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How to Use Altium Multi Board PCB Designer

It can be much easier to create a multi board system when you integrate the best PCB software for your PCB. Some electronic devices feature multi board systems connected with cables. In those days, PCB design software handled each board in the system separately without the need to consider crucial circuit board design challenges such as high-speed routing, power distribution, and mechanical assembly.

Furthermore, PCB design software has met the demands of circuit board designers. However, you need to choose the appropriate PCB design package to design your multi board system. With Altium multi board designer, you can have access to design tools for creating a multi board system.

How to Plan Your Multi Board System Design

Multi board design usually begins with a physical outline of every board in your system. Therefore, it is important to plan how to connect this board to each other. The connection method could also involve standardized connectors like pin headers. Also, the multi board design process usually starts with schematic capture and then transforms to a complete PCB layout for every board. This process ends with a documentation package.

Multi board PCB arrangement involves specifying connections between all PCBs in the system.

Determine the board arrangement

You will need to determine how you will arrange the boards. Also, you will need to start mechanical modeling and determine the design.

Select connectors

You need to choose connectors to support the board arrangement while fitting in your enclosure.

Decide the functions of the board

A multi board system comprises several circuits with each performing certain functions. Also, these boards will only hold the require components that support this function. Therefore, you might need to reconsider your circuit board arrangement as well as the connector options

Identify signals across connectors

Every connector must support certain groups of signals and also ensure the design has signal integrity. Furthermore, you can determine the pinouts in this stage and define them on schematic symbols.

Create schematics

It is advisable to segment schematics. This will help to reflect your board arrangement in your multi board system. Also, every set of schematics should comprise components from a single board. Avoid placing components from different PCBs in the same schematic sheets.

Native 3D Board Design for Altium Multi Board Assemblies

Some modeling and measurements are complex in 2D. Therefore, this creates interference risk between your PCB and components. A multi board assembly involves multiple circuits and as such, unwanted interference could come up between boards in the design. Also, unwanted interference would occur between cables, components, and other elements.

Integrating a mechanical backchecking in the design process is a great way to prevent any interferences. Backchecking involves automatically checking clearances by using MCAD tools. These tools examine the 3D model of your PCB, components, and enclosure. The design software can develop a realistic model by simply combining the STEP models for every component in your PCB design.

A mechanical designer can help you generate a model of the circuit board enclosure if you work with one. You can  then import this model in your PCB designer to execute interference checking in the ECAD tools. Alternatively, you can export an IDF file or STEP model for the circuit board. You can then import this model or file into an MCAD for backchecking.

You can route the design after you have completed the initial placement and checked for interferences. Also, multi-board systems demand some critical routing considerations.

How to Route and Define Ground in Multi Board System

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You should perform routing after creating initial design rules, creating the design in the right routing mode, and calculating the needed impedance profile. Although high speed interfaces aren’t available in every board, you can route between circuit boards in a multi board design via a board-to-board connector.

Also, you can route single-ended signals between boards and over cables. But, you must ensure uniform grounding to avoid signal integrity issues that may occur. Grounds need to be well defined in multi board layout. This will enable routability for signals. Ensure you follow this process when you are routing signal paths between circuit boards.

  • Integrate ground planes in every board to offer characteristic impedance. Therefore, this provides protection to suppress crosstalk or EMI.
  • Add a ground connection across connectors when routing between two PCBs. This will help to connect the ground regions in every circuit board.
  • Integrate interleaved ground between signals. This offers a stronger protection and clear reference in the routing path.

It is crucial to use ground when you are routing across a connection between PCB designs in a multi board system. Also, this helps to specify crosstalk suppression and return paths in multi board design and routing.

Why Altium Multi Board Designer is Easy to Use

Altium multi board design system integrates a 64-bit architecture. Therefore, this makes Altium capable of handling any challenge. Also, the intuitive interface helps first-time users to find their way around this multi board design. Also, Altium is one of the best and most versatile schematic capture software applications in the world today.

Altium multi board designer is specially created to handle very complex multi board designs. Also, Altium designer feature multi board design capabilities. Altium multi board designer is easy to use as it allows users to import their design into MCAD applications for modeling. Furthermore, Altium multi board designer supports the transfer process from ECAD to MCAD.

Also, the relationship between ECAD and MCAD makes it easy to place densely packed components. Furthermore, there is a multi board assembly editor that displays how the circuit boards plug into one another.  Altium multi board designer has a unified environment that includes all design tools in a program.

Furthermore, Altium offers a multichannel schematic editor for multi board PCB design. With Altium, the schematic capture is quite easy as you don’t need a different program for PCB layout.

Conclusion

Altium multi board designer gives you access to all the aspects of multi board design. With this designer, you can take full control over your multi board design. Altium designer offers more than you can ever imagine. Do well to explore the Altium multi board designer today.