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1. File >> New Design

2. Select MS Access database at the Design Storage Type scrollbar.

3. Enter a Database Filename with the appropriate extension *.ddb. Ex. “MyDesign.ddb”

4. Remember to continuously save your documents because the program will not automatically
save your files. In the event of a black out or other power outage all work will be lost. So do
yourself a favor and save your files regularly.


1. On the left panel of the screen double click on your documents folder.

2. Select File >> New. An additional window will pop up. Now select the Schematic
Document icon. If you wish to rename this schematic file, you can do so now, however,
similar to other programs, in order for the filename to be changed the file cannot be active (in
use). Therefore, if the user wishes to change the name of any of the files within this program
the user is required to close the program prior to renaming. For example, the user can close a
schematic document in the left “Explorer Panel.” By right clicking on the file of interest,
where the user will then be provided the option of closing the document.

3. Tools >> Preferences. Select the Default Primitives from the top menu. Ensure the
Permanent box on the right hand side of the window is activated.

NOTE: Considering schematics can get quite complicated and detailed the user can zoom in/out
in order to focus on the areas of interest within the respective design. Additionally the user can
use the feature View >> Fit All Objects which will zoom in/out in order for the screen to
contain all objects/components in the respective schematic.


1. If the user wishes to move one or more objects simultaneously they can do so by left clicking
the mouse and dragging the mouse as to create a box which contains all of the components of
interest. You have now Selected an object or group of objects.

2. You can now move the Selected object(s) by left clicking the mouse and holding the button
down while dragging the object(s) to the required area.



automatically deselect the objects for you. You can deselect the object(s) by selecting the
Edit >> Deselect >> All. Alternatively you can just press the x button (where a small
window will appear) and use the keyboard / mouse to select the All option.

4. Activate the Browse Sch on the left panel (Same as the Explorer Panel).

5. Select Browse >> Libraries to find electronic components / parts of interest. Note the
libraries listed are the most popular libraries used. If a component you wish to use does not
exist in the library, you should search the entire library database by clicking on the Find
button. To perform a thorough search of the entire database, activate By Description and By
Library Reference prior to searching. Once you enter the part / component click Find Now.
If the search was successful a number of libraries containing this component will be listed in
the lower part of this window. At this point you want to select Add to Library List. This
will add the library to the freely accessible library list on the left panel. If the component/
part does not exist, go to www.protel.com and search through their component libraries. It is
possible an update package may exist that contains the component you’re interested in.

6. Note each component has the following attributes. Once you select the part, prior to
positioning the part on the schematic press tab (otherwise if the object is already placed and
you wish to change its attributes, merely double click on the object and the window of
interest will pop up). An attribute menu for the part will appear with the following attribute
(listed below).

Designator: You as the user are not privileged to change the default designators. If you wish to
change these designators, you will suffer from numerous errors upon attempting to simulate your
circuit or to create your desired PCB. For example, the default designator for the Resistor is
“R?” this annotation means that all resistors should have a designator that starts with the letter R
and ends with a number from 1 to however many resistors you use. Therefore, once you select
your component on the board and double click on the component, you will see “R?” It is the
designers duty to change the “?” to the appropriate number.

Library Reference Number: Again this number cannot be changed, errors will result later in the
design process. Leave as is. This number may be useful in searching for components if you
forget their name. Note these numbers are Protel’s reference numbers (they may be different for
other software packages).

Footprint: In order for the schematics to be complete each component must have its respective
footprint. The “footprint” is basically the dimension of each part, as it would appear on a PCB.
Note all footprints used must exist in the PCB library within the Protel software. Foreign
footprints will just cause errors, which you want to avoid at all costs. In addition, note the
footprints are case sensitive (so pay attention). For example, a resistor may have the following


Designator: R1

Library Reference: RES2

Footprint: AXIAL0.4

Part type: 1k

For parts that have a specific value, you can place the values in the Part type field (such as
capacitors, inductors, resistors, etc...)


1. Click File >> New, double click on PCB Document.

2. On the left panel click Browse PCB and browse the libraries for the footprints of interest.
As you browse the footprints, you can see the shape of each footprint in the lower left-hand
corner of the screen.

3. Similar to components, you can modify and create your own footprints, in what is called the
footprint editor. You can follow the same steps for modifying footprints, as you do with
modifying the components in the component editor.


1. Prior to modifying or creating a component, find a similar component in the libraries

provided. For example, say I want to create a CMOS chip, which has an 8 x 2 pin
arrangement. I could select the part MC14008B which appears similar in it’s shape. Once you
select the object, click on edit from the left panel.

2. Once you enter the component editor, you need to create your component and add it to the
library. In the Browse SchLib, you will see the component you selected from the respective
library. First, right click on your part and click on copy. Then paste the part within that
library. By doing this “MC14008B_1” will be created. Right click on MC14008B_1 and
rename the component to whatever you desire.

3. Now you can make your component modifications of MC14008B_1 in the right window
(component editor).

4. Some modifications which you can perform are:

(a) Resizing the chip- click and drag the border of the part to resize

(b) Adding or deleting pins – right click on the screen and select Place >> Pins. Prior to
placing your pin where you want press tab to pop up the pin attribute menu, in order to
modify any of the characteristics of the pin. By pressing spacebar, once the part is


selected, you can rotate the parts by 90 degrees. Once the location of the pin is decided
left click to place the pin where you want. If you want to change the pin attributes later,
just double click on the pin.

NOTE: (ONLY FOR THE PCB DOCUMENT FILE) If you wish to mirror your footprint
or object then first highlight and select your footprint/object of interest. Then Select Edit
>> Move >> Flip Selection.

(c) Adding NOT gates (Dot Symbols) to the pins of the chip – double click on the pin and
check or uncheck the dot symbol box.

(d) Change the pin names / numbers – by double clicking on the pin of interest. There will be
fields for the pin names and numbers in the pop up window.

NOTE: when modifying anything to do with the pins make sure the correct electrical type is
selected. For example, if the pin is an input, output, power, passive, etc… it must be
recorded within each pin. By double clicking on the pin of interest you will find the
electrical type option in the window that pops up. By scrolling down the menu you will see
the different options you have for the electrical type.


1. Find the PlaceWire Icon in the graphical tools provided. Otherwise select Place >> Wire.
You can ensure a good connection is made between components when a black circle appears
when you place one end of the wire over the end of another component.

2. Check the electrical properties of the circuit by selecting. Tools >> ERC and clicking OK on
the pop up window. This check will indicate if there are any faulty connections in your
schematic. It will also check that all the pin labels (ie. bus labels) are correct. If any errors
occur a red circle will appear at the respective locations on the schematic. Once you correct
your error it is your duty to delete these red circles.


1. Click on Reports >> Bill of Material. A complete excel spreadsheet will automatically be
created listing all the components used in your schematic. It is your discretion, if you wish to
include such information as designators, footprints, part type, etc… for each component.


1. Prior to creating your PCB document you need to first create what is called a netlist within
your schematic document. The netlist serves to deliver all the relevant information about
each component and it’s connection to the other components to the PCB document. The
creation of the netlist will also indicate if any errors exist in your schematic document. Note:
it is not advised to proceed to the PCB until all the errors in the schematic document are
corrected, otherwise you will end up doing unnecessary work later.


2. You can create the netlist by clicking, Design >> Create Netlist and then clicking OK at the
pop up window.

3. Once all the errors are corrected, you should create a PCB document by doing the following.
File >> New, activate the wizard’s menu and then double click on Printed Circuit Board
Wizard. This option will allow the user to define all the relevant information about the
circuit board being engineered. There will be a series of windows you as the user must go
through in selecting the appropriate board specifications for your design. In the event you
are unsure about your PCB dimensions prior to development, select Custom PCB from the
listings and modify the size of the board as you go.

4. You can now load you netlist, which contains all your components and the respective
(ratsnests: connections between the components). In the PCB document, click on Design >>
Load Nets and select the appropriate Netlist to load. If the netlist loaded correctly, your
components will appear at the right just outside of the board. If the components are not
there, then you still have some errors, which must be fixed, in your schematic document.

During your design you may wish to remove the connections/ratsnests from your view. You
can remove such connections by selecting View >> Connections >> Hide All. Otherwise
you can select Design >> Options >> Layers>>System and make sure connections is

5. Prior to arranging the components on the PCB, you should first set the appropriate
preferences. Click Tools >> Preferences. Refer to the manual or help menu for more info.

6. Prior to arranging the components on the PCB, you should first set the appropriate design
options. Click Design >> Options. For example, ensure that the connection’s box is checked.
This is imperative in that this will show all the connections between the parts, which guide
the tracks when routing the PCB. Refer to the manual or help menu for more info.

7. Design >> Rules. Review all the rules, which pertain to the design prior to routing the board
or placing the components on the board. You may wish to add or delete rules to the rule
database. Refer to the manual or help menu for more info.

8. Similar to the schematic document you can drag and move an object or group of objects
within the PCB document. However, unlike the schematic, the PCB is meticulous in the
positioning of the components on the board. As a result the positioning of the components
can be optimized. The software will display the optimum placement for a component when
the part is highlighted fluorescent green. If the location of the part isn’t optimized then the
color outline of the part will be red. Note you may not always be able to optimize the
location of every part. It is of the discretion of the designer which parts to optimize and
which parts not to.



1. If you want to accurately measure the distance between neighboring tracks or components
you can use the measure tool in Reports >> Measure Distance. A crosshair will appear on
the screen. Click once for the starting point and again for the endpoint. A window will then
pop up indicating the distance measure.

Note: It may be helpful to zoom in substantially in order to improve the accuracy of your


1. It is essential before you proceed that you include all the appropriate PCB library files
to your active library in your PCB document. By clicking Browse PCB>> Browse the
Library files look to see if all the appropriate libraries are present if they are not click on
Add / Remove. You can now search through the relevant libraries which accompany the
Protel package and add the appropriate library files. If the appropriate libraries are not
added to the active library list then many footprints will not be recognized and the loaded
netlist will contain numerous errors.


It is the discretion of the designer to decide how many layers the PCB will be
comprised of. In working with a two-layer board, two colors, blue and red, are used to
distinguish between the bottom and top layers respectively. When routing the board the
design can switch between the bottom and top layers by activating the appropriate layer
from the bottom panel below the PCB window.
Similar to the schematic document, which has a wire drawing tool, the PCB
document has a routing tool. You can either use the routing tool by selecting Place >>
Interactive Routing or by clicking on the appropriate icon from the drawing toolbox.
When wiring the circuit in the schematic document, a black circle over the connecting
components indicated a good (or complete) connection. In the PCB document, when
routing the board, a complete connection is indicated by a white outline of the
components, which are being connected.
Unlike in the schematic document when drawing routes clicking once to start and
once to end a route will not result in the creation of a track. This feature is used so the
user can effectively manipulate and judge where the track can go based on the design
rules. If you are pleased w/ the location of the route then merely click again to make the
route permanent.
NOTE: all routes for the PCB are implemented at 0,45,90,135,etc… degrees to
each other. It is possible for these angle conventions to be broken when the designer
manipulates the components in the PCB file. If such actions result in the breaking of the
angle rules, merely select Edit >> Undo to return to the initial design prior to any
changes made.
NOTE: you as the designer have the option of minimizing your workload by having the
software route the board for you, however, consider that the software may disregard or not
include design considerations which are required for your pcb. By selecting AutoRoute >> All
the program will automatically route your pcb for you. You may have to adjust the pad sizes and


track widths after the routing takes place. If you are displeased with the software routing job you
can unroute the board completely and begin routing the board manually (which is
recommended). You can unroute the board by selecting Tools >> Unroute >> All.


When you go through the PCB Wizard you will be given the option of setting default
track widths (common 10mil). However, in your design you may want to increase the track
widths (for power lines or ground planes as an example). You can do this by double clicking on
the route. An attribute window will appear. You can change the track width by typing in the
width field. This window also provides the endpoint coordinates for the track and the layer on
which the track resides.


In addition to the track attributes mentioned above, NET is another important

characteristic of routing that is listed in the attribute window. The NET contains the relevant
connection information for each track. For example, if 10volts is running through a specific
track 10V would be the NET value. If GND is running through another track, then GND would
be the NET value. Or you could have something like, “Pin 9 – a” which would be the NET for a
connection to a header and digital chip. Often the program will automatically set the net for the
designer. However, in some cases, the program will provide the incorrect NET and so it is up to
the designer to change the NET to the correct value/name. If you don’t know what the NET
value/name is you can do the following:
(a) Completely delete the route of interest and start to route the specific track again. This will
automatically set the appropriate NET for your track
(b) Otherwise, if the track you are interested in is comprised of specific segments, check the
other segment attributes to see what their NETs are set at.


One useful tool is being able to route a track from one layer to another. There are many
instances where a designer is unable to complete a specific track due to the rules, which govern
PCB design. Consequently, the designer has the option of routing the specific track on the
opposite end of the board.

NOTE: prior to your PCB design, find out if your drill holes are plated (conducting) or not. In
industry all the drill holes are plated, however, the boards commonly designed in the labs are not.
As a result, the final PCB design of the two boards (w/ and w/out vias) will be substantially

NOTE: for the ease of prototyping the circuit boards, make the pads as large as possible. The
reason being once you start drilling the appropriate holes in the board, there is a possibility of
shaving off a good part of the conducting pads. Since the prototyped boards you make in the lab


will contain holes that are not plated it is essential that the pads remain intact and strongly


If you wish to only see the top layer traces and top overlay you can remove the bottom
layer and overlay in addition to the keepout and mechanical layers at your discretion. By
selecting Design >> Options >> Layers, under Signal Layers and Masks you can check and
uncheck whatever layers and overlays you wish to include or exclude.


By selecting Design >> Options >> Options you will see the Grid preferences. By
adjusting the SNAP X, SNAP Y, COMPONENT X, COMPONENT Y you will be able to adjust the
accuracy of your movements when dragging and placing objects. This may come in handy when
you wish for two traces to overlap completely, where dragging the mouse under the default
settings will only allow for a series of which do not provide the desired overlap. In order to
enhance the accuracy of your object dragging reduce the values of the SNAP & COMPONENT
values. However, if you wish to exercise the basic control over objects merely set your SNAP
settings to 10 mil and your component settings to 10 mil. This will allow for all the basic
dragging movements you desire.


One nice feature regarding the Protel software is once the PCB is designed, you can see
the board in three dimensions. Select View >> Board in 3D. A new window will pop up, which
will enable the designer to rotate the board so you can evaluate both sides of the board.



This can be extremely difficult. My recommendation to you is, until your

schematic is approved for PCB design, do not start your PCB layout. You will encounter
numerous problems. In the worst case, go to the footprint library in the left panel of the
pcb document and manually add the appropriate part(footprint) to your design.
Introducing such a part to the design will only be feasible w/ the appropriate NET field
assigned, otherwise the part will be unable to connect to any of the power lines and traces
on the pcb.


If your design includes a pci slot then you have two options for going about your
pcb design. You can select a custom board when you go thru the PCB Design Wizard and
manually add a pci connector by accessing the respective footprint in the library or you
can select a skeletal board from the PCB design wizard and use the pci bus provided in
their layout. Personally, I find it much easier to select the premade skeletal board since
this option contains the respective mechanical outline of the board. However, regardless


of which path you take always check the pci connector pins are set to the appropriate
NET values (ie. 5 Volts). If the NET are not set correctly you will be unable to connect
traces and your design will be jeopardized.


When prototyping your pcb you will need to print both sides of the board
separately (where one side is mirrored). Steps in printing your pcb.

1) In the pcb window select File >> Print/Preview. This will create a *.PPC file.
2) Activate the respective *.PPC file. Browse PCBPrint.
3) Select multilayer composite print. This will show the following layers and overlays
(top layer, bottom layer, top overlay, bottom overlay, mechanical layers, keep out
layers and multilayers).
4) If you wish to display the drill holes on the board print out, right click on the
multilayer composite print and select properties. A new window will pop up. Select
Options >> Show Holes.
5) In this same window you can select to mirror the layers of interest by selecting the
layer or overlay of interest and checking Option >> Mirror Layers.
6) In addition, for prototype your pcb the printed layers should only appear in black and
white. If gray appears in the printout, then that region will be considered to be
associated w/ the black region when you make the board. So be weary. You can
ensure you are only working w/ the black white color scheme by right clicking on the
multilayer composite print and select properties. Then select Color Set >> Black &
7) Now if you wish to make a printout for your bottom layer you can manually delete
the layers and overlays, which should be excluded. In the Browse PCBPrint window
right click on the layer or overlay you wish to delete.


1. File >> Setup Printer. Select Landscape and ensure the pcb document is set to
Standard Print with a 1.0 scale, otherwise the etched board will be inaccurate and
you will have to redo your board later on.

REFERENCES – All are unrestricted downloads

• Exploring Protel 99 SE - Introductory Tutorial

• Protel 99 SE Designer's Handbook
• Exploring Schematic Templates in Protel 99 SE