Please see below.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Julian Higginson" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "'Protel EDA Forum'" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 1:28 AM
Subject: Re: [PEDA] eight-layer stackup

> > From: JaMi Smith [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
> > While there may be some way somewhere to make Protel ignore
> > those dogbones
> > and vias, DRC wise, I don't think that there is a way to do
> > it easily short
> > of putting them on the schematic, possibly as test points, so
> > that each of
> > them actually becomes a real "net" it the netlist. You could
> > turn off some
> > of your Design Rules, but that would really just be asking
> > for more trouble.
> >
> yeah there is a way:
> Don't use synchronisation in the ddb, use NETLIST GENERATION and NETLIST
> In the netlist generation in schematic, you can tell it to include unnamed
> single pin nets. You will then get nets assigned to all your unused pins
> your BGA.

You have kind of lost me here on this one. It appears that no matter what
you do you have to go back and screw around with the schematic somehow so
that you can actually get a real live net in the netlist that will represent
the little "dogbone" trace and the via. It also sounds like I have to have
make a rule to allow a single pin net, and then actually put that connection
into the schematic that would become a single pin net. Kinda sounds just
about like I said but without the testpoint.

Why on earth would I not want to keep synchronization intact? All in all, it
sounds like I am doing more work and asking for more problems then
necessary, and then opening the door for some real errors to sneak in

Once again, I would rather have the little DRC "error" starring me in the
face. At least this way I would not miss any other "errors" due to the fact
that I was tricking Protel.

I would still like to see a Protel 99 SE "server" to "handle" DRC "errors"
like I discussed in my post to you regarding your "split plane" problem
earlier this week, and I would like to see Protel DXP incorporate the
"solution" to the issue that I discussed.

> > I would also suggest that you definitely look into using separate
> > complete layers for power and ground under your BGA as opposed
> > to trying to juggle split planes.
> Jeez. How many layers does he have spare for power planes?? my BGA needed
> of the buggers. Split planes are the only way to go. Just be really
> not to bridge them with a through hole pin like I did...
> Julian
> (who got his BGA board not reporting errors, and the BGA part of it is

I'd first like to thank John Haddy and Tom Reineking for the very important
points that they both brought up along this line in there related responses
to your post.

I have spent too many hours out on an FCC OATS (Open Area Test Site) or in
an Screen Room or Anacoic Chamber trying to track down EMC / Signal
Integrity problems in equipment that I was trying to get certified for FCC
or CISPR (or even CTIC) compliance requirements to let this one slide by.

It has been my experience that a majority of the emissions problems I have
ever seen can be tracked down to a high speed  signal or clock line that has
crossed a split in a plane. In addition to the reflection issue that was
brought up by Tom, there is an even worse problem that has not been

Simply stated, any signal that is traveling along a conductor over a plane
will generate currents in the plane that are a mirror of those in the
conductor. When you cross a gap in between two different planes, you will
generate seperate currents in both of those planes. Those two different
currents in each of the two planes will then travel throughout those two
planes until they get to a common point and where they can cancel each other
out. This may mean that they will travel to a common point on the board to
cancel, or it may mean that they will travel all the way back to the power
supply to cancel. Whatever the case, these currents will have to travel
throughout the planes, affecting everything that is connected to the planes,
until they can cancel. While decoupling caps will help the problem somewhat,
they will not eliminate it. This is referred to as "infecting" the planes
and supplies with "noise". Once you get this noise into a plane or power
supply, it gets into everything, and there is no way to get rid of it. The
only way to get this kind of noise out of a plane or supply is to keep it
out of the plane or supply in the first place. Period.

That is why rule number one in PCB Design is to never ever under any
circumstance cross a split in a plane with a signal. Period. Rule number two
is to never ever forget about or ignore or violate rule number one. I don't
care what any of the "so called" experts have to say on this issue, you
simply should not do it.

This is such a fundamental rule in the industry that even Protel has this
one down right, and will flag this as a DRC "error".

Respecting your comment that you are the person  (who got his BGA board not
reporting errors, and the BGA part of it is fine), I would say that there is
a very vast and monumental difference between getting a board to pass Protel
DRC, and correctly function at high speed from a real world electrical
perspective (which not only means correctly operating, but also includes EMC
and Signal Integrity issues).

Two additional points that I would bring up here respecting having separate
planes as opposed to split planes, are these:

1) Planes are relatively cheap in terms of stack up height. By that I mean
you can add another plane (or pair) into a stack up for the thickness of the
copper and a few mils of prepreg, as opposed to the additional spacing that
may be required between planes if you are going to add another signal layer
that may need certain spacings due to impedance or other requirements such
as crosstalk.

2.) In an area such as under a BGA, having a separate solid plane that
extends entirely under the BGA will allow you to add a tremendous amount of
"decoupling" caps (both ceramics for high frequency and tantalums for good
ESR and low inductance) around the periphery of the BGA, which will insure
much better electrical performance of the BGA. This is especially helpful
(if not absolutely necessary) when you have to mount BGAs back to back on
both sides of the board and it is impossible to get any decoupling caps into
the center of the BGA pattern.

To somewhat complete the topic, I would once again bring up the issue of
"thermal reliefs" when connecting power and ground pins on a BGA to the
planes underneath the BGA, and once again state that one should NOT use any
"thermal relief", which will decimate the planes, but rather make all of
those connections to the planes DIRECT, since the "dogbone trace", properly
sized, will provide all of the thermal isolation that is necessary to
properly solder on the BGA. Rather than cover that subject again here, I
would simply refer anyone who missed the discussion to my post in response
to your problem earlier this week.

One final note, If I understand your statement above correctly, your board
has only 3 plane layers in the stackup. This is another "no no" in that it
is what is called "unbalanced construction", but I will not digress here
about it since it has been adaquately covered here in the forum.


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