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What is Pulsonix PCB Design Software


Pulsonix is a printed circuit board (PCB) design software tool from WestDev. It provides an integrated, configurable environment for schematic capture, PCB layout, and manufacturing. Pulsonix is considered an affordable and easy to use option for electronics design teams. This article will provide an overview of Pulsonix and its key capabilities.

Pulsonix Background

Pulsonix was first released in 1991 by a UK-based team that had previously worked on the PADS PCB toolset. It was designed from the ground up to be an integrated, scalable PCB design system that was both powerful and inexpensive compared to competitive tools.

Now on its 11th major version, Pulsonix has grown from its roots to be a full-featured PCB design platform serving over 9000 users worldwide. It combines ease of use with modern features expected in current EDA tools.

Some of the major benefits Pulsonix aims to provide are:

  • Low cost of ownership compared to other commercial PCB design tools
  • Short learning curve for new users to become productive quickly
  • Environment customizable for specific design needs and workflows
  • Scalable to handle designs from simple to extremely complex
  • Constant enhancement with new features and updates

Pulsonix continues to meet the PCB design needs of small workgroups, startups, makers, and large enterprises alike.

Schematic Capture Overview

Pulsonix provides robust schematic editing capabilities for defining circuit connectivity. Features include:

  • Real-time electrical rules checking (ERC)
  • Component library with 50,000+ industry standard parts
  • Drag-and-drop part placement from library browser
  • Spreadsheet-style editing of component properties
  • Virtual pin swapping for easy part variants
  • Automatic wire routing and cleanup
  • Busses for conveying groups of signals
  • Hierarchical and multi-channel design re-use
  • Multi-level flat or hierarchical netlisting
  • Complex equation parsing for parameters
  • Import/export of netlists from other EDA tools

These features allow electrical engineers to quickly draft schematics following best practice design rules. Integration with the layout environment enables smooth transfer of the schematic into PCB realization.

PCB Layout Overview

The Pulsonix PCB layout editor contains advanced tools for board design:

  • Direct import of netlists from Pulsonix schematic or external tools
  • Intelligent component placement with real-time DRC
  • High-speed multi-threaded autorouter
  • Sketch routing with timing-driven length tuning
  • Curved traces and servo traces for control over routing paths
  • Dynamic copper fill connected to nets
  • Design-for-manufacturing checking integrated into layout
  • Automatic backdrilling and via stub management
  • Alternating pair routing for differential signals
  • Length matching, phase tuning, and delay management
  • Real-time 3D clearance checking
  • STEP import/export for mechanical integration
  • Revision control and design variant management
  • Native support for rigid-flex boards
  • Full design rules and constraint management

This extensive toolset allows PCB designers to turn schematics into routable board layouts with verification at each step. Integration of schematic and layout in one tool avoids data translation errors.

Library and Supply Chain Features

Pulsonix includes extensive capabilities to leverage component libraries and connect with the manufacturing supply chain:

  • Unified library format for symbols, footprints, 3D models
  • Drag-and-drop parts from supplier component catalogs
  • Library lifecycle workflows with revision history
  • Automated BOM generation from layout
  • One-click design submission from Pulsonix to PCB fabs
  • Model download from Ultra Librarian store of over 500M parts
  • Direct library partnership with distributors like DigiKey
  • Library 생성/editing tools for custom footprints
  • Import libraries from existing CAD systems
  • Interfaces with MRP/ERP systems for BOM integration

Using Pulsonix, designers can easily access supplier component data to accelerate design-through-manufacturing handoff.

Design Flow and Environment

Pulsonix provides a streamlined, configurable environment for PCB design:

  • Unified single-executable design framework
  • Customizable ribbon interface for tool access
  • Docking windows and panels for contextual information
  • Report generation for BOM, netlist, etc.
  • Batch output of manufacturing and documentation files
  • Multi-level undo and redo for change history
  • 64-bit multi-threaded operation
  • Distributed processing across multiple servers
  • Scripting and automation using API or Tcl/TK
  • Revision control integration with SVN or Git
  • Project templating for re-use and standardization
  • Drop-in integration with CAM software

The flexible architecture allows large engineering teams to tailor Pulsonix to their specific organizational needs and tool flows.

Add-on Modules and Options

Optional add-ons enhance Pulsonix with specialized functionality:

Analysis Tools – Hyperlynx SI/PI for signal/power integrity analysis and DFM Pro for manufacturability checks

3D PCB Visualization – Micro Magic 3D modeling and visualization

DFM Checks – Automated Test for fabrication shop testing and view simulation

CAM Tool Output – Optimized data handoff to various CAM software

Reverse Engineering – Imports from Gerber and ODB++ data to recover/update existing boards

Motion Control – Advanced interconnect design for electronics in motion systems

FPGA Integration – Native bidirectional interface with FPGA tools like Altera Quartus

These advanced modules customize Pulsonix capabilities for specialized applications beyond standard PCB layout requirements.

Pulsonix PCB Design Features

To understand Pulsonix capabilities in more detail, here are some key features supported in the core platform and add-ons:

Physical PCB Design

  • Any layer count and stackup
  • Split power planes
  • Rigid-flex boards
  • Curved and spiral traces
  • Blind/buried vias
  • Via fencing
  • Length tuning
  • Automatic backdrilling
  • Dynamic copper fill
  • Assembly variants

Electronics Data Management

  • Unified database repositories
  • Lifecycle workflows
  • Revision control
  • Design reuse
  • Batch processing
  • Reporting and analysis

Manufacturing Integration

  • Bidirectional library linking
  • Built-in DFM analysis
  • Fabrication documentation
  • Tooling generation
  • Data export to CAM systems
  • Panelization and breakout

High Speed Design

  • Differential pairs routing
  • Constraint management
  • Phase tuning
  • Length matching
  • IBIS modeling
  • SI/PI analysis
  • DDRx memory routing

Advanced Technologies

This range of advanced to specialized capabilities makes Pulsonix well suited for usage across various industry verticals including telecom, military, industrial, and consumer electronics.

Pulsonix PCB Design Flow

esp32 pcb design

A typical design flow using Pulsonix would involve:

  1. Schematic Capture – Draft schematics with electrical connectivity. Run ERC checks.
  2. Netlisting – Generate netlist or import netlist from external tools.
  3. Library Creation – Build symbol and footprint libraries for components used.
  4. Board Layout – Import netlist and place components. Route board.
  5. Verification – Run design rule, signal integrity, thermal checks.
  6. Documentation – Generate manufacturing and assembly outputs.
  7. Fabrication – Submit Gerber, NC drill, and test files to board fabrication.
  8. Assembly – Send pick-and-place and test/inspection files to contract assembler.
  9. Manufacturing Data Management – Share build data across supply chain.
  10. Revision Control – Track layout changes and release new versions.

This process is streamlined in Pulsonix through integration between schematics and PCB layout in one tool. Data can also be imported/exported at various stages to interface with external electronics workflows.

Pulsonix PCB Design – Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions regarding using Pulsonix for PCB design:

How good is the autorouter in Pulsonix?

The multi-threaded autorouter in Pulsonix is quite advanced. It can route even complex designs quickly with tuning of strategy parameters. Manual clean-up is still required but minimized.

What DFM checks are included in Pulsonix?

Pulsonix has real-time DRC during placement and routing along with extensive pre-processing design-for-manufacturing checks through add-on DFM Pro module.

Does Pulsonix include version control?

Yes, native integration with Subversion and Git repositories is provided to enable managed revisions and collaboration across designers.

What manufacturing outputs are generated?

Pulsonix supports generation of all needed fabrication and assembly outputs including Gerbers, NC drill files, IPC-2581, assembly drawings, pick-and-place, and more.

Can Pulsonix import/export data with other EDA tools?

Standard formats like ODB++, IPC-2581, STEP, and IDF can be imported/exported. Native two-way interface with some tools like Mentor Xpedition is also available.


Pulsonix provides a scalable, configurable PCB design solution with capabilities spanning schematic capture, layout, library management, and manufacturing.Integration throughout the tool ensures efficient schematic-to-layout handoff. Ongoing enhancement along with accessible licensing makes Pulsonix an appealing option for organizations with advanced PCB design needs.

The Pulsonix is the classic software available online with free trial version 10.5. This include schematic capture, spice simulator, PCB layout, auto router, chip packaging toolkit, library integration toolkit, embedded components, Micro-Vias, Interactive high speed, Spirals and Database Connection (PDC) Trial. Please visit to download your own copy.

Software Interface:

As we open the software, it shows the window with Design, Technologies + Profile and Wizard options. Choose File >> New >> Design >> Schematic Diagram Design

You can open the example schematic from

File >> Open >> User >> Documents >> Example.sch

I opened the notch filter schematic and it look like this

Pulsonix Tutorial:

Here we can see many tool available.

On the left hand side, there is a vertical tool bar.

This symbol  is the electronic component library placement. Left click on this and library window will appear.

The “Filter” option with asterisk mark gives you flexibility to enter the keyword for the component you are looking for. Click “Apply” to activate the filter. In the “look in”, a drop down menu will show the list of all manufacturers available with their libraries. The manufactures are listed A to Z and in “Generic” you will find generic capacitor, resistors, diodes, transformer, fuse, crystal and zener diodes. The special thing is that the component footprint is also mentioned in the box and component designator and component symbol is also shown.

Pulsonix Tutorial:

You can click on the “Preview” check mark to show or hide the component symbol and you can also check mark the Schematic & PCB to hide or show the component footprint. This is very useful to see what footprint will be used in PCB layout design。

Panning / Zooming:

Left click and depressed and move your computer mouse to “Pan”. Scroll Up to zoom in and scroll down to zoom out

Inserting Connector Pin

You can insert the connector pin same as the component. Part number, description, total number of pins, family, footprint, symbol and name are shown in the window. You can use filter to select the connector pin of your choice. You have to click “Add” to place the pin on the schematic sheet.

You can change the pin number from here. The pin placed on the schematic is pin number 5 of the connector part number shown in below diagram. The connector however is 24 pin total.

Pulsonix Tutorial:
Pulsonix Tutorial:

Insert Document Symbol:

You can insert the page border and symbol with description with various sizes like A, A1, A2, A3 and A4 and B, C and D landscape borders.

Pulsonix Tutorial:

Click Add to place the symbol.

Pulsonix Tutorial:
Pulsonix Tutorial:

Inserting the Signal Reference:

The signal references like +5V, 12V, 15V, Ground, common, earth, box, input, output, pointer, terminal, VCC, VDD and VSS.

These signal reference are very important in any circuit design hence can be placed by clicking here  on left menu.

The symbol in previous section can be placed by clicking here  on left menu

The connector pin can be placed by clicking here  on left menu.

The bus bar can be placed by clicking here  on the left menu

The bus bar is used commonly in microprocessor or memory circuits where I/O s are too many.

Pulsonix Tutorial:
Pulsonix Tutorial:

Connecting the Components Together:

You can connect your components by clicking here  on the left menu. This is the wiring connection. When you connect the nodes together or connect nets then a confirmation prompt will occur. Click OK to continue.

Place Text:

You can also place text on current sheet by clicking here

Pulsonix Tutorial:

Electrical Rule Check: (ERC)

You can run the electrical rule check on the schematic you design and check the following parameters. Pin type rules, busses, hierarchy, unfinished nets and unfinished connections. There are other checks that you can mark according to your requirements

Pulsonix Tutorial:

Click on Check to run the ERC. A report file in text document will be generated showing errors and warnings if any.

Pulsonix Tutorial:

Test Point:

You can insert the test points Insert >> Test Point

Click on any point/wire/junction in the circuit and a green color line will appear then click anywhere on the schematic to drop the test point.

Page Link:

If your schematics is on more than 1 page, then you can insert page link by Insert >> Page Link

Changing Units:

Setup >> Units >> Imperial or Metric


Setup >> Grids >> Basic Step, Multiplier, Divisor, Step and display

Top Menu:

This menus has the new, open, save, print, setup folder, library, technology, colors and options in the sequence from left to right as shown.

Pulsonix Tutorial:
Pulsonix Tutorial:


As we know that Pulsonix offers schematic capture, simulation and PCB layout. So here we discuss simulation aspect.

Simulation >> Set Netlist Spice Type

Here you can set the netlist spice type form different options Basic Spice, LTSpice, PSpice, Pulsonix Spice and SIMetrix. Select the Pulsonix Spice.

Pulsonix Tutorial:

Insert Source:

For simulation we know that the circuit needs inputs source. Go to Simulation >> Insert Source, a drop down menu will show many options like power supply, waveform generator, AC voltage source, DC current source, CCCS, CCVS, VCCS and VCVS.

Insert Part Using Model:

There are parts that do not have spice models and many others have. So you can choose only those components definitely having spice models.

Simulation >> Insert Part using Model

Pulsonix Tutorial:

This window will open. You can choose the type of component from left panel and select the part number and component symbol is also shown in bottom.

Insert Probe:

You can insert the fixed probe in your schematic to run the transient or AC analysis parameters. Go to Simulation >> Insert Fixed Probe

Pulsonix Tutorial:
Pulsonix Tutorial:

A drop down menu will open showing the options shown in this figure. There are various types of probes like voltage probe, differential voltage probe, current probe, bus probe, voltage dB and Voltage phase probes etc.

Simulation Parameters:

You can change the simulation parameters from

Simulation >> Simulation Parameters

This has transient, AC, DC, Noise. Transfer Function (TF), Options and Safe Operating Area (SOA)

Pulsonix Tutorial:

Like for AC analysis, you can set the start, stop and points per decade for simulation. Method can be decade or linear. Check mark the simulation type on the right side you want to run. Then press F9 to simulate the circuit




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