Free Design Rule Checker Focuses on PCB Designs

Free Design Rule Checker Focuses on PCB Designs

Siemens Mentor group now offers a free version of its HyperLynx design-rule-checking software for checking printed circuit boards using the latest high-speed serial interfaces.

Mentor, a Siemens business, is into a wide range of software, from real-time operating systems (RTOSs) to chip-design tools. Also in the mix is printed-circuit-board (PCB) design software.

Quite a bit has changed in the PCB design arena over time, and Mentor’s PADS PCB design tool and Xpedition Enterprise multi-board design tool have been on the forefront. However, these days, PCB design requires a lot more than just layout tools because of the increased use of wireless and high-speed serial interfaces, which have more demanding PCB requirements.

The HyperLynx software helps PCB engineers efficiently analyze, solve, and verify critical PCB design requirements so that boards work as intended. HyperLynx includes the HyperLynx SI signal-integrity analysis tool, HyperLynx PI power-integrity analysis tool, and the HyperLynx DRC design-rule-checking software. HyperLynx SI and HyperLynx PI incorporate trace modelers, field solvers and simulation engines. 

1. HyperLynx DRC rules allow for automatic checking of PCB designs.

Reworking a PCB is usually less expensive than redoing a chip, but the costs can still be significant. Likewise, problems may not arise until a device has been in the field, so it pays to make sure things are designed properly from the start. The aforementioned tools aren’t inexpensive, but they can easily pay for themselves in reducing the time to market as well as allowing designers to confidently deliver working designs for production.

Now, however, a free version of HyperLynx DRC is available (Fig. 1). It’s a handy way to try out the software; many can take advantage of the tool and perhaps discover they may not need more advanced services or other tools.

The new free version of HyperLynx DRC is able to perform impedance and topology checks as well as differential impedance, pair checking, and pair phase matching. It can handle decoupling capacitor placement, metal islands, and net crossing gaps. The tool maintains eight core design rules and supports PCB design flows from Mentor, Zuken, Cadence, and Altium in addition to ODB++and IPC2581 standards.

The low-cost “gold” edition has a 22-rule set with a large number of additional features, including support for long nets, edge-rate checking, multiple vias, and different topologies such as fly-by and star. The higher-end developer edition provides access to advanced geometry engines. Users of the developer edition have the ability to write custom design rules. It also supports VBScript and JavaScript, and a built-in script debugging environment.

2. All versions of HyperLynx DRC, including the free option, use a graphical user interface in addition to providing results in spreadsheet formats.

The HyperLynx Fast 3D Solver is an accelerated, full-3D electromagnetic-quasi-static (EMQS) extractor that can handle power integrity, low-frequency SSN/SSO, and complete-system Spice model generation while accounting for skin-effect impact on resistance and inductance. This would be used for the latest system-in-package (SiP), package-on-package (PoP), stacked die, and multichip module (MCM) designs.

All versions of HyperLynx DRC share a common graphical environment (Fig. 2).

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