PCBWeb’s DK catalog contains a lot of parts that already contains its symbol and footprint, but still, there are more parts that are not yet defined, for these we have the part editor to use.
For the following weeks, we will discuss and show you more about the Part Editor tool and its features that some of you might not have been able to use.
The part editor can be easily accessed by clicking the Editor button found under the schematic tab.
After opening Part Editor you’ll notice that it is divided into three tabs Define Part, Add Symbol, and Add Footprint. Define part is where you can bind a custom part to our DK library as well as give you a preview of the symbol and footprint. Add symbol is where we can create the symbol for our parts may it be resistors, capacitors or IC’s. Last but not the least, we have the ‘Add Footprint’ where we can create the footprints for our component. For now, let’s take a look at Add symbol.
Upon opening add symbol, you will see the tools you would need for creating your symbols. Referring to the figure above, we have the basic tools for editing, pin tools, some drawing tools , and Text fields.
With the use of different Pin option you can create your own basic symbols easily for your component’s, this can be very useful on IC’s that can have hundreds of pins. For parts such as resistors, capacitors, inductors and other components that have standard symbols, you can easily draw them with the help of the drawing tools. A useful tip for drawing symbols freely is that you can adjust the grids to make it smaller or bigger depending on what you need, this is found at the lower left of the worksheet.
Text Fields are useful for us to be able to have a bit of information about the part symbols that we are using for our circuits. You can choose whether to show them or not depending on its importance. Like for passive components, it would be best if we show the Reference Designator and the value of a resistor, and we can also show its tolerance if needed, but for IC’s we can do away with just the Reference Designator and it’s Part number. A nice feature that’s included with this is if you bind your custom part to a component on DK catalog, all these texts will be filled up automatically.
After placing few pins on the worksheet each pin will then have a corresponding pin name, pad number, pin type and pin shape under the pin info. Each pin can then be edited individually. If you want to edit multiple pins, this can be done by selecting a group of pins and opening properties on their context menu.
Another feature that only a few notice is that for parts that require multiple sections of symbols, this can be done by clicking “+” to add an additional section. Each section will have its own worksheet but all would be connected to one footprint. This can be very useful for resistor and capacitor arrays. Take note, that if you don’t need the extra section or if no pins are placed on a section’s worksheet an error will pop out when saving. You just need to delete it by doing a right click on a section and select delete section.
After creating your symbol, you can save this for later use by using the save button on this tab. Unlike the save button found on define part, this would only save your symbol and won’t include the footprint. This useful especially for generic symbols, since you can recycle them again for a different part.