PCB Design Analysis Software Guidelines

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Input Guidelines for HyperLynx BoardSim




1.  PCB Layout Files


BoardSim reads .HYP (HyperLynx format) ASCII files created for PCB layouts.  The .HYP file contains information about the board’s layout that is relevant to signal integrity analysis. 


Note:  Names assigned to boards, schematics, and multiple board project files should be unique and not shared.  BoardSim automatically creates a .PJH file (a project file named after a board, schematic or multiple boards) and can overwrite previously saved settings with that of a file using a redundant name.


2.  Board Routing


If un-routed nets exist in the .HYP file, BoardSim provides for routing during the input loading process by using Manhattan Routing.  Manhattan Routing may also be used after the .HYP file has been loaded.  Early in the PCB layout process, after components have been placed, nets that have not yet been routed (i.e. un-routed nets) may be routed and analyzed.   Previously routed nets that do not meet signal timing, signal integrity, crosstalk, or EMI goals may be re-routed for analysis.  BoardSim's Manhattan routing capability allows for a "what if" analysis to predict the effects of routing, re-routing, or component repositioning.


BoardSim's Manhattan Routing mimics real routing by generating the physical parameter values (e.g. net length, trace width, etc.) required for simulation. BoardSim can create Manhattan Routing for un-routed, partially routed, or fully routed nets.  BoardSim re-routes partially routed and fully routed nets by first completely un-routing them, then re-routing them with Manhattan Routing.


Note:  Manhattan Routing connects pins by a simple daisy chain method.  However, the routing path between pins is undefined.  This is sufficient for signal integrity analysis, but crosstalk analysis requires trace-to-trace proximity information that can be derived only from full routing information.  For multiple board projects being loaded into BoardSim, Manhattan Routing is created only for the selected board ID (i.e. Manhattan Routing stops at the board's external connector).


3.  Board Stackup


When BoardSim loads a board, it examines the stackup in the .HYP file to determine if it is electrically valid.  If not, BoardSim runs the Stackup Wizard to make corrections.  If the Stackup Wizard runs, it opens and shows a list of the changes that it made to the stackup.  Additional corrections may be made manually with the stackup editor. 


Note:  Even if the Stackup Wizard does not run, the correct stackup information should be available for verification.  A correct stackup is important because it affects the impedances of the traces on the boards.  The impedances in turn affect BoardSim’s simulation results.  Layers may be added, moved, deleted, and edited.  There must be at least one plane layer in the stackup, and all layers must have non-zero thickness.


4.  Reference Designators


When BoardSim loads a board, it examines the list of devices in the .HYP file and tries to determine the component type (i.e. IC, R, C, L, and ferrite bead) of each device by looking at the device’s reference designator prefix.  A "Prefix" is defined as the first part of the reference designator (usually the alphabet character of an alphanumeric name or the identifier that is in common with all components of the same type).  For example, if all of the ICs on a board have a reference designator of the form "Uxx" (U1, U2, U3A, U3B, etc.), then "U" would be the reference designator prefix for ICs.  Capacitors would commonly have a prefix of “C” and resistors "R".  Verification and mapping changes may be needed if problems are indicated.  


Note:  BoardSim has a set of default mappings for reference designator prefixes that it uses to identify the component types for devices in the .HYP file.  If your rules for reference designators match BoardSim’s defaults, then there is no need to change any of the mappings.


5.  Power Supply Nets


When BoardSim loads a board, it attempts to identify power supply nets by their names (BoardSim has certain built-in name matching rules) and by looking at the number of capacitors connected to each net.  In some cases, BoardSim cannot find all the power supply nets, so some of them may require manual identification using the power supply editor along with the correct circuit design information.


Note:  Identifying power supply nets is important because BoardSim treats a power supply as a DC voltage. If, for example, the power supply side of a pull-up resistor is mistaken for a non power supply net, BoardSim will simulate the resistor as a series terminator instead of a parallel terminator.  Also, the Vcc and Vss pins on an IC can only be attached in BoardSim to nets identified as power supplies.


6.  Net Identification


Net identification utilizes the net’s assigned name. 

Note:  Unnamed nets will be identified with a reference designator assigned by BoardSim.


7.  Driver and Receiver ICs


BoardSim supports four model formats, .MOD and .PML (HyperLynx formats), .IBS and .EBD (both are IBIS formats, which are industry standard formats). .MOD and .PML models are in libraries with file extensions .MOD and .PML. .IBS and .EBD models are in libraries with extensions .IBS and .EBD. There is a large collection of standard logic models in library GENERIC.MOD; there are generic technology models (e.g., 3.3-V fast CMOS) in library EASY.MOD.

Note:  For simulation, BoardSim requires a driver IC for each net to be analyzed. Receiver ICs may also be added for greater accuracy.  Any unspecified IC models are treated as electrically "open."  Signal integrity simulations require only the models for device families and not necessarily specific devices, since only output buffer and input stage characteristics need to be modeled.

8.  Passive Components


When BoardSim loads a board, it attempts to identify resistor and capacitor values from data provided by the PCB layout tool.


Note:  In some cases, BoardSim is not given the correct values, so these may require manual verification and changes using the known values.


9.  Passive Component Packages


When BoardSim loads a board, it attempts to identify the non-discrete resistors and capacitors that are contained in packages along with other Rs or Cs.  In some cases, BoardSim cannot properly identify the package style or internal connectivity of the packaged Rs or Cs. 


Note:  Some of these cases may require manual identification and configuration using the package editor along with the correct device information.


10.  Simulation


BoardSim allows placement of the oscilloscope probes at any of the device pins on a net.  The simulation presents a choice of either a single edge (rising or falling) or a repetitive oscillator waveform. 


Note:  The single edge is recommended for isolating transmission line effects without the confusing effects due to any additional transitions.  The oscillator waveform is better for studying the standing wave effects of a repetitive source.  The oscilloscope also allows control of whether the IC models in a simulation run with best case (fast driver, strong receiver), typical, or worst case (slow driver, weak receiver) operating parameters.  Specific operating characteristics should be provided for critical cases. 


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