Proteus PCB Design software combines the Schematic Capture and ARES PCB layout programs to provide a powerful, integrated, and easy-to-use a suite of tools for professional Printed Circuit Board design. This tool range is a professionals choice for modern PCB Layout. With over 25 years of continuous development and innovation, the focus remains on adding functionality while maintaining a simple, clean user interface and tight integration with the schematic design.
All Proteus PCB products include a rich set of core functionality, with more advanced features being added in the higher product levels (PCB Level 2 and above). These are discussed further in the topics below. Design capacity also scales with the product range, from a 500 pin limit in the app Starter Kit to unlimited design capacity in the PCB Design Level 3 and the Platinum products.
Product Range Overview
- 16 Copper Layers, 10nm Resolution, any angle placement.
- Lightning-Fast Hardware Accelerated Display.
- Constraint Driven Layout with Design Rule Aware straight and curved interactive routing.
- Integrated Shape-Based Auto routing included as standard.
|Processor||2GHz or faster Intel processor (AMD processors fine but less optimized)|
|Memory||4 GB RAM (recommended 8GB)|
|Storage Space||2 GB of minimum free HDD.|
|Graphics Card||Graphics card supporting OpenGL version 2.0 or higher and/or Direct 3D and multi-sampling (MSAA)|
Proteus PCB Design Features
The supplied libraries cover a large range of through-hole components including all the most common IC, transistor, diode and connector packaging types. It also supplies as standard the full IEC libraries and SMT footprints which include all the standard discrete and IC packaging styles. Both the IPC-782 and the IPC-7351 standard surface mount standard libraries are included. More importantly, It provides a seamless import tool for CAD parts that provides access to over 14 million parts via popular vendors such as SamacSys Library Loader, SnapEDA, PCB Library Expert and Ultra-Librarian.
Templates and Technology Data
The layout module includes a comprehensive scheme for design re-use in the form of board templates and technology data. A user can create several templates representing common projects and then initialize new layouts from a template to preload all of the configured information. A default set of common Eurocard boards are provided as standard. A template file is essentially a basic layout (board edge, mounting holes, etc.) together with a technology data set.
Manual routing makes no requirement that you start from the rats nest lines (rubberbanding). You can place tracking in any way you wish and Proteus will remove rats nest lines as the connections are actually completed. During track placement, the route will follow the mouse wherever possible and will intelligently move around obstacles while obeying the design rules for the project. When editing routes you can re-route or delete any section of a track, irrespective of how it was originally placed. Commands are also provided to change the thickness and/or layer of any section of track.
Length matching of tracks is an essential step in ensuring correct timing at the signal receiver for high-speed transmissions. Proteus includes support for automatic length matching of tracks via a simple select and matches user interface. This includes the ability to have track segments in multiple match groups that are needed for routing topologies like the DDR3 fly-by configuration.
Proteus PCB Design suite includes a world-class integrated shape-based autoroute as standard with all professional purchases. The router uses advanced cost-based conflict reduction algorithms proven to maximize completion rates on even the most densely packed boards. For total control of the routing process, users with the advanced feature set (PCB Design Level 2 and higher) can also drive the router either by writing custom routing scripts or by directly entering routing commands interactively. This provides many additional features such as the ability to route only particular areas or net classes and also additional flexibility such as the ability to specify the fanout direction or length.
It features the ultimate in power plane support – user placeable polygonal regions within which inner boundaries are automatically created around existing pads and tracking. Change the pads and tracking and the boundaries are recomputed to maintain design rule clearances. Thermal reliefs are supported and you can choose whether to hatch or fill each polygon. Inner zones (nested zones) can be included and/or islands of unconnected copper suppressed. All computation is based on grid-less shape geometry and occurs in the background so that there is no interference in manual board placement for computationally intensive layouts.
Stitching and Shielding
Via stitching is a technique used to tie together larger copper areas on different layers, helping keep return paths short and to reduce noise on the PCB. You can automatically stitch planes in the suite via a simple context menu command. This gives you control over via style and also spacing and row offsets for the stitching pattern.
Teardrops are often used at the connection point between track and pad to prevent drill breakout during board manufacture. Proteus PCB Design includes comprehensive support for teardrops. When enabled, teardrop connections will be made to all qualifying routes. They are then automatically generated, updated and removed as you place, edit and delete routes during board layout.
During manual routing, It checks each track as you place it and warns you if any design rules (physical/electrical) are broken. You can fully customize the board constraints, setting rules by physical regions such as a layer or a user drawn area of the PCB. You can also set rules by electrical net class and then if necessary combine both to form even tighter constraints (e.g. power lines on top copper layer).
Project Notes is an application module in the software for adding documentation or written content to the project. It is a free-form editor so you can add whatever you like in whatever style you want. This may be as simple as scribbling a TBD list at the end of the working day or as formal as an approved revision history for the project.
The 3D Visualisation Tool (3D Viewer) in Proteus provides a way to extrude a layout and view the board as it would appear in real life. This is extremely useful as a design aid during board layout. Navigation, both orbital and ‘fly-by’ is extremely intuitive and mouse controlled. The user can also specify a ‘height plane’ corresponding to the board chassis which will appear as a semi-transparent box around the board, allowing for a quick visual check for protrusions.
As well as supporting the basic ability to output your PCB to standard windows printers, It provides a full set of features for professional board manufacturing. Gerber X2 is the primarily supported manufacturing output format. This format, together with an IPC-D-356 netlist and optional assembly drawings, provides an intelligent and complete representation of the PCB to your manufacturer. Traditional Gerber/Excellon output via the RS274X format is also supported.
Official Video Intro Proteus PCB Design Tutorial
Proteus PCB Design Software FAQs
What is the minimum PC specification for running the Proteus software?
Performance in the Proteus software is generally scalable according to your machine specification. However, the following might be considered the minimum requirements (correct as of Autumn 2017).
2GHz or faster Intel processor (AMD processors fine but less optimized). Graphics card supporting OpenGL Version 2.0 or higher and/or Direct 3D and multi-sampling (MSAA). 3GB RAM (recommended 8GB). Microsoft Windows 7 or later (recommended Microsoft Windows 10 64 bit).
In particular; note that if your graphics card does not satisfy the above requirements the software will run in Windows GDI mode. This means that display of the screen is handled by Windows and not your graphics hardware and therefore that some features of the software will not be available and the performance could be adversely affected. As a general rule, discrete graphics cards such as those from AMD (ATI) and NVIDIA will satisfy these requirements whilst chipset graphics such as those supplied by Intel will not.
What post-sales technical support do I get?
Post-sales support is available free for the life of the product, initially through your sales partner/distributor but also direct from head office if required. No additional charge applies for telephone support at head office in the UK or our North American office, although with project difficulties we may well require the file(s) causing the problem. As we are the sole authors of the software we are confident that you will find us both helpful and knowledgeable about our subject.
Please be aware that while we will try to help with problems for older versions of the software there is an effective end of life and the level of support available will drop as the software becomes more dated.
Is a printed manual supplied with Proteus VSM Professional/Proteus PCB Design Professional?
A Getting Started Guide can be supplied (at extra cost outside of the UK). E-commerce orders are electronic delivery and the documentation is provided as help files within the downloaded application. Context sensitive help and detailed online help is also included with all the Professional products.
Is there a recognised upgrade path for the Professional versions of the software?
Yes, all upgrades are charged at the price difference between your existing package and that to which you want to upgrade. The sole proviso is that you must be current with the last major release of our software. If this is not the case you will have to pay an upgrade charge to the current version and then the price difference between levels as normal.
Will your software produce files that I can send to a PCB manufacturer?
Yes. All versions of Proteus PCB Design Professional can produce Gerber photo plot and Excellent drill files which are the industry standard way of doing this. Output is available in both the older Extended Gerber (274X) and in the newer Gerber X2 formats. The PCB design software also includes a Gerber Viewer which enables you to verify that the Gerber artwork is correct before sending it off for manufacture and ODB++ output is also an output option for users of PCB Level 2 and higher.
Proteus PCB Design Overview
|Title||Proteus PCB Design Software For Windows V 8.12|
|File Size||1.2 GB|
|Requirements||Windows 7 64 bit, Windows 8 64 bit, Windows 10 64 bit|
|Available Languages||English, Italian, French, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, German, Japanese|
|Developer||Labcenter Electronics Ltd|
Proteus PCB Design demonstrates it is a strong contender and one of the best tools in its software category. It comes with a really strong feature pack and the numerous resources it bundles will surely prove helpful for all users.