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Hierarchical Design Issues - Modules/Ports/Busses

Message 1 of 3
145 Views, 2 Replies

Hierarchical Design Issues - Modules/Ports/Busses



I recently changed companies and am now working on my first more complex design with Fusion 360 as ECAD tool instead of Mentor Graphics. 


Although Mentor has had its problems and I see that there are many improvements since Eagle was acquired by Autodesk, I still see many things that need to be improved in the schematic editor (I haven't started the layout yet). But maybe I just don't know what the solution is.  


At the moment, I'm mostly disappointed with the implementation of the hierarchical design:

  1. Very basic: Once I added signals to the modules these ports cannot be moved later on. That is highly annoying, especially in combination with the following point
  2. Once I created a module, I don't see any way of deleting it completely (not just from the sheet)
    Edit: By accident I saw that there is a gray "Sheets" at the bottom of the screen that, after clicked, opens a window to arrange the sheets and by right-clicking also removes modules. Extremely hard to find on a 4k screen!
    Edit2: Arranging the sheets by drag-and-drop seemed to work BUT this somehow moved the content out of the module. What is going on here??
  3. Ports don't behave like pins: Nets just don't connect to the ports. I experienced similar issues with busses. This means that moving modules/buses often leads to chaos.
  4. Ports are not "pushed" inside the block. I was used to add a port, double click on the module to open it (also VERY much appreciated) and then I saw the port connection symbol that I could connect the module-internal net to. Without appropriate symbols I still have to search the schematic to find out what internal nets are connected to the respective port.
  5. Does connecting busses to ports work now? Last time I tried it did not.
  6. Changing the module size on the property window is too fiddly. In mentor the module frame can easily be dragged by the mouse and also the port connections can be moved by drag+drop
  7. I did not find a way to define Reference Designators based on module attributes. In Mentor I liked to define a Ref Des Range for the components within each module, f.ex. R/C/IC1000-1999 was the range for the module on sheet 1.
  8. The ">SHEET" and ">SHEETS_TOTAL" variables don't seem to work. "DRAWING_NAME" for instance does work 😞

Please(!) improve these points. Eagle with the "connect by name" strategy has always worked for small designs, but no longer for complex designs.

Message 2 of 3
in reply to: Nordix_42

Hi @Nordix_42,


I hope you're doing well. This is going to for sure require a feature request but I want to address some of your questions now. 


1. It's actually possible to move them but it's not easy. Click on the MOVE command and then hold ctrl and click at the point where the port meets the module. Admittedly this is finicky and we already have an open ticket for this. You'll get it after a few tries.


2. Modules and sheets are treated similarly but they are actually separate entities under the hood. You can reorder sheets within a module but if you pull a module sheet into the area where normal sheets are then they'll become normal sheets and not be modules anymore.


Not sure what you are asking with number 3


4. Fusion 360 actually works in reverse of what you are expecting. You can draw a schematic inside of the module and then use the port command to surface nets that are in the module.  If you don't have a a schematic drawn in the module but add a port, once you add a net in the sheet of the module with that net name then it will connect to that port.


5. It does but only for simple busses, there is an improvement request for this open.


6. Agreed


7. This is currently not possible with our implementation of hierarchy


8. Modules are not the same as sheets. once modules are in play the sheets and sheets total variables wont include them.


Best Regards,

Jorge Garcia
​Product Support Specialist for Fusion 360 and EAGLE

Kudos are much appreciated if the information I have shared is helpful to you and/or others.

Did this resolve your issue? Please accept it "As a Solution" so others may benefit from it.
Message 3 of 3
in reply to: Nordix_42

Hi @Nordix_42 , 


I'm over on the product management team for Fusion 360 Electronics! First of all, thanks so much for using the forums and taking the time to outline your thoughts. I agree that the current implementation of hierarchical design should be better. I'd love to set some time up with you over a quick call (e.g. 30 mins) so I can more deeply understand your experiences and understand what you expect from this workflow. 


Please feel free to DM me if this sounds good, I'd love to connect on this topic. 


 Best regards,



Melisa Kaner
Product Manager - Fusion Electronics. Please DM me for Fusion Electronics feedback!

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