How Can I Catch Schematic Errors More Easily?

It’s no secret that PCB design can be a slow and unruly process. It’s 2020, and board designs are more fine-tuned than ever. Issues on the board therefore require a fine-tuned solution that saves you time.

You might have an in-schematic verification/DRC tool such as Designer Verify. But can that catch the following schematic errors?

Here an exposed pad (Pin 65) was missing from a symbol definition. Of course, the symbol was connected properly within the schematic, it just was missing a pin. So this error is very sneaky and hard to catch. This error was introduced when the symbol was made, and the symbol could have been reused many other times without knowing pin 65 was missing! Without poring over every datasheet again, errors like this can be missed in schematic review. If only there were a way to check the symbols during schematic review…

This is another tricky error. Once again, a typical schematic checker could not identify this configuration as an issue. Every node is technically connected and there aren’t any “holes” in the net connection. But once you review the schematic it’s obvious that a ground connection is missing below the capacitors. This can be caught by a careful schematic review. But is there a way to catch this automatically?

You might also have issues with signal connections. Even though this SK and CS signal have the same pin types and electrical requirements, they are hooked up incorrectly due to a net name mistake! Sure you could look over each schematic carefully to find any incorrect net names. But tired eyes can make mistakes. Is there a better method to catch this?

Yes there is! Xpedition Schematic Analysis (also known as Valydate) uses intelligent models to catch electrical errors such as these ones, and many others. It checks all your net connections in a multi-board system to ensure that there aren’t any mismatched voltage levels, pin types, and connection configurations. This is a lot more detailed than your typical schematic checker.

Last week I had the opportunity to present a webinar on the Schematic Analysis tool. Discussing the tool’s benefits and answering questions from engineers reminded me how desirable schematic review solutions are in this day and age! You can view the webinar here if you missed it: https://www.mentor.com/pcb/multimedia/error-reduction-in-the-design-definition-phase

 

For further details on the tool, check out the Schematic Analysis website here: https://www.mentor.com/pcb/xpedition/schematic-analysis/

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