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Schematic Capture

Definition - What does Schematic Capture mean?

Schematic capture is the process of creating a schematic diagram for an electronic circuit using various tools designed for the job. This can be done from as simple as using a pen and paper to using schematic capture software, including highly expensive electronic design automation suites or packages that can do everything from schematic capture, layout and simulation.

Techopedia explains Schematic Capture

Schematic capture is part of circuit analysis and design; it is the process of "taking" the schematic design from an engineer's head and entering it into a computer or putting it into a piece of paper. In simpler terms, it means that an engineer is designing a circuit that will serve a specific purpose by making use of industry standards and conventions to put the design into a visual state, either via hand drawing or by entering it into a software made for the purpose. It can be seen in the same manner as a digital artist might draw using a tool like Photoshop or a writer using a word processor.

The result of schematic capture is a schematic design or layout that can be used for the following purposes:

  • Informational -- The final output of schematic capture is more of an informational piece than of an outright physical design of a circuit. It shows what is connected to where and gives a good overview of the inner workings of the circuit. This simply shows the various components of the circuit drawn using industry standard symbols and conventions.
  • Layout -- When an actual physical circuit design needs to be created, the schematic can be fed into a layout tool that will systematically place and route connections that can be placed directly on a printer circuit board.
  • Simulation -- A simulation tool can be used to determine whether the schematic design does what is expected or shows flaws in the design.
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