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Circuit board design: Altium Protel - the most perfect EDA tool
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Circuit board design: Altium Protel - the most perfect EDA tool

Circuit board design: Altium Protel - the most perfect EDA tool

One of the most realistIC criteria to measure a software is its MARKet share, that is, its popularity. Altium Protel is well ahead of many PCB design software. Protel series has been used in China for a long time. Basically, all electronic majors in colleges and universities offer relevant courses. Even many large companies often write requirements for using PROTEL in their condition column when recruiting electronIC design talents.

PROTEL is the EDA software launched by Altium in the late 1980s. Early PROTEL was mainly used as an automatic wiring tool for printed boards. It runs in DOS environment and has very low requirements for hardware. It can run in the 1M memory of 286 computer without hard disk, but it has few functions. It only has the function of circuit schematic drawing and printed board design, and its automatic wiring of printed boards has a low distribution rate. Now PROTEL has developed to DXP 2004, It is a huge EDA software with more than 200 M instalLED. It works in the WINDOWS95 environment and is a complete board level all-round electronic design system. It includes circuit schematic drawing, mixed signal SIMulation of analog and digital circuits, multi-layer Printed Circuit Board Design (including automatic wiring of printed circuit boards), programmable logic device design, chart generation, spreadsheet generation, macro operation support and other functions, It also has a Client/Server architecture and is compatible with the file formats of some other design software, such as ORCAD, PSPICE, EXCEL, etc. Its automatic routing of multi-layer printed circuit boards can achieve 100% of the distribution rate of high-density PCBs. PROTEL software is easy to buy in China, and there are many books about PROTEL software and instructions, which provide a basis for its popularization.


Protel is a PCB design software launched by PROTEL (now Altium) in 1985. It was upgraded from the original Protel fo DOS to Protel for Windows, and then launched protel 98 in 1998. In 1999, it launched epoch-making protel 99 and its upgraded version protel 99 se, and in 2002, it launched protel DXP. Altium has since moved from fixed-point software product release to continuous stream release, with new versions released almost every year, Later, a version named Altium Designer+season was released. The latest version is Altium Designer 10, which was newly released in March 2011.

At present, a large number of people use Protel 99se to design PCB. Protel 99se has made great contributions to PCB design industry. Whether Protel99 is widely used or later versions, it provides an integrated design environment, including schematic design and PCB wiring tools, integrated design document management, and support for workgroup collaborative design through the network. Since Protel DXP/DXP2004, it has provided new FPGA design functions; Since Altium Designer 6.0, the design process, integrated PCB design, programmable device (such as FPGA) design and embedded software development function based on processor design have been integrated; Since Altium Designer 6.8, 3D PCB visualization and navigation technology has been added. With this function, designers can view the precise molding of boards at any time and share information with other members of the design team; When Altium Designer 10 was released, Altium Vaults and Altium Live based on the Internet were launched at the same time. Altium Vaults constitutes the core of Altium intelligent data management technology, which stores and manages electronic design data; AltiumLive is an online environment for downloading, trading and sharing electronic design content.

Of course, some engineers complain about Protel series software, such as occupying most system resources in runtime, demanding high system configuration, cumbersome menus, not suitable for high-Speed PCB design, companies and enterprises, especially foreign enterprises, etc., but because it is the "first intimate contact" software of most domestic engineers, quite a few engineers may be nostalgic or preconceived, I like Altium Protel very much. Even if Altium has an upgraded version, it will not be replaced at will. In short, this is a very good PCB design software for enterprises and individuals.

Protel99 SE is divided into five modules, namely schematic design, PCB design (including signal integrity analysis), automatic router, schematic mixed signal simulation, and PLD design.

Some of the latest Protel99SE features are described below:

◆ More than 30 formats of electrical connection network table can be generated;

◆ Powerful global editing function;

◆ Select the primary device in the schematic diagram, and the same device in the PCB will also be selected;

◆ Run the schematic diagram and PCB at the same time, and allow bidirectional cross searching of components, pins and networks between the opened schematic diagram and PCB diagram

◆ Both forward annotation of component labels (from schematic diagram to PCB) and reverse annotation (from PCB to schematic diagram) can be performed to maintain the consistency of electrical schematic diagram and PCB in design;

◆ Meet international design requirements (including national standard title bar output, GB4728 national standard library)* Easy to use digital analog hybrid simulation (compatible with SPICE 3f5);

◆ Support PLD design with CUPL language and schematic diagram, and generate standard JED download files* PCB can be designed with 32 signal layers, 16 power supply layers and 16 machining layers;

◆ Powerful "rule driven" design environment, which conforms to online and batch design rule inspection;

◆ Intelligent copper coating function, uranium coating can be automatically repaved;

◆ Provide a large number of industrial standard circuit boards as design templates;

◆ Function of placing Chinese characters;

◆ It can import and export DXF and DWG files to realize data exchange with AutoCAD and other software;

◆ Intelligent package navigation (very useful for building complex PGA and BGA packages);

◆ Convenient print preview function, which can directly control print results without modifying PCB files;

◆ The unique 3D display can see the effect of assembling things before plate making;

◆ Powerful CAM processing enables you to easily output photo files, bill of materials, drilling files, mounter files, test point reports, etc;

◆ Fully verified transmission line characteristics and algorithms for accurate simulation calculation, and signal integrity analysis is directly started from PCB;

◆ The waveform display results of reflection and crosstalk simulation are combined with convenient measurement tools.

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