Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Unified Components Update - FTDI X Series

This week, the Content Team is pleased to be bringing you a board-level release for a brand new series of devices from FTDI (Future Technology Devices International). FTDI have announced the launch of their new X-Chip Series of USB interface devices - a major release for FTDI, see the FTDI website for more information.

Continuing to build on our relationships with semiconductor vendors, this release was developed with source data directly provided by FTDI - and timed to coincide with their product launch.

To read more about the relationship between Altium and FTDI see the press release from earlier this month.

The FT-X Series (X-Chip) includes a range of new USB interface devices:

FT200XD/FT201X - Single chip USB to I2C interface devices.

FT220X/FT221X - USB 4-bit/8-bit serial parallel interface to FTDI's proprietary FT1248.

FT230X - Single chip USB to serial UART interface optimised for smaller PCB designs.

FT231X - Single chip USB to serial UART interface with full modem control.

FT240X - Single chip USB to parallel FIFO bidirectional data transfer interface.

Along with our previously released FTDI board-level content, these new components are available from the Unified Components section of the AltiumLive Content Store.

Unified Components \ FTDI \ FT-X Series

All components in the FTDI range include 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 to the Altium Vault to check them out.

As well as vault based components that are available via Altium Designer’s Vault Explorer, an Integrated Library containing these FT-X Series components is now available for download from the Content Store. Look for the “Download Library” button on the left-hand sidebar.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


Altium Designer addons

This project contains set of scripts, examples and other content which is developed to provide extended features for Altium Designer unified design environment for electronics development.
The project is in Czech and English language. Updates are listed here.
Distributed "as is" with no warranty. In case of difficulties please contact leaders of this project (contacts are at the left sidebar <=) or create a record in Issues part of this page.
Altium Script Gallery was moved to Altium Wiki. You can find it and download on Examples and Reference Designs page.

Contributors (sorted chronologically): Petr Tosovsky, Petar Perisin, John Go-Soco, Mattias Ericson, Darren Moore, Colby Meyer, Juan Martinez, Rob Sterling, Jeff Collins, Ran Shahar, Tony Chilco, Ryan Rutledge, Erick Albach

Current addons at out project page:

  • Custom Pick&Place report script - script for generating user defined P&P for SMD components only
  • SelectConnectedTrack script - script for selection of connected NoNet track on Mech layers
  • CopyAngleToComponent script - script for copying angle of track to a component
  • EagleToAD conversion package - package of scripts for conversion of PCB project from Cadsoft Eagle to Altium Designer (manual available only in Czech)
  • IBIS Editor script - Script that overrides Selector and Submodel keywords in IBIS File.
  • IncrementingDesignators script - Script that enables user to set designators with mouse. Works on Components (in SchDoc and PCBDoc), pins (SCHLIB) and pads (PCBLIB). Designators can be swapped too. When working with pins it can also move pin names.
  • SCH-SelectTouchingRectangle script - Script made because some people wanted select touching rectangle feature in Sch.
  • SCHSelectionFilter script - Script that uses select Touching trectangle, but user can choose object types that will be selected.
  • ZoomComponent script - PCB function similar to Altium's Jump Component, but it also zoom, mask and/or select component.
  • AdjustDesignators script - it will center the designator in top and bottom overlay.
  • RoomFromPoly script - Script to create room from selected objects or from selected polygon.
  • RenumberPads script - Script helps with changing order of pads mainly in Altium PCBLIBs. You just start script, select start index and increment and you create new designators of pads by clicking on them in the new order.
  • Hyperlynx Exporter script - Script for PCB export to hyp file. It adds fills, regions, polygons and split planes in hyp file.
  • Current Calculator script - PCB script that gives the user a dialog box with current (Amperes) handling calculations for a selected track. The script determines if the track is on an internal or external layer, and provides current calculations for 1, 5, and 10°C rise above ambient.
  • FormatPaintBrush script - This script is used to copy formattings from one object to the others. Currently it works on dimensions, coordinate, String and poly in PCB and all sch objects.
  • DeleteAllSelectedItemsInPCBLIB script - This script can be used to delete selected objects in PCB Library. Currently you can only delete selected objects that are part of currently visible footprint, but this script deletes selected objects that are in other footprints.
  • DeleteSelectedSplit script - Script that can be used to delete selected split plane. It actually creates region based on selected split plane, with holes inside, so no copper will appear on that place.
  • Fillet script - Script that places arcs to corners of selected tracks (Fillet command).
  • PlanarTXv0.7 script - Script to create planar transformer made by Darren Moore.
  • SpiralTrackVer01.8 script - Spiral Generator script made by Darren Moore.
  • DesignReuse_v3.0 script - Script that simplifies true design reuse - route circuit once and reuse same routing in your next design. This automated design reuse is using Device Sheets or SCH snippets in SCH, and PCB Snippets in PCB. For more info read "How to use this script.odt" document (in OpenOffice or M$ Word) form the zip file
  • IsPadCenterConnected script - This script checks weather pads have track in their center. if not, pad is selected.
  • MoveToLayer script - This script moves selected copper tracks to selected signal layer, while maintaining connectivity with Vias that are automatically placed.
  • FlipComponents script - Script flips selected components. If there are no selected objects it asks user to click on components that will be flipped. It uses smart mechanism for flipping, which tries to keep pads position.
  • SheetParameters script - script that modifies document parameters in all SCH documents of focused project.
  • PrintAllvariants script - This Script saves variant information to CSV file, which can then be easily opened in excel.
  • LockMultiPartComponents script - This script can be used to lock parts in multi-part components. It searches for "Group" parameter in all components and assigns a value in it, based on current component designator.
  • DrcOnOff script - This script toggles Online DRC check box in DXP->Preferences->PCB editor->General what enables/disables online DRC checks.
  • DeleteInvalidPCBObjects script - Cleans a PCB documents of some current invalid objects. Checks for invalid regions or polygons and deletes them.
  • MechLayerNames script - Script that saves mech layer names to txt file. This names can then be imported it to another PCB Document.
  • Adjust Designators 2 script - This script modifies designator position. It is based on AdjustDesignator script from Mattias Ericson, only user gets the form in which he can enable/disable and modify certain options, like layers, height etc...
  • AddWireStubsSch script - it search for unconected pins of components in schematic sheet and draw small segment of a wire on it equipped by net label according to the name or designator of the pin
  • LR_Justify script - Script that switches selected text between left and right justification on a sch.
  • ThievingPads script - Script that adds thieving pads to a PCB Document. Pads are added in a dummy component, that allows easier manipulation
  • StitchingVias script - Script that generates stitching vias on a PCB. Vias are added to graphical component for easier use.
  • TestpointMaker script - This script creates test points for a net class.
  • TrimExtend script - Script that trims or extends tracks up to a point where first selected track is. This function is available in all 3D tools
  • ConnectionLinesOnSelection script - script that enables user to show/hide connection lines on selected objects
  • VendorTools script - Script that can be used to exchange info between different FPGA vendors and AD. Currently supports Altera
  • SingleLayerModeWithConnectionLines script - This script enables user to see all connection lines in a display similar to single layer mode.
  • LockNetRouting script - Script which locks or unlocks routing tracks, vias and components (possible to exclude components) on selected net. That aims to prevent some unwanted changes on PCB during routing.
  • FilterObjects script - Script that filters objects based on type, layer and parent.
  • XIA_Release_Manager script - This is the script in use at XIA LLC to do all Altium output generation, packaging (zipping), and release-tag. Everything is done within Subversion (SVN).
  • XIA_Update_From_Database script - This is the script in use by XIA LCC to update schematic designs with respect to the company components database. This includes synchronization of user parameters (MFGNAME, Description, etc.), synchronization of footprints, and setting the Comment parameter.
  • MultiPCBProject script - This Script enables Project to be used with multiple PCB documents, so that project is split among multiple PCB Documents. It is workaround solution that uses blankets to point which PCB document gets the circuit under it.
  • CreateTableOfContents script - Script that can be used to create Table Of Contents on newly created top level sheet in PCB Project.
  • ShowHideDesignators script - This script allows user to easily show or hide Designators on PCB.
  • ParamsToPCB script - This script allows user to transfer component parameters to the PCB.
  • MoveAPdesignators script - This script allows user to modify distance between auto-positioned designators and component.
  • ComponentPlacement script - This script allows user to equalize relative component placement between two groups of components.
  • SelectConnectedOnLayer script - This script is similar to SelectConnectedTracks, only it works with arcs, it's faster and objects do not have to have common point.
  • ShowHideLayers script - This script allows very easy turning layers on/off.
  • Man2APDesignators script - This script will change manual designators to auto-positioned. Will operate on all or selected components.
  • LayersPanel script - This script creates a form similar to a panel, from which you can control layer display. Originated from ShowHideLayers script.
  • PCBScale script - This script allows you to scale selected objects on a PCB by amount.
  • AutoSTEPplacer script - This script will place STEP files on a footprint in a library if they have same name. STEP file must be in the same directory as library, or it's subfolder.
  • AddDatumPointsToArcs script - This script will add tracks to selected arcs. This tracks end in arc center, so after that you can easily move objects to arc center.
  • WheelSelector script - This script allows selection and scrolling through insight form using wheel.


Announcement: STMicroelectronics STM32 F4 microcontrollers

More new content for STMicroelectronics! The Hobart Content Team is pleased to announce the release of the STM32 F4 microcontrollers and Power Management Linear Regulators from the STMicroelectronics catalogue.

Developed in close collaboration with ST, we have released vault-based components for the latest STM32 F4 family of 32-bit microcontrollers, an update to the STM32 L1 family, as well as a collection of Power Management Linear Regulators - 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 January press release here.

The STM32 F4 series are high-performance 32-bit Flash MCUs, which support DSP and Floating Point Unit instructions. The F4 series sits at the top of the STM32 range of MCUs, which also includes; the F1 mainstream series, the L1 ultra low-power series, and the F2 high-performance series. The F4 series are ARM® Cortex-M4 based, and by leveraging ST’s 90nm NVM technology and ART Accelerator they are capable of 210 DMIPS at 168MHz. They are also pin compatible with the F2 series - providing an ideal upgrade path - with more SRAM, improved peripherals, enhanced RTCs and faster ADCs.

The range of Power Management Linear Regulators includes over 500 parts from ST’s power management catalogue. ST offers a wide selection of fixed and adjustable output linear regulators, featuring an optimal combination of low dropout voltage, low quiescent current, fast transient response and low noise, making them ideal for battery powered applications where heat dissipation and small size are key factors. The Linear Regulators in this release join the already-released Power Management, DC-DC Conversion, Switching Regulator & Voltage Reference families available from Altium. More families will be released in the upcoming months, delivering designers’ comprehensive coverage of the STMicroelectronics range of power management devices.

All components in this release feature supply chain information from multiple suppliers, including Digi-key, Newark and Mouser, which can be best viewed when browsing these components in the Vault Explorer in Altium Designer 10. Navigate to the Altium Vault to check them out.

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

Unified Components \ STMicroelectronics \ STM32 F4

Unified Components \ STMicroelectronics \ STM32 L1

Unified Components \ STMicroelectronics \ Power Management Linear Regulator


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Altium Training comes to Vancouver (April 2012)



 Join Neutronics for Altium Training
in VANCOUVER (April 2012) 


Altium Image



Already know the basics of Altium Designer and ready to become a pro?  Neutronics Solutions is offering great training to hone your current skills, building on your previous Altium Designer experience.   


Altium Designer Advanced PCB Training .. topics covered will include:

  • Using the Query System and Design Rules
  • PCB Panel
  • Selection Techniques and Manual Editing
  • Grouping Objects and Converting Objects
  • PCB Routing
  • Implementing 3D



Altium Designer Library Setup & Management ... topics covered will include:


  • optimizing Altium's library methodologies, including the configuration and management of SVN libraries
  • processes for linking references such as datasheets and weblinks into the schematic library symbols
  • linking and configuring models such as SPICE and IBIS to the schematic component
  • taking advantage of the global editing tools such as the IPC footprint wizard and Smart Grid Insert for rapid symbol development
  • PCB Routing
  • linking 3-D models into the PCB component

This 2 day course will cover the many facets of the Altium library, from symbol and footprint creation, to library methods such as integrated, database, and subversion database libraries.       


At the completion of the course all attendees will receive an Altium Certificate, certifying your attendance of the course(s).



Altium Designer Advanced PCB Training   

Date: April 23 & 24, 2012

Time: 8:00am to 5:00pm


Altium Designer Library Setup and Management Training 

Date: April 25 & 26, 2012

Time: 8:00am to 5:00pm


SPACE IS LIMITED ... Contact us for pricing and more information today!  


Registration deadline:  April 6, 2012    








Wire Bonding in Altium Designer


Have you ever considered the use of a wire bonded chip on your PCB? Several advantages exist including the

ability to reduce the height of the product package; the ability to hide the chip to make reverse engineering difficult;

the need to reduce material cost and turn time for high volume production; and the possibility to increase the speed

of the overall design by removing a connection point between the PCB, package, and chip.

Altium Designer has the ability to handle the wire bonding using existing capabilities within the tool. This is made

possible by using a signal layer in the PCB to represent the die and its connectivity, while making use of the jumper

option in the property of the pads primitive. This application note will provide specifics on how to create the library

footprint, and how to implement it on the PCB.



You can read the full article here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

News and events

  • Hobart Content Update: FTDI Content Update
    The Hobart Content Team is very pleased to announce a board-level update to FTDI’s Communication components which includes their full catalogue of USB Interface devices.
  • Design Secrets: Downloading and Linking SPICE and PSPICE simulation models to your components
    Altium Designer is a unified electronics development tool - which means it includes all the peices you need to capture, tweak, verify, validate and output your next electronic product. One of the big advantages of this approach is driving XSPICE simulation from the same schematic you use to capture your PCB design - no need to redraw anything just to simulate it! This video answers the question we commonly get asked in training and on support calls - how to correctly download, link and use SPICE and PSPICE simulation models. Check it out!
  • Update 16 to Altium Designer 10 available
    The Altium Development team are pleased to announce a new update for Altium Designer 10 which includes various enhancements requested through BugCrunch and the AltiumLive forums, including improvements to impedance and width calculations and an Export Free Pad Holes option. To update your Altium Designer 10 installation, go to the Plug-in page (DXP >> Plug-ins and Updates) and select “Update All”.
  • AltiumLive just got even better
    This release introduces several key new areas 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.
  • Satellite Vault server now available
    We're pleased to announce the release of the Altium Satellite Vault, one of the three Vault options that complement Altium Designer 10. The Altium Satellite Vault server is available to those on the Subscriber Plan and is a downloadable application that can be installed on any network computer, including your local machine.
  • What's New in Altium Designer 10
    Like to find out what's new in this latest release of Altium Designer 10? Watch the new feature videos and read about the new features in the Wiki. Or if you are into the finer detail, review the release notes.
  • Getting started with Altium Designer?
    There's plenty to learn about Altium Designer! The Getting Started page will give you all the necessary information to get you started and build your proficiency in Altium Designer. Take a moment to skim through them, then head off and explore.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Unified Components Update - Atmel AVR & ARM MCUs

The Hobart Content Team is pleased to announce a major content update to Atmel’s AVR and ARM-based microcontrollers. Over 1600 new and updated board-level components in this third content release for 2012.

Developed in collaboration with Atmel, we have released new and updated components with schematic and pcb models across the full range of AVR microcontrollers (UC3, XMEGA, megaAVR, tinyAVR, Battery Management & Automotive), together with ARM-based flash microcontrollers based on ARM® Cortex-M4/M3, ARM926EJ-S  & ARM7TDMI® processors.

All now available from the Unified Components section of the AltiumLive Content Store -

Microcontroller AVR UC3

Microcontroller AVR XMEGA

Microcontroller megaAVR

Microcontroller tinyAVR

Microcontroller AVR Battery Management

Microcontroller AVR Automotive

Microcontroller ARM

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

Highlights in this release include the AVR UC3 family where you can find the complete B & C Series of devices, the 32-bit picoPower® L Series, the entry-level D Series plus the original A0-A4 Series. We’ve also added the latest Audio Series, which are versions of the 32-bit UC3 micros that allow for the execution of Atmel licensed Audio firmware IPs.

The latest devices in 8- and 16-bit AVR® XMEGA® have also been released including the XMEGA B1/B3 and the XMEGA A3/A4 series. Plus all the current Automotive AVRs, 8-bit megaAVRs and the small cost effective packages of the tinyAVR family.

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


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Announcement: FTDI Content Update

As part of our continuing program of releasing design content to AltiumLive, the Hobart Content Team is pleased to announce a board-level update to FTDI’s Communication components which includes their full catalogue of USB Interface devices.

Developed in partnership with FTDI, we have released an update to the complete collection of vault-based components with schematic and PCB models - includes FT Series and Vinculum devices – all brought up to date with the latest source data. To read more about the relationship between Altium and FTDI see the press release here.

These, along with our previous releases of board-level content, are now available from the Unified Components section of the AltiumLive Content Store.

All components in the updated FTDI range include 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. In Altium Designer, navigate to the Altium Vault to check them out.

As well as vault based components that are available via Altium Designer’s Vault Explorer, an Integrated Library containing these components is now available for download from the Content Store. Look for the “Download AD10 IntLib” button on the left-hand sidebar.

So take a look, browse through the content store and discover our increasing range of high quality components from manufacturers and suppliers. Then feel free to give us constructive feedback about what’s currently available and what you’d like to see in forthcoming releases (in the comment area below).

The content development team is shifting into high gear, so expect a host of new board-level content to be released throughout the year – and here’s your chance to influence what that content might be!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Announcement: Update 16 for Altium Designer 10

The Altium Development team are pleased to announce the 16th update for Altium Designer 10.

This release focuses on further enhancements to Altium Designer, with some of the notable inclusions being:

Improvements to impedance and width calculations:

This release delivers enhanced control for High Speed signal routing in Altium Designer through improvements in the application of trace routing rule calculations. These can be found in the Impedance Formula Editor in the Layer Stack Manager, which now offers more accurate default formulas for impedance and width calculations.

Specifically, to provide better control for material layers, new variable keywords have been added to the equation Helper including:

ErAbove; ErBelow – define material above or below the trace.
DielectricHeightAbove; DielectricHeightBelow – define dielectric thickness above or below the trace.

Export Free Pad Holes:

Altium Designer's support for STEP files allows detailed and accurate modeling data to be interchanged with mechanical CAD and 3D modeling programs. When defining an OutJob for exporting STEP files, a new option has been added to "Export Free Pad Holes" in addition to the existing options to export electrical and mechanical component holes. Designers using Free Pad Holes for board mounting or other purposes can now easily pass this information into the MCAD domain via an exported STEP file.

In total, 3 BugCrunch items have been included in this latest update along with various other enhancements; all of which can be found in the release notes.

The delivery of this update affects the following 8 modules:

  1. System Component category: Altium Designer Base, Altium Designer Installation System, PCB System, Schematic System
  2. FPGA Design Tools: Aldec Simulator
  3. Importers and Exporters: Exporter - Ansoft
  4. Output Generators: Output - Gerber, Output - STEP, Printer - Schematic

Because the development in this release is contained to only 8 modules, we are using the patching system to deliver the update.The download size of this update is 10MB. Note though, the patching system works on your download cache so if you have cleared the cache since installing, it will require some modules (or all, depending on when you did it) to update using the previous update system, thus applying the full update to these modules.

Installation of the updated modules will bring their revision up to 10.890.23450. The Platform Build number will also update to 10.890.23450 as the Altium Designer Base module is updated.

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.