At 05:56 PM 1/29/2002 -0500, Sar Saloth wrote:
>Hi, I am a lurker (engineer) that was considering Protel because I work 
>with a MFR that uses Protel, but I wanted them in the loop only AFTER the 
>first prototypes were built.  This list has made me realize that the 
>complexity of learning such a package won't be worth it.
>Unfortunately, using the Protel web site and looking for service bureaus 
>reveals NONE in the area.

There are probably some designers in the area who might take in work, but, 
as others have mentioned, the existing service bureaus tend to work for 
clients all over the world.

There is some idea we encounter from time to time that face-to-face 
encounter is important in printed circuit design. From my experience, only 
occasionally is this true. If I were working down the hall from the 
engineer, and I have a question, am I going to get up and walk down the 
hall? Not likely. I will pick up the phone or send an e-mail, it is far 
more efficient. And that is exactly what I do with my clients, whether they 
are in San Jose or Boston, it matters not at all that Boston in much closer 
to where I am physically located.

Recently a client really wanted face time and was willing to pay for it; I 
spent three days on-site. But in this case there was a design greatly in 
flux, requiring a *lot* of back-and-forth, with several different kinds of 
engineer all at the same time. Even then, I could have been just about as 
effective remotely.

If you can find a good designer or design service, you will not care where 
they are located. That client flew me to Atlanta, paid $2400 for my time 
plus at least $1000 for expenses. Had I stayed at home, they would only 
have paid for *effective* time, probably about $1600 or less.

I have another client in Boston, this is actually through a job shop. This 
client was quite sure, initially, that they wanted someone to come on-site. 
I was living in California at the time. No other Protel designer could be 
found, however, by the job shop. So they accepted that I would work from 
California. The result? They saved a *lot* of money, because working from 
my office, they are only charged for the work that I actually do, and when 
they have even a small amount of work, they can send it to me. On site, 
they would be looking at large blocks of time. As it happened, that 
contract began, and, naturally, the engineer wasn't ready. That is 
completely normal. Had this been on site, they would have paid for a week 
of me sitting there twiddling my thumbs at quite a decent hour rate.

Working remotely, I prefer to communicate by e-mail, over telephone. The 
reason is that there is automatically a record of all communication. What 
is said on the phone, a month later, who said what, who knows? The same 
goes for face-to-face meetings. If they are not reduced to writing, we may 
be left with little more than some feeling that we accomplished something, 
again, what it was, who knows? And if they are going to be reduced to 
writing, why not meet in writing in the first place?

>Also, how well does Protel work with using ORCAD for the front end 
>schematics (the up to date ones, not the old SDT) assuming that I am 
>willing to create library entries for every component to match them.

OrCAD Capture (or the older SDT) both will generate, as another mentioned, 
Tango format net lists which Protel accepts just fine. You won't get, 
however, the advantages of easy back-and-forth which you will get with 
Protel Schematic. Yes, there is considerable training involved with any CAD 
program. If you know OrCAD, however, Protel should be fairly easy to learn, 
and it is, in my opinion, substantially more powerful, particularly you 
will like the global edit facility.

A good service bureau can help you get going with schematics.

>btw, this list is impressive.

we consider it essential.

Abdulrahman Lomax
Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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