Pulsonix is an electronic design automation (EDA) software suite for schematic capture and PCB design. It is produced by WestDev, which is headquartered in Gloucestershire, England, with additional sales and distribution offices overseas. It was first released in 2001, and runs on Windows.


The British software house WestDev created electronic design automation (EDA) software Pulsonix in 2001. Some development team members had formerly worked at Racal–Redac on computer-aided design tools. A key aim of the developers was that the software be easy to use, without the need for extensive training that they believed existing EDA products at that time required.[1][2]

The software formed part of the €14 million euros EU-funded project "HERMES". The three-year project (2008–11) sought to embed components within a circuit board's inner layers, to minimize use of design space.[3][4]

Traditionally, wire leads of components were inserted through holes in a circuit board then soldered in place; more recently, components and chips are surface-mounted flush with the board and heat-set. Although the concept of embedding components directly within layers of a circuit board itself had existed for some time, technical difficulties meant it was experimental, unsuited for use in mass production.

An increased demand for miniaturization, for products such as smartphones or medical devices that have to be swallowed to explore inside the body, led the EU to create the three-year project to develop embedding for "industrialization" (mass production use).[4] No EDA software was suitable for embedding. The taskforce working on HERMES approached the "most important EDA tool suppliers and convinced them to support [the project]". Pulsonix was one of those contacted, the others being Cadence, Mentor Graphics, and Zuken.[3][5]


Pulsonix is a Windows application for schematic capture and PCB layout design. It is produced in three variants, from 1000 pins up to an unlimited component pins version suited to larger designs.[6] All three have autorouter capability.[7] Within a dual monitor setup, schematic and layout design processes can each be assigned to a single screen, with changes synchronized as needed.[8]

Schematic capture

Schematic capture layout functionality, including:

  • Hierarchical schematic design[9]
  • SPICE mixed-signal circuit simulation
  • Netlist export
  • Reporting and BOM creation
  • Sketch Routing

PCB design

  • Push, shove and hug routing
  • Manual routing, with support for differential pairs, multi-trace routing, pin-swapping and gate-swapping
  • Automatic trace routing
  • Apply layout pattern for component placement[8]
  • Layer spans[8]
  • Via stitching within custom shapes and pads
  • Component footprint library management
  • Support for Flexi-Rigid Design
  • Support for Embedded Components[3]
  • STEP support[7]
  • Manufacturing files generation with support for Gerber and ODB++ formats
  • Import and export among various file formats[1][10]
  • 3D visualisation and clash detection[11]


Chris Anderson, then Wired editor-in-chief, gave it a generally positive review, at DIY Drones – an online portal for unmanned aerial vehicle ("drones") enthusiasts, in which he praised its user interface plus range of features such as 3D views, and, while noting it is an expensive product, deemed it "the best competitor to the aging Cadsoft Eagle" software.[12]

Neil Gruending, columnist at long-running electronics magazine Elektor, on board design among the maker subculture, reviewed around seven EDA products on his blog in late 2012. Gruending found Pulsonix's user interface straightforward, singling out how "copper pours work properly" for praise. He considered for range of features and cost, its closest relation was Altium. Contrasting the two products Gruending wrote Pulsonix had comparatively low market share in North America, though he found support from vendors significantly better for Pulsonix there.

See also


  1. ^ a b Kucera, G.; Schulte, A. (23 Feb 2007). "Leiterplattendesign: Gängige Formate und Librarys komfortabel...". [PCB Design: Process Common formats and libraries comfortably]. Elektronikpraxis. . Accessed 13 June 2014.
  2. ^ Staff writer (13 Oct 2011). "Pulsonix rinnova la propria presenza in Italia". [Pulsonix renews its presence in Italy]. Elettronica News. New Business Media. Accessed 13 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Stahr, H.; Beesley, M. (October 2011). "Embedded Components on the way to Industrialization[permanent dead link]". International Conference, Ft. Worth/USA. Accessed 16 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b "European Commission: CORDIS | Projects: HERMES". Accessed 26 June 2014.
  5. ^ Bringing embedded chips to the mass market for smart devices. European Commission (CORDIS). Accessed 26 June 2014.
  6. ^ Moretti, G. (14 Nov 2002). "Cheap thrills". EDN. Accessed 19 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b Goldbacherstrasse, A. (5 April 2013). "What's New in PCB design?". Elektronik. Weka Fachmedien. Accessed 16 June 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Клинковский, М. (Klinkovsky, M.) (2010). "Pulsonix v6". Технологии в электронной промышленности ("Technologies in Electronic Industry"). No. 2. pp. 62–68. Accessed 26 June 2014.(in Russian)
  9. ^ Gruending, N. (11 December 2012). "PCB Software Comparison". Accessed 19 June 2014.
  10. ^ Kucera, G. (1 Jun 2012). "PCB-Design in MCAD exportieren". [Export PCB Designs to mechanical-CAD]. Elektronik Praxis. Vogel Bus. Media. Accessed 13 June 2014.
  11. ^ Mallok, C. (19 Jan 2012). "Was Sie wissen müssen über das CAD-Design, die Leiterplattentechnik und Baugruppenpfertigung". [What you need to know about PCBs' CA-design, mfr. and assembly]. Elektronik Praxis. Vogel Bus. Media. Accessed 13 June 2014.
  12. ^ Anderson, C. (26 Aug 2008). "Finally, a decent (albeit expensive) competitor to the Eagle PCB software". DIY Drones.com. Accessed 16 June 2014.

External links