This is the first post with Altium tips and tricks. This is actually mainly a way for me to write to my scribbles on problems with Altium I have stumbled up-on and solved.

Tricky Footprint in Need of Larger Pads

For the Cart micro IEC I needed solder the male DIN 5 pin and male 8 pin DIN connector to the board.

The pins have a pretty large diameter and especially the 5 pin DIN has a relatively small pitch between the pins. This makes it difficult to have a large angular ring to get good soldering on. I have then opted for a wedge shape to get as big area as possible.

These footprints are med as a hole ( the actual pad ) and a copper polygon on the primary/top layer. This is also what creates a problem with false errors of short circuit.

The problem

When Altium reads in the setlist and a pad ( our hole ) gets a net connection and name it also attaches the copper polygon to the same net. If the pad/pin is not in the net list it will be shown as a short circuit between the pad/pin ( our hole ) connected to nothing and the copper polygon connected to nothing.

The solution

The solution is actually pretty simple. Add the ordinary “not used” ERC markers and add a dummy net name. A name like NC1, NC2, NC3, …

Here is the schematic where I have added that to one of the not used pins.

Schematic picture to highlight the need for dummy nets on pads with copper fills.


And on the layout one of the errors are now gone, the other remains.

Layout picture to highlight the need for dummy nets on pads with copper fills.

Obviously it is important to use a unused net name, otherwise Altium want you to connect these in the layout. You will on the other way has a error/warning with single pin nets. Well well … you can not have everything …