I included an IPC test point (net list) output in my latest board. The board
house compared the Gerber-generated net list to the IPC net list and came up
with discrepancies. But the board house was too stupid to find the problem.

Protel puts unconnected pads in the .IPC file and leaves the net name field
blank for all unconnected pads. The board house front end system created a
spurious net based on this, and assigned all the unconnected pads to it. The
order (quick turn) was placed on hold. So I guess I lost a day.

I scrubbed the web a little, and according to what I found, Columns 4-17 are
supposed to contain unique net ID's in alphanumeric form. "N/C" may be used
in columns 4-6 for single point networks, in place of a unique net ID. If
columns 4-17 are blank when column 2 is a 1 or a 2, it should be considered
a fatal error. 

So my conclusion would be that neither Protel output or the board house
system is strictly compliant on this point. I don't have a copy of
IPC-D-356, so can anybody confirm? 

Darryl Newberry
Freedom Scientific
11800 31st Court N
St Petersburg FL 33716
(727) 803-8000 tel
(727) 803-8001 fax
http://www.freedomscientific.com
 

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