Schematic Capture

Written by Adam Blau
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Schematic capture is the process of rendering a schematic diagram of an electronic device's circuit flow. The schematic diagram is something like a roadmap to the inner workings of an electronic item. By following the schematic diagram, one can theoretically follow current flow from a power source, through various components (such as transistors and capacitors), out to interface items (like knobs and LEDs), and back to the power source again.

In today's world of electronics design, the schematic diagram is actually most often produced after an electronic device is created. Computer-aided design (CAD) applications have become so compatible with printed circuit board production plants that there is virtually no immediate need for a schematic diagram. Nonetheless, schematic diagrams are invaluable to have for many reasons, so it would behoove an electronics designer to create them for every project.

Performing Schematic Capture for Your Project

It may seem counterintuitive to create a schematic plan for a device after the fact. Yet such a process actually makes the schematic capture quite simple. Most CAD or printed circuit board design programs will allow a user to toggle into a "schematic view" or some similar feature. Here, the user will be able to oversee the layout and creation of the schematic diagram, clarifying labels and legends for others to more easily comprehend the output.

Schematic capture is a breeze with the right software application. If you are in the market for a new CAD or PCB design program, check the feature list to ensure that it includes this valuable tool. Some PCB manufacturing companies offer such a feature in their proprietary design software.


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