HDL Works

HDL Works


March 2023, HDL Works announces the release and immediate availability of BoardTrace 3.1,
the PCB / FPGA / Processor connectivity visualization and verification tool.

About BoardTrace

BoardTrace is the only tool in the world to visualize and verify how components (including FPGAs and now microprocessors) connect to each other on 1 or multiple PCBs. It can handle (rotated) connectors as well as shrouds on (through) a backplane. The PCB connection view shows traces for all signals that can be reached through the connectors. Filters and sorting allow you to concentrate on the potential problems.

What is new in BoardTrace 3.1

Improved high resolution monitor support

Buttons with images and other graphical user interface elements will follow the scale size set in Windows and Linux. Font scaling is improved when moving the application window to a second screen with different scaling.

In the user options dialog, Application page, you can specify a font size increase, which will increase all font sizes for application text, for which you cannot select the font and size in the user options (like in menus, dialogs and tab labels).

User preferences
User prefences: Application font increment

View improvements

In the connection trace it was not possible to see the difference between a connected pin without a net or no connection at all.

Connection trace BoardTrace 3.0
Connection trace of BoardTrace 3.0

In the above example signal ‘CAN_STBY’ is present in the Connection trace, thus connected to another board, however all other entries are empty. It was not possible to see that is connected to a pin on the MB1263 MPU Subsystem because there is no net attached.

Connection trace BoardTrace 3.1
Connection trace of BoardTrace 3.1

In BoardTrace 3.1 an NC icon is shown when the pin is present in the connection, but is left unconnected. The tooltip in the circuit column will now show the connections.

FPGA support

The FPGA vendor Efinix with the families Trion and Titanium have been added to BoardTrace.

Intel FPGA pins listed in the pinlist as "RESERVED_INPUT_WITH_WEAK_PULLUP" or "RESERVED_INPUT" are no longer marked as as being unused.

PCB view

PCB view
PCB view

When BoardTrace fails to parse a PCB, FPGA or microprocessor file the present components and connectors are not removed from the view to ensure that the previously defined connections are not deleted. This makes it possible to overlook that the processing has failed. Therefore the PCB, FPGA or microprocessor label in the PCB view is shown with an error icon and a red colored label when either the corresponding data file is not present or could not be parsed correctly.

Connector mapping

The VITA46, VPX connector mapping has been improved for the ground pins in the both the differential and single-ended pin map. Additional checks have added for the utility plane signals of connector P0. Pins which should be connected to the same signal are now reported in the verification when this not the case.

Pins of connectors that use a transformation and which are not are found in the mapping file are only reported once. This error filter is automatically reset when opening a project. Such pins are all shown in the ‘Connection details’ and connect to (when present) a pin with the same name on the opposite connector.

CSV netlist export

A new command-line utility boardtrace_csv_export is present in the executables folder and can be used by vendors to create a partial CSV netlist of a complete board netlist. The partial netlist will only contain the specified connector reference designators and nets connected to them. By default, units that are connected to one of the selected designators that have exactly 2 pins (capacitors/resistors/...), will also be added to the output file.

If you do not want this add the -nolookover option.

The utility requires the BoardTrace environment but is not licensed. It can be used to supply customers with a CSV file describing the connectors and attached signal names, without handing over the complete netlist.

		[-format <format>] 
		<output file> <PCB netlist file> <designators>

<designators> is a comma separated list of reference designators.


BoardTrace 3.1 is available now and can be downloaded and evaluated from the company website.

About HDL Works

HDL Works develops and markets high-performance, intuitive tools for complex HDL design / Board verification across a wide spectrum of applications. Its software products are available on Windows and Linux operating systems. HDL Works currently holds BoardTrace, EASE, HDL Companion and IO Checker in its product portfolio. Headquartered in Ede, The Netherlands, HDL Works is privately held.

HDL Works BV
Keplerlaan 12
6716 BS Ede
The Netherlands

BoardTrace, EASE, HDL Companion, IO Checker and Scriptum are trademarks of HDL Works.

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