Mentor Graphics PADS 9.5 is the latest version of the popular PCB design software that offers a comprehensive set of tools for schematic capture, layout, simulation, and verification. PADS 9.5 introduces several new features and enhancements that improve the productivity and quality of PCB design.
In this article, we will highlight some of the key features of PADS 9.5 and how they can benefit you as a PCB designer.
Virtual Pin Support
One of the new features in PADS 9.5 is the virtual pin support, which allows you to create pins that are not physically connected to any pad or via on the board. Virtual pins can be used for various purposes, such as defining test points, adding annotations, or creating logical connections between components.
Virtual pins can be easily created and edited using the Pin Editor tool in PADS Layout. You can assign attributes such as name, number, net, and type to each virtual pin. You can also use virtual pins in PADS Logic and PADS Router to define connectivity and routing rules.
Another new feature in PADS 9.5 is the bottom view, which allows you to view and edit the bottom side of the board without flipping it over. This can be useful for working with components that are mounted on the bottom layer, such as BGAs or QFNs.
The bottom view can be toggled on and off using a toolbar button or a keyboard shortcut in PADS Layout. When the bottom view is enabled, the board is displayed as if you are looking at it from below, with the layers reversed and mirrored. You can also use the bottom view in PADS Router to route traces on the bottom layer.
Automation Interface Enhancements
PADS 9.5 also includes several enhancements to the automation interface, which allows you to customize and automate various tasks in PADS using scripts or external applications. Some of the enhancements are:
New methods and properties for accessing and modifying objects such as components, nets, traces, vias, planes, decals, and pads.
New events for capturing user actions such as selecting, moving, rotating, copying, deleting, or placing objects.
New commands for performing operations such as zooming, panning, measuring, aligning, distributing, or grouping objects.
New functions for importing and exporting data such as netlists, reports, libraries, or Gerber files.
These enhancements make it easier and more powerful to create custom scripts or applications that interact with PADS and extend its functionality.
Placement Keepouts in Decals
PADS 9.5 also introduces the ability to define placement keepouts in decals, which are reusable symbols that represent components or other objects on the board. Placement keepouts are areas where no other objects can be placed or routed.
Placement keepouts can be useful for preventing collisions or interference between components or other objects on the board. For example, you can use placement keepouts to avoid placing components too close to connectors, switches, LEDs, or heat sinks.
Placement keepouts can be created and edited using the Decal Editor tool in PADS Layout. You can assign attributes such as name and layer to each placement keepout. You can also use placement keepouts in PADS Logic and PADS Router to enforce placement and routing rules.
Plane Connect in PADS Viewer
PADS Viewer is a free tool that allows you to view and share PCB designs created with PADS. PADS 9.5 adds a new feature to PADS Viewer called plane connect, which allows you to see how traces are connected to planes on the board.
Plane connect can be useful for verifying the connectivity and integrity of your PCB design. For example, you can use plane connect to check if traces are properly connected to ground or power planes, or if there are any shorts or opens between traces and planes.
Plane connect can be enabled or disabled using a toolbar button or a menu option in PADS Viewer. When plane connect is enabled, traces that 061ffe29dd