PADS Desktop PCB Design

Discussions on the present, future capabilities and value of the PADS PCB flow.

1 October, 2014

This week I had the pleasure of  meeting and talking with engineering students along with our recruiting staff at the NC State Engineering Career Fair! This 2 day event is sponsored by the NCSU College of Engineering and is held yearly.


This event draws talented engineering students from colleges all over the Carolinas and beyond. The attendance was unbelievable and the students were dressed to the nines with polished resumes in hand. I had the pleasure of talking to students that ranged from freshman looking for internship opportunities to expectant winter and spring graduates looking for their dream job. More than 360 employers filled nearly every room at the McKimmon Center with displays and recruiting staff eager to meet candidates and fill immediate job openings and internships.

NC CF bannerUp next, the Mentor recruiting team is on their way to the Syracuse University Engineering Career Fair to find more great engineering talent. If you are unable to attend an engineering career fair in your area this fall be sure to visit us at to learn all about the exciting job openings and internship opportunities that are available here at Mentor Graphics.

Thanks for reading!


17 September, 2014


bellaag_logo“Most cattle are healthy most of the time; it’s the ones that aren’t that you need to know about.”

We can never overstate the importance of cattle in our lives. Cows are not raised just for their meat, milk, and leather. The fact is, there are more products produced from cattle that are used in our everyday lives than many of us can fathom. Medical and pharmaceutical companies for example, use insulin from the livers of cows for diabetics.

Cattle, as living creatures, are healthy most of the time; it’s the ones that aren’t that you need to know about. This is where Bella Ag comes in. Bella Ag has developed a device called the 3.0 Bolus. The Bolus is a temperature monitoring collection system that enables cattle operators to detect health issues early. The collector wirelessly transmits the data it collects to a wireless gateway. Data is collected and processed with Bella TempSoft software and is used to establish a baseline for every individual cow.

LI Graphic_Bella AG

The Bella Ag Bolus wirelessly monitors the cattle’s temperature and automatically sends alerts that enable cattle operators to catch illnesses like mastitis, metritis and pneumonia 3 to 5 days sooner. This Patent Pending design utilizes the latest in micro transceiver technology and is designed for optimal performance from the inside of the animal out.

The PCB’s within Bella Ag’s advanced electronic system were designed using PADS PCB Design tools. Bella Ag’s CTO, Stephen Weilnau stated that “The PADS suite gives us a real value added tool that enables us to be small but work big”. Bella Ag collaborates with various independent PADS contractors that work on different projects.  Weilnau stated that, “As a small shop we found it useful to have access to the same development tools, be able to open the working files, provide much needed feedback, and even make modifications later when parts are obsolete.

Bella Ag Systems patented technology is currently running in 11 countries around the world, shaping the future of animal health and the agriculture industry.

Want to be featured in the PADS Customer Spotlight ?  Contact me –

13 September, 2014

The foundation of every PCB design is its libraries. And we all know that PCB designers and Librarians can spend a significant amount of time developing  the logic and footprint symbols required for each design. Well, here at Mentor Graphics we feel your pain. In fact, we’ve made a significant investment in PADS libraries that gives you, our users, immediate access to a new proven, pre-built, state of the art starter library

PADS PCB design customers with active maintenance on v9.5 and above can download FREE libraries through Mentor Graphics’ partnership with Optimum Design Associates, Inc.

ODAclickNot only will the Optimum Design starter library get you up and running quickly, it also will provide a best-practices template for your ongoing library development.

The fully documented starter library comprises more than 11,000 parts including 1700+ xDX symbols and 1000+ IPC-compliant and manufacturer recommended PADS decals.

Part library entries include pin and gate swapping as well as component information, schematic borders, and documentation templates.

Included with the download are:

  • Central library for PADS integrated flow
  • PADS netlist library
  • xDX Databook database and configurations for integrated and netlist flows
  • Project templates for creating new xDX Designer projects
  • User Guide



  • IPC-7351B compliant
  • Large variety of device types
  • Clearly defined partitions for easy navigation
  • Manufacturer part number, checked by Valor® NPI for footprint accuracy
  • All part numbers qualified for use in schematic and layout
  • Manufacturer part numbers verified as current
  • Descriptions of the standards used to create the library
  • Fully compatible with PADS VX and PADS 9.5
  • Library administration support

Click here – To get the FREE starter library today !

Thanks for reading!


10 September, 2014

Thanks to everyone for attending the PADS VX Roundtable webinar!  If you have not viewed it, it is now available on-demand Click Here To View Now! click

We had great attendance.  I personally liked this new format – it gave Mike and me the opportunity to answer your questions directly, not just delivering a PowerPoint presentation.

How did you like this new format?

Is it something we should do again?

Please post a comment here and let us know!

Thanks again for watching!

Jim Martens

9 September, 2014

Hello PADS users !

For us, nothing is more important than our customers’ continued success. When we hear about the amazing PCB’s our customers are designing, we like to celebrate by sharing those stories with the world.


We know every great PCB design has a great user story – and we want to help tell yours !

Email me:  to find out more !

Thanks,  John

3 September, 2014

You sent in the questions – Now lets get the answers !



Join me September 9, 2014 for our first Video Roundtable Q&A Event. I’ll be asking  the PADS Product Marketing Manager Jim Martens and Product Line Director Mike Griesbach the PADS VX questions YOU have submitted.


Perhaps you’re already started using VX. Perhaps you’ve downloaded VX but have not started a new project with it. Whether you’ve submitted a question or not you’ll want to join this session to find out what your colleagues are asking.

See you then !


19 August, 2014

PADS Users – Now Open for 2014! It’s time to show-off your stuff in the most prestigious contest in PCB, the Mentor Graphics Technology Leadership Awards!

TLA-1Submit your design today! Started in 1988, this program is the longest running competition of its kind in the EDA industry. It recognizes     YOU – the engineers and CAD designers who use Mentor’s innovative technology to address today’s complex PCB   systems design challenges and produce industry-leading products.

This year there are six categories representing a wide variety of industries.

– Consumer electronics and handheld
– Industrial control, instrumentation, security and medical
– Military and aerospace
– Computers, blade and servers, memory systems
– Telecom, network controllers, line cards
– Transportation and automotive

submit button

Winning Teams receive global recognition of the company and design team through a press release and presentations / webinars. You may also be featured in industry publications.

You will receive a TLA plaque featuring your design for the company office. As well, winning design teams will be awarded (3 maximum per team), or a donation of equal value to a charity of their choice




15 August, 2014

Printed circuit boards are the backbone of electronics products, providing the electrical system upon which the performance, life span, and reliability of the end product depend. When designed correctly, products with high-quality circuitry have lower field failure rates and fewer field returns. As a result, products can be produced at lower cost and higher profit.  DOWNLOAD White Paper NOW

How do you ensure design success?

What things should you look for to maximize design efficiency and product quality?

This free white paper discusses eight steps that you can take to ensure PCB design success.

Eight Steps for Ensuring PCB Design Success

Thanks for reading,


7 August, 2014

The days of manually backing-up PCB design data or running a script that bundles-up a targeted set of design files and generating a time-stamped zip file are long gone. Proper archives are essential to both back-up and manage all of your design data.

Today’s PCB teams require a powerful design-driven storage methodology that not only promotes effective data backups, but also increases productivity by efficiently creating, indexing, and restoring your design archives within a vault.  PADS Design Archive provides the all features you need and more!

Click on this short video to learn more !


Key benefits of using Design Archive within the PADS flow are:
• Quickly create, index, and store all of your designs data including libraries, reports, CAM data, or any files that you want within a secure vault.
• Enables you to create design branches for testing what-if design scenarios such as changing constraints, running simulation analyses, and analyzing different placement and routing strategies.
• Allows you to quickly search, compare and cross-probe between schematic and layout files
• Facilitates design reviews with mark-up tools for both red-lining and attaching sticky notes.
• Clone designs to create design templates for new PCBs.
• Generate Netlist, Line length, Placement and Design summary reports.

You can learn more about archive management with PADS Design Archive by attending our upcoming webinar entitled: Beyond the Vault: Introducing PADS Archive Management

Thanks for reading !    Johnlinkedintwitter

4 August, 2014

Since the release of PADS VX there have been some great questions regarding the integrated project use of xDX Designer and notably, no mention of PADS Logic. In this blog I’ll explore some of today’s typical use cases for each of these front-end tools.


PADS Logic is a well-established and reliable front-end tool of choice for many ECAD engineers and has been so for many years and for good reasons. Today’s typical PADS Logic user spans from the single user, to design bureaus, to small businesses and even some large companies. These PADS Logic users find that its functionality and features always have been and continue to be sufficient in getting their types of PCB design jobs done.

Nowadays PCB’s are everywhere; from the keyboard I’m using to type this blog, to the appliances in my kitchen, to the musical greeting card that I purchased for my father for father’s day. The reality is, not all PCB designs are cutting edge, high-speed, heavily constrained, high-tech nor compact.

In two recent conversations that I’ve had, one with a leading power supply manufacturer, and the other with an electronic water meter company, the need for, and cost of more powerful and integrated PCB design tools was not immediately necessary. Each of these companies made many different 2, 4 and occasional 6 layer PCB’s, their expertise, experience, existing design collateral and liberal form factors have continued to make their PCB designs achievable with their current tools. In many cases, design changes for their products occurred when the product requirements changed, when components became unobtainable or components were replaced with newer surface mount packages. There are hundreds of companies like these, which find PADS logic is still sufficient for their work. This scenario reminded me of a saying that goes something like “why use a sledgehammer when a hammer will do the job?”

Today, more and more PCB’s are requiring some degree of high-speed, constrained and compact circuitry. Many companies, even those that have stated that PADS Logic “gets the job done” have found that changes in technologies, components, capabilities and even pressure from competitors have required them to change the way they design their products and the tools that they design their products with.

Recently, the electronic water meter company that I mentioned earlier is in the process of designing a new line of meters that will include some updated technology that includes an RF transmitter, similar to what we see today in residential water meters. These types of changes are frequently the catalyst for ECAD teams to consider and employ an advanced front-end tool like xDX Designer that is fully integrated and provides access to signal integrity analysis features and centralized constraint management that is accessible throughout schematic capture, layout and routing.

Is your next design start a perfect candidate for xDX Designer? To learn more about how database synchronization between the schematic and layout works with the PADS VX release, click here. To see how easy creating a new schematic in xDX Designer is, click here. If you’re ready to jump right in and test-drive PADS VX in one of our FREE virtual labs, click here.

Thanks for reading !    Johnlinkedintwitter

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