I recently had the pleasure of attending the AltiumLive 2019 event. It’s basically a gathering of pc-board designers, QA people, and so on. It was billed as a place to learn, connect and get inspired about every stage of the PCB design process, from concept to finished product.
I would think that if you’re not deeply involved in this technology, you wouldn’t get too excited about it. But I quickly learned that my assumptions were inaccurate. I was also surprised at the level of excitement around the technology. This was a group that was really jazzed about their PCBs.
There was something for everyone at this third-annual event that was held in San Diego. Many developers, myself included, take too much for granted when it comes to board layout and manufacture. Following some simple guidelines can save valuable time and money and reduce headaches by a considerable margin.
The opening keynote was delivered by Eric Bogatin, one of the world’s authorities on signal integrity, and currently is a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He delivered his keynote much the same way as he would speak to students. It was interesting to see how he and his students were able to take a popular industry pc board (I won’t reveal the name of the board here) and do some simple redesign to get far better performance than what was delivered in the original shipping version of the board.
Other classes/lectures went down similar paths, but all were taught at a level that was understandable by all and all were very interactive. They ranged from analyzing your pc board’s power distribution to how to simulate your design in SPICE. There was even a class on how to properly name all the pins, components, etc. on your board to avoid confusion.
Note that at the event, Altium introduced a new version of its popular Designer software. Version 20 offers some upgrades to the software’s unified design environment. These include more interactive and higher speed routing, higher voltage capabilities, and an ability to handle multi-board designs.
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