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PCB Training Courses

At Nine Dot Connects, we have built a business by sharing our PCB knowledge with you. This knowledge has been gained through decades of design experience, EDA tool support experience, course writing, and instructing experience. Our team members have industry experience, have written training material throughout their careers, and have classroom instruction experience.

In conducting these training classes, patterns have emerged that beg the question, can we present this better? Can we create a training class that goes beyond showcasing many disparate functions? Can we provide the big picture rather than get tangled in the tool nuances?

We have set out to do just that and provide training courses that provide instruction in an EDA tool and give the big picture.

We currently offer over a dozen PCB, Spec Ops, and EDA training courses, and more are under development:

PCB Foundations - PCB Design - This training is a complete overview of the PCB design process, from conception to manufacturing. In addition to looking at the schematics and the PCB layout from a process point of view, lesser-known but vitally essential topics of fabrication, assembly, DFM, and specification writing are also presented. This is a must for anyone involved in the design process, including program managers, technicians, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and designers.

Altium Designer Full Spectrum - Created for PCB designers having prior EDA tool experience but limited experience with AD. Though the course is based on our Boot Camp course offering, it moves faster, covering more detail in each section, and includes enhanced exercises. Full Spectrum dives deeper into the PCB editor features, such as rigid-flex, via types, advanced routing, planes and polygons, and design rules. This 4-day course will help you gain a significant advancement of proficiency and knowledge in using AD.

Spec Ops Training - As with any design tool, some features become more valuable or meaningful once one has a good foundation in the tool basics. At Nine Dot Connects, we offer our PCB Foundations and Altium Designer Boot Camp courses to establish a good tool and design process foundation. Upon this foundation, other aspects of PCB design can be expanded upon. The Spec Ops training series was designed for just that - to focus attention on specific tool features or processes that enhance the PCB design or the design flow.

Private Training - Why travel when the experts can come to you! While it has a very positive long-term impact, let's face it, training is an investment in time and money in the short term. In most cases, a high cost of training is a travel expense. Not often does the training of interest happen in your local area. If you have 3 or more interested students, we can come to you at your convenience.

Customized Training - We realize that some clients may have some specific training needs that just aren't going to get adequately addressed even with our various course offerings. This is especially true regarding tool flow, cabling, libraries, and process flow. The onsite training can be customized to meet your organization's needs.

Advanced PCB Design Techniques-Altium Designer - This course is under development (due out in Q3'2023) to help PCB Designers deal with the trending challenges of higher-performing and tighter density circuit boards. It will cover many essential aspects of modern PCB design, including High-Density Interconnects (HDI) placement and routing techniques, signal integrity in high-speed digital and mixed-signal circuits, DDR3/DDR4 interfaces, power distribution, and design for manufacturing and testing.

Altium Designer Boot Camp - This training was developed to provide the critical elements of Altium Designer to get one up and running in the tool. It is streamlined to provide information on the tool's three key features - Library, Schematic, and PCB Editors.

Altium Designer Spec Ops - This is a follow on course to the Altium Boot Camp. However, this is not just another round of learning more features. This class has been specifically designed to demonstrate methods and practices to help make the PCB process more efficient and practical within Altium Designer.

Altium Designer Refresher - This class is designed to provide a refresher training with Altium Designer Version 17 (AD17) for engineers and designers who don't use Altium Designer consistently due to the nature of their jobs. The class focuses on the areas where a lack of familiarity with the tool will impede the design flow. This class should only be taken after attending the Altium Designer Boot Camp offered by Nine Dot Connects or having prior experience designing, layout, and manufacturing a PCB using Altium Designer.

Altium Designer Schematics - This training walks students through placing schematic components from various sources into Altium Designer schematics. Students connect the schematic components and check the design for errors. PCB footprints are linked to the schematic components and parameters to be placed into a Bill of Materials. Output files are rendered from the schematics (BOM and PDF) and the Outjob file introduced.

Altium Designer Libraries - This training teaches Altium Designer users how to create basic schematic component libraries (.SchLib) and associated printed circuit board footprint libraries (.PcbLib). Students will also learn how to create Library Projects (.LibPkg), Integrated Libraries (.IntLib), and Database Libraries (.DbLib).

"The Full Spectrum course was very comprehensive, covering each setting, menu, property, etc. Exactly what I needed, someone to walk through all these things. Thanks a ton!"

Mike Kleist, Principal Hardware Engineer at Spectrum Brands, Inc

"PCB Foundations covered the PCB process from A to Z. The mix of experience and questions from students were handled and answered expertly. Being new to the PCB world was not a hindrance. The combination of lecturing and questioning was as much as I hoped."

Mark Evanson, Owner at Evanson Aero

"Erich isn't just an instructor. He's also someone who uses the tool regularly himself. That makes a difference. With him, the material wasn't just a list of topics to cover. He was able to show it as a connected set of techniques that combine to serve a useful purpose. I found his presentation style clear and easy to understand. I was already very familiar with Altium Designer but a much earlier version. The interface has changed enough that I was becoming frustrated. The most valuable thing I received was an insight into how the new user interface is intended to be used. I now again feel like the tool is working for me instead of against me."

Brian Falter, P.E., Electronic Innovations Inc.

"Sean has fantastic communications skills and was very patient with all attendees. He took his time to go over specific points, so you really understood all the different options available to you with Altium Designer 2019. Thank you for doing such a great job; it really shows through and is very appreciated. Overall it was a great experience."

Emil Zombory, Design Engineer, PdMA Corporation

"Altium Designer 18, like many CAD tools in its price range, has many complicated features that most designers will never use, but with this class, I feel confident that my learning curve will be quicker and easier."

Jim Smith, Sr. EE, DANA - Advanced Chassis Controls Group

"I attended the combined Boot Camp and Spec Ops class and found the training excellent! The instructor was an outstanding instructor and a good experience design engineer with years of Altium Designer background. He was able to deliver the course content and make sure I was able to fully understand the topics and how they related to my work. I would strongly recommend training from Nine Dot Connects to anyone thinking about improving their skills."

Milton Arturo Diaz, PCB Design Engineer, Molex de Mexico

"Training on Altium Designer with Nine Dot Connects is always a truly enlightening experience. Their comprehensive, hands-on approach ensures that you immerse yourself in some of the most advanced topics of Altium. The free webinars offer critical information and design techniques invaluable to anyone wishing to expand their knowledge of Altium. Their highly proficient and adept staff provides you with the knowledge and wisdom you need to tackle today's electrical design challenges. I highly recommend training with Nine Dot Connects!"

George Hunt, Product Manager/Applications Engineer, MICROMO

"Nine Dot Connects provided the Altium Designer Boot Camp private onsite training. The instructor was successful at keeping the entire class engaged, and while working through the exercises, he worked with us on an individual basis. I thoroughly enjoyed this training class; one of the best classes I have ever attended. My goal for attending the class was to understand how everything fits together and have the ability to incorporate part changes as the product matures. I feel I have a good understanding of the material as it relates to my job function."

Configuration Manager - Harris Corporation

"This course (PCB Foundations) helped me fill many knowledge gaps. I never knew the details of the whole PCB design process. This was never taught at my University, and I had to learn about the PCB process myself. The course helped me understand each step of the process in a detailed manner. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and Dan is an outstanding instructor and was available to answer all of my questions and concerns. I hope to take other courses soon."

Rafael Diaz - EE, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.

"The material (PCB Fundamentals) was an excellent and detailed overview of the entire PCB process. A good resource of information for beginners as this information isn't really written down all in one place... until now. The practical, real-life examples are always good. A lot of details. It's all about the details. I wish I had this 16 years ago when I started."

Sr. Printed Circuit Board Designer - MSA Innovation, LLC

"We first worked with Nine Dot Connects via their Altium Designer Boot Camp course. This course was both informative and practical. The instructor gave us a lot of advice that only a seasoned veteran of PCB design and Altium could provide. We also contracted with Nine Dot Connects for PCB layout services. The work was done very quickly and with high quality. I can wholeheartedly recommend them for both design and layout. Thanks to their services, we have been able to keep our project on schedule."

Timothy Benson - EE, Xylem Inc.

"Nine Dots Connects is a unique collection of Altium User Experts. They provide the rarest combination of electronic design theory & practice, printed circuit board design theory, and practice with the art & practice of efficiently teaching others. They have an understanding of the application of the Altium toolset that is second to none. After 35 years of private consulting, they are my "Go-To" place for all things Altium."

John Painter - Lead Engineer, CyberESI

"The course (PCB Foundations) gave me an overview of the entire PCB manufacturing and design cycle and good practices to follow at each step. Without this course, I would be like an architect who has never seen a construction site and would make crazy, unreasonable demands."

Yuji Iwai, Applications Engineer - Hamamatsu Corporation

"Thanks for an awesome private training on PCB layout this week. I learned a ton. Now that I'm back, I think I have to pretty much trash a layout that I was working on. I basically designed an un-buildable board. It's not ALL bad, though. I am happy with my component placement, and I have a pretty good sense of how routing has to flow for the design."

Mike Frank, Sr. Electrical Engineer

"Nine Dot Connects performed training for 5 people for three days at our facility, and it was absolutely worth it. By the end of the third day, all persons under training could design from a sketch to a PCB layout. The training was absolutely worth every penny, and the instructor's industry knowledge and expertise in PCB design was the key to this success."

Scot Shermer, Senior Engineer - GE Oil & Gas

"We had three days of some of the best training I can remember in my career. The instructor handled all questions, maintained a formidable pace that covered many territories, and ensured no one got left behind. I have received several positive comments from the attendees. Things like I wish I had had this training 3 years ago or spent days trying to figure this out, and it can be done in just a few clicks! All in all, it was a very valuable experience."

Jeffrey Milsap, P.E. - Medical Device Electrical Engineer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

"The instructor explained the subject very well. His pace was smooth even when stopping to discuss historical PCB issues shared among the students. He hit all the marks when it came to preventing PCB respins - make sure to have requirements and specifications nailed down. Seeing the actual PCB manufacturing process was golden. I was pleased to learn about PCB fabrication advancements - why so many layers, backdrilling, via in pad, microvias. Thank you, Roy and Nine Dot Connects, for a great experience."

Jason Zeman - Electronics Engineer, PdMA Corporation

"The PCB Fundamentals class was great for me as an experienced EE but without experience in PCB design & fabrication. I would recommend the class to anyone interested in learning more about how PCBs are made and the process for getting [that circuit] onto a PCB. Do not be intimidated by the technology; the instructor and this class will educate you no matter your current familiarity with PCB design."

G. Brandon Jordan - Altria Client Services, Staff Engineer

"The combination of a structured training course and flexible coaching hours for diving into detailed questions has greatly increased the value we extract from Altium Designer. Nine Dot Connects gives us the experience of having an in-house Altium expert to bounce questions off, but at a much lower cost than trying to hire someone with this experience."

Colin O'Flynn - CTO, NewAE Technology Inc.

"Taking a design from start to end in the proper order. I took this course (another provider) a couple of years ago. (it was) taught out of sequence - didn't get around to talking about library parts until day 3. Complete waste of time. Your course was far more valuable."

Ken Gott - Development Engineer, Sciton Inc.

"Nine Dot Connects' instructor was an outstanding instructor. Deep understanding of and experience with the material and ability to tailor the course to the class's skill level made it an enjoyable 3 days. The course material flow was logical and easy to follow, building on the lessons and days before."

Michael Rodzinski - Mechanical Test Systems Engineer, Tesla Motors, Inc.

"Nine Dot Connects' trainer is the best software instructor that I have seen in my 30-year engineering career. I have never seen an instructor familiar with every feature of such a complex software product like Altium Designer. His extensive experience in using the software for numerous PCB designs allows him to impart extremely practical knowledge about the trainees' pitfalls while using the software. There was no question that Dan could not answer. Outstanding course!"

John Tarmas - Electronics Engineer, Department of the Navy

"Nine Dot Connects' instructor provided an onsite 3-day Altium class in Jacksonville from 9/6 to 9/8. He did an excellent job. I have not had such a good training class in a long time. Before he finished the PCB routing section, I had to leave, so I did not get to say thanks for a job well done."

Robert Loe, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE)

"I've attended the Nine Dot Connects webinars and training covering PCB Fundamentals, High-Speed Design, DFM, and Altium Library Management. All have proven to be useful and informative and well worth the time spent."

William Letendre - EE, Airmar Technology Corp.