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Is there a way that I can test my PCB by myself (if it works properly or not) before sending the design to the manufacturer? Like if Altium has some kind of feature like that? Or is there other software? Or if there is any kind of devices that help in testing PCBs?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you're buying a few thousand at a time, you may wish to engage the test engineering services of the manufacturer (or find one so equipped). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 17:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Buy one from a quick turn service, build it, test it. You can usually turn this around in 2-3 weeks using express shipping. Simulation helps enormously to develop designs that work the first time, but it's not a panacea. I would never manufacture a complex design without physically building one. \$\endgroup\$
    – Drew
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ usually the projects are of few pcbs like between 10 and 20, but what do u mean by buy one from a quick service? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 17:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ PCB design tools like Altium can verify that your layout matches your schematic and can do some basic electrical rules checking based on assigned pin type. It is possible to do small-scale simulation of analog circuits in Altium if you have component models. But it is not possible to fully simulate a complex circuit board. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam Haun
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can use the Proteus software for simulation, this is will help you to see if your circuit works, if it does , then copy it to Altium and make PCB. Run design rule checks and make all connections. The circuit should work most probably after that. \$\endgroup\$
    – kam1212
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 19:07

2 Answers 2

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To ensure that your PC board matches the schematic, use the ERC (Electrical Rules Check) function. ERC will check for unconnected input pins, multiple output pins connected together, and other schematic faults.

Run DRC (Design Rules Check) on the PB board. This will check for shorted or missing connections, clearance between tracks and pads, and other layout problems.

You should try to correct all ERC and DRC errors, but there may be some reported errors that can be ignored if you know they will not cause a problem.

Errors from either DRC or ERC will not prevent you from generating the Gerber and drill files to manufacture the PC board.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank u for ur help, I already know those functions, but I wanted to know if I can test it like when drawing a circuit using circuit wizard software for example or matlab and run a simulation so u could see how the current flows what voltages are there and so on and if this connection is good or not , is there similar thing for pcb? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 18:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, Altium and others have simulation facilities so you can confirm that your schematic as valid (subject to the SPICE models being adequate for your application and your simulation parameters being valid). Once the simulation shows that the schematic is valid, DRC can confirm that the PCB is a correct implementation of the schematic. You can go as far as you feel necessary with design rules, eg specifying track widths and spacing for specific nets. Eventually you’ll get to a point where making a prototype is best use of your time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Frog
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ still a beginner, I hope to reach that point, thank u so much \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 12:45
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I am using Mentor Graphics PADS-PCB, which is an integrated design suite, and includes schematic capture, layout, and autorouter. Although it is the 2004 version, it still works well for simple and moderately complex designs. I also have the 2005 version and their 9.x package, but I really don't need the extra functionality, and the 2004 schematic software does not require a dongle.

To start, draw a schematic, and create or use third party components, which will have attributes. If there are design questions, you can ask questions here, before getting too deep. Then you can use layout module, where you can assign physical attributes such as track width and spacing, and you can run a design rules check.

As for determining the actual performance, a good simulator is very useful, although my app of choice, LTspice, is mostly useful for analog circuits.

Once you have created a complete package, including Gerber files, you can use something like FreeDFM, which may detect manufacturing problems. They will also show a quote. However, you can get boards made in China for less than $5 each. I haven't had any problems, but you may want to choose a more costly fab house if high reliability is paramount.

Finally, you may be able to perform a Power On Self Test or a special test mode to aid in troubleshooting, particularly if there is a microcontroller.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ looks pretty useful, thank u so much \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 12:46

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