are lots of jobs waiting for you!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Unified Components Update - STMicroelectronics Power Management

The first unified components update for 2012!  The Hobart Content Team is pleased to announce the release of three power management families from STMicroelectronics.

Developed in collaboration with ST, we have released vault-based components for Power Management DC-DC Conversion, Switching Regulator and Voltage Reference - all now available from the Unified Components section of the AltiumLive Content Store.

To read more about the relationship between Altium and STMicroelectronics see the press release here.

DC-DC Conversion includes DC-DC controllers (external switches), monolithic switching regulators (internal switches) and charge pumps (inductorless switching regulators). 186 parts have been released in this category.  Switching Regulator covers multifunction switching regs which integrate step-up and step-down converters optimized to power low-voltage digital cores – 23 parts in this group.  Voltage Reference covers the well known ST high-power and high-voltage references as well as their low-power options – a further 71 parts here.

All components have supply chain information from suppliers such as Digi-key and Mouser, which can be best viewed when browsing these components from the Vault Explorer in Altium Designer 10. Navigate over to the Hobart Vault to check them out.

Through AltiumLive, theses components can now be found in the Content Store here:

Unified Components \ STMicroelectronics \ Power Management DC-DC Conversion

Unified Components \ STMicroelectronics \ Power Management Switching Regulator

Unified Components \ STMicroelectronics \ Power Management Voltage Reference 

As well as vault based components that are available via Altium Designer’s Vault Explorer, Integrated Library versions of these components are now available for download from the Content Store.  Look for the ‘Download AD10 IntLib’ buttons on the left-hand sidebar.

Stay tuned for other ST power management families which will be released in the coming weeks. Up next – Linear Regulators.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When is AD11 coming out?

Damien Kirscher

Application Engineer, 



At the moment there is no plan to release an AD11 version. At the moment all updates are deliver for Ad10 and the subscription contract.


Unfortunately I m not aware of the roadmap of our development as I m not working in the HQ. Mostly are bugfixes coming from the BugCrunch in almost every updates.



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Announcement: Update 15 for Altium Designer 10

The Altium Development team are pleased to announce the 15th update for Altium Designer 10.

This release focuses on further BugCrunch requests, with some of the notable enhancements including:

Custom Pad Shapes

It’s always been possible to attach custom geometries to pads, but defining solder and paste mask expansions has previously been a manual process. This latest update adds the ability to add solder and paste mask expansion rules to regions, fills, arcs and tracks. So now you can attach virtually any copper geometry to a pad and give it ‘pad-like’ solder and/or paste mask expansions. More information.

Loop removal algorithm improvements

Loop removal makes re-routing tracks a breeze since it automatically deletes deprecated traces. Update 15 hosts a number of improvements to the loop removal algorithms to address some known issues reported by users as well as deliver better overall results.

Additional FPGA Vendor Constraints and Device Support

Update 15 includes added support for Altera’s Max V and Stratix IV CPLD/FPGA devices. In addition to this, Altium Designer’s constraint files have been significantly revamped to include support for a large array of extra Vendor constraints. This will let you continue creating vendor-neutral FPGA designs using the latest IO standards from within Altium’s Unified Design Environment.

Added support for IE Proxy Scripts

Altium Designer will now install and update even when sitting behind a corporate firewall that only allows access to the Internet via a proxy script. So no more creating installation DVDs from an open Internet connection just so you can install and update Altium Designer behind a proxy server. Instructions for deploying improved proxy support.

In total, 11 BugCrunch items have been included in this latest update along with various other enhancements; all of which can be found in the release notes.

This release is the first update that includes changes made to our Run Time Libraries (RTL). In the past we have resisted making such changes since it requires nearly every module within AD10 to be updated and this can lead to an update that requires downloading almost as much data as a completely new installation.

Our new patching system (announced in update 13) was designed to mitigate against this by decreasing the amount of data that needed to be downloaded. But recent feedback from our Beta testers indicated that while the download sizes were considerably smaller, the patching process was unacceptably long for some customers and led to a poor user experience. So in order to still offer customers timely access to the features of this update, we elected to deploy it via the previous update process - i.e. larger download size but faster update time.

The consequence of this is that the download size of the update will be significantly larger than previous updates. However, this should not affect your ability to work as the download process runs in the background and Altium Designer remains usable during this time.  Applying the update should only take a few minutes.

Note: The new Altium Installer and Download Manager require Internet Explorer 7 or later to be installed on your PC. If you have earlier versions, or do not have it installed, you will not be able to install successfully, or to update after this release.

To update your Altium Designer 10 installation, first ensure you are using a license with valid subscription. Then, go to the Plug-in page (DXP >> Plug-ins and Updates) and select “Update All”. If you don’t see the update, use the “Refresh” link in the top right hand corner of the Plugins page.

Note: If you are using a Private Server license or Standalone license, and you have renewed your subscription since activation, you will be required to reactivate your license to obtain this and future updates.

For those who installed directly from DVD, you can access the updates by changing a setting in preferences: System >> Installation Manager, change the Remote Repository Location to

If you are wanting to install a new build containing this update, we have also released a new version of the Altium Installer and Uninstaller. These can be downloaded from the Software page in AltiumLive - download the latest Installer/Uninstaller.


AltiumLive just got even better

AltiumLive just got even better!

We are introducing a few new features including: your personal Wall, Dashboard - providing your administrator with a view of your organization - and the Content Store, which is a section dedicated to the growing list of content and Altium Designer updates that are available.

The Forums, BugCrunch and the Blogs that you have grown to enjoy, are still available and complimented by these new features. Here’s some insights, from my perspective, on what’s new and now on offer.

Content Store

The Content Store is something you will think is great. It is dedicated to content and consists primarily of five store fronts, along with providing easy access to various documentation-based resources. There is a good chance that when you browse through each of the stores you’ll find content and resources that you didn’t know you had access to!

You can freely browse the Content Store and provided you have Altium Subscription install any plugin you like.

Rating allows you to see what others think of a particular item - this will help you to quickly identify the usefulness and popularity of a store item, saving you valuable time. So tell us what you think, help us to refine the content we provide and help others who might be considering use of the same content.

Check out the AltiumLive Content Store.

Organizational Presence

Your organization can now have a presence within AltiumLive, through the use of detailed public profile pages. If you are the group administrator for your organization then you can go to the Dashboard and update company details, description - even upload a logo.

You’ll see your points balance - this is the total number of AltiumLive Points that your Organization has accrued, and that are available for you to use. As points are earned by you and your organization they will be added to this corporate-level points ‘pool’. There is more on points below.

You also have an individual profile page - this will list all AltiumLive interactions such as Blog posts, Forum threads, BugCrunch reports and Comments that you have made. Your profile will also link you to your organization.

The Wall

I really like the ability to follow items of interest to me using this new Wall feature of AltiumLive. With a single click I can follow forum threads, BugCrunch items, other users and content. The Wall has become like my personal ‘notice board’ and by regularly checking back I am able to keep up with what’s happening in the AltiumLive community - without having to go looking around the site.

The AltiumLive world according to you can now be created by clicking ‘follow’ links within the AltiumLive website. This option is located in the Forums, BugCrunch, Blog and Profile Pages. The information about events from these items of interest will be aggregated onto your personal Wall, where a single click on a link will navigate to the source of the event.

Navigate to your Wall and check it out.

AltiumLive Dashboard

I find the AltiumLive Dashboard makes managing licenses, users and groups much easier. It’s located in a secure site and is the place you also manage your public profile.

Again, if you are the Group Administrator in your company then you can use the Dashboard to manage your users, licenses and other assets associated to your account, and you can keep your company profile fresh and up-to-date. If your company owns Satellite Vaults then a listing will be displayed in your dashboard so that they can be managed. You can select to ‘unregister’ a Vault if it needs to come offline.

To read about using the dashboard visit our help section.

AltiumLive Points

Points can be earned, redeemed, traded, or saved and are referred to as AltiumLive Points. My comment above about points being an asset of the organization you belong too may have confused you - so let me explain this concept in more detail.

From this point forward, AltiumLive Points are an ‘asset’ of the Organization. Think of this in the same way as points on a company credit card - you hold a card, you spend and accrue points but these are the asset of your company (even if they let you spend them on goodies!!)...

Initially, everyone inside your Organization will be able to access a common ‘pool’ of points but over time, functionality will be added to allow your group administrator to configure and control who has access to points, and more importantly how many points they are allowed to spend.

Visibility/reporting on which users in your Organization have earned or spent points will also be added - particularly useful for adjusting the ‘spending allowances’ of users who potentially earn no points but spend a great many!!

Today many people rely on the points as a kind of status recognition for the contribution they have made in AltiumLive, by helping others and just generally engaging. We don’t want this change to dampen your enthusiasm, and are working through a good way to recognize personal status. So don’t stop helping others  - whatever we implement will take history into account!