The Proteus eda tools range is a professionals choice for modern printed circuit board design. With over 25 years of continuous development and innovation, our focus remains on adding functionality while maintaining a simple, clean user interface and tight integration with the schematic design.
The supplied libraries cover a large range of through hole components including all the most common IC, transistor, diode and connector packaging types. We also supply as standard the full IEC libraries and SMT footprints which include all the standard discrete and IC packaging styles. Both the IPC-782 and the IPC-7351 standard surface mount standard libraries are included.
More importantly, we include both an integrated web search import and a dialogue based import tool for CAD parts that provides access to over 14 million parts via popular vendors such as SamacSys Library Loader, SnapEDA, PCB Library Expert and Ultra-Librarian. Please refer to the technical brochure for more information.
The Proteus layout module includes a comprehensive scheme for design re-use in the form of board templates and technology data. A user can create several templates representing common projects and then initialise new layouts from template to preload all of the configured information. A default set of common Eurocard boards are provided as standard. A template file is essentially a basic layout (board edge, mounting holes, etc.) together with a technology data set. This data includes design rules, net classes, layer stackup information, grids, units and board properties and can be applied to other layouts directly as well as when a new project is initialised from the template.
Manual routing makes no requirement that you start from the ratsnest lines (rubberbanding). You can place tracking in any way you wish and Proteus will remove ratsnest lines as the connections are actually completed.
During track placement the route will follow the mouse wherever possible and will intelligently move around obstacles while obeying the design rules for the project.
When editing routes you can re-route or delete any section of a track, irrespective of how it was originally placed. Commands are also provided to change the thickness and/or layer of any section of tracking.
If thick tracks are laid between obstacles such as IC pads, the route will be automatically 'necked' in order to maintain the current design rules.
Curved tracks can be laid down simply by pressing the CTRL key and marking the route with the mouse.
Proteus includes a world class integrated shape based autorouter as standard with all professional purchases. The router uses advanced cost-based conflict reduction algorithms proven to maximise completion rates on even the most densely packed boards.
For total control of the routing process, users with the advanced feature set (Level 2 and higher) can also drive the router either by writing custom routing scripts or by directly entering routing commands interactively. This provides many additional features such as the ability to route only particular areas or net classes and also additional flexibility such as the ability to specify the fanout direction or length.
Proteus features the ultimate in power plane support - user placeable polygonal regions within which inner boundaries are automatically created around existing pads and tracking. Change the pads and tracking and the boundaries are recomputed to maintain design rule clearances. Thermal reliefs are supported and you can choose whether to hatch or fill each polygon. Inner zones (nested zones) can be included and/or islands of unconnected copper suppressed. All computation is based on grid-less shape geometry and occurs in the background so that there is no interference in manual board placement for computationally intensive layouts.
You can place a flood fill with all PCB packages but the ability to place multiple power planes per layer is part of the advanced feature set and requires Proteus PCB Level 2 or higher.
Via stitching is a technique used to tie together larger copper areas on different layers, helping keep return paths short and to reduce noise on the PCB. You can automatically stitch planes in Proteus via a simple context menu command. This gives you control over via style and also spacing and row offsets for the stitching pattern.
A via shield or picket fence can be added around the border of the planes in much the same way. This will create a single row of vias around the perimeter of the zones and can help prevent electromagnetic interference with other equipment.
The same technique can be used with high speed routes such as microstrip or stripline to help isolate signals on the PCB operating at different frequencies.
Teardrops are often used at the connection point between track and pad to prevent drill breakout during board manufacture. Proteus includes comprehensive support for teardrops. When enabled, teardrop connections will be made to all qualifying routes. They are then automatically generated, updated and removed as you place, edit and delete routes during board layout.
The ability to add and configure teardrops is part of the advanced feature set and requires Proteus PCB Level 2 or higher.
During manual routing, Proteus checks each track as you place it and warns you if any design rules (physical/electrical) are broken. You can fully customise the board constraints, setting rules by physical region such as a layer or a user drawn area of the PCB. You can also set rules by electrical net class and then if necessary combine both to form even tighter constraints (e.g. power lines on top copper layer).
A live indication of both the connectivity and the design rule status of the board is provided on the status bar at the bottom of Proteus. Clicking on either produces a report listing any missing or extra connections - double click on any entry in the list, and the software will zoom in to show you exactly where the error is located on the PCB.
Finally, the Pre-production check runs prior to manufacturing output and is designed to be an automated quality assurance check. In addition to testing connectivity and design rules it tests power plane geometry and integrity through a completely separate code path and runs separate tests for common design mistakes.
The 3D Visualisation Tool (3D Viewer) in Proteus provides a way to extrude a layout and view the board as it would appear in real life. This is extremely useful as a design aid during board layout. Navigation, both orbital and 'fly by' is extremely intuitive and mouse controlled. The user can also specify a 'height plane' corresponding to the board chassis which will appear as a semi-transparent box around the board, allowing for a quick visual check for protrusions.
Proteus libraries come supplied with 3D footprints and comprehensive support for creating custom 3D footprints directly inside Proteus or by importing models via the standard STEP/IGES and 3DS file formats. Files can be exported in these formats from the majority of commercial MCAD packages and there are a large number of free internet resource (e.g. 3dcontentcentral) which have vast libraries of STEP files.
Direct output from the 3D Viewer includes the open source 3ds standard, STEP, IGES, 3D DXF and STL. IDF output is available from the output menu in the layout editor.
The 3D Viewer, along with its associated import and export formats is part of the Advanced Feature Set and is available only with Proteus PCB Level 2 and higher.
As well as supporting the basic ability to output your PCB to standard windows printers, Proteus provides a full set of features for professional board manufacturing.
Gerber X2 is the primary supported manufacturing output format. This format, together with an IPC-D-356 netlist and optional assembly drawings, provides an intelligent and complete representation of the PCB to your manufacturer. Traditional Gerber/Excellon output via the RS274X format is also supported.
ODB++ is the secondary supported manufacturing output format. Like Gerber X2, ODB++ is also an intelligent CAD/CAM data exchange format, capturing all CAD/EDA, assembly and PCB fabrication knowledge in one single, unified database.
Finally, you can output to MCAD software like Solidworks directly via the STEP, IGES or IDF file formats.
Mechanical CAD output formats such as STEP, IGES, STL and IDF along with the ODB++ advanced manufacturing format are part of the Advanced Feature Set and are limited to the Proteus PCB Level 2 and higher.