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ECE 401: Senior Design 1 Dr.

Mark Schroeder Multisim 8 and Ultiboard 8 Documentation Kristopher Deaustin Darren Lindner Andrew Wallace

This document will give some basic information about placing components and creating a schematic graphically in Electronics Workbench Multisim 8. This schematic can then be transferred to Ultiboard, and ultimately used to create a printed circuit board (PCB). Please refer to other documents for more complete information on the uses of Multisim for purposes other than creating a schematic to make a PCB.

Multisim is a powerful tool which can be used to graphically create a circuit. The circuit can then be simulated and changed easily. Open Multisim by clicking Start -> Programs -> Electronics Workbench -> Multisim 8

This is the screen you should see.

Placing Components:
Components can be placed on the white background, and then connections can be made. Multisim includes real and virtual components. Real components perform as they would in the real world, with properties set for the tolerance, performance under different frequencies, and other values. Although it may be easier to place virtual components since it allows you to modify the values easily, virtual components do not transfer to Ultiboard. For this reason, you should use real components wherever possible. In the screenshot below, the blue resistor (R1) on the left is real, while the black resistor (R2) on the right is virtual.

There are several ways to place components. One is to click Place -> Component from the menu bar at the top of the screen.

This will bring up the Select a Component menu. From here, you can select the group of component you with to place, and then the specific component.

Once you select a component, click ok, and the mouse will turn into a symbol of the component you are placing. Move the mouse to the location you want the part, and left click to place it.

A component can be oriented differently by right clicking and clicking the orientation change.

Making Connections:
As with other functions in Multisim, there are several ways to make connections between components. One way is to click Place -> Wire. The mouse will turn into a crosshair. Click once to start placing the wire, and click again to make the wire go to a certain point.

Double clicking anywhere or clicking once on a pin of another component will complete the connection.

Almost done
Once your schematic is complete, there is one last thing to note before you transfer your creation to Ultiboard. Sources are virtual components, and will not transfer to Ultiboard. Instead, when making a PCB, you will need to use a header to connect power and ground to your circuit, as well as any other I/O pins you need. To place a header, click Place -> Component, and select the group Basic, the family Connectors, and select a header.

Replace any connections to power with connections to a pin on a header, and any connections to ground with connections to a different pin on the header. If there is I/O on the circuit, connect this to the header as well. Headers are arranged with smallest number first. So a 2X1 header would be a 1X2 in the components list.

Creating a Custom Component in NI Multisim

Added 10/14/08 (mjs)

If a desired part or something similar is not available in the Multisim library, you can make your own Multisim component, see for help. Note, this may be for a different version of Multisim but it should still provide some useful information.

Transfer to Ultiboard:
Now your circuit is ready to transfer to Ultiboard, where you can layout your PCB. To complete the process, first save the schematic. Now, from the top menu bar, click Transfer -> Transfer to Ultiboard.

You will be asked to save your circuit again. Save it under the same name as before, and click save.

Ultiboard is a tool which can be used to plan the placement of your components on a PCB, and route the wiring. It provides a number of features to facilitate in the process, including autorouting wires and warning about possible problems with the PCB.

Now you are ready for Ultiboard. Ultiboard will pop up with a message asking you to choose Track Width and Clearance. We recommend the following setup.

Ultiboard Setup:
When Ultiboard loads, all the components will be shown at the top of the screen. The outline below is the PCB.

Go into the PCB properties by clicking Options -> PCB properties.

From here you can change from 2 copper layer pairs to 1. You can only use one pair when making your own board.

Click ok. Now, click on the Layers tab at the left side of the screen.

From here you can remove the Force Vectors, by clicking the check box for Force Vectors twice. The next step is to put all components onto the PCB (in the yellow rectangle). Drag a box around a component or group of components to select them, and drag onto the PCB.

Placing Components:
The yellow lines between components represent the netlist connections between components. When you are putting components onto the PCB, try to arrange them for the minimum number of wires crossing.

One way to reduce the number of wires crossing is to rotate the components, by right clicking on the component, clicking Orientation, and clicking the orientation change.

By reducing the number of wires crossing, the routing of wires will be easier, and can be accomplished with fewer vias (connections between the top and bottom copper planes).

Once all components are placed with the fewest wires crossing, you are ready to autoroute the wires.

To autoroute, click Autoroute/place -> Start Internal Autorouter

The Ripup and Retry screen will appear after some loading

Click Route.

This will bring up the routing screen. Leave the defaults, and click ok. This will take a while, depending on the complexity of your circuit, as Ultiboard routes the wires.

Click ok, and Ultiboard will start routing the wires. It will try multiple times to find the optimal routing plan.

Watch as it continues to route the wires

Once the routing is complete, signified by the Done message in the lower left corner of the screen, close the Ripup/Retry window.

Ultiboard will pop up with a message asking if you want to use this routing. Click yes.

Eliminating Errors:
Now your PCB layout will show the wiring chosen by the autorouter. It is quite possible there will be design rule constraint errors, such as wires being too close to each other or crossing over each other. You can find all the errors by clicking the DRC tab at the bottom of the screen.

Double clicking on an error will zoom in on it on your layout where the error occurs. These will appear as red circles on the layout.

If the wires are too close to each other, it can be fixed by either clicking a wire and dragging it away from the other

or by routing the wire manually. To accomplish this, left click on the wire, zoom out to see where it is going, and then delete it. A yellow line will show the netlist connection, where you must draw a wire.

Now, you can draw a wire by clicking the Place line button, located at the top of the screen.

Before drawing the wire, you must select which layer you want it on. The Layer selection drop-down menu is located in the upper left corner of the screen

Now draw your wire connection.

Once your connection is drawn, stop running wire by right clicking and clicking cancel.

Your completed wire should connect the pins and eliminate the yellow line.

Continue the process until you have eliminated all Design Rule Constraint errors, and all connections are made.

Creating a Custom Component in NI Ultiboard

If a desired part or something similar is not available in the Ultiboard library, you can build your own component. In general, you: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Open Ultiboard Go to Tools Component Wizard Select Through Hole or Surface Mount Decide what type of package you need for your part Determine the dimensions of your part Edit the 3D view data Determine the best Pads and dimensions for your application Determine number of pins and the distances between each pin Decide the direction of the pad numbering

For additional information, see Note, this may be for a different version of Ultiboard but it should still provide some useful information.

Adding text to layout (optional):

You can also add text to the PCB (which will show up in the final PCB). For example, it is useful to label your copper top layer as Top, and the bottom layer as Bottom. Then, when you print the layout on a transparency, you will be able to tell which layer corresponds to top and bottom. You can label components in a similar manner. To do this, click the Place a text button from the top menu bar.

Select the values for text, size, and layer, and choose where to put the text. Select Bold for the Line Font so the text doesnt wash away as easily when making your PCB.

Click ok, and then click where you want to place the text.

Creating power and ground planes (optional):

Now, you can turn the unused surface of the PCB into a copper area. This reduces noise in the circuit. To do this, you must first figure out which net corresponds to power and which to ground. Click the Net tab at the bottom of the screen.

Now click the pin on your header which corresponds to power. When you do this, it will highlight the net you are selecting at the bottom of the screen.

Make a note of the net which corresponds to power, and do the same for ground. Now, to create a powerplane, click Place -> Powerplane.

Select the net that corresponds to power, and select the top layer.

Now the top layer is your powerplane. Do the same with the bottom layer, selecting the net corresponding to ground, to create the ground plane. Your circuit should look something like this.

Preparing to Fabricate a PCB

Edited 10/14/08 to include exporting Gerber files for the milling machine. (mjs)

The next step is to prepare your work in order to make a PCB using the chemical etching method or the milling machine. For chemical etching, you will print out your layout, for the milling machine, you will export your work to Gerber files.

Print the layout for chemical etching

Now you are ready to print the layout. Save the creation, and then click File -> Print. You will need to print on transparencies.

From the Print menu, click Properties. From this screen, select Type is: Transparency.

Click ok. From the Print screen select copper top from Available layers. Click the right arrow to add to the Layers to Print queue. Select Print Negative Image, and a zoom of 100%. Click Print.

For the copper bottom, the procedure is the same. Select Transparency, add the copper bottom to the Layers to Print, select 100%, and click Print Negative Image. For the bottom layer, though, you must print the reflection. Click the Print Reflection box, and click print.

Exporting Gerber files for the Milling Machine

Once you are done with your PCB design in Ultiboard or similar board layout package, you can export the Gerber files so that you can fabricate a printed circuit board using the milling machine. In Ultiboard, go to File Export and then select Gerber RS-274X and click Properties.

Then select Board Outline, Copper Bottom, Copper Top, and Drill in the left window, click the arrow and select OK.

Click Export and the click OK. Name each of the files and save to either your remote drive or a USB drive so that you can use them on the milling machine PC. Gerber files and possibly some other files are also required if you have a company make your PCBs for you. You should check with the company to find out which files are required.