Hi, John-

In my experience, the two likeliest possibilities are 1) database buffer
overrun, and 
2) "phantom primitives" that no longer exist but are being treated as real.

1) Protel doesn't flag buffer overruns at all, in any server. It can occur
for instance 
multiple Polygon Pours are used instead of Split Planes on a multilayer
It seems 
that Polygons are handled as a multiplicity of primitives, while Split Planes
are handled as 
single entities. Database size seems to grow exponentially if Polygon Pours
In a "failure to initialize" or crash situation, this is often related to item

2) For a design that has been heavily edited, there may be Polygons or Split
that exist in the database but are not displayed, or that duplicate existing
This is very hard to find, as Protel only "sees" the topmost or most recent
object if you 
try to double-click an area to query existing entities. The phantom objects
directly editable, apparently because they have been officially
deleted/modified, even 
though they still exist wherever Protel keeps track of electrical connectivity
at each 
physical point of the board.

There are two ways to deal with removal of duplicates. First, inspect the
design and 
determine where the real planes/polygons should exist. Next, run Board Info
that all such objects are accounted for. If there are extra objects, you'll
have to delete them,
by A) export to Spread / Delete offending objects / Import from Spread. 

Usually, the Spreadsheet server will also overflow. 

Don't panic. Go back to the original file and do a Select All. Now select Edit
/Move and 
double click on each Polygon and Plane to cause the "Select Object" list
box to
Inspect the list for duplicate objects. If a duplicate is found, choose one of
the duplicates 
and move it to a neutral area well outside the active board area. Deselect
Outside the 
area of the moved object, then Edit/Clear to permanently delete it. Deselect
All, then 
repeat the process until all duplicate Polygons and Duplicate Planes are

There must be a 1:1 correspondence between the Number of Polygons in Board
Info, and 
the actual Polygoncount by inspection. The autorouter will _not_ flag the
extras, however, 
if it is able to successfully route, the DRC _will_ show the extra polygon
as a
errors at each point of the polygon.

This is the only way I have found to remove Phantom objects regardless of

size/complexity, and is useful for designs where repeated polygon edits have
trashed the database.

Brian Sherer
Foothill Services LLC

At 09:32 AM 1/19/02 -0600, you wrote: 
> Hi guys 
> I have been  trying to get a board autorouted (I have done more complicated
> boards than this one, although this is an odd shape) and am having lockups
> 2minutes into the routing process, etc. I have 2 workstations that I ve
> running this on, and both have the same result: (running 99SE with Service
> Pack 6, #6.6.7)
> Unable to initialize unless I select all the components, pre-routes, and
> track, copy them to a new file, then Update PCB from connected copper .
> is an extreme pain, as I have to redo my layer stackup and design rules.
> Lockups after a couple of minutes into the autorouting process;

> Never goes to 100% completion, although once it went to 97%.
> Previously I routed a Pentium III board with very few problems, but this
> board is somewhat less complex (10 layers, 3274 pads) this has been an
> absolute nightmare!  I have burned up 6 days trying to get this to run.  Any
> ideas?  Will I be forced to export to Specctra & send it out to a design
> bureau (very undesirable)
> Any assistance will be greatly appreciated!!! 

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