Press Releases

New Feature-rich DesignSpark PCB Version 5.0 from RS Components Delivers Time Saving and Error Reduction Benefits to Design Engineers

Feedback from DesignSpark user community helps determine new features in latest release of PCB design software

Taiwan, 17 April 2013 :

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), the world's leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products, has unveiled the latest release of DesignSpark PCB, the company's award-winning professional software for schematic capture and PCB layout. DesignSpark PCB Version 5.0 integrates two additional features within the free design tool - online Design Rule Checking and buses - which have been introduced to further reduce design times for engineers and to minimise errors during the design process. 

This new release builds upon the previous version of DesignSpark PCB announced in October 2012, which provided access to the industry-leading ModelSource component library, PCB quote service and BOM quote functionality. 


Online Design Rule Checking (DRC)

Design Rule Checking determines whether the physical layout of an integrated circuit satisfies a series of recommended parameters called design rules. DRC is an important step during the physical verification of a design, which is normally carried out in the post-design phase. Online DRC is an advancement of this process that enables the engineer to detect errors in real-time during the design stage, highlighting any issues before the design is finalised and layout completed.


The inclusion of online DRC within DesignSpark PCB Version 5.0 is a significant addition to the software's functionality, introducing considerable time saving benefits to the user as any errors can be rectified immediately with minimum knock-on effect to the rest of the design, ensuring maximum yield and reliability.





The increasing adoption of digital design has resulted in the use of on-chip buses, or bundles of related wires, to transfer data, enabling the engineer to combine multiple data signals into a bus in multiples of 8  (e.g. 8, 16, 32). Instead of drawing and/or labelling the individual wires in a schematic, a single 'bus wire' can be used to represent related wires, thus simplifying the final schematic. This also enables simulation and debugging to be carried out with minimum errors. Buses have been added directly into DesignSpark PCB Version 5.0, allowing the engineer to refine the schematic during the design phase. 


"The uptake of DesignSpark PCB has been tremendous since we launched the software in July 2010 with more than 155,000 downloads recorded globally," said Mark Cundle, Head of Technical Marketing at RS. "User feedback is an important part of the tool's evolution and these two new features have both been popular requests from the user community. The relationships we have developed with some users are helping to shape the future direction of the software, ensuring that our continued investment in DesignSpark PCB is based on the needs of engineers."



The DesignSpark PCB Timeline:

  • July 2010 - First Release of DesignSpark PCB
  • March 2011 - Addition of 3D visualisation of PCB layouts and increased library management functionality. 
  • November 2011 - Addition of simulation interface, design calculators and component-grouping functionality. 
  • October 2012 - Enhanced library manager with access to 80,000 part numbers in ModelSource component library, and addition of Bill-Of-Materials quote and PCB manufacturing quote functionality. 
  • February 2013 - Integration of online Design Rule Check and buses.

About RS Components

RS Components and Allied Electronics are the trading brands of Electrocomponents plc, the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products. With operations in 32 countries, we offer more than 550,000 products through the internet, catalogues and at trade counters to over one million customers, shipping around 44,000 parcels a day. Our products, sourced from 2,500 leading suppliers, include electronics, automation and control, test and measurement, electrical and mechanical components.

Electrocomponents is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the last financial year ended 31 March 2012 had revenues of £1.27bn.

For more information, please visit the website at


Further information is available via these links:

Twitter: @RSElectronics; @alliedelec; @designsparkRS

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Relevant Links:

Electrocomponents plc

RS Components