CircuitHawk: Advanced Design Verification

Schematic Review and Circuit Simulation

Today’s electronic designs are becoming increasingly complex, making it harder to detect errors that generate high costs and hundreds of work hours. Detecting these errors in advance can be instrumental in preventing these damages. Unfortunately, in many cases, these errors are discovered only in the testing phase or at the customer’s site.

BQR’s CircuitHawk is a powerful and unique (patent based) design error detection and stress analysis tool for electrical circuits. CircuitHawk detects design errors during the design phase, before layout and production. This way, no schematic, connectivity or stress errors are found in the qualification tests during final verification. CircuitHawk shortens design cycles and time to market, which in turn saves a lot of money and helps bolster corporate reputation.

CircuitHawk is the only tool integrating design error detection with electrical stresses, thermal, MTBF and service life prediction at the schematic level, before PCB layout and production.

 

CircuitHawk includes the following modules

  • ASR – Automated Schematic Review
  • Rapid – Electrical Stress Calculation
  • Precise – Electrical Stress Simulation
  • Multi Board- System Level simulation
CircuitHawk design verification

Benefits

  • Automated Schematic Review tool; Detect hidden design errors, driven by Electrical Stress, Reliability, Testability and Safety analysis
  • fiXtress uses the ICD (interface Control Document) signals and their tolerance, this means we do a real stress analysis and schematic review based on the actual power supplies and loads connected to the board
  • Single and Multi-Boards analysis using the ICD between PCBs
  • Ready to use 17 groups of design rules, each one has 15 sub-groups on average
  • User can easily define new design rules for different applications such as Testability, ESD and Safety
  • Advanced level of rules that can check group of Signals & Buses between chips
  • Actual stress values (power, voltage, current) are calculated using fiXtress’ precise stress analysis and then compared against the component’s ratings
  • Hidden design errors early detection – eliminate the cause of NFF (No Failure Found) during service
  • Very fast and accurate results in minutes for hundreds of rules on a 50,000 pads PCB with 10,000 components
  • Detect all EOS (Electrical Over Stress) violations with Pareto, over-stress and over-design reports
  • Unique Thermal analysis that estimates the average temperature rise over the cold-plate, for accurate stress derating

 

Differences between CircuitHawk, DRC and Spice

The use of CircuitHawk does not replace the use of DRC or Spice but may rather be used as a supplement to tests and analyses that they cannot provide. DRC may be used to discover and fix simple errors such as floating inputs, shorted outputs, missing drivers to the net, etc. CircuitHawk can then come in and discover the more complex errors that the DRC tool cannot detect.
The purpose of Spice is to display the waveform for each signal including noise in relatively small analog circuits and adjust the component values so that the signal is as expected and clear of noise as possible. Spice cannot be used in digital circuits with large number of components. The purpose of CircuitHawk is to detect design errors and run a stress analysis. CircuitHawk is less suitable for switching power supplies. Yet, DC/DC converters, which are common in modern PCBs, are handled very well by CircuitHawk.

 

Conclusions

CircuitHawk is a new EDA plug-In software which helps the designer detect hidden errors early in the design process. CircuitHawk is using an Automated Schematic Review module which is empowered by electrical circuits stress analysis and a database of rules. A Rule Wizard Editor is available to add new rules. CircuitHawk is written in C++ and thus runs very fast on very large boards. Furthermore, CircuitHawk uses the power signals and loads on the connectors to simulate real use, in comparison to other tools that do not take the PCB I/O into account.