----- Original Message -----
From: "Edi Im Hof" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2001 1:17 PM
Subject: [PEDA] Protel usage

> Regarding the questions about 3D and autorouter, what parts of Protel do
> you actually use?

This is a constructive and informative thread. I've added some comments and
I'm forwarding a copy to Altium. Other responders may also consider sending
their comments to Altium. I wish I had time to be more thorough.

    - Schematic    YES    Some editing refinements would help. Cutting
out wire sections to insert components saves work and reduces errors
over deleting the whole wire and rewiring. Clicking on unused area to
deselect all (maybe right mouse) would reduce unintended operations.

    - Global Editing    YES    This feature doesn't do what I expect. It is
too involved and confusing for rapid, productive editing. In some cases
it is necessary to revise a library component to edit a repeated schematic
or sheet component.

    - Report>BOM    YES    This should allow complete user control
over format. It is irritating to some of my clients not having ITEM
NUMBER in the leftmost column.

    - PCB    YES    See other PEDA threads for a wealth of user comments
on PCB issues.

    - Powerprint    NO    Plain old print only. Never generated a PPC file.

    - CAM Manager    YES

    - Simulator    YES    Needs some improvement. Node numbers, titles
and captions for response plots, separate power and signal connector
menus, clearer error messages.

    - AutoRouter    YES    A simple but dense crosspatch pattern worked
under SE 99 SP5, but would not complete under SP6. Altium's response:
"We improved performance in other areas." I did not appreciate that. See
other PEDA threads for a wealth of user comments on AutoRouting.

    - 3D Viewer    YES    Virtually useless. Protel needs a 3D component
editor. A 3D form factor checker would also be useful. Eliminate bugs.

    - PLD    NO

    - Arrange Components    YES    I am not yet proficient using Component
Classes and Rooms. I wonder if schematic based attributes (eg, pre-assigning
selected components to pre-defined Rooms plus adapting the hierarchical
capabilities to define a floor plan) could make the AutoPlacer work better.

    - AutoPlacer    YES    Neither Cluster nor Global ever provides what I
intend. Usually lots of manual re-positioning. A third option is needed:
SCHEMATIC BASED MAPPING. Experienced, competent engineers
and designers often draw their schematics according to function and signal
flow. They then arrange their PCBs to follow the same flow. Doing this
'automatically' is easier and faster than using Rooms. It is simple to have
AutoPlacer arrange the hierarchical blocks and the components in the same
relative position as on the schematic sheets. A tiling algorithm could be
to save real estate. Only a little pushing and shoving would be needed.

    - PCB Miter    YES    Occasionally during final adjustments.

    - Signal Integrity    NOT YET    But I see potential value in it.

    - Database Link    NO

 > What else do we have?

    - Library    This is haphazard and difficult to organize; a methodical
housekeeping procedure is sorely needed. Technique for adding vendor
and user components is esoteric and clumsy.  Simulation MODELS
in 'Misc SPICE/PSPICE part LIB' don't work, nor is there any clue how
to make them work. Except for not disclosing the installation procedure
prior to the actual task, the recent library additions are very useful. But
I've seen no new activity in about eight months. (The TMS320VC5402
is a hot part and I could use a symbol and footprint today.)

    - Send By Mail    Doesn't work. Crashes my system and looses files.

    - Camtastic    YES    For final checks in my case.

    - Intuitive Interface    This is debatable. Protel 99SE is one of a
of tools I use, and about 3/4 of them are easier for me to use than Protel.
Since I can't hone my Protel skills every day, this is an important issue
for me.

    - Productivity    The promise is there......but it has yet to be
fulfilled. The
two biggest problems are bugs and a comprehensive users' manual. The
technical support response is only about 40% effective in terms of
problem resolution and closure.

Fred A Rupinski

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