Linking from a Company Database to Components in Your Design

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1 Linking from a Company Database to Components in Your Design Summary Tutorial TU0119 (v1.1) November 18, 2004 This tutorial describes how to set up links from a company component database to components placed on a schematic. Database linking allows data to be transferred from the database to the component parameters which can then be included in the Bill of Materials (BOM). With DXP, you can flow information from a company component management system into the DXP design environment by linking an external company database to components placed on the schematics in a PCB project. Links are established between schematic component parameters and an external database through a Database Link file added to your PCB (.PrjPCB) or Library (.LibPkg) project. This file allows for links to be specified via ODBC connections, as well as having predefined support for MS-Access and MS- SQL server connections. The following diagram shows an example of links formed using a Database Link file between an MS Access database and a schematic component in DXP. We will investigate how these links were set up during this tutorial with reference to the database linking example located in the \Program Files\Altium2004\Examples\Reference Designs\4 Port Serial Interface folder. This example project links its schematic components to an MS Access database named Example database.mdb, located in the \Program Files\Altium2004\Examples\Cis folder. TU0119 (v1.1) November 18,

2 *.mdl file MS Access database DXP Schematic Editor Database Link file (*.DbLink) Parameters list in Component Properties dialog Schematic component with parameters visible Company component management system linked to schematic components in the 4 Port Serial Interface example. Using database files While database connections in DXP are set up for MS Access databases (*.mdb files) by default, any ODBC-compliant database can be accessed. This makes other configurations possible, such as using an Excel file (*.xls) as the external database. See Linking to an Excel document later in this tutorial for more information about using Excel files as the database. 1. Create a database file (*.mdb) using MS Access that contains the company component information. Have a look at \Program Files\Altium2004\Examples\Cis\Example database.mdb for an example of how to set up an Access database that uses multiple tables. 2 TU0119 (v1.1) November 18, 2004

3 2. Make sure the data types are correctly set in the database file, e.g. Text is used for text string parameters. Save the database file (*.mdl) and close. Exit MS Access. 3. Open DXP and open the PCB project, 4 Port Serial Interface.PrjPCB, located in the \Program Files\Altium2004\Examples\4 Port Serial Interface folder. Open the project s schematic documents. Creating a Database Link file Now that the database file exists, you need to create a Database Link file (*.DbLink) in DXP. A Database Link (DbLink) file is used to define the linking between placed components on schematic documents and the database. When this file is set up, the components on the schematics can be updated with information from the database by updating the linked parameters. While a Database Link file already exists for the 4 Port Serial Interface project, we will create one from scratch to demonstrate its use. You would need to set up a new Database Link file if you wished to connect the project to another external database. 1. To add a Database Link file to your PCB project, select the project name 4 Port Serial Interface.PrjPCB in the Projects panel and choose File» New» Database Link File. TU0119 (v1.1) November 18,

4 2. A new file, Database Links1.DbLink, displays in the design window and is added to the Settings\Database Link Files sub-folder in the Projects panel. Specifying the database connection Once you have added a Database Link file, you can specify the connection to the database. Then you can indicate which database fields should match up with which design parameters and how design updates should occur. 1. To connect your project to the database, select Tools» Database Connection. The Connection tab of Database Connection dialog displays. Connections can be made via a Data Link file (*.udl ) or by the use of a connection string that links to an external database file (e.g. *.mdb). Note that linking to the example database is done using an absolute path, which defaults to C drive. Change this in the Database Connection dialog if necessary. 2. For this tutorial, we will use a connection string to the Access database file, so select Use Connection String and click on Build. The Data Link Properties dialog displays. The default OLE DB provider, Microsoft Jet 4.0 OLE, is set in the Provider tab. Pressing F1 or clicking on the Help button in the Data Link Properties dialog displays Microsoft (not DXP) help. For more information on Microsoft's ADO Provider Properties and Settings, try this link: com/library/default.as p?url=/library/enus/dnacc2k/html/adopro perties.asp. 3. From the Connection tab, select the database name you want to connect to by clicking on the browse button and selecting the filename, e.g. C:\Program Files\Altium2004\ Examples\Cis\Example database.mdb in the Select Access Database dialog. Click Open. 4 TU0119 (v1.1) November 18, 2004

5 4. To check the connection to the database has been successful, click on Test Connection. If the connection is found, a confirmation dialog displays. Click OK until all dialogs are closed. 5. Once connected, the Database Link file (*.DbLink) displays data in the Table Browser and Database Links tabs. 6. Make sure the Tables you wish to use are enabled. The Table Browser tab in the Database Link file allows you to view your database tables for reference. The actual values can not be edited here as any changes must take place within the external database itself. The Database Links tab is used to correlate database fields for each table with your design parameters. Refer to Setting database link options later in this tutorial for more information about setting the database links. Setting key fields and key parameters To match up information from the database file with the parameters in the schematics, a Database Key Field must match up with a Part Key Parameter via the Database Link file. Typically, the key field is something that uniquely identifies a component in the database, such as a company part number. Information is read from the selected Part Key Parameter name that exists in the placed schematic TU0119 (v1.1) November 18,

6 components and then is searched for in the chosen database key field in the database file. When there is a match, other cells from that record in the database can then be taken back to the mapped parameters in the schematic component. Key fields are set in the Database Link file for each connected table. You must first select one Database Key Field and one existing design parameter (Part Key Parameter) as the key fields which are used for matching from the schematic part to a table row in the database. If no suitable Part Key Parameter exists, one must be created. See Creating a Part Key Parameter using the Parameter Manager for more information. To match up the Single Key lookup key field and key parameter: 1. Select a Database key field from the drop-down list of column headings found in the database. In our 4 Port Serial Interface project example, the Part Number field in the database will be matched with the Part Number parameter in the schematic components. 2. Select a Part key parameter from the drop-down list of parameter names found in the schematic document in your PCB project. Save the Database Link file. SQL matching of multiple fields and parameters While the single-key lookup described above requires a precise correlation between one database column and one design parameter, using the Where clause allows you to create a key match between multiple database fields and parameters. This advanced feature is recommended only to users proficient in SQL. The following Where clause example shows the basic pattern for creating a key match between multiple fields and parameters. In this case, a single row in the relevant table of the database would be linked to using three different part parameters. Capacitance = '{Capacitance}' AND Tolerance = {Tolerance} AND Manufacturer = '{Manufacturer}' The second example below suggests some of the powerful advantages of making your key match through an SQL statement. [Package] = '{Footprint}' AND '[Value]' like '{Comment}%' AND [Tolerance] <= {Tol} and [Tolerance] >= {Tol} Notice that the design parameters are always referenced within curly braces. Single quotes around these braces will treat the parameter value as a string; the absence of quotes around a parameter will cause its value to be treated as a number. Square brackets for database columns are only usable in MS databases (Access, etc.), and should otherwise be left off. Quotes are only required around database column names if these contain spaces or reserved words. Creating a Part Key Parameter using the Parameter Manager If no suitable parameter exists in your placed schematic components to be used as a Part Key Parameter in the Database Link file, you can use the Parameter Manager to add a new parameter to all relevant components. Note that you do not need to do this section of the tutorial as the Part Number parameter has already been added to each component in the 4 Port Serial Interface example schematics. 6 TU0119 (v1.1) November 18, 2004

7 To add a new parameter using the Parameter Manager: 1. In the Schematic Editor with the required schematic documents open, select Tools» Parameter Manager. The Parameter Editor Options dialog appears. 2. To add the new parameter to all parts in the schematic, select Parts in the Include Parameters Owned By section of the Parameter Editor Options dialog and select All Objects as the criteria. Click OK and the Parameter Table Editor dialog displays. 3. Click on Add Column. The Add Parameter dialog displays. Type in a new parameter name and click on Add to all objects. No value is required. Click OK. 4. Click on Accept Changes (Create ECO) to display the Engineering Change Order dialog. TU0119 (v1.1) November 18,

8 5. Click on Validate Changes. If the validation is successful (the Status column shows a green tick), click on Execute Changes. 6. When the changes have been executed, click Close. The new parameters are added to the components in the schematic. These can be checked by double-clicking on the components in the schematic document to display the Component Properties dialog. The new parameter is add to the Parameters list. Setting database link options Once the connection from the schematic to the database is defined and key fields and parameters set, any values that are in the database can be transferred to the schematic by mapping them in the Database Links tab of the Database Link file. Setting default database link options You can set default actions for adding, updating and removing parameters in your schematic documents. You may want to always add a parameter to components but only if there is a value in the database, for example. You can also choose to update or remove parameters or not. These actions will take place when you run the Update from Database command. These defaults can be overridden for particular instances in the Database Link file. 1. To set the default options, select Tools» Options. Alternatively, right-click on a cell and select Options. The Database Link Options dialog displays. 2. Define the default set of actions to be applied when updating the parameters of placed schematic components with information from corresponding fields in the external database. Select the default options from the drop-down lists available. 8 TU0119 (v1.1) November 18, 2004

9 3. The settings defined in this dialog will only be applied if the Default entry is chosen in the Update Values, Add To Design or Remove From Design columns for parameter entries in the associated Database Link File. You have full control over updating parameters from the database as you can use these default settings or individually set the update, add and remove actions. Click OK to return to the Database Link file. Creating database links Now you have defined the default actions that will take place when you update the schematic components, you need to create the database links in the Database Link file. To create the database links in the Database Links tab of your Database Link file: 1. Highlight a row and press Ctrl+D. 2. A proposed Design Parameter for your design is created and named the same as the database field name. All the default update options (Default) are enabled as defined in the Database Link Options dialog. 3. If you want the database field to link to a different parameter name (existing or new), click on the Design Parameter name to select it and then click again to either choose the new parameter name from the drop-down list, or type it in yourself. 4. Repeat step 1 for all the database links you want to create. A green tick indicates a link has been successfully made between the database field name and the design parameter. Changing the update options for individual parameters You may want individual fields to ignore the default settings when updating parameter values from the database. To change from Default in the Update Values, Add To Design or Remove From Design columns: 1. Click to select the field for editing. Click again and an arrow appears to indicate a drop-down list is available. TU0119 (v1.1) November 18,

10 2. Select the required action from the drop-down list for the database fields whose default behavior you wish to override. The action is updated in the Database Link file. Save the Database Link file. You can still reject any of the proposed changes when you update your schematic documents from the database using an Engineering Change Order (ECO). Updating schematics from the database When all settings are defined as required, use the Update from Database command to create an Engineering Change Order which will implement the changes when executed. 1. Return to your schematic document and select Tools» Update from Database to synchronize parameter values with your database. The Update from Database dialog displays. Use the dialog to select which schematic documents and component types you wish to include in the update. 2. Define the scope of the update by selecting (ticking) the sheets and component types to be updated and click OK. The external database is queried for matching parts and then a list of schematic parts that will be updated is displayed in the Select Parameter Changes dialog. 3. This dialog allows you to decide at the parameter level whether to proceed with an update or reject it. Click on Update All or select only those objects you wish to update. This gives you final control over which parameters are updated from the database. Then click on Accept Changes (Create ECO). The Engineering Change Order dialog displays. 10 TU0119 (v1.1) November 18, 2004

11 4. Click on Validate Changes and check the Status is OK (ticked). Click on Execute Changes to update the parameters. When the changes have been executed (Done), click Close. 5. The parameters in the placed schematic components are updated. These can be checked by using the Parameter Manager, by using a query of IsParameter in the List panel, or by double-clicking on the components in the schematic document to display the Component Properties dialog. Linking to an Excel document While database connections are set up for Access databases (*.mdb files) by default, you can also use an Excel file as the source database. To link an existing Excel document to your schematic document: 1. Add a Database Link file (*.DbLink) to your PCB project by selecting File» New» Database Link File. 2. Select Tools» Database Connection. Select Use Connection String and click on Build. The Data Link Properties dialog displays. 3. Click on the Provider tab and make sure the Microsoft Jet 4.0 setting is selected. This is the default setting for new Database Link files as it is also used for Access database files. 4. Click on the All tab. Double-click on the Extended Properties field and enter Excel 8.0 in the Property Value field of the Edit Property Value dialog. Click OK. TU0119 (v1.1) November 18,

12 5. Click on the Connection tab and use on the browse button to find your Excel (.xls) file from the Select Access Database dialog. Change the file type to All Files (*.*) to list any Excel files. Select the Excel file required and click Open. 6. Click Test Connection and the confirmation message appears if successful. 7. The Database Link file will show each of your Excel sheets as an individual table, so make sure the required tables are enabled. The table name will have a dollar sign ($) appended. This is an Excel convention and will not affect the linked values. 8. Set the key fields, update action options and create the data links required (using Ctrl+D) as you would when using an Access database as the external source. 9. When the Database Link file is set up and saved, select Design» Update from Database and execute an ECO. The selected component parameters in the selected schematic documents are updated from the database. Using the new parameters when generating a BOM Once the new parameters and updated values have been successfully integrated into your design, you can use the Report Manager to create a Bill of Materials that incorporates the new component information. The following steps summarize this procedure. Refer to the Customizing Component Reports tutorial for more information about arranging data for inclusion in a BOM and using Excel templates. 1. In an Excel BOM template file, add the new column name, e.g. Column=Part Number. Save the new template (e.g. BOM Default Template1.xlt) in the \Program Files\Altium2004\Templates folder and close the template file. 2. In DXP, select Reports» Bill of Materials to display the Report Manager (titled the Bill of Materials (By Part Type) for Project [Project name.prjpcb] dialog when generating a BOM). 12 TU0119 (v1.1) November 18, 2004

13 3. Select the columns you wish to show in the report by clicking on the Show box next to the column name, e.g. Part Number, in the Other Columns section of the dialog. 4. Browse using the button to where your new template name, e.g. BOM Default Template1.xlt, is located and click Open to display the name in the Template field. 5. Click on the Excel button to preview the resulting Excel spreadsheet. You will notice the data from the new column, Part Number, added to the BOM. 6. Select Open Exported and click OK to open the new Excel spreadsheet of your DXP BOM in MS Excel. 7. You can now further modify your BOM in Excel if desired. TU0119 (v1.1) November 18,

14 Revision History Date Version No. Revision 9-Dec New product release 18-Nov Updated for SP2 Software, hardware, documentation and related materials: Copyright 2004 Altium Limited. All rights reserved. You are permitted to print this document provided that (1) the use of such is for personal use only and will not be copied or posted on any network computer or broadcast in any media and (2) no modifications of the document is made. Unauthorized duplication, in whole or part, of this document by any means, mechanical or electronic, including translation into another language, except for brief excerpts in published reviews, is prohibited without the express written permission of Altium Limited. Unauthorized duplication of this work may also be prohibited by local statute. Violators may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties, including fines and/or imprisonment. Altium, CAMtastic, Design Explorer, DXP, LiveDesign, NanoBoard, Nexar, nvisage, P-CAD, Protel, Situs, TASKING and Topological Autorouting and their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Altium Limited or its subsidiaries. All other registered or unregistered trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners and no trademark rights to the same are claimed. 14 TU0119 (v1.1) November 18, 2004

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