Monday, July 7, 2014

How to design footprint using LP Wizard and export to Altium Designer

Mentor Graphic's LP Wizard is a handy tool for PCB footprint design. It can be used to automatically generate footprint and export to other PCB design software such as Altium Designer. Altium designer does have a IPC complaint footprint creation tool but it is not suitable for parts such as header connectors and other other types of connectors for example USB connector.

This blogpost demonstrates how a footprint for a 6 position header from FCI can be created in LP Wizard software and then export the footprint to the Altium Designer PCB design software.

The FCI 6 position header is the 67996-406HLF. The picture of this part is shown below-

The footprint calculator of LP Wizard is easy to use. It is available under the Calculate tab in the toolbar. Once you click on the calculate select the Connector Calculator. This brings up the header calculator.

Then in the calculator that is displayed we have to enter the Pin dimension, Pin orientation, mounting style etc available from the part datasheet.

After entering the parameter values it looks like the following-

The Land Pattern tab shows the footprint dimensions that was automatically calculated.

Now to export the footprint to altium designer, click on the Wizard in the toolbar. This brings up the dialog box as follows-

This window allows you to name the footprint just created, save the dimension of this footprint to the PLB library, provide information about the part number, description and so on and select the tool for the export. Here the file is first exported into PAD file extension and then these PAD file will be imported to Altium Designer.

Once you saved it, the footprint can be then be imported via the File > Import Wizard option. In the file option select the PADS ASCII Design And Library Files option.

The following windows are pretty much self explanatory. They allows you to browse and select the PAD footprint design file, select folder to save etc.

These wizard steps are illustrated by the following pictures-

This altium designer import wizard creates, .PcbDoc and .Pcb.Lib files. The .PcbLib file is the converted footprint and is shown in the figure below-

The footprint is now ready to use in Altium Designer.

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