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Altium vs Orcad

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Jon Slaughter, Oct 16, 2007.

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  1. Anyone have any experience with the two? I started with orcad a while
    back(messing around with but it seems so archaic that I never got into it).
    Anyways, I stumbled apon altium and it is pretty much everything I was
    looking for in orcad but either couldn't find or it wasn't there. Anyways,
    anyone have any bad experiences with Altium? Is there anything out there
    that can compete with it? (truthfully I see orcad as an ancient hack. It's
    interface and concepts are 20 years old and looks to be a huge waste of
    time. I could't believe it was still using win 3.1 graphics when I used it)

  2. Winfield

    Winfield Guest

    My lab is an Altium shop. Recently I learned that a
    number of other Harvard labs and offices are as well.
    Works for us. Their FPGA-to-PCB design integration
    is awesome.

  3. OrCAD was fine for its day.

    Get over yourself.
  4. I know you probably got better things to do than answer this question but I
    might as well ask anyways ;) Do you know if its possible to do single sided
    pcb's with Altium? I haven't seen any options to set 1 layer and I've read
    that it doesn't support it. Maybe theres some way to "trick" it? or make it
    use jumpers instead of vias? or maybe minimize the via to via distance on
    the bottom plane? (so I can just use a short jumper instead of one from one
    side of the board to the other)

    This seems to be the only drawback that I have found with it as of yet.
    (actually theres another slight problem that I don't like and thats not
    being able to have static components in Multi channels... or at least I have
    found out who to do it).

    I've only been using it a day or so I'll probably come about the solutions
    on my own so no biggy. Even with these issues its still lightyears ahead of

  5. Guest

    Just route on one layer and output one artwork gerber. No "tricks"
    Maybe you can remove all the vias from the allowed via list if there
    is one.
    Add 0 ohm resistors on the schematic to route under them.
    1206 resistors get one trace under them, and I use through hole 0 ohm
    resistors for bigger jumps.
  6. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    When I was using Orcad V.2, we were still on DOS. ;-)

  7. Joel Koltner

    Joel Koltner Guest

    What people are usually looking for in "PCB packages that support single-layer
    design" is the ability to tell the package that, yes, you do fully intend to
    hook us these various points with jumper wires so, no, the fact that there's
    no copper on the PCB itself connecting them is not a design rule check
    violation. For production, you'd also like to be able to generate a report of
    where the jumper wires are located.

    I know that Pulsonix property supports this (there is a "Insert Wire Jimper"
    command), and of course you can pretty much fake it in any program by just
    adding another layer or so and using those are your "wire jumper" layers and
    just not outputting them.
  8. I think I'd try putting the jumpers on a second layer and not output
    that layer (making sure that the "vias" to the second layer didn't get
    covered with solder resist). That way it would be possible to check
    the PCB against the netlist. Not sure how to do the equivalent with
    SMT jumpers such as zero-ohm resistors- maybe you'd have change the
    schematic to include the jumper part.

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
  9. What!?! Of course. In fact, each layer has all it's own
    controls and settings, for example a pad can be one size
    on the top and another on the bottom. I don't often do
    single sided, although with SMT designs it's happening a
    bit more often. BTW, if you have a program that insists
    on making a 2nd layer, just delete the unwanted layer's
    GERBER files.
  10. qrk

    qrk Guest

    There's still a group of people using the old DOS Orcad PCB stuff.
    Claim it's stable and works great on modern designs.

    Layout is rather hard to get used to. However, any PCB program seems
    hard to learn. Layout has provisions to do single sided boards with

  11. I'm still using Accel from 1996, on XP, absolutely rock solid. It's a
    bit limited in the copper fill, gluedot and cutouts area. the lib
    manager is dreadfull. I tried the PCAD2001 (?) demo, quite nice,but
    not worth the upgrade price.

    I wonder where the used license market is?

  12. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    I made some projects with Altium. Frankly: I hate Altium ever since.
    It is dead slow, totally non-intuitive. Simple things like the font on
    the parts could not be changed. I even needed the manual to get a
    design done. If you define ancient, you define Altium PCB designer.
    They still use the same shortcut as Protel Autotrax from the early

    Just give me Orcad CIS! Orcad Layout Plus ain't really bad either.
  13. Altium supports single side PCB's in the same way all other packages
    support it. But if you are looking to do full schematic match DRC on a
    single sided board you will have to do one of two things to achieve
    1) Add "jumper" components to the schematic
    or 2) Route tacks on the top layer and only output the bottom layer
    for manufacturing

    Option 2 is the better solution.

    What kind of designs are you looking at doing with Altium?

  14. James Beck

    James Beck Guest

    CADStar now has a Jumper layer and you can define that a PCB stack up
    consist of only the bottom layer and the jumper layer (electrical).
    Then using a defined "jumper" you can route a single sided PCB with say
    a .4" zero ohm jumper as the default jumper and off you go. The jumpers
    do not have to appear in the schematic. I have never used this new
    "feature", so I can't vouch for how well it works, but it is there. In
    fact, I went through the standard templates and deleted the jumper layer
    so my old designs still had the same stackup.

  15. Winfield

    Winfield Guest

    PCAD develped into something quite nice, very good
    hand-to-screen action, etc. Owned by Altium now.

  16. Dos based OrCad for schematics and Tango PCB for traces.

    Absolutely great apps for simple stuff up to four layers, and Tango can
    do 0402 SMD if a good layout man is behind the keyboard.

    Run under DOSBox in either windows or linux, and get full 1280x768

    Works great, and prints to HP jet printers legal size or smaller
    without a hitch.

    Do your sims with something else.
  17. I'm just trying to implement a simple level translator like the one found in
    I2C docs(talked about it in an earlier post).

    Basically just a mosfet with two pullups on each side of the mosfet and two
    "pulldowns". Its actually quite simple and I need 8 of them which makes the
    routing a bit hard to do on single sided. (I also going to add a dual bus
    transciever that essentially does the same job but isn't full duplex just
    cause I orderd them for that purpose and might get some use out of them).

    All the parts are 603 and SOT'2. The Headers are not going to be through
    hole and niether will the caps(probably bend the leads and solder them down
    as I only need two. I want to avoid drilling any holes... cause if I drill
    one I might as drill 50). (the values are also not set correctly)

    I'm not sure what you mean by "only output the bottom layer for
    manufacturing"? I can turn off the bottom board for routing but then then
    autoround never completes. Which is understandable but if it would create
    some jumpers when it needs to then it should have no problem.

    Are you saying that I should let it route two sided then manually fix it up?

  18. Layout has a similar thing but I was never able to get it to work(it never
    used jumpers).
  19. Not sure what you mean? I can disable routing on the bottom layer on a two
    layer board and configure a lot of other things in the rules section of
    Altium but I cannot get it to set jumpers automatically which is a feature I
    really what because if I have to manually place jumpers I influence the
    routing process. The algorithm itself should be able to realize when to
    place a jumper in the process of routing. I would also have to assign it to
    a net which means that I might be putting it in the wrong place.

    Another "feature" that these programs don't seem to have is toggling pin's
    for simple components. Swapping a pin on a SMT component like a resistor
    isn't going to effect much ellectrically but could make the different of
    something being unroutable or not. Be nice if the algorithm had the ability
    to swap pin order or even orientation (I personally don't care which way the
    mosfets in my design are facing.... hell, personally I don't even care where
    they are at on the board if it means I can actually get it all on the top

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