“The only constant in life is change” nowhere is this adage truer than in the world of software. Updates, releases, patches … They are a part of our lives as experts work behind the scenes to constantly improve and fine-tune what we all use. Be it apps on our phones or the major applications we use in our daily lives.
Last week, the latest version of Cadence OrCAD and Allegro 17.4-2019 HotFix SPB17.40.019 was released and we shared a top-level view of the new and exciting changes across all the products. Now, let’s look at the top changes in Allegro® System Capture and why you should consider moving to this version.
In the release announcement post, I linked, we talked about a new Start Page, from where you can not only open and create projects, you can access nearly every piece of information and training material available for Allegro System Capture and other related products. We also covered the smooth and automatic localization support for Chinese and Japanese locales, and more. Now, let’s go and look deeper into the new and exciting changes. It was hard to cover everything in a single blog post. So, I have divided the list into two parts. Here goes Part 1.
Allegro System Capture supports three formats for the parts libraries, Allegro® Unified, Design Entry HDL (DE-HDL), and OrCAD® Capture. When you create a project, you can pick the library format this project will use. This is set at the time of project creation and cannot be changed later.
This works a bit differently when multiple designers connect to a central Allegro® Pulse server. There, the library format is decided by the library administrators.
It’s always reassuring to have things checked before progressing to the next step. Be it spellcheck to catch typos in a document or DRCs in a schematic. In this release, graphical DRCs have been added to Design Integrity and new rules have been added for schematic audit checks. You have more than 80 rules to choose from. The results of design audits are displayed in the dashboard and designers can choose to waive off DRCs.
Another interesting new feature is the ability to enforce reviews before running audits. This option requires specific licenses. When activated, devices that have one or more parameters with default values are highlighted. You first need to check and confirm the default parameter values for the device and then run the analysis.
NetGroups and PortGroups are powerful tools in a logic designer’s arsenal when adding connectivity. Using them in schematic designs speeds up establishing the connectivity and even helps in quickly navigating the design through hierarchies and across pages. This ability to connect large pin-count devices by grouping nets as NetGroups has been vastly enhanced in this update. Simple and helpful tooltips that display the members of a NetGroup to visual indicators for unconnected or leftover pins just make things more efficient. But the big-ticket items are even more impressive and useful. Allegro System Capture brings to you the flexibility of mapping the NetGroup members to pins of PortGroups, automatic name-based connections, ability to customize the NetGroup hierarchy, automatic conflict resolution when NetGroup members are deleted, and many more helpful changes.
For me, the availability of tabular formats for customizing the NetGroup structure just makes things faster. Compare, decide, change, click, and done.
There’s a whole lot more to NetGroups and PortGroups in this release.
If you are in a multi-user enterprise setup, the changes in Unified Search are going to be even more interesting for you. When connected to a central Alegro Pulse server, you can create filters efficiently on specific properties, while selecting min and max values, multiple values, ranges, and so on.
CIS Relational DB support has also been added and now designers on Windows machines with OrCAD® Capture Component Information System (CIS) setups can view manufacturer data, such as MPN, in Allegro System Capture part details.
There are other administrator-side changes in Unified Search that control the default search filters. But more on that later.
Team design is a constantly improving area in Allegro System Capture. From designs and blocks, design leads or whoever owns and shares the designs, can go a step further and share pages with other designers. The Commit and Update tasks have also been fine-tuned.
Designers can now open layout files within Allegro System Capture! The sophisticated level of commands and features that are available in Allegro® PCB Editor is still unparalleled, but it’s definitely convenient at times to switch tabs within the same window.
This release includes automatic cross-probing so position your tabs, click, and watch the same component being highlighted both in the schematic tab and the layout tab. And if you have Allegro® Constraint Manager open, there, as well. It’s just faster to locate things.
Let’s take a break at this point. There are many more exciting improvements! I’ll be back soon with Part 2 of this post and talk about changes in the web dashboard, Live BOM, PLM, grid support, and many other areas.
Until next time!
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