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'PCB AutoRouting (is it smart way ? / really Dumb )'
1998\08\07@141803 by Nagendra, VU2CLN

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I am a Electronics Hobbiest and a student of Electronics & Communication
Engg.I have been till now making my projects on breadboard or general PCB
and even many on "no boards" but now the circuit requirements are becoming
very large so that i am not able to do it manually so I tried out Eagle
from CadSoft and Traxmaker from Microcode but both the auto router failed
do any practical work and only the demos or samples work with them(try this
yourself if not till now ),I am trying to built a PCB for my frequency
counter using PIC16F84 & a CD4051 but auto routing and auto placement with
the both softwares couldn't even complete 60% of the connections and it
left me with more than 30 jumpers to put with no help from manual routing
also as it had make all 30 remaining connections island connections
isolated from rest of the world.

Is there any way to around it or is it the configuration problem ?
So is it really worth in using the AutoRouter ? has anybody successfully
made a PCB in Traxmaker or Eagle with the Autorouter ?

Any solutions to make realistic PCB's out of Computers ?


Virtually yours,
   Nagendra


Bye,73's
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1998\08\07@144952 by David VanHorn

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>Is there any way to around it or is it the configuration problem ?
>So is it really worth in using the AutoRouter ? has anybody successfully
>made a PCB in Traxmaker or Eagle with the Autorouter ?
>
>Any solutions to make realistic PCB's out of Computers ?


With a hammer?

Seriously, most autorouters you are likely to afford have these problems.
Worse, VCC and Ground are "just another signal". It will cheerfully put
a high current consumer on the end of the pipe with it's VCC and ground
currents screwing up everything inbetween.

I have an autorouter, I use it mostly to check where the board may be too
dense.  Then I manually route the highest frequency and current tracks, then
VCC, Ground, and any other power supplies, then the lower and lower speed
signals. Each track is considered for EMI and balanced against it's
neighbors.
You won't get that out of ANY router I've ever heard of.

uP xtal caps need to return to the uP ground on a separate track, not one
that visits some other point. VCC needs to route to a cap AT the ground
pin, and from there up to the chip's VCC pin(s)  I've never seen a router
where you could teach it things like this, and if they exist, I bet I can
hand
route it in less time than it takes to teach the system all the rules for a
particular board.

The autorouter can complete simple boards, but usually they are SO simple
they aren't worth making.

I usually see the autoroute crowd sharing a lot of members with the "we've
got
big FCC problems" crowd.

1998\08\07@145723 by Peter Schultz

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Hi,
Most of the engineers are aggree the autorouter is one of the most worthless
thing in the world.
They are not intelligent and set them up to do what you want takes more time
then do it manually.
And talking about tricky things groundplane, grounding system, different
trace width, analog and digital section on the same board they never will
work. You might have a use of autorouting on a memory board example.
Even the very expensive ones ( $5000-20000) are nightmare.
A small experimental project like yours You do not have to use autorouter.
As the number of your unconnected wires clearly indicate that. E-mail me
directly I can give You a lot of help on PCB layout.
Good luck,
Peter
.....schupetKILLspamspam@spam@dvp.com

1998\08\07@152142 by Harrison Cooper

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               Depends on the complexity of boards.  I do most of my
own without autorouting.  At work, doing 15 layer full surface mount
boards, autorouting is the way to do it.

1998\08\07@154202 by Don

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Harrison Cooper wrote:
>
>                 Depends on the complexity of boards.  I do most of my
> own without autorouting.  At work, doing 15 layer full surface mount
> boards, autorouting is the way to do it.

1998\08\07@163342 by Harold Hallikainen

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       There are some very expensive autorouters out there, but the ones
I've used (including Dasoft on an old CP/M system and my current use of
AMS EZ-ROUTE) have made a real mess out of the board.  I use the AMS
system extensively and am quite happy with it.  I just don't use the
autorouter.


Harold




Harold Hallikainen
haroldspamKILLspamhallikainen.com
Hallikainen & Friends, Inc.
See the FCC Rules at http://hallikainen.com/FccRules and comments filed
in LPFM proceeding at http://hallikainen.com/lpfm


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1998\08\07@170044 by Calvin

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>Is there any way to around it or is it the configuration problem ?
>So is it really worth in using the AutoRouter ? has anybody successfully
>made a PCB in Traxmaker or Eagle with the Autorouter ?
>
>Any solutions to make realistic PCB's out of Computers ?
>


I constantly use Eagle for designs, and almost always use the autorouter.
I have to say that it is no very good, but I manually route the critical
paths (power, high speed signals, etc.) and then let it finish with the
non-essential traces.
After this I still have to touch-up everything.

For easy things it works relatively well.

Calvin

1998\08\07@191456 by Michael Hagberg

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smart, depends on what you are comparing it to. but i don't think a computer
program could layout a pcb better than a human.

find a package that links (both directions) to the schematic layout and pcb
layout. this way if you decide to change i/o pins or which buffer of a line
driver during the pcb layout the schematic will be updated. when you find a
package it will create a 'net list' to import and layout in a 'rats nest'
all the connections. this way your schematic and board layout will agree.

i have seen someone use http://www.protel.com programs and was very impressed with
the ease of use (all programs have a learning curve) and a few years ago the
programs where about $1500 each. i believe ther may be a free demo (limited
number of pins) available.

michael

1998\08\07@203656 by steve

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> Is there any way to around it or is it the configuration problem ?
> So is it really worth in using the AutoRouter ? has anybody successfully
> made a PCB in Traxmaker or Eagle with the Autorouter ?
>
> Any solutions to make realistic PCB's out of Computers ?

A couple of years ago I went through the exercise of trying every
autorouter I could lay my hands on. For each one we had existing
boards from single sided through to 8 layer/SMT both sides that had
been done manually. The 8 layer board had taken me 4 weeks to get
full connectivity and then another couple to tidy it up, check and so
on.

All of the ones we tried (which covered the spectrum from cheap to
expensive) fell into 1 of 2 categories.
1) Specctra
2) The rest

Neuroroute (as it was being marketed then) produced good results on
some boards but failed on others. There was no means to tell it
anything about the board, so if it didn't work, that was it.

There were two things that makes Specctra stand out, IMHO.
The routing algorithm is sensible. On the first pass it tries to
achieve 100% connectivity with no regard for design rule conflicts.
On subsequent passes it changes that rule so that the conflicts have
more influence on where the tracks are placed. From a users point of
view this means that it tells you almost straight away, if it thinks
it will succeed.

More importantly, it allows the board designer to tell the router
things about the board that influence the routing. Each of those
items that David VanHorn mentioned can be specified and given a
weighting. eg. The track from pinA.1 to pinB.1 must go by the
shortest path and/or on top of the board and so on. You can specify
rules like this for pin to pin, nets, components, groups of
components, areas of the board, etc.
There are also crosstalk based rules, equal length rules,
driver-load-termination rules and so on.
It's not a cheap tool but it does allow the designer to do the
thinking and the software to do the work. That is where the others
all fall down.

You can get useful work out of cheap autorouters but I wouldn't pay
extra to get one. I found the most productive way to use those is to
lay out your components the way you want them and then spread them
out to 4-8 times the size of the board. Give the board to the
autorouter with plenty of space and let it join up the pins. Then
start moving tracks and components back to where you want them. As
you do this, you can make changes to the tracks and still keep your
connectivity.

(I have no association with CCT but having done it manually for
years, I appreciate its worth)

Steve.
======================================================
Steve Baldwin                Electronic Product Design
TLA Microsystems Ltd         Microcontroller Specialists
PO Box 15-680, New Lynn      http://www.tla.co.nz
Auckland, New Zealand        ph  +64 9 820-2221
email: .....stevebKILLspamspam.....tla.co.nz      fax +64 9 820-1929
======================================================

1998\08\08@020300 by Nagendra, VU2CLN

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Has anybody used Protel 98 ?
They claim to be have the "world's Best Router"
check out http://www.protel98.com
They have got a free protel98 trial cd with everything working for
30days,It is really fat with >50Mb
I think this is the stuff we might need

1998\08\08@060129 by Leon Heller

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In message <EraseME199808080032.MAA28870spam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTkcbbs.gen.nz>, Steve Baldwin
<stevebspamspam_OUTKCBBS.GEN.NZ> writes
>> Is there any way to around it or is it the configuration problem ?
>> So is it really worth in using the AutoRouter ? has anybody successfully
>> made a PCB in Traxmaker or Eagle with the Autorouter ?
>>
>> Any solutions to make realistic PCB's out of Computers ?
>
>A couple of years ago I went through the exercise of trying every
>autorouter I could lay my hands on. For each one we had existing
>boards from single sided through to 8 layer/SMT both sides that had
>been done manually. The 8 layer board had taken me 4 weeks to get
>full connectivity and then another couple to tidy it up, check and so
>on.

Electronics World tested most of the low and mid-range PCB packages
available a couple of years ago, and is currently running a series of
update articles. Only a couple of the autorouters were much use, as I
recall.

Leon
--
Leon Heller: @spam@leonKILLspamspamlfheller.demon.co.uk http://www.lfheller.demon.co.uk
Amateur Radio Callsign G1HSM    Tel: +44 (0) 118 947 1424
See http://www.lfheller.demon.co.uk/dds.htm for details of a simple AD9850
DDS system. See " "/diy_dsp.htm for a simple DIY DSP ADSP-2104 system.

1998\08\08@114409 by Paul-R.-Smargiassi

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I have used Protel97 with good results.  The autorouter works well.
You can set design perameters for different nets. Like .06 spacing for
120 VAC nets or .032 trace width for Vcc.

If you try the Protel98 upgrade, download their latest patch.

Paul Smargiassi

Nagendra, VU2CLN wrote:
>
> Has anybody used Protel 98 ?
> They claim to be have the "world's Best Router"
> check out http://www.protel98.com
> They have got a free protel98 trial cd with everything working for
> 30days,It is really fat with >50Mb
> I think this is the stuff we might need

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