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Introduction

I'm new to Altium and trying to find the best workflow for it. The main concern for me is a library management. I found some ready to-use libraries: PcbLib from my colleague (it is the best as it was well tested and work fine for our production), SchLib from Internet (which is fit to GOST Russian standard, I don't like the SchLib from the same colleague as she uses integrated libs and there is a lot of symbols with value included which is not convenient for me).

The problem

Let's say I'd like to put BC807 transystor (PNP in SOT-23). The symbol in my SchLib (from Internet) is OK, but the footprint is wrong - TO-92. I can put it in schematic anyway and replace the footprint by editing part properties. However I see that the pin assignment is wrong.

Solutions

I assume that the footprint should have only one pin assignment. So I need to edit schematic library element.

1) I faced that in some schematic libraries such parts as BJT represented in several variants, like:

  • NPN-BCE
  • NPN-BEC
  • NPN-CEB...

This always seemed to be OK for me, so in this case I'd modify schematic library to add all variants.

2) I can put the part in the schematic and manually edit the part properties to fit the footprint. I don't like this idea as there will be more hand work and more errors for that reason. Moreover - I don't know how to view and change pin assignment in schematic editor yet.

3) Force my self to learn more about integrated libs and create libraries for my own. I foresee a lot of extra work but I think that it could worth it.

4) Your solution?

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Firstly: There's also reasons to make value specific parts, one being absolute certainty every detail, including supply line is defined by your library for all projects.

Secondly: Never. EVER! change part specifics in a schematic that aren't also reflected by the library.
What happens if someone decides to change the naming of your component? He/she then updates all schematics from the library and suddenly every thing about your schematic is broken. Cannot be allowed to happen!

This then implies that you should really make neat representations for the exact parts you are using. The first few times may take you 30 minutes, but once you know all the hot-keys or button locations, it's a 3 minute job to draw a component or footprint, or to make proper links and variants, if you know what you're doing. Especially if the footprint is supported by the IPC Wizard.

For mundane things like standard SOT/SOP/TQFP/BGA/etc it takes me much less than three minutes if the datasheet uses IPC compliant naming in the size table.

Whether or not you use integrated libraries (I don't - I have a versioned bunch of Sch/Pcb Libs that can be joined into projects), you should make serious choices if you intend to use the program professionally and not just slack off and copy-paste till you drop. That's a great way to make crappy shit at a high rate with zero gems in between.

You either learn how to use the program properly, or you tell whomever is paying you for it that you're not up to the job.

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You really should not use separate SchLib and PcbLib files. They MUST be linked to each-other. So taking one form your colleague and one from the internet is a BAD idea.

You can extract the SchLib and PcbLib files from an IntLib. Just go to Altium and select File --> Open and navigate to the IntLib file. When you click "Open" it will ask you if you'd like to extract the libraries.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you please comment why I shouldn't use separate libs? It looks pretty easy to associate footprints to the components during the schematic creating process. Or I should be aware of something? \$\endgroup\$ – Roman Matveev Oct 2 '16 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ You'd have to go through every schematic symbol and manually attach every possible PCB footprint. If you want to do this (and honestly I don't know why you would) then I suppose you could do that. The other thing is that there could be more symbols than footprints, or vice versa, and for the library to be complete you'd need to create the missing library components by hand. Just seems like more trouble than it's worth -- Just extract the SchLib and PcbLib files from the IntLib and it's all there, already linked. \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 Oct 2 '16 at 17:16

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