PADS Desktop PCB Design

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

27 October, 2014

We all know creating and managing part libraries is not an easy task; it’s time consuming, error prone, and requires constant maintenance.  If you have ever tried using a library that you built with one design tool in a different design tool, you probably got an additional set of problems, starting from schematic parts that don’t reference the correct footprint name, to schematic parts that don’t have correct part numbers, and missing information. And how about L libraries that are provided with different design tools? Too often they’re low quality and unusable, causing consistency and integrity issues down the road.

Over the past year working alongside the PADS engineering team, I’ve identified three elements that can reduce some of those issues, and make the library creation and maintenance a lot easier.


#1 – Your design tool

The first thing that impacts the complexity of your library creation process is your chosen design tool. Having a design tool that allows easy and efficient library management is really what you’re searching for. For example, having the design tool support a central library concept, can save you time and eliminate errors and duplications, by gathering all your library information in a centralized location. Also, you want your design tool to have a really efficient and high-quality part creation wizard, to minimize part creation time and manual work.

#2 – Library translation

Find a good solution for translating old libraries into your current design tool, to avoid having incorrect parts in your library. A common problem people have with translated libraries is mismatches between schematic and layout data. Not aligning this information can cause consistency issues in your library, so you need to make sure you choose the correct part name, ref-des and cell name, and apply it in both sides. PADS for example, along with the translator, provides a script to automatically do this process for you. The result is reliable and complete library data.

#3 – Well-documented component properties

The third element is what really takes stamina! Make sure that for every part you create, you always take the time to update the important component properties – not just for now, but for all stages of the design flow. For instance, try to keep all the information related to the identity of the part (part number, manufacturer name), and always make sure to include links to part datasheets to have easy access to additional information about each part. It also can be helpful to keep information such as voltage for later use in simulation. Keep in mind that the more you put into the quality of the parts you create now, the easier it will make each and every stage of the design cycle, and with less issues down the road – from search and selection of parts, to layout design, simulation, and even manufacturing.

To find out more about library management in PADS, go to See how our starter libraries, the central library concept, best-in-class component management, and high-quality land-pattern creator can improve your library management process and make library creation and maintenance a little less exhausting.

Thanks for reading,


22 October, 2014

If you’ve never attended the PCB Carolina electronics trade show – you have been missing out!

This FREE event will be held Nov. 5th at the McKimmon Center at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. Organized by the RTP (Research Triangle Park) Chapter of the IPC Designers Council. This show offers education, networking, and a vendor exhibition presenting components, products, software, and services for the Electronics Industry.


This full day event host:

– A SOLD OUT vendor Exhibition floor with over 50 Vendors
16 Technical session speakers include: Eric Bogatin of Be the Signal, Dr. Douglas Hopkins of NC State, Dr. Bruce Archambeault of Archambeault EMI/EMC and Mentors own Steve McKinney presenting “Crazy Layout Rules and their Origins”.

Clck here to: REGISTER NOW640_PCBC2012_68

LIKE FREE STUFF ?    As if the free admission, technical sessions and exhibition floor weren’t enough, register and you’ll receive:  a Show Bag, a Show Shirt, a Show Pen. If you Opt In, you will be entered in the drawing for over 100 gifts donated by the vendors valued at $25 min. More giveaways at vendor exhibits too.

Free Breakfast: 7:30 – 9:30
Free Lunch: 11:30 – 1:30
and a Free Reception from 5:00 – 6:00  Sponsored by Mentor Graphics with Live Music by Ewes’ Tree

foodTo learn more, visit

Stop by the Mentor exhibit and say hello!     Hope to see you there,


13 October, 2014

Hosted by EE Journal’s Amelia Dalton, this PADS Chalk Talk series of webcasts delivers an informative and engaging  question-and-answer session with Jim Martens, PADS Product Marketing Manager on some popular PADS topics. Each webcast listed below is accompanied by a white paper that you can download now!

PADS VX: Redefining Productivity: When it comes to PCB Design, the giant companies don’t get ALL the cool toys. Desktop design tools are now getting impressive capabilities that rival their enterprise-scale big brothers. Download the White paper now.


Design Control, Data & Comparison with PADS Design Archive: This chalk talk video discusses how a solid design data archive and management system can make a world of difference in your PCB design productivity. A good strategy enables re-use, eliminates costly errors, and allows you to get the most from your team’s engineering efforts.  Download the White paper now.


Overcome the Challenges of Highly Constrained Designs: Many of today’s high-performance board designs have complex timing constraints, and meeting all those constraints can be a significant design challenge. Download the White paper now.

Constrained designs

Verify Design Performance with PADS Best in Class Simulation and Analysis:  It really isn’t important to simulate your PCB design – as long as you don’t care about re-spins, signal integrity, cost… OK, actually, there are many good reasons to simulate your board.


Maximize your Power and Efficiency with PADS Interactive Placement and Routing: For the engineer doing desktop PCB layout, efficiency is important. You don’t want to waste precious time fighting with your PCB tool, and you don’t want to end up with lousy results because you and your tool weren’t getting along. Mentor Graphics PADS provides an efficient, high-productivity interactive placement and routing environment that lets you get great results quickly. Download the White paper now.

Place and routing

Thanks for reading!


8 October, 2014

In today’s competitive marketplace companies cannot afford to have PCB production delayed because of slivers, unintended copper exposed by soldermask, testpoint-to-testpoint spacing, or other issues that should be identified and solved early in layout and long before manufacturing. Catching DFM issues at the design stage is critical because, at each successive step of the production process, the cost of rectifying a problem increases tenfold over the previous step.  This paper offers 100 ways to analyze for design for manufacturability in the PADS PCB design flow.


Learn more about how DFM analysis helps you to eliminate costly manufacturing delays by minimizing supplier “call-backs” and design re-spins by downloading this white paper today !

Click HERE to Download



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 !


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