Bryan Bernesi wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> Once again my board will not route.
> - I have a single schematic project.
> - I have run ERC, no errors
> - I made my PCB template using the board wizard
> - I have placed all components
> - I have run the DRC, no errors
> - All my layers are set up
> When I run the autorouter it stops after initializing.
> Is there a way to systematically troubleshoot and find out the 
> reason why the autorouter stops without resorting to maybe this 
> or guess that, trial and error methods?

Short answer, NO.

The following is copied from a message I sent out almost two years ago
regarding P98/SP3. My quick review says that (for the most part) I still
follow these guidelines...
-------------------   Begin Copied Message   -------------------
I have been using P98/SP3 since it first came out. I had some problems
similar to yours when I first started using it, then I developed a check
list of what to do (and not do) and have had no problems.  Several of
these are in Protel's Knowledge Base (Item 1694); however, these are
what I have found to be effective.

1) Board Outline (optional) on Mech 1 (Protel says not to 
     place anything on the mechanical layers, but I cheat)
2) Define the exterior limits of the route area on the 
     Keep Out layer with coincident endpoints on all line
     segments such that the area is completely enclosed and
     DO NOT use any arcs.
3) Define the layer routing usage and directions in the 
     Rules/Routing Layer dialog.
4) Check for invalid net names (no hyphens, spaces), stick
     to using alphanumeric.
5) Check that net names are less than 10 characters.
6) Check that pad designator names are no more than 4
7) Check that all parts are inside the defined Keep Out
8) Do not place polygons prior to routing.
9) Avoid placing free text prior to routing.
10) Do not place tracks outside the keep out region.
11) Do a DRC prior to routing to make sure there are no
      shorts, clearance or trace width violations.
12) Any signals to be pre routed must be totally routed
      and locked prior to starting the autorouter.

I do Item 1 and 2 since I "never" have a board where the keep out is
defined by the actual board edge. If I need a rounded keep out region, I
use several short line segments. Several people have commented that they
save all mechanical layer information to a separate file and restore it
after routing. I don't unless I have routing problems.

Item 7 is extremely important, if I am trying to test route a section, I
delete the components not being routed rather than try moving them
outside the keep out region. Also beware the object that got moved
outside the visible region due to not deselecting it prior to selecting
and moving another object!

Item 8 came about when I had a special polygon on the top outline layer
even though it was not to affect routing or vias. Removing it allowed
the route to proceed normally.

Regarding Item 11, the autorouter will use the maximum width specified
for traces, which can be a problem if that trace connects to fine pitch

NOTE: using the circuit board wizard violates these guidelines if you
plan on autorouting.

-------------------    End Copied Message    -------------------

Several of the above items should no longer be required (according to
the NEW release information); however, it is a good starting point such
that any deviations should be  well understood... 

David W. Gulley
Destiny Designs

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