Component Template Improvements

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The arrival of Component Templates provided the ability to predefine settings for use by component definitions defined within Component Libraries referencing those templates. Now, with Altium Vault 2.6 and Altium Designer 16.0, the functionality of the component template has been greatly enhanced. These powerful improvements - including support for specific component types, unit-aware parameter data types, and definition of models - make the allure of using component templates ever more attractive.

This functionality requires that the latest version of the Component Template Editor extension be installed. The Component Template Editor can only be accessed provided the extension is installed as part of your Altium Designer installation. This extension is installed by default when installing the software, but in case of inadvertent uninstall, can be found back on the Purchased tab of the Extensions & Updates page (DXP » Extensions and Updates).

Component Type Parameter

Related article: Explicit Component Types

This enhancement allows you to specify the type of component, through the ComponentType parameter. Simply click on the associated Default Value field, and then click the  button to access the Component Type dialog. Use this to select the required type of component and click OK - the chosen type will be inserted as the value for the ComponentType parameter, back in the main parameters grid.

The data type for this parameter is set to ComponentType, and cannot be modified.


Example Component Template, with the ComponentType system parameter set to Diode.

The ComponentType parameter cannot be copied or removed.

Unit-Aware Component Parameter Data Types

Main article: Unit-Aware Component Parameter Data Types

This enhancement allows you to define explicit data types for component parameters defined within a template.  In addition, these data types are unit-aware, with a range of popular unit prefixes supported. As such, you can enter a parameter's value using a range of formats - such as 1V, 5V, 10V, 20V. The Altium Vault is engineered with the requisite smarts to recognize the numerical value behind those entries.

This enhancement facilitates targeted searching through the vault's Advanced Search facility. The Advanced Search facility not only allows you to search by component type, but allows you to search smarter, with range, greater than, or less than searches. Using the power of unit-aware component parameters, you can quickly define a search, for example, to find all capacitors with a capacitance between 47uF and 220uF.

When adding a parameter to the template (click Add in the Parameters region), use the associated Type field to choose the required unit-aware data type from the drop-down.


Choosing a supported unit-aware data type for a newly-added user parameter in a component template.

When a unit-aware data type is used for a component parameter, the entered value is validated against the specified data type. This ensures that the correct measurement unit for that data type is being used, where the unit is entered. For example, a parameter of type Celsius cannot have a value of 10V!

Support for Domain Model Definition

This enhancement sees the addition of two more parameters, allowing you to specify default Schematic Symbol and PCB 2D/3D Component Model Items, respectively. Simply click on the associated Default Value field for each parameter, and then click the  button to access a dialog with which to choose the required model Item.

The data types for these parameters are set to SCHLIB and PCBLIB respectively, and cannot be modified.
It is the model Item that you are choosing, and not a specific revision of that Item. In this way, a component library using the template will always use the latest revision of the chosen model Item.


Specify Schematic Symbol and PCB 2D/3D Component Model Items as part of your templates.

The model parameters cannot be copied or removed.

System Parameters

This enhancement sees the ability to define the two system parameters - Comment and Description - as part of a template.

The data type for both of these parameters is set to Text and cannot be modified.


Specify Comment and Description as part of your component template.

System parameters cannot be copied or removed.

Additional Improvements

  1. When a new parameter is added to the template, its associated Visible option will be enabled by default - meaning that it will be shown as a column in the definitions region of a component library that references the parent template.
  2. If a Component Template is chosen at the folder level - for a folder of type altium-component-library - that same template will be used, by default, when Component Items are created in child sub-folders below. This facilitates quick template inheritance to all Items in child folders.
  3. Copy-Paste of multiple user parameters is now supported. Use standard Ctrl+click and Shift+click selection techniques to select the required parameters.

 

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