Ultiboard PCB Design Tutorial

Ultiboard is a rapid PCB prototyping environment used by engineering professionals, educators, makers, and students across many applications. Its seamless integration with Multisim helps PCB designers save hours of development time with the ability to complete custom circuit schematics, SPICE simulation, and PCB layout in the same environment.

The Ultiboard environment accelerates PCB design with automated functionality while maintaining precision with manual control. Together, Multisim and Ultiboard are a complete PCB design solution for advanced PCB performance. While Multisim offers a powerful SPICE simulation environment, Ultiboard complements it with PCB layout and routing capabilities that get a prototype into your hands as quickly and accurately as possible.

Toolbars

a. Standard Toolbar


Button Description

New button. Creates a new project, or a new design if a project is currently open.

Open button. Opens an existing project.

Open samples button. Opens the samples folder.

Save button. Saves the active design to its current name and directory.

Print button. Displays the Print dialog.

Cut button. Cuts the selected element from the design and places it on the system clipboard.

Copy button. Copies the selected element from the design and places it on the system clipboard.

Paste button. Pastes objects copied from Ultiboard to their original layer, regardless of what layer is currently active. Creates new duplicate objects without the netlist information. New parts will have Reference Designators that increment from the next available for that part type.

Undo button. Undoes the last action.

Redo button. Undoes the last undo action.

b. Main Toolbar



Button Description

Select button. De-activates any selected mode (for example, for placing traces) and allows you to select an element on the board.

Design Toolbox button. Toggles the Design Toolbox view on and off.

Spreadsheet View button. Toggles the Spreadsheet View on and off.

Database Manager button. Displays the Database Manager.

Board Wizard button. Launches the Board Wizard.

Part Wizard button. Starts the Part Wizard.

Place from database button. Allows you to browse the database for a part to place.

Line button. Places a straight line on the design (or places a trace, if the active layer is a copper one).

Follow-me button. Places a follow-me trace.

Connection machine button. Places a follow-me trace.

Via button. Places a via on the design.

Polygon button. Places a polygon on the design.

Power plane button. Places a powerplane on the design.

DRC and netlist check button. Runs the Design Rule Check and Netlist Check and displays the results in the Results tab.

Text button. Places text on the design.

View 3D button. Displays the current design in three dimensions.

Capture screen area button. Captures a section of the screen and places it on the system clipboard.

Help button. Displays the Ultiboard Help.

c. Edit Toolbar


Button Description

In-place part edit button. Activates In-Place Edit for placed PCB parts.

In-place attribute edit button. Allows you to edit the selected attribute.

Rotate 90° clockwise button. Rotates selected item clockwise.

Rotate 90° counter clockwise button. Rotates selected item counter-clockwise.

Swap layer button. Places a part on mirror layer.

Setting Up a Design

Designs are stored inside projects, allowing you to group them together for easy access. In this way, all designs that have a logical connection between them (that is, they may all relate to a specific project) are conveniently located in one file.

a. Opening an Existing File


You can open an existing file by the following steps: Choose File > Open. A standard file selection dialog box appears, with the Files of type list defaulted to Ultiboard files and you can choose the kind of file to open.

b. Creating a Project


You can create a new project file by the following steps: Choose File > New project. The New Project dialog box appears. Type the project name in the Project name field. From the Design type drop-down list, select PCB design. The other option allows you to use Ultiboard's CAD capabilities (for example, front panels, enclosures). Indicate the folder where the file is to be kept. Either accept the default shown in the Location field, or click the browse button to select a different location. Click OK.


The New Project dialog box disappears, and a blank design opens, with the same name as the project file. The project file name also displays in the Projects tab of the Design Toolbox, along with its corresponding design.

c. Creating a Design


A design is created automatically when you create a project file. You can also create a design and assign it to an existing project file. Remember that a design must always be associated with a project.


You can create a design file by the following steps: Choose File > Open and open the project to which the design is to be added. Choose File > New Design. The New Design dialog box appears. Type the design name in the Design name field. From the Design type drop-down list, select PCB Design. Choose which of the open projects is to contain the design from the Add to project drop-down list. This list includes only the open projects. Click OK.


The New Design dialog box disappears, and a blank design with the name that you specified is opened. The Projects tab shows that the new design is a part of the project file that you specified.

Working with Parts

a. Placing Parts


You can use any of the following methods to place parts on a design:

1) Drag them from outside the board outline.

2) Use the Spreadsheet View.

3) Import a netlist.

4) Select parts directly from the database.

5) Use the autoplacer.

b. Creating New Parts


Create a part with the following steps: Choose Tools > Database > Database manager to display the Database Manager dialog box. Click the Create new part button above the Parts panel, select the Pat to Create dialog box appears, select the Part type you want: a Net Bridge, Custom Pad Shape, PCB Part or CAD Part and click OK. The Footprint edit mode window opens. Design your part using the Place and Draw tools.


To add a pin to a PCB Part or Net Bridge, choose Place > Pins. The Place Pins dialog box opens. Indicate the pad type (THT or SMD), its dimensions and spacing, and click OK. The pin is attached to the pointer. Click on the part to place it.


When finished designing the part, choose File > Save to database as. The Insert the selected Item(s) into the database dialog box appears, with the cursor in the Existing Parts field. Type a name for the new part. The name must be unique. Click OK.


The Insert the selected Item(s) into the database dialog box disappears, but the Edit mode window stays visible.

Working with Schematic Capture

a. Creating a Design from a Netlist File


Multisim generates a .ewnet file which has all the details required to import the schematic into Ultiboard.


You can open a netlist file by the following steps: Select File > Open, navigate to the desired .ewnet file and click Open. The Import Netlist dialog box appears. This dialog box lists all of the items in the circuit schematic, and their corresponding Action in Layout. Click OK to continue. Ultiboard appears with a board outline and the parts from the transferred design ready for placement.

b. Import Netlist Dialog Box Buttons


Button Description

Sort ascending button. Sorts the selected column in ascending order.

Sort descending button. Sorts the selected column in descending order.

Export to file button. Exports the current contents of the Import Netlist dialog box to a CSV (comma-separated-value) .csv file.

The functions mentioned in this passage are just some partial functions which Ultiboard is capable of realizing. More functions in terms of PCB design will be discovered after your massive practice on it.

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