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After a quick overview of Allegro® System Capture, let’s start at the very beginning of the design process. Where are the parts? What parts can you use when creating an Allegro System Capture logical design? Parts, as you know, are the basic building blocks of a logical design and designers work with stable part collections or libraries. As a designer, you need to know nearly every piece of information for each part that is available, for example symbols and footprints. Any mistake or problem in a part can have a cascading impact on quality and cost.
If you are a seasoned designer, you would have established part libraries, and switching to new libraries, can easily be the biggest hurdle. No one would want to lose their investments in part creation and existing libraries.
Now, when someone offers a new way to do things, most people would fall in one of these categories:
In this post, let’s see what Allegro System Capture has in terms of library support for both these categories of potential users, and for those who want to explore its native part creation abilities.
If you are a designer who has been working with Allegro® Design Entry HDL (DE-HDL) or OrCAD® Capture, you can continue working with those libraries while switching to Allegro System Capture just for the schematic capture design tasks. You just point to the libraries and Allegro System Capture reads them and treats them as regular parts.
The caveat here is you cannot edit the parts from within Allegro System Capture, that needs to happen in the application where the parts were authored. But there is no need to worry. In case any parts are changed in the libraries, you will get notified. This brings me to Part Manager. The mission of Part Manager is to compare all the parts in the design with their sources and help you use the latest and greatest part changes.
Allegro System Capture supports importing OrCAD Capture libraries (OLBs) into the native Allegro System Capture format. Once imported, these parts can be edited from within Allegro System Capture, offering greater flexibility and control. For all practical purposes, it's now a native Allegro System Capture library.
Allegro System Capture has extensive built-in part and library creation and editing abilities. So, you can work on the schematic and even libraries and parts, all in the same place. You can easily switch between schematic and parts without shifting your focus from one application to another. The new parts are immediately available to the schematic.
The native library is called Allegro® Unified Library and all the parts created in Allegro System Capture along with all related information, such as symbols, properties, datasheet, and footprint information, get stored there. The library authoring and part editing features are easily accessible when working on an Allegro System Capture project. You can view a list of all the parts or symbols from a library. Here is an example.
One change you will notice as you work with Allegro Unified Libraries is now you have something called a container. We'll have more on this new way of working with native libraries in another post.
In case you have no prior work in these formats and just want to explore Allegro System Capture and need parts, you can download them from external vendors, namely Ultra Librarian and SymacSys. You need a cadence.com account for both part providers. For Ultra Librarian, you also need to have an Ultra Librarian account.
So, those are the different ways libraries can be accessed or created. I hope there is something there for you to start with.
Once you have the libraries in place, you are ready to start actual designing. In addition to using existing libraries while designing in Allegro System Capture, you can also reuse designs in many ways in Allegro System Capture, ranging from importing blocks and sheets or even creating a design based on existing designs. We'll learn more details in a subsequent post.
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