On Fri, 04 May 2001 17:25:47 +0100, I wrote:

>So has anyone else been playing with Protel D-356 ?
>Seems prone to generating exceptions when setting up the export and the
>files appear not to identify mid pads. 
>No feedback from my board house yet.

Got some feedback. 

For a simple PCB the D-356 netlist loaded into their software without much
problem and managed to successfully compare it with a 'netlist' scanned
from the Gerbers (but they were scanned before any of their tweaks).  

Possible issues were - 

Mid pads not identified, the Protel netlist had about 30% more tests than
one generated from Gerber by their normal process. Protel might just be
*trying* to leave mid pads out of the netlist although it does include at
least some vias which are almost always 'mid pads'? 

Solder mask information may be wrong of missing from the Protel netlist -
You can't probe a tented via and on a board where all vias were tented the
D-356 didn't show any as tented. 

Protel doesn't seem to generate any plane information. Some roving probe
testers can use a capacitance measurement scheme to test a whole net with a
single probe. This is only for boards with planes and the tester needs to
know which plane the net is adjacent to. 

The PCB outline was screwed up (although it isn't important information).
Displayed on their software it was way too small - maybe a metric/imperial
or decimal place problem - don't know which end was getting it wrong. 

Obviously guessing a bit here as it looks like I am not going to see a
D-356A specification without buying it from IPC. 

The board house guy was reasonably pleased (an indication of low
expectations?). He thought they would still use Gerber scans for testing
but if I supplied D-356 in the future he would run a compare for my

Cheers, Terry.

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