When it comes to libraries, maybe it’s time to take a page from the mechanical folks!

Recently, Nine Dot Connects, a printed circuit board centric organization, became the national VAR for SOLIDWORKS PCB.  With that came the opportunity to explore the mechanical side of design in our effort to better understand and prepare for the future of mechatronic design. Like the old saying, ‘Can’t see the forest for the trees’, this insight into the mechanical domain gave us the opportunity to step back and see the electrical design flow from afar.  It became apparent, when compared to mechanical libraries, the PCB library structure is complicated by several factors, some by the very nature of electrical design, and others are self-inflicted by the PCB industry. Continue reading When it comes to libraries, maybe it’s time to take a page from the mechanical folks!

When STEPs Become a Misstep

Author’s note – For clarification purposes, SOLIDWORKS will be referred to as ‘SOLIDWORKS CAD’ to differentiate from SOLIDWORKS PCB.

Though STEP files are critical in collaboration between MCAD, such as SOLIDWORKS CAD, and ECAD, such as SOLDIWORKS PCB, an important issue has become more significant as of late. Because there are many ways for an electronics designer to obtain STEP files, it is difficult (if not impossible) to know what tool was used, or more importantly if the STEP file was validated. This is not just true for components that may have been downloaded from 3DContentCentral.com.  Also such components can be provided by OEMs who then, provide them to suppliers, such as Digi-Key and Mouser.

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DDR3 Analysis – Bit Swapping Justification


Authored by:  Tom Cassidy and Sean Kelly







The following analysis and write up was performed by Nine Dot Connects reviewing a DDR3 layout in which the option for pin swapping was being considered.  This is one of the many example of the services provided for our customers.

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Why PCB is a Mechanical Creature – Part 2



This article’s argument for mechanical engineering involvement in PCB design is specific to the layout.  The schematics and circuit design such as power, analog, and digital belong to the electrical engineering domain and this area requires classroom and lab experience which one would expect from a degreed electrical program.  It is not to say that a mechanical engineer cannot do circuit design.  More so, we envision a future in which academia offers degrees in mechatronic design.  Under the current circumstances, this industry is notorious for making gross assumptions about an engineer’s capabilities and we wish not to propagate the belief that a mechanical engineer can do the whole PCB design based on their degree alone unless they have been exposed to circuit design during their undergraduate career.  – Paul Taubman

Continue reading Why PCB is a Mechanical Creature – Part 2

Who Really Owns the PCB Layout? – Part 1


One would think that the title of this article should be a no-brainer. The fact of the matter is that the ownership of this vital aspect of electronic design is not only cloudy, but it will become murkier in the next 10 years. This murkiness is also an opportunity for mechanical engineers who aren’t afraid to expand their horizons.

Continue reading Who Really Owns the PCB Layout? – Part 1

Thermal Management and Yet again Why Mechanical Engineers Better Get Involved in PCB Design


In a recent article published in PCB Design 007 (January 2018 – See link below), one of the few Ph. D’s in the printed circuit board industry was interviewed regarding thermal issues.  In particular, he and a colleague were questioning the numbers that have been long held as definitive facts.  When we have an electronic product in our hands, there is a gross assumption that the thermal issues have been well thought out.  Between questionable data and lack of knowledge in thermodynamics, this may not be the case.


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Know Your Customer


Why the ‘Golden Demo’ Isn’t So Golden!


When I was an application engineer at Altium, I was given the task of creating a golden demo which we would use for a weekly webinar.  A colleague of mine and I managed to pull together a rather intricate 45-minute script that would demonstrate numerous functions of Altium Designer.  Granted, I knew nothing about marketing and I was coming into this job after a decade of test and integration engineering.

Continue reading Know Your Customer