In this video, we are going to take a look at eCADSTAR's schematic interface and the humble connection. The net. The connectivity between your devices. How easy is this and what options do we have. And we are focusing on just the drawing options available to us in eCADSTAR. Not any preloading of PCB geometry requirements like trace width, net to net clearance, and shielding, layer restrictions and even colour.
Ok, so connections. Pretty simple. In the first instance, we have co-incident connections. Drop a device pin onto of another pin and it makes a connection for us as we drag away.
The next method, regardless of whatever mode you are in if you simply drag away from a symbol pin it will launch the ‘Net’ mode for you. As you can see from this dialog (zoom in on video) we have 3 options for net entry. Actually 4 if we include ‘through connections, and a 5th if you include coincident pin placement. I used the manual connection method in this second net connections. Where every direction change needs input from the user. Let me undo that and repeat it before we look at the others.
Semi-Automatic. We click on the start point and we click on the endpoint. The net is then left floating on our cursor for us to position. I find myself using this one the most. Then we have automatic. Click on a start point, click on the endpoint and eCADSTAR will determine where the net should go. It does a pretty good job.
The automatic net connections did a nice job for us because the devices were on a uniformed, staggered matrix and it looks at the centre distance as a starring point. But we align these devices on one edge we can still use the auto connect. It will connect A to B for us. We may well see some overlaps depending on device placement but we can simply move the devices and it will snap the nets to the working grid for us and align them neatly.
With through connection enabled we can simply draw our net straight through devices and eCADSTAR breaks the net up into system-generated net names for us. And finally, co-incident connection. Drop a pin on a pin and it makes a connection for us as we drag away.
Ok, lets look at some of the other connectivity options. Copy and paste, bus connections, inter and intra sheet connections and global signals.
Here I’m using the manual connection method because I only have one pin to connect to and I’m just going to enter a few of these then copy them down.
Let's ignore the pin functions being displayed on this device and imagine we have a nice uncomplicated data bus. You will see if I undo those connections that I can also pre-load these nets with a netname and set it to auto-increment. Better yet would be to enter this as a proper bus.
We have a few different ways we can manage the names of the next and the bus so let's start with the increment net/bus feature. Once the nets are entered we can auto increment names again. Depending on the direction I drive my cursor it will name the nets accordingly. Top to bottom. Or Bottom to top.
Next, I can use the Name Net/Bus feature and this is a really neat feature. I’ll expand on this in a moment, but you can see here I click on a segment of the BUS and eCADSTAR knows which nets are physically connected to it. I can then use this feature to preload the Bus name for me, concatenating the data series into a Bus name. We can override that if we want.
Lets backpedal a little and I can show you that feature being used on individual nets.
I’m going to bring in the second gate for this device and connect a few pins up to a Global signal. Now, this global signal has no predefined netname. It is net neutral. But I can use the same naming method as before. So eCADSTAR looks at all the connected pin names and offers them as ‘suggestions’ for net names. Again, are not obliged to use them we can override.
We’re now free to copy this device to use in other places and it will retain that net name. We can of course change this from the properties dialogue or once connected use the same name net/bus command we just been using.
I haven’t shown you inter and intra sheet connectors but they can be named in exactly the same way as this global signal and they are hyperlinked so you can click on them and they will take you to the corresponding sheet where the net with the same name exists.
As you can see eCADSTAR is offering us some really easy to use connection methods and lots of options and flexibility regarding naming.