Ultiboard PCB Design Tutorial

The Ultiboard PCB Design is the PCB layout tool of Multisim. The National Instruments (NI) Ultiboard provides a powerful tool to layout PCB design and Multisim is the excellent solution for spice simulation of circuit designs. The Ultiboard is widely used by many professionals, hobbyists and students to help them convert their circuit design to PCB layout keeping in the same NI software environment. This will save time for transferring your design to other CAD tools and re-capturing the schematics and laying out PCB in different CAD tool.

PCB laying out

Standard Tool Bar:

Standard Tool Bar

Starting from the left most to right.

  • 1- The New file will create a new PCB file inside the project folder.
  • 2- Open the new file when existing project is opened
  • 3- Open the sample
  • 4- Save
  • 5- Print the layout
  • 6- Cut
  • 7- Copy
  • 8- Paste
  • 9- Undo
  • 10- Redo
  • 11- Redraw screen
  • 12- Full screen View
  • 13- Zoom in
  • 14- Zoom out
  • 15- Zoom Area and Zoom full (Brings the PCB layout screen at the center and fit to screen)

Standard Tool Bar

Starting from left most to right most.Starting from left most to right most.

  • 1- Select
  • 2- Design Tool Box located on the left panel
  • 3- Spreadsheet View
  • 4- Database Manager
  • 5- Board Wizard
  • 6- Part Wizard
  • 7- From Database
  • 8- Line
  • 9- Follow me
  • 10- Connection machine
  • 11- Via
  • 12- Polygon
  • 13- Power Plane (Places the power plane on PCB)
  • 14- DRC and netlist check ( The design rule check ( DRC) and netlist a connection scheme generated from transfer schematic to PCB layout)
  • 15- Text
  • 16- View 3D
  • 17- Capture Screen Area
  • 18- Help

The items highlighted above are need to be mentioned.

 

2- Design Tool Box

The design tool box shows the information about the PCB layers, like copper layer, silk screen layer, keep out layer, solder mask layers and board outline. This also shows the assembly date like paste mask and glue mask. Also shows the mechanical layers and information about “Ratsnest” and DRC.

What is Ratsnest..?

The Ratsnest is the display of interconnection with straight lines between pads of components according to the netlist generated by Ultiboard. This Ratsnest is the connectivity display before the actual routing / traces is started.

Design Tool Box

 

 

3- Spreadsheet View:

The spreadsheet is the bottom window shown

Spreadsheet View

The spreadsheet view is the detailed information about the PCB parts list, nets, SMT and THT pads, vias, copper areas, keep out layer, copper layer, parts position and statistics. This also shows the component’s reference designator, value, footprint and trace clearance values.

 

The “parts” tab shows the details of the components on the bottom right corner as shown in the first figure of this article.

 

The “nets” tab shows / highlights different interconnection placement on the PCB. This is shown on the same bottom right corner as for parts.

 

The “SMT pad” shows the dimensions of pad size. The length and width along with trace clearance values

 

The “THT pad” shows the top pad shape, inner pad shape, bottom pad shape, annular ring size, pad diameter, drill diameter, trace clearance.

 

“Vias” tab shows pad diameter, drill diameter and trace clearance and solder mask status.

 

The “parts position” tab shows the position of each component in terms of X and Y coordinates.

 

The “statistics” tab shows the statistics of the PCB layout. This shows the information (total number) of the following

  • 1- Total number of pins
  • 2- Pins in a net
  • 3- Not connect pins
  • 4- Test pins
  • 5- Jumpers
  • 6- Total number of vias
  • 7- Total number of connections
  • 8- Un-routed connections
  • 9- Completion percentage
  • 10- Total number of parts and
  • 11- Total number of nets

The units of measurement can be set among any one of the following options 1- nm 2- um 3- mm 4- mil 5- inch. The standard PCB units are either mil or mm. The drop down menu shows the layer type and select that layer to highlight. The copper layer drop down menu shows to select or de-select the particular layer and shows it as automatic.

automatic

4- Database Manager (From Database):

The database manager shows the parts available in National Instruments database. The “parts” panel shows the part number of the component selected from the “database” panel as per the selected category. The two main categories are Surface Mount ( SMT) and Through Hole (THT). You can copy the selected part to the corporate or user database. Or you can make a new part from selected one.

The Filter on top, has five options. All types, CAD part, PCB part, Custom pad shape and net bridge.

The Show dimension button will enable the dimensions to be shown on the graphics window on right.

The dimensions are measure in units that can be selected from drop down menu on top right. Units are nm, um, mm, mil and inch. The zoom in and zoom out options are on top right and copy to clipboard option on top left.

Database Manager (From Database):

 

5- Board Wizard (Multilayer):

The board wizard is used to define the shape, size, vias, layers and technology ( Multilayer or single sided or double sided)

  • 1- Go to Tools >> Board wizard. The Board Wizard - Board Technology dialog box appears.
  • 2- Click Change the layer technology checkbox.
  • 3- Select board technology and click Next
  • 4- For Multilayer and Two sided board, define lamination settings
  • 5- Select number of layer pairs
  • 6- Select Blind and Buried vias
  • 7- Select the layer combination which you allow in the design. This will be shown as acceptable layer combinations
  • 8- Click Next and then finish

 

6- Board Wizard ( Double Sided) :

  • 1- Go to Tools >> Board wizard. The Board Wizard - Board Technology dialog box appears.
  • 2- Click Change the layer technology checkbox.
  • 3- Select board technology and click Next
  • 4- For Two sided but not multilayer, click next after defining lamination setting
  • 5- Set the default measurement unit
  • 6- Define board reference point
  • 7- Define board shape and size
  • 8- Define the default clearance
  • 9- Click finish

 

7- Part Wizard:

The part wizard is a 7 step procedure used to create a new part. It defines, the footprint package of the component, its dimensions / size, number of pins, pads style, drill hole diameter and technology means SMT or THT.

Part Wizard

Follow me:

It will place a follow me trace on PCB

 

Connection machine:

This is used to connect more than 2 pads at the same time. This is very fast way of interconnecting two pads.

View 3D:

The view 3D will generate a 3D view of the PCB layout showing CAD models or step models of the ICs and components used on PCB layout.