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36 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 The Aberdeen Group's findings reinforce the criticality of ensuring that the schematic design is error-free throughout the product development process. This article discusses how an efficient, fully automated, schematic review process can be an enabler for design teams to eliminate schematic design errors, thereby reducing costly respins and improving time to market. Manual Schematic Review: No Longer an Option Schematic capture is certainly not the most exciting or glamorous task within the product development process. In fact, many hardware engineers delegate the task to technicians within the team, providing hand drawings or PowerPoint representations of the circuit for the technician to interpret and enter. This del- egation allows the hardware engineer to focus on other tasks, such as circuit optimization or lab testing, but it also increases the importance of properly verifying that the schematic has been captured correctly. Just as a great building cannot be built on a weak foundation, a great product cannot be designed on a weak schematic. As design com- plexity increases and product development time decreases, the need for fully automated sche- matic verification becomes more important. Without proper schematic verification, there is significant potential for additional hardware respins, slower time to market, increased field returns, and poor product quality (Figure 2). During manual schematic review, teams typ- ically focus on only the most common design issues including: • Components not properly connected to power and/or ground • Missing power • Diodes oriented incorrectly • Nets missing receiver • Pin voltage mismatch (different voltage thresholds) • Wrong board-to-board connectors • Minor issues resulting in unnecessary delays, cost, and risk While these are not complex issues, it is difficult, if not impossible, to visually find all occurrences of these issues in a complex design. And these are just the most common schematic issues. There are many more poten- tial issues that a manual review simply cannot find. Fully Automated Schematic Verification ECAD verification tools have historically focused on the layout and manufacturing aspects Figure 2: Impact of poor schematic verification as design complexity increases.

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