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'Schematic capture and PCB layout software'
1997\10\18@115611 by Adi

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face
I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
suggestions on what's good?

Thanks,
Adi

1997\10\18@124143 by Michael J Halliday

picon face
Ivex make a really good package, schematic and pcb, it can be downladed from
their site. http://www.ivex.com. The free package is limited to 100 pins, in the UK
it costs 20 GBP to upgrade to 200 pins so quite inexpensive. I bought the
printed manuals (for approx 45 GBP) as I still get on better with paper. If
you need more pins then just register for more, the registration number opens
up more pins. I have heard there are work arounds for more pins - but I
(personnaly) feel this is cheating on a very good deal.

Have fun,
Mike

1997\10\18@124155 by John Payson

picon face
> I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
> suggestions on what's good?

EasyTrax by Protel is pretty good.  No autorouter, but given that almost
all sub-$1000 autorouters are junk (and almost all over-$1000 ones for that
matter) that's not a real problem.  Otherwise, its biggest limitation is
that unless you have an older display card handy you'll probably be limitted
to 640x480 (since its DOS mode drivers are by now rather old).

Still, for the price (free) you can't beat it.  I don't have a URL handy,
but if you search for filename EASYFREE.ZIP it shouldn't be too hard to
find.

1997\10\18@125832 by Harold M Hallikainen

picon face
On Sat, 18 Oct 1997 22:48:12 +0000 Adi <spam_OUTadiTakeThisOuTspamsioux-lookout.LakeheadU.Ca>
writes:
>I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
>suggestions on what's good?
>
>Thanks,
>Adi
>

       I've been using the DOS version of AMS CAD (EZ Route) from
Advanced Microcomputer Systems in Florida.  It does very well for me.
Cost is something like $500-$600 for schematic capture through board
layout.  They have a web site with (I think) demo versions.

Harold

1997\10\18@130947 by Dag Cato Skarvik

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In <199710181542.LAA23913@sioux-lookout>, on 10/18/97
  at 10, Adi <.....adiKILLspamspam@spam@sioux-lookout.LakeheadU.Ca> said:

>I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
>suggestions on what's good?

>Thanks,
>Adi

You could try http://www.ivex.com it's not too good but it's usable for small
projects, it's got a PIC-library and it's cheap.


-----------------------------------------------------------
Yours sincerely
Dag Cato Skarvik
Bavergrendvegen 30
3600 Kongsberg
Norway
-----------------------------------------------------------

1997\10\18@172353 by Herbert Graf

picon face
-----Original Message-----
From: Adi <adispamKILLspamSL.LAKEHEADU.CA>
To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU <EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Saturday, October 18, 1997 16:32
Subject: Schematic capture and PCB layout software


>I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
>suggestions on what's good?


   Easytrax, it's DOS, it's old, it's slow, but here is the catcher, it's
free! It works for me. TTYL

1997\10\18@200712 by Andy Kunz

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>I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
>suggestions on what's good?

I use SuperCAD/SUperPCB from http://www.mentala.com

I love it.

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Montana Design - 409 S 6th St - Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
         Hardware & Software for Industry & R/C Hobbies
       "Go fast, turn right, and keep the wet side down!"
==================================================================

1997\10\18@224830 by Mike Smith

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-----Original Message-----
From: Herbert Graf <hgrafspamspam_OUTGEOCITIES.COM>
To: @spam@PICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU <KILLspamPICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Sunday, 19 October 1997 6:54
Subject: Re: Schematic capture and PCB layout software


{Quote hidden}

Slow?  If you have Win95 running at a decent speed on your machine, *any*
dos app is blazing fast!   I don't even bother running in draft mode.

MikeS
<RemoveMEmikesmith_ozspamTakeThisOuTrelaymail.net>

1997\10\19@064740 by Tom Handley

picon face
  Adi, I use WinDraft, from Ivex, for schematic capture. I've `dabbled'
with WinBoard, their PCB package, but it seemed awkward to me. Someone
else mentioned EasyTrax which is fine for small projects and it's free.

  Ivex has free 100-pin versions of their software and you can get a
200-pin version for around $30. You can upgrade for $50/100 pins.
Currently, my Windraft is 300 pins. I do like their support and
software upgrades are normally free. They also send `Tips' via e-mail
on a regular basis. They maintain regular library updates as well as
user-supplied libraries, including a PIC library. The head of the
company use to work for Mentor Graphics and they are both here locally
as well as OrCAD so I may be biased... For more info, see:

     http://www.ivex.com

  If I had lot's of $$,$$$, I would go with Mentor, if I had $,$$$, I
would go with OrCAD, otherwise I like Ivex for schematics.

  - Tom

>I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
>suggestions on what's good?
>
>Thanks,
>Adi

1997\10\20@013506 by Pasi T Mustalahti

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On Sat, 18 Oct 1997, Adi wrote:

> I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
> suggestions on what's good?
>
> Thanks,
> Adi
>
PTM: Hiwire is nice PCB editor, but lacks some features that might be of
use. For example 'rubberbands': you can't pick a component and move it so
that the connecting tracks follow. I have used a rather old version. New
versions might be wiser.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
PTM, pasi.mustalahtiEraseMEspam.....utu.fi, EraseMEptmustaspamutu.fi, http://www.utu.fi/~ptmusta
Lab.ins. (mikrotuki) ATK-keskus/Mat.Luon.Tdk                    OH1HEK
Lab.engineer (PC support) Computer Center                       OI7234
Mail: Turun Yliopisto / Fysla, Vesilinnantie 5, 20014
Pt 02-3336669, FAX 02-3335632 (Pk 02-2387010, NMT 049-555577)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

1997\10\20@121717 by David W. Duley

picon face
In a message dated 97-10-18 12:42:36 EDT, you write:

<<
Ivex make a really good package, schematic and pcb, it can be downladed from
their site. http://www.ivex.com. The free package is limited to 100 pins, in the UK
it costs 20 GBP to upgrade to 200 pins so quite inexpensive. I bought the
printed manuals (for approx 45 GBP) as I still get on better with paper. If
you need more pins then just register for more, the registration number
opens
up more pins. I have heard there are work arounds for more pins - but I
(personnaly) feel this is cheating on a very good deal.

Have fun,
Mike

 >>
I beg to differ.  Ivex makes crap!  Some executive took his high school kid's
fortran project and thought he'd make a buck on it.
Win Board is full of major bugs.  Its not worth the bits it is written with.
Mike Mike Mike.  Confess........you haven't really used it for anything.  If
you had you would be on a soap box (like I am) telling the world what a piece
of dung this thing really is.  It smells so bad an African dung beetle
wouldn't waste the time rolling it into a ball.

My humble opinion.
Dave Duley

1997\10\20@123849 by wilson

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Hi there,

It may be worth looking at a product called Vutrax. They have a free
limited version that is downloadable from the web site.

I have downloaded it myself, but I've not had any time to try it out,
so I can't personally vouch for it.

They also have very comprehensive documentation for the product that
is also downloadable from their web site.

The url is http://www.vutrax.demon.co.uk/vdesc.htm

Regards

Rod Wilson

> I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
> suggestions on what's good?
>
> Thanks,
> Adi


Internet communications are not secure and therefore the Barclays Group does
not accept legal responsibility for the contents of this message.

1997\10\20@153312 by Matt Bonner

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David W. Duley wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I must agree with Dave.  We spent the money to have (I think) 500 pins.
My layout guy gave it a good try and then went back to a really old
version of Tango for layouts and for schematics...AutoCAD version 1.0!

Since then, I bought Eagle ($400 US/module) - not perfect, but as
someone recently pointed out, most sub-$1000 packages are.  BTW, we
bought only the layout and schematic capture modules, so I can't comment
on the autorouter.
--Matt

1997\10\20@174344 by Dag Cato Skarvik

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In <RemoveME971020121203_-1192291731EraseMEspamEraseMEemout18.mail.aol.com>, on 10/20/97
  at 12, "David W. Duley" <RemoveMEDREITEKspam_OUTspamKILLspamAOL.COM> said:

{Quote hidden}

I've used it for small projects, and I am not stepping up on a soapbox.
Their version 2.15b works good for me. Wich version are you refering to?

-----------------------------------------------------------
Yours sincerely
Dag Cato Skarvik
Bavergrendvegen 30
3600 Kongsberg
Norway
-----------------------------------------------------------

1997\10\20@174350 by myke predko

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David Duley wrote:
>I beg to differ.  Ivex makes crap!  Some executive took his high school kid's
>fortran project and thought he'd make a buck on it.
>Win Board is full of major bugs.  Its not worth the bits it is written with.
>Mike Mike Mike.  Confess........you haven't really used it for anything.  If
>you had you would be on a soap box (like I am) telling the world what a piece
>of dung this thing really is.  It smells so bad an African dung beetle
>wouldn't waste the time rolling it into a ball.

Everytime somebody asks what's a good schematic capture/layout program, Ivex
comes out as a wonderful product and somebody (like me) exclaims that it's a
piece of crap and not worth anything.

I have never had good experience with it (on about 6 or 7 PCs over the last
seven or eight - I keep breaking down and trying it again and getting mad
that I wasted my time).  I have never been able to get even the demos
working properly!  I have the original product manuals from 1989 from
Omation, the original authors, and I'm a registered user for the 100 pin
freeware version, so nobody can say I haven't given it a good try.

I am also not very happy with the product from the pricing point of view.
Those 100 pins limit you to unreasonably trivial designs (when I did my
book, I was originally going to provide the bare board designs from
Winboard, but 100 pins wasn't sufficient for _any_ of the projects in the
book).  In fact, I would have had to buy the full version to even attempt (I
have very little confidence in the product that I could actually get through
it) pretty well anything but the most trivial.

But, somebody always says that it's a good product and the previous
version's problems are fixed (and like a lemming walking out to sea, I try
it yet again).

I'm curious; I've been watching this for years and there are people who say
it's great and then there's those of us who say that the time spent trying
it out would have been more productively spent shoving toothpicks into our
eyes.  I've never seen a comment that's somewhere in the middle (ie "it's a
bit buggy, but I like it").

So, let's get this resolved once and for all - all those who are using
Winboard, put your money where your mouth is and let's see what you've done
with it!

How about an Ivex promoter publish some designs that they've done in .gifs,
.jpgs, .pdfs, or postscript file formats so we can all see them?

I would, but all I could present is screen captures of Windows telling me I
have a fault from "General Protection" (which is usually followed by "PFC
Reboot").

myke

Check out "Programming and Customizing the PIC Microcontroller" at:

http://www.myke.com

1997\10\20@215320 by Ram Krishnan

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On the subject of Schematic Capture and board layout software:

I am using BoardMaker, a product of Tsien, U.K.  It seems satisfactory for
the price (under $300 U.S.), but I have had two failures with the dreadful
Dongle, and had to wait for a replacement. Of course, the autorouter is
practically worthless - I foolishly paid the extra $200 for it. Thre's also
now way to "pour" copper, though that's probably found only in "high end"
programs.

Is anyone else on the PIC list a user of BoardMaker ?

1997\10\21@051701 by Alec Myers

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No-one has yet mentioned EASYPC-PRO-XM. It's got an idiosynchratic (read
lousy) user interface, and the schematic-to-PCB transition stinks. But I
keep trying everything else that's free or cheap, and coming back to it.

It costs about 200 GBP. Multirouters (up to 8 layers) are available. I've
played with the two layer one, but so far prefer to layout myself. The
Gerber outputs are great, and it's quite quick once you get used to it. It
was originally written for '286 systems, so it really flies on an Pentium.

By the way, its a very different beast from the very old and very cheap
original EasyPC.

It's available here from Number One Systems. I dont think they have a
web-site, but I can mail contact details if anyone is interested.

I'm told they are starting work on a windows version, which I'm looking
forward to.


Alec

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1997\10\21@084341 by Mark Jurras

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FWIW HiWireII does support rubber banding and much more. check out
http://www.wintek.com/
look at smARTWORK and HiWireII.

------------------------------
From:    Pasi T Mustalahti <EraseMEptmustaspamspamspamBeGoneUTU.FI>

On Sat, 18 Oct 1997, Adi wrote:

> I am looking for inexpensive software to design small PCB's. Any
> suggestions on what's good?
- -Snip- -
>
PTM: Hiwire is nice PCB editor, but lacks some features that might be of
use. For example 'rubberbands': you can't pick a component and move it so
that the connecting tracks follow. I have used a rather old version. New
versions might be wiser.

1997\10\21@085619 by KcW

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face
Ok, here's my list in order of preference for the ones I've used:
(1 and 2 sided only)
Best
Protel for Windows - 200 pins, will accept EasyTrax input files for
printing!                                   - Schematic to board in a couple ste
ps.
                  - AutoRouter and intuitive interface (w/ auto ground plane)

OrCAD - Protel like interface, average difficulty in use, expensive
AutoRoute

Tango   -  no demo, easy to use, slow autoroute - uses Horiz/Vert grid
algorithm,
       - schematic to board in a few steps (w/auto ground plane)

EasyTrax - no AutoRoute or schematic editor but hey,it's free.

Ivex WinBoard - like Protel but no AutoRoute, so requires import of netlist
from Schematic Editor


PADs - decent software, horrible user interface, steep learning curve

PCRoute - shareware garbage

Worst

----------
{Quote hidden}

It
> was originally written for '286 systems, so it really flies on an
Pentium.
{Quote hidden}

__________________________________________________________________________
>                                     ________
> _______          ______          __/   ____/    W5 Ltd.
> \      \        /      \        / /  /_
>  \      \      /        \      / /___  \        33 Sneath Avenue
>   \      \    /          \    /      \  \       London NW11 9AJ
>    \      \  /            \  /       /  /       United Kingdom
>     \      \/      /\      \/   ____/  /
>      \            /  \         /______/         Telephone +44 181 922
7778
>       \          /    \          /              Fax       +44 976 650 110
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>         \______/        \______/
>
>             Technology * Innovation * Design * Solutions
> __________________________________________________________________________

1997\10\21@092535 by Mike Smith

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-----Original Message-----
From: David W. Duley <KILLspamDREITEKspamBeGonespamAOL.COM>
To: EraseMEPICLISTspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU <@spam@PICLIST@spam@spamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Tuesday, 21 October 1997 1:51
Subject: Re: Schematic capture and PCB layout software


>In a message dated 97-10-18 12:42:36 EDT, you write:
>
><<
> Ivex make a really good package, schematic and pcb, it can be downladed
from
> their site. http://www.ivex.com. The free package is limited to 100 pins, in the
UK


<snip>

>
>  >>
>I beg to differ.  Ivex makes crap!  Some executive took his high school
kid's
>fortran project and thought he'd make a buck on it.
>Win Board is full of major bugs.  Its not worth the bits it is written
with.

Seconded!  Its worse than Protel!  Fortunately I only tried the Evaluation
version...

>Mike Mike Mike.  Confess........you haven't really used it for anything.
If
>you had you would be on a soap box (like I am) telling the world what a
piece
>of dung this thing really is.  It smells so bad an African dung beetle
>wouldn't waste the time rolling it into a ball.
>
>My humble opinion.

Humble?

MikeS
<spamBeGonemikesmith_ozspamKILLspamrelaymail.net>

1997\10\21@114045 by Bob Blick

face
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Very few schematic/pcb packages have free/cheap versions except for the
programs that are junk.

Here's the rundown on the ones I've tried:

Protel - schematic capture that doesn't understand connections when
moving parts around? Forget it, what planet are they from? PCB has pretty
good autorouter.

Orcad - was very cryptic, has gotten better.

Tango - always has been pretty good.

Electronics Workbench - no longer written in Delphi, but still slow and
not "real" EDA.

Pads - free version is old, but very real and stable, generates Gerber
files that work. Netlist from schematic to pcb works. learning curve
slightly steeper than Tango. New version getting a little pricey. Does
not crash. Three different autorouter options, the #2 version is plenty
good enough(100% routes always).

1997\10\21@131420 by Leon Heller

flavicon
picon face
In message <.....m0xNTUi-003utqCspam_OUTspammegsinet.net>, Ram Krishnan
<TakeThisOuTkrish.....spamTakeThisOuTMEGSINET.NET> writes
>On the subject of Schematic Capture and board layout software:
>
>I am using BoardMaker, a product of Tsien, U.K.  It seems satisfactory for
>the price (under $300 U.S.), but I have had two failures with the dreadful
>Dongle, and had to wait for a replacement. Of course, the autorouter is
>practically worthless - I foolishly paid the extra $200 for it. Thre's also
>now way to "pour" copper, though that's probably found only in "high end"
>programs.
>
>Is anyone else on the PIC list a user of BoardMaker ?

I use Number One Systems (http://www.numberone.com) Easy-PC Professional
XM. The base version, Easy-PC (#75/$135), was written by the programmer
responsible for Tsien. I'm happy with it, and the support is excellent.
There are optional autorouters for 2, 4 and 8-layers, but I don't have
any experience of them.

Leon
--
Leon Heller: TakeThisOuTleonKILLspamspamspamlfheller.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/rcm.htm for details of a
low-cost reconfigurable computing module using the XC6216 FPGA

1997\10\21@134649 by lilel

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Alec wrote:

> Ok, here's my list in order of preference for the ones I've used: (1
> and 2 sided only) Best Protel for Windows - 200 pins, will accept
> EasyTrax input files for printing!

> OrCAD - Protel like interface, average difficulty in use, expensive

> Tango   -  no demo, easy to use, slow autoroute - uses Horiz/Vert

> EasyTrax - no AutoRoute or schematic editor but hey,it's free.

> Ivex WinBoard - like Protel but no AutoRoute, so requires import of
> PADs - decent software, horrible user interface, steep learning

> PCRoute - shareware garbage


Hmm.  PADS for DOS crashes on my computer every time.  I gave up on
it.

One of the things I need to do is translate the output to .DXF
format.  Either I need a package that does this by itself (preferred)
or a really good Gerber to DXF or HPGL to DXF converter.  I've got
several free ones and they are all worth every penny (i.e. worthless)
they either crash, or translate pads into thin little circles.
Somehow I need to get this info into AutoCad so the mechanical guy
can build his case around it.

Meanwhile, I'm going to continue laying out PC boards in Autocad.
It's crude, but it is stable, and I've climbed the learning curve.

How about a .DXF to Gerber converter?


Best Regards,

Lawrence Lile

1997\10\21@141951 by Wayne Foletta

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Mike:
I agree with your comments. My measure of software quality is how long
it stays on the hard drive: WinBoard = 15 minutes.

I have used Orcad and Procad for years on my machines. They are both in
the catagory of "I hate them at times - but they get the job done." The
big boys running on Suns and HP may have more power but I still use the
PC tools.

By the way - bought your book and like it alot. I have been using the
PIC for years but still learning - thanks for your efforts. Any plans
for Atmel or Scenix specific stuff?
-Wayne
{Quote hidden}

1997\10\21@162016 by Dag Cato Skarvik

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In <spamBeGone971020121203_-1192291731@spam@spamspam_OUTemout18.mail.aol.com>, on 10/20/97
  at 12, "David W. Duley" <TakeThisOuTDREITEKspamspamAOL.COM> said:

{Quote hidden}

I've used it for small projects, and I am not stepping up on a soapbox.
The version I use 2.15b work okei for me. Wich version do you know?

-----------------------------------------------------------
Yours sincerely
Dag Cato Skarvik
Bavergrendvegen 30
3600 Kongsberg
Norway
-----------------------------------------------------------

1997\10\21@163636 by Pat Reitelbach

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I have used ProCad from Interactive CAD Systems for awhile.  It works OK.
Quirky like others.  They have a "Lite" version to try before buying the
complete package.  Check http://www.icadsys.com/ .

Pat Reitelbach
Engineering Manager
RS Design
937 Poplar Avenue
Chesapeake, VA, USA 23323
757.487.9460 voice
757.523.2173 fax

1997\10\22@001510 by Tom Handley

picon face
re: Ivex

  Myke, I'm happy with Ivex's WinDraft for the money. However, I found
WinBoard to be a real pain to use. It was so frustrating just trying to
design a simple board that I gave up on it. I was using a recent version.
It's hard to believe that WinBoard is from the same company as there's a
big difference in the quality of the two... Especially with the recent
updates to WinDraft. I'm using v2.02.

  - Tom

At 05:37 PM 10/20/97 -0400, you wrote:
[snip]
>Everytime somebody asks what's a good schematic capture/layout program, Ivex
>comes out as a wonderful product and somebody (like me) exclaims that it's a
>piece of crap and not worth anything.
[snip]
>myke

1997\10\22@034609 by ht

flavicon
face
At 16:33 21.10.97 -0400, you wrote:
>I have used ProCad from Interactive CAD Systems for awhile.  It works OK.
>Quirky like others.  They have a "Lite" version to try before buying the
>complete package.  Check http://www.icadsys.com/ .
>

I bought it, but the copy protection worked like a *USE PROTECTION*.  It was
simply *IMPOSSIBLE* to get the software up and running.  -And I could not
detect any existing support either.  I would *NEVER* by this again!

Havard
------------------------------------------------
HŒvard T¿rring
htEraseMEspamneo.no    RemoveMExplisitEraseMEspamspam_OUTneo.no    @spam@simplisitRemoveMEspamEraseMEneo.no
Norsk Elektro Optikk A/S       Tel: +47 67974700
PoBox 384                      Fax: +47 67974900
1471 SkŒrer.
Norway

1997\10\22@151652 by Zack Cilliers

flavicon
face
Hi There!

I am also using Boardmaker. There are no
dongle thou, i have version 1.50.

Zack
              )|(
            (o o)
-----ooO--(_)--Ooo----
EraseMEzcspam@spam@intekom.co.za
or
@spam@spazzmanspam_OUTspam.....iname.com
There is no justice.
There is just us.


>On the subject of Schematic Capture and
board layout software:
>
>I am using BoardMaker, a product of
Tsien, U.K.  It seems satisfactory for
>the price (under $300 U.S.), but I have
had two failures with the dreadful
>Dongle, and had to wait for a
replacement. Of course, the autorouter
is
>practically worthless - I foolishly
paid the extra $200 for it. Thre's also
>now way to "pour" copper, though that's
probably found only in "high end"
>programs.
>
>Is anyone else on the PIC list a user
of BoardMaker ?

1997\10\23@025859 by myke predko

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Sorry about this, I replied to this note and it didn't get sent to the list.
Sorry for yet another review of cheap Schematic Capture/Board Layout Tools.

myke

<my rant deleted>

>OK, so what do *you* use?

For the most part, I have been using Easytrax (ie the raw card designs in my
book were done with Easytrax).  There's a bit of a learning curve and for
anything other than a single PIC design I wouldn't recommend it.

I have a license for Ulti-board, it was "okay" for DOS Command Line
Execution, but I have recently gotten the Windows version (came available in
August) and I haven't used it yet.  The DOS Command Line Version could not
print on my HP-600 DeskJet, so I didn't really use a lot other than playing
around with it.  I haven't seen any problems with it as yet.

I have also tried another cheap ($100) layout tool called "QCAD" from a
company here in Toronto and I ended up deleting it because it did not do
what the company said it could do and I ended up having to create a number
of libraries and there was an awful lot of playing around with it to get the
autorouter to work properly.  They were also *really* not interested in
supporting it.

myke

Check out "Programming and Customizing the PIC Microcontroller" at:

http://www.myke.com

1997\10\23@031708 by myke predko

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>re: Ivex
>
>   Myke, I'm happy with Ivex's WinDraft for the money. However, I found
>WinBoard to be a real pain to use. It was so frustrating just trying to
>design a simple board that I gave up on it. I was using a recent version.
>It's hard to believe that WinBoard is from the same company as there's a
>big difference in the quality of the two... Especially with the recent
>updates to WinDraft. I'm using v2.02.

Actually, I think they _were_ written by two different companies.  As I said
in my long note, I got WinDraft originally from a company called Omation.
The product was bought out and resurfaced some years later under "Ivex".  I
don't know what the history of WinBoard is though.

myke
{Quote hidden}

Check out "Programming and Customizing the PIC Microcontroller" at:

http://www.myke.com

1997\10\23@092734 by Ben Allgor

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myke predko wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I was going to make a pdf of the board that I just made with Winboard,
but there was a problem.  The white thru hole pads disappeared into the
white background and Windraft would not accept a change to the color.  I
could designate another color, but it wouldn't accept it.  After an hour
of messing around I decided that you are probably right.  The board is a
combination 2 sided surface mount and thru hole that came out real good,
physically.

Yesterday I etched a small flex circuit that I plotted onto copper.  I
couldn't do it with Winboard because it uses the Win95 plotter driver,
and the plots weren't right.  I had to use my 1980's PCPro from AMS to
layout and plot the circuit.

I have also run into a few bugs (or at least serious difficulties) with
Windraft, but that is another story.

Ben
--
C. Ben Allgor, PE
Benjamin Engineering Consultants
http://users.aol.com/bengineers

1997\10\23@104747 by J Scholz

picon face
>For the most part, I have been using Easytrax (ie the raw card designs
>in my
>book were done with Easytrax).  There's a bit of a learning curve and
>for
>(snip)

I have been quite satisfied with Easytrax for my low budget
hobbyist projects BUT, I can't get it to print right on a newer
printer, Epson Stylus 400. I tried it with all supplied drivers,
from Windows and DOS (not a DOS window). Has anyone
had sucess with this or a similiar setup?

Any help would be appreciated.            Jeff

1997\10\23@134955 by Saige Losli

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face
At 09:26 AM 10/23/1997 -0400, you wrote:
>myke predko wrote:
>>
>> David Duley wrote:
>> >I beg to differ.  Ivex makes crap!  Some executive took his high school
kid's
>> >fortran project and thought he'd make a buck on it.
>> >Win Board is full of major bugs.  Its not worth the bits it is written
with.
>> >Mike Mike Mike.  Confess........you haven't really used it for
anything.  If
>> >you had you would be on a soap box (like I am) telling the world what a
piece
>> >of dung this thing really is.  It smells so bad an African dung beetle
>> >wouldn't waste the time rolling it into a ball.
>>
>> Everytime somebody asks what's a good schematic capture/layout program,
Ivex
>> comes out as a wonderful product and somebody (like me) exclaims that
it's a
>> piece of crap and not worth anything.
>>
>> I have never had good experience with it (on about 6 or 7 PCs over the last
>> seven or eight - I keep breaking down and trying it again and getting mad
>> that I wasted my time).  I have never been able to get even the demos
>> working properly!  I have the original product manuals from 1989 from
>> Omation, the original authors, and I'm a registered user for the 100 pin
>> freeware version, so nobody can say I haven't given it a good try.

Sorry to have to tell you, but if you have a manual from Omation, it's not
too surprising that you're confused. This product has *never* been
associated with Omation--wasn't written by them, wasn't sold by them,
wasn't thought of by them. No wonder it doesn't work--wrong book!

If you want the right book, you can download it for free from our web page:
http://www.ivex.com/manuals.html. Only the latest and most up-to-date
manuals are there.

>> I am also not very happy with the product from the pricing point of view.
>> Those 100 pins limit you to unreasonably trivial designs (when I did my
>> book, I was originally going to provide the bare board designs from
>> Winboard, but 100 pins wasn't sufficient for _any_ of the projects in the
>> book).

Well I guess I have to appeal to reason here. We are trying to provide a
fully working sample that you can try out with no risk and no obligation.
You can download it and try it out. If your designs *are* under 100 pins,
you can keep using it for free--forever if you want to. But obviously we
have to feed our kids (just like you do), and since we don't make very much
money selling our kids' high-school fortran projects ;-), we have to sell
the higher-capacity versions of our software.

BTW, by contrast, many other companies make you *buy* their software in
order to try it out. If you're not satisfied, you can return it--if you're
within 30 days of purchase, of course. But once they have your money, it's
always much easier to keep it. It's a real hassle to go through a product
return.

How do you allow prospective customers to evaluate *your* products?

>> But, somebody always says that it's a good product and the previous
>> version's problems are fixed (and like a lemming walking out to sea, I try
>> it yet again).

Well it is true that that when we release a new version, it is usually to
fix bugs that we find.

The actual fact of the matter is that there will *always* be bugs. Somebody
will always test a limit that we forgot to test, and a bug will be found.
When we find a bug in our software, we acknowledge it. If you have any
doubts, look at http://www.ivex.com/buglist.html. Where we know of a
workaround, we try to put that in there too. Nobody is hiding anything here.

Perhaps this is a good time to bring up something else related to this
point. When we release a "bugfix" version, we put it on the web for all to
see, and anyone can download it. No extra charge.

>> I'm curious; I've been watching this for years and there are people who say
>> it's great and then there's those of us who say that the time spent trying
>> it out would have been more productively spent shoving toothpicks into our
>> eyes.  I've never seen a comment that's somewhere in the middle (ie "it's a
>> bit buggy, but I like it").

Again, no doubt that bugs do exist. I admit that, and have shown you where
to see for yourself.

Here's an important thing to go along with this: I have personally found
that not every "crash" that happens in a Windows program is directly
related to the program that appears to be at fault. As an example, we use
Microsoft Word in our office for word processing. When we first got it, it
crashed all the time, even when doing something so simple as using the
scroll bars to scroll down through the document. We couldn't believe that
Microsoft would release a program so full of bugs that it would crash doing
even the most simple of tasks. After awhile, we noticed that on another
machine, it didn't crash doing the same tasks. The problem? Different video
drivers. When we changed the video driver of the machine that had the
constant crashing, the problem went away, and we haven't seen it since.

>> How about an Ivex promoter publish some designs that they've done in .gifs,
>> .jpgs, .pdfs, or postscript file formats so we can all see them?

We don't always see them, but I understand from one of our customers that
does design work related to the Jet Propulsion Lab that at least one board
inside the Mars rover was designed using WinBoard. Hmmm.

{Quote hidden}

I am sure that we don't always have a "happy" answer to every problem, but
calling the Ivex technical support line is one way to clear up
misunderstandings and to find answers to problems that come up. Beats being
frustrated.

Please don't flame me. I'm just exercising my right to participate in this
discussion, and to help those who want help. Of course, you have to *ask*
for help in order to receive it, and a kind word and a smile always go
farther than calling somebody's life's work "crap".

--Saige
-----
Saige Losli                                Ivex Design International
Tel (503) 531-3555                         http://www.ivex.com

"The superior mind reaches into the creative realm
The simple mind talks of things already created
The lesser mind assents to gossip"

                           --unknown

1997\10\23@161104 by Herbert Graf

picon face
-----Original Message-----
From: J Scholz <spamBeGonesurrealisticEraseMEspamJUNO.COM>
To: PICLISTspamBeGonespamMITVMA.MIT.EDU <RemoveMEPICLIST@spam@spamspamBeGoneMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Thursday, October 23, 1997 10:52
Subject: Re: Schematic capture and PCB layout software


{Quote hidden}

   That was the nice thing for me, my HP injet is compatible with the
laserjet driver in easytrax and it worked. As for your problem, the best
idea I can come up with is try to capture the output to a file and somehow
convert it to the epson format, I dont know if that kind of thing exists for
your printer though. TTYL and good luck

1997\10\23@165502 by Andy Kunz

flavicon
face
>I am sure that we don't always have a "happy" answer to every problem, but
>calling the Ivex technical support line is one way to clear up
>misunderstandings and to find answers to problems that come up. Beats being
>frustrated.
>
>Please don't flame me. I'm just exercising my right to participate in this
>discussion, and to help those who want help. Of course, you have to *ask*
>for help in order to receive it, and a kind word and a smile always go
>farther than calling somebody's life's work "crap".
>
>--Saige

Wow, an honest and complete answer in a relatively hostile environment.  I
don't use their products (I use http://www.mentala.com's instead), but they sure
sound like decent people.

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Montana Design - 409 S 6th St - Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
         Hardware & Software for Industry & R/C Hobbies
       "Go fast, turn right, and keep the wet side down!"
==================================================================

1997\10\23@165502 by Andy Kunz

flavicon
face
>I am sure that we don't always have a "happy" answer to every problem, but
>calling the Ivex technical support line is one way to clear up
>misunderstandings and to find answers to problems that come up. Beats being
>frustrated.
>
>Please don't flame me. I'm just exercising my right to participate in this
>discussion, and to help those who want help. Of course, you have to *ask*
>for help in order to receive it, and a kind word and a smile always go
>farther than calling somebody's life's work "crap".
>
>--Saige

Wow, an honest and complete answer in a relatively hostile environment.  I
don't use their products (I use http://www.mentala.com's instead), but they sure
sound like decent people.

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Montana Design - 409 S 6th St - Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
         Hardware & Software for Industry & R/C Hobbies
       "Go fast, turn right, and keep the wet side down!"
==================================================================

1997\10\23@181817 by David W. Duley

picon face
In a message dated 97-10-23 13:51:14 EDT, you write:

<<
Please don't flame me. I'm just exercising my right to participate in this
discussion, and to help those who want help. Of course, you have to *ask*
for help in order to receive it, and a kind word and a smile always go
farther than calling somebody's life's work "crap".

--Saige
-----
Saige Losli                                Ivex Design International
Tel (503) 531-3555                         http://www.ivex.com
 >>
Hello Saige!
I am glad to hear that a rep. of IVEX has spoken up.  My problems with
Winboard were NOT due to the wrong manual.  I DID submit many bug reports to
your websight and to people over the phone.  The fact still remains that I
couldn't get through a 2 hours drafting session without at least 1 GPF error
in windows!  This isn't some quirky little anoyance, or a minor bug with a
work-around.  This is crap!
I have been down the same road that you are going down.  I have published
many comercial software packages.  I understand that the general public is
Inherently stupid (After all, the average IQ in the US is 100, so 1/2 of all
people you deal with have an IQ less than 100!).  On one of my projects, I
got a letter from a user that said my software was totaly unusable because I
misspelled a few words in the help file!  I UNDERSTAND.  The fact that some
poor engineer choose to sweat through a project that happened to wind up in
the mars rover is pointless.  I sweated through two such projects and then
abandon IVEX as soon as I could scrape up the $600 bucks for Mental
automation's products.  They aren't withour quirks but I have yet to get a
GPF error and I have yet to have them scramble my work.  A plus in my book!
I aggree with you that there is no such thing as bug free software but there
is a degree of proficiency that is expected.  So far by my count we have as
least 5 opinions that Winboard is deficient and one resounding "I used it for
a couple of small projects and it worked OK".  Hardly a shining testamonial.
When I worked for Virgin Games, they had an army of people who's job it was
to use the software and find the bugs before the general public had a go at
it.

This isn't meant to be a flame, only an account of my troubles with your
product.

Dave Duley
V.P. Dreitek Inc.
http://www.dreitek.com

1997\10\23@205653 by Saige Losli

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At 06:14 PM 10/23/1997 -0400, you wrote:
>This isn't meant to be a flame, only an account of my troubles with your
>product.

>Hello Saige!
>I am glad to hear that a rep. of IVEX has spoken up.  My problems with
>Winboard were NOT due to the wrong manual.  I DID submit many bug reports to
>your websight and to people over the phone.

Dave, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I searched my database, and
although I could not find where you had ever registered a product with us,
I did find some bugs that had been submitted by you by returning to my old
e-mails. Here is what I found:

1. July 26, 1996, WinBoard version 2.11:
----------------------------------------
>Zoom in and zoom out do not function.

I have not seen this problem, and apparently you were not able to send an
example for us to evaluate. We can usually fix bugs that are found, but we
need to be able to reproduce them.

2. July 26, 1996, WinBoard version 2.11:
----------------------------------------
>Draw a select box then change layers. When you change layers, the selected
objects move by 20 mils or so.

Yup, it's a bug. The objects shouldn't move just by "logging onto" a
different layer, but they do. Documented in bug ID #684 and #832 on our web
page, complete with a workaround.

3. August 15, 1996, WinBoard version 2.11:
------------------------------------------
>Pad stack cancel button doesn't cancel changes.

You're right. This is another bug. Documented in bug ID #846, thanks to
you, I believe.

4. August 15, 1996, WinBoard version 2.11:
------------------------------------------
>Most SMD pads in the resistor library are too small

Could be so. We took sizing information from manufacturer's catalogs when
making those library parts. Since then, we have added the IPC-782 spec
libraries. I guess if the IPC doesn't get it right, nobody will...


>The fact still remains that I
>couldn't get through a 2 hours drafting session without at least 1 GPF error
>in windows!  This isn't some quirky little anoyance, or a minor bug with a
>work-around.  This is crap!

You're right, it sure does look bad. We do get customers from time to time
who complain about GPFs. In my experience, about 90% of them get cured by
switching to a new video driver. Yes, that's right, a new video driver. Why
that, you say?  You run programs all day long, and only WinBoard crashes? I
don't know all of the technical reasons, but apparently some video support
functions are more robust in some drivers than others.

>The fact that some
>poor engineer choose to sweat through a project that happened to wind up in
>the mars rover is pointless.

I don't think it's pointless. The question was asked whether anyone had
success with the program. The fact is that the answer is YES. There are
many users who have expressed their goodwill toward Ivex for our products,
our support, our customer service, etc. Obviously we can't solve every
problem, but we do our best to help our customers out, as I am sure you do
with *your* customers.

>I sweated through two such projects and then
>abandon IVEX as soon as I could scrape up the $600 bucks for Mental
>automation's products.  They aren't withour quirks but I have yet to get a
>GPF error and I have yet to have them scramble my work.  A plus in my book!

Well, kudos to Mental Automation for no GPFs.

>I aggree with you that there is no such thing as bug free software but there
>is a degree of proficiency that is expected.  So far by my count we have as
>least 5 opinions that Winboard is deficient and one resounding "I used it for
>a couple of small projects and it worked OK".  Hardly a shining testamonial.

It's hard to argue with those who don't like it. If you fall into that
camp, then I wish you well, and I hope that you find something that you can
afford that you *do* like.

In fact, I am quite satisfied that prospective users can try out our
software for free. If they agree with you that it is "crap", then I
heartily recommend that they find something more to their taste and
suitability. We couldn't possibly design our programs to be all things to
all people, but if they work for you, then all the better.

Warm Regards,

--Saige
-----
Saige Losli                                Ivex Design International
Tel (503) 531-3555                         http://www.ivex.com

"The superior mind reaches into the creative realm
The simple mind talks of things already created
The lesser mind assents to gossip"

                           --unknown

1997\10\24@003124 by Kevin Timmerman

flavicon
face
I have tried to use the Ivex software ( http://www.ivex.com ) and have
found it to be unstable.  I don't think it ever crashed, but numerous
things just didn't seem to work right. WinDraft is reasonably intuitive,
but WinBoard is quite confusing. The documentation is sparse.  After
spending 5+ hours with it, I gave up in frustration. I agree with all the
negative things said about it on this list. The bugs that exist in it are
inexcusable for released software. The fact that known bugs are posted is
of little use when hours of work are lost or corrupted. The demo files are
a joke.

I tried the Mental Automation software ( http://www.mentala.com ) and found
it to be a good package. Not great, but not bad. It never misbehaved or
crashed during my evaluation.

The best I have found is CadSoft's EAGLE ( http://www.cadsoftusa.com ). It
is easy to use - uncluttered and complete. Everything worked exactly as it
should. There are versions for DOS, Win32 and OS/2.  After using the demo
for 8+ hours, I am very impressed and plan to purchase it ASAP.

Kevin Timmerman
"RoadKill on the InfoBahn"

1997\10\24@004603 by John Payson

picon face
Someone from IVEX responded to one of Dave's bug reports thus:

> 2. July 26, 1996, WinBoard version 2.11:
> ----------------------------------------
> >Draw a select box then change layers. When you change layers, the selected
> objects move by 20 mils or so.
>
> Yup, it's a bug. The objects shouldn't move just by "logging onto" a
> different layer, but they do. Documented in bug ID #684 and #832 on our web
> page, complete with a workaround.

While I appreciate very much that Ivex is being straightforward and open
in discussing its bugs, I find the above somewhat troubling: a bug which
could, by the sound of it, easily result in the manufacture of a faulty
board (e.g. if it moves something and you don't happen to notice) has
been known for over a year and yet apparently not been fixed.

IMHO, bugs such as that are the *WORST* kind; a bug which crashes a program
may cost an hour or two of work, but a bug that nudges things just a little
can cost hundreds of dollars for a board fab plus whatever time is spent
putting in parts that fit before it's found that some don't.

This is not meant to be a flame toward Ivex; I would hope that they have an
explanation as to why this bug has not been fixed given its apparent severity.
Perhaps Ivex can respond? [nb: I've never used their software but might be
inclined to evaluate it if issues like the above are resolved].

1997\10\24@013012 by Kevin Timmerman

flavicon
face
Oops - forgot to mention that CadSoft's EAGLE has a very complete PIC library!

1997\10\24@070141 by Andy Kunz

flavicon
face
>many comercial software packages.  I understand that the general public is
>Inherently stupid (After all, the average IQ in the US is 100, so 1/2 of all
>people you deal with have an IQ less than 100!).  On one of my projects, I

Oh, Dave, you mean in-DUH-viduals!  My, how they love computers - just ask
Dilbert!

>automation's products.  They aren't withour quirks but I have yet to get a
>GPF error and I have yet to have them scramble my work.  A plus in my book!

I have had it scramble my work twice, but it was because I did a no-no to
begin with (trying to cheat a little).  First was an accident, the second
time was expected, as I repeated the same steps (on purpose) to see if that
was what did it.  They since have prevented me from doing this...

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Montana Design - 409 S 6th St - Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
         Hardware & Software for Industry & R/C Hobbies
       "Go fast, turn right, and keep the wet side down!"
==================================================================

1997\10\24@092347 by Larry G. Nelson Sr.

flavicon
face
At 05:59 PM 10/23/97 -0700, you wrote:
>At 06:14 PM 10/23/1997 -0400, you wrote:

>>The fact still remains that I
>>couldn't get through a 2 hours drafting session without at least 1 GPF error
>>in windows!  This isn't some quirky little anoyance, or a minor bug with a
>>work-around.  This is crap!
>
>You're right, it sure does look bad. We do get customers from time to time
>who complain about GPFs. In my experience, about 90% of them get cured by
>switching to a new video driver. Yes, that's right, a new video driver. Why
>that, you say?  You run programs all day long, and only WinBoard crashes? I
>don't know all of the technical reasons, but apparently some video support
>functions are more robust in some drivers than others.

>--Saige
>-----
>Saige Losli                                Ivex Design International
>Tel (503) 531-3555                         http://www.ivex.com


I agree on the video driver problems. When I upgraded my Procomm software
the fax functions did not work. It turned out the ATI video drivers needed
to be upgraded. As soon as I upgraded the drivers it worked fine. It didnt
make much sense to me but that was indeed the problem. Well worth giving it
a try.

Larry G. Nelson Sr.
.....L.Nelson@spam@spamEraseMEieee.org
http://www.ultranet.com/~nr

1997\10\24@101337 by Mike Smith

flavicon
face
<snip>

>You're right, it sure does look bad. We do get customers from time to time
>who complain about GPFs. In my experience, about 90% of them get cured by
>switching to a new video driver. Yes, that's right, a new video driver. Why
>that, you say?  You run programs all day long, and only WinBoard crashes? I
>don't know all of the technical reasons, but apparently some video support
>functions are more robust in some drivers than others.

Believe the guy.  Some of the GDI windows calls will GPF - and a lot of
non-graphical, and some graphical apps never call them.  BitBlits are a case
in point.  If you've got a cheap and nasty video card (Trident springs to
mind) with a small amount of ram, that will do it too.

MikeS
<.....mikesmith_ozRemoveMEspamrelaymail.net>

1997\10\24@101358 by Mike Smith

flavicon
face
-----Original Message-----
From: J Scholz <.....surrealisticSTOPspamspam@spam@JUNO.COM>
To: PICLISTEraseMEspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU <RemoveMEPICLISTspamspamBeGoneMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Friday, 24 October 1997 0:19
Subject: Re: Schematic capture and PCB layout software


{Quote hidden}

Can you put the Stylus into an ordinary LQ emulation mode?  That might do
it.

MikeS
<spamBeGonemikesmith_ozKILLspamspam@spam@relaymail.net>

1997\10\24@122618 by David W. Duley

picon face
In a message dated 97-10-24 03:21:48 EDT, you write:

<<
Someone from IVEX responded to one of Dave's bug reports thus:

> 2. July 26, 1996, WinBoard version 2.11:
> ----------------------------------------
> >Draw a select box then change layers. When you change layers, the
selected
> objects move by 20 mils or so.
>
> Yup, it's a bug. The objects shouldn't move just by "logging onto" a
> different layer, but they do. Documented in bug ID #684 and #832 on our
web
> page, complete with a workaround.

While I appreciate very much that Ivex is being straightforward and open
in discussing its bugs, I find the above somewhat troubling: a bug which
could, by the sound of it, easily result in the manufacture of a faulty
board (e.g. if it moves something and you don't happen to notice) has
been known for over a year and yet apparently not been fixed.

IMHO, bugs such as that are the *WORST* kind; a bug which crashes a program
may cost an hour or two of work, but a bug that nudges things just a little
can cost hundreds of dollars for a board fab plus whatever time is spent
putting in parts that fit before it's found that some don't.

This is not meant to be a flame toward Ivex; I would hope that they have an
explanation as to why this bug has not been fixed given its apparent
severity.
Perhaps Ivex can respond? [nb: I've never used their software but might be
inclined to evaluate it if issues like the above are resolved].

 >>
John,
Yes it did cost a lot of money to find that bug!
I am impressed that you can quote me from so long ago.  Did I send this to
the list?

Dave Duley

1997\10\24@125342 by David W. Duley

picon face
In a message dated 97-10-24 05:09:46 EDT, you write:

<<
Dave, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I searched my database, and
although I could not find where you had ever registered a product with us,
I did find some bugs that had been submitted by you by returning to my old
e-mails. Here is what I found:
Snip  >>
Hello Saige!
I am also impressed that you were able to find my bug reports!
The product was registered in a friends name.  We were doing a project
together and he purchased Winboard.  I just got to use it.

I wasn't complaining....the time for that has past since I have already moved
on to another product (By the way what is a KUDO anyway??)  I was responding
to someone that wanted an opinion on what product to purchase.  Your product
came up and that got the ball rolling (Slowley I turned......).
I still feel that the product needs work (although I havent looked at it in
about a year).
Ever read "The Mythical Man Month" (I forget who wrote it).  It talks about
software engineering and project management.  The bottom line is it is
usually required to 'build one to throw away'.  Almost all excellent software
products on the market have been revamped if not rewritten at some point in
their life.  Take Autocad for example.  The DOS version has been
systematically been getting worse with every revision (speed, memory
management bugs, Copy protection problems).  I did a project a few years ago
that required my software to read HPGL output from Autocad.  What a joke.
All HPGL output is in line segments.  It doesn't matter if you are drawing a
circle or a line.  To Autocad, a circle is just 200 little line segments.  I
was supposed to identify circles for the purpose of punching a hole at their
center.  Impossible with line segments.  I called Autocad about it and they
told me that the person that originally wrote the Kernal left the company
some time ago and they had no Idea what was going on inside it.  Every
version since was made of patches and external calls.  They told me they were
re-writing it to be able to get a handle on what their own product was doing.

I don't want to put you on the defensive ( I know from my own experiances how
easy it is to put down someone elses work),  I think you have a good start
and some good ideas but Winboard is not ready for prime time. (Especially
with a logo of like "The greatest PCB software on earth" or however it went).
Revamp and rewrite.  Make damn sure it does the basics very well.  If it has
bugs with some of the more exotic feature, people will forgive you.  But if
it won't cut and paste, you better be ready to recieve verbal punishment.

Keep up the good work

Dave Duley

1997\10\24@130142 by David W. Duley

picon face
In a message dated 97-10-24 08:17:50 EDT, you write:

<<
I have had it scramble my work twice, but it was because I did a no-no to
begin with (trying to cheat a little).  First was an accident, the second
time was expected, as I repeated the same steps (on purpose) to see if that
was what did it.  They since have prevented me from doing this...

Andy
 >>

Hi Andy,
I guess I opened a can of worms with this thread.
I just upgraded to the 32bit versions of both SuperCad and Super PCB.  Too
soon to tell if there are any newly introduced quirks.  Looks good though.
I also just got new plotter drivers for my HP7580 plotter.  Nice output from
both packages.
I'll let you know if I find anything else.

Dave Duley

1997\10\24@134006 by Scott Newell

flavicon
face
>that required my software to read HPGL output from Autocad.  What a joke.
> All HPGL output is in line segments.  It doesn't matter if you are drawing a
>circle or a line.  To Autocad, a circle is just 200 little line segments.  I


How would you have done it?

Remember, you can scale the x and y axis seperately in AutoCAD.  That means
circles get converted to ellipses.  Now, I don't have a HPGL book handy,
but I seem to recall that you can adjust x and y scaling independently on
the plotter with an HPGL command.  That covers the circle to ellipse
situation.

But what about an ellipse that's rotated so that the axis are skewed?
Again, working from memory here, there are HPGL commands to rotate, but
only in 90 degree increments.  What if the ellipse is at a 33 degree angle?
(This may have changed with HPGL/2 or even later HPGL plotters.)

Maybe they figured it was better to write to the lowest common denominator
(pen up, pen down, change pen, move) than to build a completely custom
driver for every plotter out there.

If you need true circle info, you should probably use DXF or binary DXF.


For what it's worth, the version of Cadstar for windows I use outputs
everything in the gerber file as straight line segments as well.


later,
newell

1997\10\24@161837 by lilel

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> >Hello Saige!
> >I am glad to hear that a rep. of IVEX has spoken up.  My problems with

Me too!  I've been evaluating PCB tools lately, because I'm tired of
drawing boards in AutoCad (kinda like cutting making Tea with a
Blowtorch.  Works, but....)

I'm buying a 200 pin version of WinBoard to see how it goes.


> >The fact still remains that I
> >couldn't get through a 2 hours drafting session without at least 1 GPF error
> >in windows!

<expletives deleted>

I had the same problem.  I changed my video like they said, and it
worked much better.  RTFM!

I'm wondering about ways to translate the output of IVEX products,
both WinBoard and WINDraft, into DXF files.  I have to present my
work, no matter how I come up with it, to a mechanical engineer in
AutoCad so he can design the housing or the mounting brackets.  I've
tried various schemes like plotting to an HPGL file and then using an
old and bug infested utiltiy to translate that into a DXF.  So far
nothing works well.  Got any ideas, Saige?

I am also looking for a way to get a .DXF INTO winboard.  Say I
already have a part outline drawn in AutoCad.  (I have thousands)
Can it be imported, or do I have to redraw it?



{Quote hidden}

Well put.

Best Regards,

Lawrence Lile

1997\10\24@164153 by DREITEK

picon face
In a message dated 97-10-24 13:41:51 EDT, you write:

<<

How would you have done it?

Remember, you can scale the x and y axis seperately in AutoCAD.  That means
circles get converted to ellipses.  Now, I don't have a HPGL book handy,
but I seem to recall that you can adjust x and y scaling independently on
the plotter with an HPGL command.  That covers the circle to ellipse
situation.

But what about an ellipse that's rotated so that the axis are skewed?
Again, working from memory here, there are HPGL commands to rotate, but
only in 90 degree increments.  What if the ellipse is at a 33 degree angle?
 (This may have changed with HPGL/2 or even later HPGL plotters.)

Maybe they figured it was better to write to the lowest common denominator
(pen up, pen down, change pen, move) than to build a completely custom
driver for every plotter out there.

If you need true circle info, you should probably use DXF or binary DXF.


For what it's worth, the version of Cadstar for windows I use outputs
everything in the gerber file as straight line segments as well.


later,
newell

 >>
Hello Newell,
You are right, and I did eventually write a DXF converter that worked fine.
This was for a punching machine I designed for punching Via holes in ceramic
substrates.  All they did was draw holes.  The draftsmen wanted to draw donuts
to show the holes so that on paper it was more human readable.  I was to
interpret the circles, find the center and then punch a hole.  What I wound up
doing for those that wanted HPGL support (eliminates a couple of steps if they
can go directly from HPGL to the punch) was, I had them not only draw the
circles but put a point in the center of the circle.  My HPGL program had a
switch to ignore lines and to punch holes where the points were.  Worked quite
well.
The point I was trying to drive home, however, was not concerning HPGL, but
the fact that the Autocad folks could'nt help me because they didn't know how
to modify their own software.

Dave Duley

1997\10\25@103432 by Jean Mercier

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face
> Hello Newell,
> You are right, and I did eventually write a DXF converter that worked fine.
> This was for a punching machine I designed for punching Via holes in ceramic
> substrates.  All they did was draw holes.  The draftsmen wanted to draw donuts
> to show the holes so that on paper it was more human readable.  I was to
> interpret the circles, find the center and then punch a hole.  What I wound up
> doing for those that wanted HPGL support (eliminates a couple of steps if they
> can go directly from HPGL to the punch) was, I had them not only draw the
> circles but put a point in the center of the circle.  My HPGL program had a
> switch to ignore lines and to punch holes where the points were.  Worked quite
> well.
> The point I was trying to drive home, however, was not concerning HPGL, but
> the fact that the Autocad folks could'nt help me because they didn't know how
> to modify their own software.
>
> Dave Duley

Did you use layers ?

One layer for the punching machine,

another for human needs then plot the appropriate layer...



You can write routines in AutoLisp or C to do whatever

you need to draw or modify your drawings.



You also have access to the data bank to modify it.

You can manipulate files, including DXF files, to edit them.



In short you have a programming language with an unbelievable drawing

library.



AutoCad folks are probably structured in layers to.

You did not access the proper layer...



Jean

1997\10\25@151817 by John Griessen

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face
At 09:02 AM 10/24/97 -0400, you wrote:
>At 05:59 PM 10/23/97 -0700, you wrote:
>>At 06:14 PM 10/23/1997 -0400, you wrote:
>
>>>The fact still remains that I
>>>couldn't get through a 2 hours drafting session without at least 1 GPF
error
>>>in windows!  This isn't some quirky little anoyance, or a minor bug with a
>>>work-around.  This is crap!

Chip design software that costs 20,000 per station, and allows big projects
to be made does the same thing sometimes.  I have not gotten up to full
speed with Ivex, but I did replace a video card with Ivex's suggested
brand, ATI, and got results.  Winboard has some good features like the chip
design software I am familiar with, and I plan to find out how far I can go
with it.  I would like to see speedier ways of creating new part pad layouts.

John Griessen

1997\10\27@121654 by David W. Duley

picon face
In a message dated 97-10-25 10:37:52 EDT, you write:

<<
Did you use layers ?

One layer for the punching machine,

another for human needs then plot the appropriate layer...



You can write routines in AutoLisp or C to do whatever

you need to draw or modify your drawings.



You also have access to the data bank to modify it.

You can manipulate files, including DXF files, to edit them.



In short you have a programming language with an unbelievable drawing

library.



AutoCad folks are probably structured in layers to.

You did not access the proper layer...



Jean >>

Jean,
That project was 6 years ago and again the purpose for my bringing it up was
to make a point to the IVEX guy, not to encourage suggestions on how to make
my software better.
I appreciate your insight but it comes a few years too late.  A company in
Mexico finally bought the machine and have been using it happily ever since.
I heard they recently replaced it with a hard tooled machine.  X,Y and one
hole at a time makes for slow output.  Their new machine does an large part
with a few thousand holes in less than a secon with one whack.

Dave Duley

1997\10\27@233220 by myke predko

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Hi Saige,

Great of you to reply to my comments (allegations, flames, etc.):

>Sorry to have to tell you, but if you have a manual from Omation, it's not
>too surprising that you're confused. This product has *never* been
>associated with Omation--wasn't written by them, wasn't sold by them,
>wasn't thought of by them. No wonder it doesn't work--wrong book!

That's interesting because the windows in the original Omation product
("SchemaX") is exactly what's in WinDraft (especially the ones for the part
design).  That's why I assumed it was the same product.  As well, I gave up
on SchemaX in 1990 because it got sold and the new owners (I don't have
their names anymore) didn't support it for a while.

>If you want the right book, you can download it for free from our web page:
>http://www.ivex.com/manuals.html. Only the latest and most up-to-date
>manuals are there.

I've downloaded it.

{Quote hidden}

No disagreements there.  My point was that I have trouble designing
something small enough to really try out the software.  My *last* attempt
was an 28 pin PIC with a DB-9 Pin, an 18 pin DIP, two eight pin DIPs,
Switch, Caps, Crystal, LEDs, Pull Ups and...  Not enough pins to save the
design and the example designs are pretty trivial.

To make the whole process *really* frustrating, at this point I had been
fighting with GPFs for two hours.

>BTW, by contrast, many other companies make you *buy* their software in
>order to try it out. If you're not satisfied, you can return it--if you're
>within 30 days of purchase, of course. But once they have your money, it's
>always much easier to keep it. It's a real hassle to go through a product
>return.
>
>How do you allow prospective customers to evaluate *your* products?

Look at my web page, look at the comments at http://www.amazon.com.

{Quote hidden}

I'm not disagreeing that there won't be problems with *any* software.  My
issue is that for each version I've tried (at least three from Ivex) I've
been nailed with GPFs.  I can live with features that don't work properly;
my complaint is that your product locks up my PC.

I don't care if you know of workarounds for problems.  If I'm going to
download a demo, I want to see it work without any problems.

My job isn't to debug your product on my machine - there are lots of other
companies out there that I have downloaded their products and they've worked
first time.  Why should I expect anything less from you?

{Quote hidden}

I don't think you're acknowledging that *your* product is locking up *my*
PC.  This goes way beyond a "bug".  And I have been experiencing it on
multiple PCs that I have been pretty good with making sure I have the latest
drivers (for all devices).

{Quote hidden}

From this, I *think* you're implying that your product may not work on
different machines set up with different hardware/drivers.  If that's the
case and you know it, how come you don't publish this as a disclaimer right
at the front of your web page?

Actually, I've just spent twenty minutes prowling around your web site and I
did find some comments on it under "Technical Notes".  But...

I'm curious why your products have so much problems with drivers when I run
so much *other* software that doesn't?

>>> How about an Ivex promoter publish some designs that they've done in .gifs,
>>> .jpgs, .pdfs, or postscript file formats so we can all see them?
>
>We don't always see them, but I understand from one of our customers that
>does design work related to the Jet Propulsion Lab that at least one board
>inside the Mars rover was designed using WinBoard. Hmmm.

Great.  Show me the design.

Actually, *any* design would be fine.  Since I've asked to see something,
the silence has been deafening.  The examples on your web page are really
trivial.

I would like to see a board with a reasonable number of digital and analog
pins that I could load and play with (say a 16C71 taking in analog input and
outputting the value via RS-232 (using a MAX232 or DalSemi 1275), to keep
with the theme of this list).

{Quote hidden}

To be honest, I've had so many serious problems with WinBoard/WinDraft that
I didn't see the point.

>Please don't flame me. I'm just exercising my right to participate in this
>discussion, and to help those who want help. Of course, you have to *ask*
>for help in order to receive it, and a kind word and a smile always go
>farther than calling somebody's life's work "crap".

Saige, I appreciate your reply to my original rant.  Actually, I'm impressed
that somebody is monitoring this list.  I wish I could use and recommend
your product - I use Allegro at work with a Cooper & Chyan router, having
that capability on a PC for two boards at home/for my books would be a real
asset.

But, you have to understand that I have downloaded three different versions
of your software at least six times on at least three different machines and
each time I have spent at least four hours trying to get your product to
work (and get *my* PC running after working on yours) and to be honest, I've
never been able to keep it up long enough to actually complete an example
design.  If I download something that somebody wants me to buy and it
becomes work for me, then I'm not going to use it and I'll pass along my
experiences to other people to save them the trouble.

In your buglist, you state: "We want users to feel confident that they are
going to buy a product that is not going to have any serious problem rather
than a glitzy product that does not work when you buy it."  I've never had
this level of confidence and downloading and trying out new versions of your
product have been nothing approaching a positive experience.

myke

Check out "Programming and Customizing the PIC Microcontroller" at:

http://www.myke.com

1997\10\30@091448 by vgr

flavicon
face
I found  an interesting schematic and pcb software, circad. you can find it
in http://www.holophase.com it has a free demo, and can read pcb from orcad
and tango. You can open up to 256 windows with different boards.

Javier Puiggros

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