What is an xSignal?


An xSignal is a designer-defined signal path between any two nodes – either within the same net or connected by components – which you can create using the xSignal panel. Guide on what is xsignal?

Select the source component and nets intended to serve as xSignals, then click Analyze. The software will identify all potential xSignals between these sources and components, including paths through series passives.

xSignal analysis

xSignal analysis is an invaluable tool for quickly locating signals in capture files. The user can simultaneously analyze up to four files of any size across an array of frequencies; files can be stepped forward/backward, paused/zoomed in to identify specific time segments for analysis; additionally, it offers an all-channel visual summary of amplitude so they can identify unwanted noise or determine how much gain may be necessary for an existing signal.

Spectrograms provide estimates of the short-term and time-localized power spectrum of signals, with MATLAB’s spectrum function providing this estimation. A spectrogram consists of multiple power spectrum intervals with distinct shape factors separated by an overlap determined by signal duration or adjustable segment length; it can also offer windowing of each segment separately using either Kaiser or Welch windows for added accuracy.

To create an xSignal, first select both source and target components from the Design >> xSignals sub-menu of the Design Center. Next, choose Analyze and Create xSignals Between Components from either the menu bar or right-click the context menu and specify nets connecting these components, before clicking Analyze. The software then attempts to identify all potential xSignals displayed below the dialog – carefully review this list and enable only those that you require.

In this example, we have created an xSignal that connects an IC1 pin x to resistor Rn and from there to an IC2 pin. By matching its length to that of its signal path lengths for improved signal integrity and high-speed designs. Furthermore, xSignals are beneficial in terms of reduced board layout cost and power consumption by eliminating discrete components.

xSignal’s user-friendly interface makes it simple and quick for designers to start using xSignals quickly. The wizard supports single and multi-instance pack-style components and generates appropriate xSignals for series termination components automatically, making it straightforward for the designer to create multiple sets of xSignals that can be applied across all design layers or instances of one component.

xSignal creation

An xSignal is a designer-defined signal path between pads or nodes in associated nets, designed by its designer. They may connect single-source components and multiple designation components or between source components and multiple pads within one net. Used appropriately, xSignals may help scope-matched length design rules while providing interactive length-tuning features.

Created xSignals using the Multi-Chip Wizard is an advanced version of the xSignal creation process, taking a component-oriented approach. Simply select your source component, the pads you wish to create an xSignal on, target components with pads on which they connect, and target pads designated by target components themselves – then hit Create! The Wizard then examines every path between the source component and the target component by passing through a series of passive components before analyzing their respective xSignals to generate Matched Length design rules

To create an xSignal, choose the XSignals >> Create xSignals Between Components command from either the xSignal panel or right-click context menu. When opening this dialog box, make sure that all of the pads that will be routed via balanced T routing strategies are selected before starting this step.

StartNet>_EndNet>_PPn is used to refer to each signal. By default, they’ll connect to their specified end pad but you can adjust this by specifying the Pad Number field. In addition, block size, overlap, and class are all configurable features of these xSignals.

Once created, xSignals are accessible to any application using them from within the PCB panel. They may also be assigned a class to control their behavior; simply select an xSignal in the PCB panel and use the Class option from the XSignals Mode Menu to do this.

xSignal classes

The xSignal class feature is an invaluable asset in the PCB designer’s toolbox, enabling them to create signal paths between pads in different nets or connected by components, which then satisfy relevant design rules (including Length and Matched Length ) in one easy step – especially useful when working with high-speed signals.

To create an xSignal class, first select its start pad and end pad in your design space (or use PCB panel in Nets mode to locate and select them), then run Object Class Explorer dialog (Design >> Classes) and choose an appropriate class from its list; otherwise the xSignal will be created without assigning it a specific one; rather it will simply have default “Class:” setting applied upon its creation.

After an xSignal has been created, it will appear in the PCB panel’s xSignals mode. To access it, either select its icon within the PCB panel or use its menu bar command ‘xSignals’. Once opened, this xSignals panel provides many useful features – including being able to change its color or visibility in design space; plus viewing statistics about margin and delay for it.

There may be instances when it would be beneficial to create an xSignal in a particular net, while not doing the same for all others within that net. For instance, perhaps your signal needs to travel from a memory chip pin to another part of the circuit and causes routing difficulties; in such an instance xSignals are an ideal solution.

xSignals can be an invaluable asset when managing high-speed signals in complex designs. Unfortunately, their use can also make it harder to comply with certain design rules, like Length and Matched Length rules. A PCB editor typically interprets each signal as an array of connected pins known as a net: Net A0 connects this connector pin with this memory component pin; adding a series termination resistor turns this address line into two distinct nets, making compliance challenging.

xSignal wizard

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The xSignal Wizard is an intuitive tool designed to assist with creating and classifying xSignals on PCB designs quickly and efficiently. The wizard automatically determines the ideal xSignals for your circuit while helping avoid creating unnecessary ones. The wizard works by analyzing potential xSignals between your selected source and target components; this process identifies all potential paths between these components that can be formed as well as creating xSignal classes based on this analysis; these classes then can be used to generate Matched Length design rules.

To create an xSignal, first select the start and end pads (footprint pads) of a component before running the Create xSignal command. Your new xSignal will be named using its start/end net names separated by a hyphen; its name can then be edited within the PCB panel’s xSignals mode or added directly to an xSignal Class by right-clicking in its region of the panel.

If you want to use an xSignal for length tuning, simply click Create Length Tuning accordion from within the PCB Panel xSignals list and follow its steps. After clicking and dragging to adjust track segment length between pins, once satisfied press Delete on accordion to remove. Alternatively, if no tuning needs to exist leave it as is or delete it altogether

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