Free download PCB design package updated; new features in DesignSpark PCB Version 5.0

April 17, 2013 // By Julien Happich
RS Components has unveiled the latest release of DesignSpark PCB, the company's professional software for schematic capture and PCB layout.

DesignSpark PCB Version 5.0 integrates two additional features within the free design tool - online Design Rule Checking and buses - which have been introduced to further reduce design times for engineers and to minimise errors during the design process.
This new release builds upon the previous version of DesignSpark PCB announced in October 2012, which provided access to the industry-leading ModelSource component library, PCB quote service and BOM quote functionality.

Design Rule Checking, DRC, is normally carried out in the post-design phase. Online DRC is an advancement of this process that enables the engineer to detect errors in real-time during the design stage, highlighting any issues before the design is finalised and layout completed. The increasing adoption of digital design has resulted in the use of on-chip buses to transfer data, enabling the engineer to combine multiple data signals into a bus in multiples of 8 (e.g. 8, 16, 32). Instead of drawing and/or labelling the individual wires in a schematic, a single 'bus wire’ can be used to represent related wires, thus simplifying the final schematic. This also enables simulation and debugging to be carried out with minimum errors. Buses have been added directly into DesignSpark PCB Version 5.0, allowing the engineer to refine the schematic during the design phase.

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