At 03:00 PM 5/1/2002 -0700, Mira wrote:
>Does anybody know how expensive Phoenix will be?

I'm not sure that Altium even knows for sure. But they have announced that 
pricing will be "in line with" current pricing, i.e., $7995 for 99SE full 
regular price. There are often sales and specials for multiple licenses, etc.

They are also indicating that upgrade from 99SE licenses older than a 
certain date (1 October 2001?) will be $1995. Since that is also the 
current upgrade price from Protel 98, they will have, if they keep to what 
they have indicated, devalued P99SE licenses bought before the cutoff date. 
This has not been past practice, except that really old licenses tended to 
be the same upgrade price to be come current, i.e., the upgrade from 
Autotrax to P98 was the same as the upgrade from version 2, and the upgrade 
from version 3 or before is now $3995, twice that of what it is for P98.

There is normally a resale market for Protel licenses, but the pricing 
uncertainties and structure have certainly thrown that market into 
disarray; it becomes very difficult to determine the value of a license 
much more than "today it is worth...."

>  I have a PCB, which reports 5 polygons
>although I see only 4 on the PCB. One of them is
>"empty" and can't locate it.
>When I select all and try to move it, it says there
>are locked primitives and one of the polygons doesn't
>want to be moved.
>How to find out which primitives are locked? How to
>locate the "empty" polygon?

My, my, you *are* exercising the program, to run into so many Protel quirks 
so quickly. Empty polygons are created when one sets the polygon to remove 
dead copper, and there is no net seed within the polygon. So all poured 
primitives are removed, and the polygon becomes a tad difficult to find.

It is possible to find polygons and their tracks using Edit/Export to 
Spreadsheet, and to edit the "remove dead copper" parameter in the 
Spreadsheet, updating the PCB. This is a bit of a tricky process; and 
changing the attribute will not cause, I think, the polygon to repour. But 
selecting all, cutting it, and pasting it back will cause Protel to query 
whether or not you want to repour.

I think there is a better and easier way, but I forget what it is. This is 
not exactly something should need to be done frequently....

> > Generally, however,
> > once one understands how to accomplish a thing in
> > Protel, it does make
> > sense, it is relatively easy to remember.
>
>Probably... after you remember all sets of buttons to
>press.

No, the point is that *most* important commands are fairly easy to 
remember, and quick to use. I did *not* find this to be true with OrCAD 
Layout, which was designed to force the user to do things the OrCAD Way, 
which was *often* quite convoluted. There were plenty of things that I 
could do in seconds in Tango which took me hours in Layout, mostly to 
figure out how to do it, and when I did find the way, it was complex and 
not fast, and it was, from my point of view at least, highly arbitrary. 
Next day, when I needed to do the same thing, I could not remember it. If I 
did not keep notes, it was back to research mode.... maybe it was faster to 
find the info the second time around.

But not much. And, as I said, the process would often turn out to be much 
more complex than what I expected. More specifics on this below.

>I met Orcad on a crossroad several times. PCAD was/is
>my love from the first sight.

Love is like that. However, had you met Protel first, I find it less likely 
that you would have become so infatuated. Certainly, however, this is open 
to discussion....

Many Protel users simply could not have afforded Accel PCAD; when what has 
become the unified package was about $20K, Protel was selling on special 
for about $4K. I got in for $2K because a friend had a spare Autotrax 
license. Since Autotrax sold for less than $1K, as I recall, Protel was 
really cheap for such a flexible and powerful system. I paid another $700 
to upgrade to 99SE.

You couldn't even buy the severely limited Windows versions of Accel Tango 
for that....

So I am not at all surprised to find that PCAD has features which are 
lacking in Protel. It ought to!

[I wrote about Loop Removal.]

>This reminds me about one of the first versions of
>Orcad. I had several nets routed but there was no
>space for one more and I couldn't find a way to move
>the segments. I decided to delete it but for Orcad
>this meant "remove the net from the netlist". So, I
>had to load it again. The right way was to re-route it
>from the beginning to the end and then the old one was
>removed automatically. I hope this is not the case
>here.

Only if Loop Removal is enabled. The problem with OrCAD, as I recall, was 
that it was either impossible or less than obvious how to turn off loop 
removal. In Protel it is a selection field on the Preferences screen.

It was also quite difficult, I found, to guide the routing in Layout. The 
cursor would float and the track would go to what OrCAD thought was what I 
wanted. Occasionally it was right. Protel's routing tools are much more 
intuitive and easy to drive. I don't think I am alone in thinking this....

As to PCAD, I don't know. I have a PCAD license but have never found the 
time to get deeply enough into it to start routing a board. I took the 
Accel PCAD seminar at PCD Conference West, soon after Protel acquired 
Accel, and found it very hard to stay awake. "Here is the File Menu. You 
can create a New file, Open a file, you can Save it, ...." I certainly hope 
that the training has improved! When I realized that I was in danger of 
truly falling asleep and probably starting to snore, I left and went back 
to the Exhibits floor, where I had no problem staying awake, collecting 
pens from Cadence and PADS and chatting up every Protel user that showed up.

Especially I promoted this list, which, as you now know, is the number one 
most essential tool for the new user. Protel should more actively promote 
the list, they would avoid muhc of the all too common frustration of users 
like you who are expecting something ... different. Many of these users 
give up with the demo, I understand....

I do understand that the Protel training, with Mr. Wilson, is quite good....

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