8 thoughts on “Altium Designer Vault – What is it all about?

  1. Did you tell them how difficult it was to create a symbol, create a footprint, and then associate the two with a cryptic name? Vaults suck big time. Very dangerous technoogy for those maintaining designs.

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    1. Hi Nat, 

      after the tests – I don’t use Altium vault. It’s  not difficult, but it’s time consuming to create a new component in vault. 

      This is my normal design flow: 

      First I look for new components in supplier database (usually digikey). Then I import Parameters and create Schematic symbol. Many times, this component may not be used in final schematic – I do not waste time with creating footprint at the moment. Once I am happy with schematic I add footprints to each new symbol used in the design. 

      This design flow is not possible with vault, as you need to create both SCH symbol and PCB footprint, then associate them together (+ do plenty other stuff e.g release libraries), create the component and only then it’s possible to use it. By doing it “Altium Vault” way I would waste a lot of time creating components which are not used in final schematic.

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  2. We have a handful of engineers working on different projects, and we
    would like to be able to share components among one another. Is Vault a
    good way to do this?

    To further complicate things, we don’t always do the board layout
    ourselves. Instead, we often send out our Altium project to someone else
    to do the layout (still in Altium). However, the layout person wouldn’t
    have access to our server/vault. Is it possible to have this workflow
    and still use a satellite vault?

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    1. Hello Dave,

      For BIG companies, vault can be a solution. In companies where many new components are created and used every day, some procedures have to apply to the process. This can be done in Vault. 

      For SMALL companies / For SMALL development teams – I am not convinced if Vault is the best solution.  I am planning to use only one common library and control access through a versioning system.  All engineers would have read access to same library, but only one at a time would be able to edit it.

      Contracting layout – I would provide the contractors with project files only. The project files contains everything they need for layout. They don’t need to access to the main library.

      – Robert

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      1. Thanks Robert. I think the SMALL company approach makes more sense for us.

        Have you messed with the “Content Store” on Altium Live? It seems like some of the Unified Components (including the “generic” resistors and capacitors) require the use of a vault. (They have a “vault” button, but no “download library” button.)

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      2. At this stage I don’t see any value in Content Store for me – see my design flow described in the comment below. For me is much more important and comfortable to find and use components from supplier stock (with all the information such product number, manufacturer, supplier, supplier product number, price, …) than a component from vault. I never look for components based on manufacturer (that is what vault supports now), I always look for components based on supplier, parameters, stock information and price information. If you like, you may have a look at  my post:

        Altium Designer – Create BOM & Library from Supplier’s Data

         http://www.fedevel.com/welldoneblog/2012/02/altium-designer-create-bom-library-with-live-links-to-supplier-data/

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      3. Edit: I tried the generics from the Vault, and I don’t like them. I want my resistors to have the value displayed on the schematic… something like “1.2k”. With the generics, it would either say “1K2 5% 0603(1608)” (Comment field) or “12000.00 Ohm” (Value field). I didn’t analyze them any further, but my understanding is that they do have component links to suppliers/manufacturers and you can switch from one manufacturer to another (e.g. Panasonic to Vishay) depending on pricing and stock.

        I do think the Content Store has some value. If I can save myself creating a component, that is a good thing (especially a complicated component like a Xilinx FPGA). Luckily, those can be downloaded as a library from the content store website as an Intlib (no Vault needed). So I think it’s worth a double check to see if the component is in the content store before you make your own version of the part.

        Also, the “Template Designs” seem like they would be useful if you ever need to design a edge-mount card (PCIexpress, SODIMM, etc.) or if you’re designing motherboard with a standard form factor (micro ATX, etc.). Looks like they do need to be downloaded from the Vault.

        Anyway, thanks for your insight.

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      4. Hi Dave,
        I saw, that components in Vault have supplier/manufacturers, but that is not what I had in my mind. Basically, at the time I was testing Component Store, I was not able to search it – and that is a big minus for me. When I look for a component, I go to Digikey and do search based on parameters – and I immediately see if the component exists, if its in stock, I can compare between different manufacturers and different prices. I don’t think this is possible in Vault. Some time ago I suggested a new feature for Altium – Provide a link to vault component in Supplier search results – that would really help. Here is the link to BugCrunch http://bugcrunch.live.altium.com/#Bug/1756?msgID=4850135

        My boards have a lot of components (e.g. the current board has 1500 components, 200 types) and for me is important to use components which I can buy (ideally from as few suppliers as possible) and components which are in stock. Therefore I need search based on supplier and not a list of components by manufacturer.

        In most cases to create a new component is very quick (just copy sch and pcb from an existing similar component). I do not really look for the component in other libraries. It is true, you may find some components in libraries, but when I compare time spent by looking for the component and checking symbol/footprint + time spent looking for a component which I couldn’t find (and I had to create it anyway) then in Total it is faster for me just create every new component I need.

        I do not normally create the big components manually – I always have reference schematic which normally has a lot of the components I need in my design + reference PCB imported in Altium and I just copy and paste the symbol/footprint from there into my library.

        I do agree, the templates are useful. I have already used them. That saved me time.

        Have a great day,
        – Robert

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