Altium Users: Anyone use the Celestial library?

I found out about pretty recently and I’ve been trying to use it, but I’m not sure I’m doing it right.

My usual component creation workflow goes something like

  1. find the part I want on octopart or DK
  2. See if there are ECAD models on Altium’s manufacturer part search, SnapEDA, or, typically in that order
  3. “Acquire” or add a component to my Altium 365 workspace library from one of these sources (copy/paste footprint/symbol, or Acquire if on octopart/MPS)

I want to integrate the Celestial library in there since it seems VERY extensive, but searching it is just SUCH a pain! I don’t think Altium HAS a way to search across all your loaded libraries simultaneously, so the fact that Celestial is broken out into a zillion categories just makes that even more challenging.

Am I missing something? If you use Celestial, or just a zillion .IntLibs for that matter, what is your component search workflow?

1 Like

I looked into it at my last job, but never got into fully implementing / using it. I would say though that the discord is super useful! discord link

I’m sure the users there would be able to answer your question. :slight_smile:

I totally forgot they had a discord, thanks!

Man, so, searching in there for “search”, it looks like the guidance is this:

The library is broken up into like 100 different categories, all of which appear in your library list, and which can’t be simultaneously searched in Altium. Their recommendation is "the categories follow DigiKey, so find your part on DK, see what category it’s in, open that library, and search from there.

Honestly, sounds pretty godawful to me.

Sounds like an Altium issue to me haha. I wonder if they have a bug / suggestion tracker for expanded or better search.

But yeah, that’s not a fun time at all.

Around the year-end holiday season last year, when things were quieter, I spent some time on the project-related discord channel. Celestial is primarily driven by Mark Harris who created it, and he’s been working on creating software (with some hired help) to improve its usage. I believe part of the plan is to have a plug-in for Altium that will simplify parts search in the library, but it was still in development.

I’ve been busy lately (especially the past 2.5 months) so I’ve not been on there for a while. But it’s a pretty friendly and interesting group, so I think it’s worth having a look.

If you use Celestial, or just a zillion .IntLibs for that matter, what is your component search workflow?

So, something I have observed after about 20+ years… What is important is not parts search, rather design/sub circuit search. The only times I pull a part from a library is when

a.) its a passive or a simple two/three terminal part
b.) its connector
c.) The very 1st time I have used it

After that, if I reuse a part, it is only via copying a known working configuration. All of the value is in the bootstrapping of a part, DC-DC converter, etc. Even if I am changing the functionality, it is always from the starting point of a known working configuration. The exception is when starting from scratch.

With that in mind, parts search actually is something I only do on the web, not in my libraries. I have used Celestial libs indirectly to get some footprints and schematic symbols. From there, I also bring them into my own library where I can sanitize parameters, etc. For large pin count (>64) I will do a bit of searching to see if someone has the symbol already. Less that that, I can generally create the part from the datasheet faster than validating someone else’s footprint and symbol.

Also, for anything of reasonable complexity, I am really looking for the sub circuit/configuration, etc. Not just the part.

I argue that for anything greater that 64pins, one should be intimately involved with the pinouts/symbols, etc. There are often lots of details that you should be aware of for complicated parts that liability cannot generally be shifted to a 3rd party. I find that being hands on w/ the library forces the brain to get into a state of asking really good questions. (i.e. why is there a “bagel” pin).

Reflecting on my experience to date, I would much rather have some method of mining existing designs. Right now it is dependent on my memory…

1 Like