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Specctra / Allegro PCB Router
Original author(s)Cooper & Chyan Technology, Inc.
Developer(s)Cadence Design Systems
Initial release1989
Stable release
17.2 / October 2016
Operating systemUnix, Windows

Specctra is a commercial PCB auto-router originally developed by John F. Cooper and David Chyan of Cooper & Chyan Technology, Inc. (CCT) in 1989.[1] The company and product were taken over by Cadence Design Systems in May 1997.[2][1][3] Since its integration into Cadence's Allegro PCB Editor, the name of the router is Allegro PCB Router. The latest version is 17.2 (October 2016).

Specctra routes boards by presenting graphical data using a "shape-based" technology which represents graphical objects not as a set of points-coordinates, but more compact. This increases the efficiency of routing printed circuit boards with a high density of components, provides automatic routing of the same chain of tracks of different widths and more.

Specctra uses adaptive algorithms implemented in multiple trace runs. The routing is carried out in three stages:

  1. preview routing
  2. autoroute
  3. additional processing of autoroute results

On the first pass, the connection of all conductors is performed, regardless of the presence of conflicts, which consist in crossing the conductors on one layer and breaking the gaps. On each subsequent pass, the auto-router tries to reduce the number of conflicts by breaking and re-building connections (the ripup-and-retry router method) and pushing the conductors by pushing the neighboring ones (the push-and-shove router method). Electromagnetic compatibility can be tested in Specctra through the "SPECCTRAQuest SI Expert" module.[4]

The program is compatible with many design systems for printed circuit boards, thanks to the use of industrial-standard DSN design file format for project description and Do-files to specify routing strategies.[5] The results are returned to the board editor via SES session files as well as RTE files. Protocol command execution is recorded in Did-file, which after editing can be used as new Do-files.

The DSN/SES file formats are also supported by a number of other auto-routers including KONEKT ELECTRA,[6] Eremex TopoR,[7] Alfons Wirtz's FreeRouting[8] and RL-based DeepPCB.[9]

List of EDA tools supporting Specctra[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Goering, Richard (2005-08-22). "EDA pioneer takes startup to new routing ground". Archived from the original on 2018-10-22.
  2. ^ EDN staff (1996-11-21). "Cadence, Cooper & Chyan to merge". EDN. Retrieved 2022-11-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Allegro PCB Designer - Constraint-driven PCB design". Archived from the original on 2022-11-14. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  4. ^ Yolshin, Y. (2006). "Specctra-practical experience system. Tracer Cadence Specctra expert // Components and Technologies" (58). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "Spectra PLMpedia". Archived from the original on 2020-02-23. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  6. ^ "KONEKT Shape Based PCB Autorouting - ELECTRA PCB AutoRouting". KONEKT. 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-09-23. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  7. ^ "TopoR Version History - What's New in TopoR version 6.2". Eremex. 2017-09-24. Archived from the original on 2017-09-24. Retrieved 2017-09-24. (NB. Includes a list of new features since TopoR 3.0.)
  8. ^ Wirtz, Alfons (2014-03-08) [2004]. "FreeRouting - Printed Circuit Board Routing Software from FreeRouting.net". GitHub. Archived from the original on 2017-09-23. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  9. ^ "DeepPCB: Pure AI-Powered Cloud Native PCB Routing". DeepPCB. Archived from the original on 2022-08-27. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  10. ^ Elco (2014-03-08) [2013-06-04, 2011-12-15]. "eagle2freerouter-8-march-2014.zip / eagle2freerouter.ulp / brd_to_dsn_v6.ulp". EAGLE Support: User Language Programs (ULP). Autodesk. Archived from the original on 2021-04-28. Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  11. ^ Starr, Robert (2006-02-22). "ulp_user/brd_to_dsn.ulp". GitHub. Archived from the original on 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2022-01-01.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]