there is something amiss in your explanation regarding reference
designators. You can merge multiple boards with the same reference
designators, again you use the "Paste Special" command and select the
"Duplicate Reference" designator box. I do this all the time, day in and day
out for our development boards. You can/will also use the Keep Nets
selection and you may have ratsnest connections between boards where similar
nets occur. But other then that it works just fine. I most heartedly suggest
that all design, checking and editing be absolutely complete before you
merge boards because after merging editing or DRC checking and other
operations can become very complex because of unrouted nets between boards,
duplicate designators and the likes. Keep your original singular boards to
work on for future editing, keep the merged boards as a separate panelized
file, edit only the original singular boards when editing is required.
        The problem with merging boards which contain differing or split
planes is very much more complex. Basically it probably shouldn't be
attempted unless you are quite experienced or the boards are absolutely
identical. For this very reason I usually use Mid-layers rather then Plane
layers and I draw my planes as polygons. This is much more conducive to
merging multiple boards into a panel. It also gets you around some of the
limitations/bugs associated with "Planes" not being DRC'ed properly for all
possible errors.

Brad Velander.

Lead PCB Designer
Norsat International Inc.
#300 - 4401 Still Creek Drive,
Burnaby, B.C., Canada, V5C 6G9.
Tel   (604) 292-9089 (direct line)
Fax  (604) 292-9010
Website: www.norsat.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Reagan [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2001 5:31 AM
To: Protel EDA Forum
Subject: Re: [PEDA] Merging boards

Sean wrote:

>When I merged 2 boards to create a pallette, 2 of the internal split planes
of the 2nd board changed nets. Is there any way to prevent this, or is it a

I am assuming you are panelizing two boards,  which are identical.   If the
boards are identical use the Paste Special, and check keep the same nets,
also check Duplicate reference numbers.  This should work.

If you are attempting to merge two board that are not identical, but share
the same reference numbers then they can  not be merged.  Is it a bug?  I
think it is more  the method which Protel chooses to implement not a bug.  I
agree with it  because it prevents a designer from having parts with
duplicate reference numbers.  The work around for all penalization is draw
the panels, the routes, break off tabs on the drill file then ask your board
house to panelize the design to your outline. Care must be taken that the
outlines you create are exact,  as I have had calls from a board house
because I was 1 mil  off grid.   Also you might want to  add a fab note for
the direction of the panels, since a square board can be rotated to fit.
The third action is to have the fab house return the paste gerber which is
panelized otherwise you may  have a registration problem with BGAs.

Good Luck

Mike Reagan

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