Parameter Management

With the introduction of New Database Link files, SOLIDWORKS PCB 2018 also introduces Parameter Management options. These new parameter management tools allow designers to connect to any ODBC database, to include the Parametric data from these database libraries within SOLDIWORKS PCB schematic documents, and to create part parameters. Database fields can also be mapped to design parameters.

Parameter management tools can be accessed using the Parameter Editor Options dialog and the Update Parameters Database dialog. Both dialogs can be accessed from the Tools | DB Link Params section of the ribbon, while a schematic document is active.

For more information on Database Link creation and management, see the New Database Link page.

Creating a Part Parameter

If no suitable parameter exists in your SOLIDWORKS PCB components - for use as the Part parameter for matching purposes in the DbLink file - you will need to create one. Addition of this 'base' parameter can be achieved quickly using the Parameter Management feature.

Adding a Parameter using the Parameter Management Feature

To add a new parameter using the Parameter Management feature:

  1. From a schematic document (or schematic library document) choose Tools » Parameter Manager from the main menus. The Parameter Editor Options dialog will appear. To add the new parameter to all parts, ensure that he Parts option is enabled in the Include Parameters Owned By region, and that All Objects is set as the criteria in the That Meet the Following Criteria region.

  1. Clicking OK will present the Parameter Table Editor dialog, showing all parameters currently 'owned' by all part objects on schematic source documents in the active project (or schematic components in the active schematic library). Simply click on the Add Column button and use the Add Parameter dialog that appears to define the name for the parameter. Ensure that the Add to all objects option is enabled, so that the new parameter will be added to all parts.
It is best to leave the Value for the parameter unassigned - at this stage you just want to get the parameter added to each part. Bear in mind however, that to effectively link to a corresponding record in the database, the value for the parameter will need to be defined afterwards on a per-part basis.


Example of using the Parameter Management feature to add a new parameter to all parts, across all source schematics in a design project.

  1. Once the new column has been added, click the Accept Changes (Create ECO) button. Use the Engineering Change Order dialog that appears to validate and then execute the changes - adding the parameter to each of the required parts.

Mapping Database Fields to Design Parameters

Design parameters for existing components - either those placed on the source schematic sheets of a design project, or those defined in a schematic component library that has been added to a library package - are updated with externally-stored information from a company database using the Update Parameters From Database command, available from the Tools | DB Link Params area of the ribbon when the schematic document/schematic library document is active.

When a match occurs between a design component and a record in a table of the linked database, what happens next is determined by mapping and update information specified in the Database Link file. These settings are performed on the Field Mappings tab of the main document view.

Mapping and update options are specified on a per-table basis.


Specify parameter mapping and update options on the Field Mappings tab of the DbLink document.

Parameter Mapping

The first two columns (from the left) on the Field Mappings tab allow you to control which information from the database is to be mapped to a component's parameters.

The Database Field Name column lists all field (column) names in the currently active table of the database. The Design Parameter column allows you to specify the design parameter that should be mapped to the corresponding field in the database. Initial mapping is performed automatically upon connection to the database, with all database fields mapped to design parameters using the same names. For example, if a field in the database is called Tolerance, a design parameter with the name Tolerance will be mapped to it.

You can change the entry for a design parameter simply by:

  • Clicking in its cell and typing the name of a different parameter directly.
  • Using the cell's associated drop-down list to choose an existing design parameter (provided the parent project has been compiled beforehand).

You may have a large number of data fields associated with a component in the database, not all of which you will want, or even need, added as design parameters to the existing design component. Much of this information may only be required when generating a Bill of Materials. The Report Manager dialog includes an option that allows you to add parameter information to a BOM, directly from a linked database - allowing you to reduce the amount of information that gets 'carried' with the schematic source documents. For more information, refer to the section Adding Database Information Directly to a BOM.

For fields that you explicitly do not want mapped from the database, set the Design Parameter entry to [None]. Unmapped database fields are distinguished on the tab by the use of a red cross icon (). Mapped database fields are distinguished by a green tick icon ().


Define parameter mapping as required. Remember to compile the
project to populate the Design Parameter drop-down list.

Parameter Update Options

The remaining columns on the Field Mappings tab allow you to specify the actions taken for parameters, when updating a component using the Update Parameters From Database command. In the following descriptions, the term SOLIDWORKS PCB component is used to represent a placed component on a schematic sheet, or a defined component in a schematic component library (which is part of a library package).

The four columns are as follows:

  • Update Values - a cell in this column is used to determine the action that should be taken if the parameter exists for the SOLIDWORKS PCB component and in the database, but the values are currently different. Choose to update the parameter of the SOLIDWORKS PCB component with the value stored in the database (Update), or not to update at all (Do not update).
  • Add To Design - a cell in this column is used to determine the action that should be taken if the parameter is found in the database, but does not exist for the SOLIDWORKS PCB component. You can choose to add the parameter (Add), not add the parameter (Do not add), or add the parameter only if it has a value assigned to it in the database (Add only if not blank in database).
  • Visible On Add - a checkbox in this column is used to determine whether a newly added parameter is made visible for the SOLIDWORKS PCB component (enabled) or not (disabled).
  • Remove From Design - a cell in this column is used to determine the action that should be taken if the parameter is found to exist for the SOLIDWORKS PCB component, but either is not in the database, or is, but has no value. You can choose to not remove the parameter at all (Do not remove), or only remove it if it has no value assigned to it in the database (Remove only if blank in database).

Initially, the Update Values, Add To Design, and Remove From Design fields - for each mapped database field - will be set to the entry Default, and the Visible On Add option will be disabled, as illustrated in the following image.

Should you wish to override the default setting for an update option, simply click inside the relevant update field, on the Field Mappings tab, then click again to access a drop-down providing the applicable update choices.

he update, when performed, is carried out through use of an Engineering Change Order dialog. If at this stage there are updates that you would prefer not to make, you can simply opt to not include those particular changes - giving you the final, and ultimate say, in which design parameters get updated.

Ensuring Synchronicity

After the mapping and update options have been specified in the Database Link file as required, and the file saved, you will be in a position to pass information from the database to the mapped parameters of SOLIDWORKS PCB components. Remember, the chosen key field parameter is used to ensure that an SOLIDWORKS PCB component retains its link to the corresponding record for that component, in the external database. This means that at any stage in the future, changes to parameter information in the database can be easily passed back to the SOLIDWORKS PCB component, synchronizing the two. Updates are performed using the Update Parameters From Database command.

For more information on Database Link creation and management, see the New Database Link page.

Parameter Editor Options Dialog

The Parameter Editor Options dialog allows the designer to define the type of information that will display in the Parameter Table Editor.

Access

This dialog can be accessed by selecting Tools | DB Link Params | Parameter Editor Options while a schematic document is active.

Options/Controls

  • Include Parameters Owned By - use the checkboxes to display parameters owned by:
    • Parts 
    • Nets (Parameters Sets) 
    • Sheet Symbols 
    • Pins 
    • Models 
    • Ports 
    • Documents 
  • That Meet the Following Criteria - select a scope of criteria from the drop down for objects to be included:
    • All Objects
    • Objects with existing parameters
    • Objects with existing used parameters
  • ​Other Options
    • ​Exclude System Parameters - enable this option to exclude all system parameters. 
    • Selected Objects Only - enable this option to include only selected objects.

Update Parameters from Database Dialog

This dialog allows the user to update the parameters of SOLIDWORKS PCB components with information stored in an external database.

Access

This dialog can be accessed by selecting Tools | DB Link Params | Update Parameter from Database while a schematic document is active.

Options/Controls

  • Schematic Sheets - this region lists all schematic documents to which the update can be applied. This can be either a single, free schematic document, or all schematic sheets within the active project. Check the box next to the document(s) whose components you want in the update.
    As you enable/disable entries in the Schematic Sheets list, the Component Types region will automatically update according to your choices.
  • Component Types:
    • Physical Component - this is the name of the component.
    • Logical Symbol - this is the associated logical symbol.
    • Library - this is the source library from which the component was placed.
    • Count - this is the number of instances across all enabled schematic documents.
  • Create Log - check this option to create a log file of the update.
 
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