RS Components (RS) has unveiled the latest release of DesignSpark PCB. Version 6.0 adds three of the most popular requests for new features including: Simplified export to DesignSpark Mechanical, Cross Probe and Custom Shortcuts, making the tool easier to use and navigate around designs.
DesignSpark PCB currently has around 200,000 users globally. In this sixth edition, it builds upon the previous version of the tool, which was announced in April 2013 and adds further functionality including Online Design Rule Checking (Real-Time DRC) and design support for buses.
DesignSpark PCB enables users to design the mechanical elements of their products with a free-of-charge tool from the DesignSpark suite. Designs need to be exported from DesignSpark PCB using the industry standard IDF format and the latest version comes with simplified IDF export dedicated to DesignSpark Mechanical. This new interface makes the design transfer process easier and with various parameters pre-configured, enables designs to be exported more quickly while minimising the risk of errors.
The Cross Probe (X-probe) functionality in Version 6.0 further speeds up the design process by allowing instant referencing between the schematic and the PCB-design views within the software. Usually it is relatively straightforward to identify a component in PCB view, but not necessarily so easy to find its corresponding symbol within the schematic – unless the system is extremely well known and understood by a user. Cross Probe allows the user to simply click on the component in either view, which will then immediately take them to the component in the counterpart view. The function works either way from PCB to schematic or vice versa.
The new Custom Shortcuts functionality allows more customisation flexibility within the user interface. Users can now configure the tool, defining their own shortcuts and hot keys thus making it much easier and quicker to use, especially if they are used to specific shortcut operations when using other PCB design tools.