An Altium PCB Project: Design, Layout, Prototype


This project was my first using Altium Designer instead of Eagle or PCB123, the free packages. I helped to design the circuit, enter the schematic, create the PCB layout, and get prototype boards manufactured. In each phase I used Altium myself to perform a substantial portion of the design. Here is the ‘top’ schematic page, in which some symbols represent other pages. The MPU, an Atmel component, is shown. This design was scrapped and no code was written for it.


Here’s a screenshot of the prototype PCB’s layout. All portions of the layout, including the portion I did, were done by hand. Autorouting was not used. I sent the output (“gerber” files) to a local PCB manufacturer and ordered a couple prototype boards.


This is the prototype PCB that I hand assembled. I did this with .020 lead-free solder, a very fine Metcal tip, and a binocular microscope. The missing component was an expensive one that wasn’t necessary for basic testing. The power supply section was tested, and a programming connection via the AVRStudio IDE was made to the Atmel MPU. The project was revised before any code was written.

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