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I am slightly new to Altium and I've not run into such a problem with other EDA software.

I use version 20. I can find simple stuff like resistors in the included library and at least a few footprints for them. The manufacturer part search is more extensive, but by far does not include every part with a model, so I could directly place it.

I couldn't even find a specific TI dual opamp with a model, so I went through the trouble to create my own symbol for dual opamps.

Then I found out that even completely standard footprints such as MSOP/TSOP/VSSOP-8 used for dual opamps are not in the default library! I will not go through the trouble to redraw all possible parts in the world just to use Altium.

Also I cannot use only the footprint from manufacturer parts. I can only use entire manufacturer components, if they exist.

Is this all a joke or am I not getting something? It is not even possible to construct the most basic circuits without drawing half of your components. I couldn't find any comprehensive PCBlib file which includes all standard footprints either.

Please tell me what am I doing wrong. Also please don't tell me that "I usually draw all components myself." I know, I've drawn many components in my life in different tools but never did I have to draw an opamp before. In this is one of the most expensive softwares out there.

In case there is no useful remedy to this problem in Altium other than in fact drawing all the parts, what other software can you suggest that has useful hierarchical design capabilities across schematic and PCB?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There are differing schools of thought on this; I rarely put two op amps in the same schematic symbol (I use 4 separate schematic symbols for a quad for instance within one item) and there are often subtle differences between footprints. In far more expensive packages (such as Cadence or Mentor Graphics) I have never found anything default. Note that the IPC compliant footprint generator is not always going to match the manufacturer's recommended footprint. This is all a bit of a minefield for the vendors. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Smith Apr 30 at 10:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ The issue with manufacturer recommended footprints is probably important for things like QFN or BGA packages and parts with exposed pads. But for leaded parts, the land pattern doesnt really matter as long as you hit pitch and spread. I also use two separate symbols for the dual opamp, but could not find this option (nor the single symbol one) as default in Altium. Everything seems to have moved to the manufacturer part search (outsourcing responsibility at same price) and anything not available there has to be drawn. \$\endgroup\$ – tobalt Apr 30 at 10:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's the rub: Even if a Sch symbol & Pcb footprint were supplied by the chip manufacturer, with a seal of approval AND a gold star... I would still need to check every little bit of it. Mistakes do happen. Regularly. You may as well make the CAD data yourself, leaving only yourself to blame for problems. That's the job you've taken on. Generation is really quick, easy, and makes you a happy engineer. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Knudsen Apr 30 at 12:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ A number of manufacturers provide data in a format used by Ultra Librarian; this tool can generate the symbols and footprints from the raw data for many CAD packages, but as noted by @ChrisKnudsen, mistakes can still occur and the parts will still need to be checked. ultralibrarian.com \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Smith Apr 30 at 13:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Also I cannot use only the footprint from manufacturer parts. I can only use entire manufacturer components, if they exist." Why? That's very unfortunate, to put it mildly. Seems like an unnecessary limitation that will only cause you and your company more grief, and money. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Knudsen Apr 30 at 13:39
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You can right click on the Component in the Manufacturer search and click on download. You'll get a zip file with symbol and footprint. This way you can download all footprints.

Alternatively you can use a library loader like this one.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll stick to my position: Do not trust downloadable libraries forum.live.altium.com/#posts/237669/725564 \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Knudsen May 1 at 15:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Felix. That was what I was looking for. I agree to everyone that making your own parts is the most reliable way. Maintaining own libraries is a good route for larger teams. In my case, PCB making is not a main task and checking existing libs is much faster and often cleaner than making my own.. based on my experience. Also the chance that renowned manufacturers make a mistake in an absolute commodity part is very very minor \$\endgroup\$ – tobalt May 4 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tobalt totally agree with you. But i'd recomend you to check each footprint you used, once your finished. Just print the PCB on paper, and check manually. Pay attention to the pins. On my last pcb i've downloaded a 1N4148, really common diode, from the "altium manufacturer part search" and the pins were switched. The marking for the cathode was on the wrong pin. \$\endgroup\$ – Felix Kunz May 4 at 9:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FelixKunz Indeed, diodes are the parts that I see very often with the exact same flaw you mention. At one point I even doubted that I got the convention wrong myself lol \$\endgroup\$ – tobalt May 4 at 12:53

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