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ECE383: Microcomputers – Lab 1
PCB Artist Introduction
Goals: The goals of this lab are to introduce students to PCB Artist software to create
schematic layouts and generate printed circuit board designs. An additional goal is the
creation of a PIC24HJ128GP502 component in PCB Artist.
This lab introduces students to PCB Artist software. PCB is an acronym that stands for Printed Circuit Board.
Students will learn how to design electronic circuits using PCB Artist’s schematic tool and then generate a layout
of the design using the PCB tool. The final objective will be to design and implement a custom PIC24HJ128GP502
component in PCB Artist.
This lab requires you to capture portions of the screen. The lab computers use the Windows 10 operating system.
This includes the “Snipping Tool” that may be used to capture portions of the screen. Other third party tools are
As always,read through the entire lab and scan the supplied files before starting work. The reporting requirements
have you verify your work to the teaching assistant (TA). In all cases, make it easy for the TA to verify your
computations by showing your work. Note that this lab can be fully completed outside of the lab and
demonstrated to the TA during lab session.
2. PRELAB – TASK 1: Introduction to PCB Artist
For thistask we will use video tutorialsfrom Advanced Circuitsto introduce PCB Artist and its associated schematic
capture capabilities. View the seven step-by-step video tutorials located at http://www.4pcb.com/pcb-softwaretips-tools.html. These videos reflect the content of the PCB Artist Introduction and Tutorial that can be accessed
from the Help-Tutorials-Design Tutorial menu within PCB Artist. Complete chapters 1 and 2 of the tutorial. You
will be required to show the TA the completed schematic upon entering the lab.
Read the Printed Circuit Board basics tutorial at https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/pcb-basics and answer the
following questions. Provide typewritten answers to the following questions.
1. Usually, a PCB is made of four known layers of different materials. Describe the four layers in your own
2. Define the following terms in your own words: a) Finger, b) Pad, c) Panel, d) Plated through hole, e)
Silkscreen, f) Soldermask, g) Surface mount, and h) Via.
TA check: Upon arrival in the lab, show the TA the circuit and the answers you completed. This circuit should
closely resemble the completed tutorial circuit given on page 30 of the PCB Artist Introduction and Tutorial
document. Include a printout of your circuit and answers in your lab report.
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3. TASK 2: 555 Timer Circuit Schematic with PCB Artist
Use PCB Artist to create the digital clock circuit given in Figure 1 below. This circuit includes the following
components: a 10KΩ resistor (RA) a 100KΩ resistor (RB), a 1μF capacitor and a 555 timer chip. One possible PCB
Artist layout of the circuit is shown in Figure 2. The LM555CJA integrated circuit may be found in the natsemi.cml
component library. The capacitors and resistors may be found in the discrete.cml component library. Use the
“C”component for the capacitors and the “RA” component for the resistors.
Figure 1. 555 Timer-Based Digital Clock Circuit
Figure 2. PCB Artist Layout of 555 Timer-Based Digital Clock Circuit
TA check: Show the TA the circuit you completed. Include a printout of your circuit in your lab report.
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4. TASK 3: Creation of a Printed Circuit Board Layout with PCB Artist
For this task we will create a printed circuit board layout from the digital clock circuit schematic created as a part
of task 2. Chapter 4 of the PCB Artist Introduction and Tutorial describesthe basic process of converting the circuit
schematic into a printed circuit board layout. Read from the beginning of chapter 4 to the section titled
“Unrouting the design”. Use the described process using the Schematic To PCB wizard within PCB Artist. You can
accept all the default choices provided by the wizard until the “Place and Route” dialog box is shown. Select
“Arrange Outside the Board” for component placement and select “Next”. This will result in a PCB that will be
similar to the diagram shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3. PCB Wizard Generated Design with Components Unplaced and Nets Unrouted
Select Tools-Auto Place Components-All Components to have PCB Artist auto-place all the circuit components
onto the PCB. Select Tools-Auto Route Nets-All Nets to have PCB Artist auto-route all the circuit networks (i.e.
connections between components) on the PCB. This will result in a printed circuit board similar to the one shown
in Figure 4 below.
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Figure 4. Printed Circuit Board with all Components Placed and all Nets Routed
TA check: Show the TA the printed circuit board you completed. Include a printout of your PCB in your
5. TASK 4: PIC24HJ128GP502 Schematic Symbol, PCB Footprint, and Component in PCB Artist
For this task you will create a component for the PIC24HJ128GP502 microcontroller in PCB Artist. Begin by
reading and completing the Library Creation Tutorial within PCB Artist (Help-Tutorials-Part Creation
Tutorial). After completing the tutorial, perform the following steps:
• Within the Library Manager, create a new schematic symbol library called ece383.ssl. Use the Symbol
Wizard tool to create a schematic symbol called PIC24HJ128GP502. Example screen captures for this
wizard are shown below.
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Figure 5. Click New Lib … button to make ece383 folder
Figure 6. Technology and Unit Selection
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Figure 7. Symbol Type, Origin, and Component Name Position
Figure 8. Symbol Pin and Line Styles
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Figure 9. Pin Layout
Figure 10. Symbol Naming and Final Creation Step
• Within the Library Manager, create a new component library called ece383.cml. Use the Component
Wizard tool to create a component called PIC24HJ128GP502. Example screen captures for this wizard
are shown below.
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Figure 11. Click New Lib… to make ece383.cml file in components tab
Figure 12. Create a Normal Component Type
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Figure 13. Component Details
Figure 14. Schematic Symbol to Use
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Figure 15. PCB Symbol to Use (DIP28_300 from the prolib.psl Library)
Figure 16. Assign Pins (Use the Assign 1-to-1 Function)
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Figure 17. Save the Component in the Component Library
• Edit the component and provide terminal names for each pin as shown in the figure below. The
terminal names will closely match those given in the PIC24HJ128GP502 diagram shown on page 4 of the
PIC24 datasheet on the class website. Save the edited component in the component library.
• Close all the windows. Click either F8 or Add Component button. Find the “ece383.cml” library. Select
the PIC24HJ128GP502 and click add. The placed component should resemble that shown in Figure 19.
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Figure 18. Component Terminal/Pin Naming
TA check: Add the created component to a schematic design and show the TA the component placement
within the schematic. Use a screen capture tool to capture the schematic window and include it in your lab
report. An example screenshot is given below.
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Figure 19. PIC24HJ128GP502 Placement in a Schematic
6. Laboratory Report
No later than a week from the day the lab is performed, provide the TA a printed copy of a lab report
following the ECE383 Lab report Template given on the class website. Each lab group will submit one joint lab
report to the TA. Your report should have the reporting requirements needed for Tasks 1, 2, 3 and 4.
7. GRADING POLICY
1. Completion of the pre-lab assignment (Task 1) with results included in lab report (20%)
2. Completion of Task 2 with results included in lab report (20%)
3. Completion of Task 3 with results included in lab report (20%)
4. Completion of Task 4 with results included in lab report (20%)
5. Completeness, quality, and correctness of the lab report (20%)