At 01:05 PM 7/17/01 -0400, Darryl Newberry wrote:
>Given that:
>a) I have a new PCB with final placement of footprints whose ref 
>designators I wish to retain,
>b) some footprints specified in the schematic are not in the PCB but are 
>in a "project" library local to the DDB,
>c) the PCB contains some footprints whose designators are "don't care", 
>i.e. OK to change with "Update PCB..."
>d) all schematic parts currently have "?" designators

For starters, this is a fairly confused mess. Lack of synchronization 
between schematic and PCB as to footprint assignments is fairly common for 
designers who select or change footprints from within PCB, but without 
reference designator correspondence between PCB and Schematic you really 
have two distinct documents with no links. *Maybe* if at one point the PCB 
and Schematic were synchronized, and thus the hidden links are present, the 
Sychronizer might be able to recover the connections.

There is no such thing, as far as I know, as a "don't care" PCB reference 
designator, i.e., no equivalent to the ? in schematic. Update will change 
any reference designators that have been changed on the schematic. If they 
first went to ? before being changed, I don't know what happens. It may 
work, the links may survive that, but I have not verified it.

>Is there an automated way to getting the two in sync, with the schematic 
>as the controlling document? Or should I just manually edit the PCB?

Unless the PCB and Schematic are synchronized through the hidden links 
mentioned, there is no automatic way. In a similar position in the past 
with another program that was netlist-driven, as I described before, I was 
able to use positional information from a previous revision of the 
schematic to recover the original schematic reference designators, but that 
was not a simple process, I had to write utilities to do it.

So,if the hidden links are not there, what I would probably do is, first, 
manually edit the schematic so that it has the reference designators I want 
to keep. Then I would annotate the schematic to fix the rest of the 
reference designators, and then I would manually edit the rest of the parts 
on the PCB. On the other hand, if the links are there, one would not have 
to do the manual edit on the PCB, if I am being correctly informed. I 
haven't run into this problem lately myself.

>I've never seen ANY automated (re)annotation work 100%, and judging by 
>some of the list traffic it looks like Protel isn't "all that" either. 
>Sorry to knock it, but I am automatically skeptical when I see broad 
>subjective claims like "powerful synchronizer".

The Synchronizer is indeed a powerful tool, but it has to have something to 
work with. There is a process, when first synchronizing, to match schematic 
and PCB parts, and that may be a help. But it may be easier to just use 
manual edits.

Once the reference designators match then you can work on the footprints. I 
don't have the process in mind at the moment to take manually picked 
footprints back to the schematic, if that is what you want to do. You don't 
have to do this, but it can make later work simpler.

Abdulrahman Lomax
P.O. Box 690
El Verano, CA 95433

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