----- Original Message -----
From: "Ivor Davies" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Protel Forum Ask (E-mail)" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 5:47 AM
Subject: [PEDA] Boardmaker to Protel

Hello to the Protel Forum List!

I have just joined this list and have my first query. We have a huge number
of PCB designs in Boardmaker (an old DOS package written by Tsien of
Cambridge, UK) and require to import them somehow into Protel.

It has been suggested that the Gerbers generated by Boardmaker can be
imported via Camtastic. How can this method recover the connectivity between
layers? How can the plot of a pad on one layer relate to an identically
positioned plot of a pad on another layer? (or is Camtastic so fantastic
that is knows that such instances are vias?).

Any suggestions on how to tackle this problem and any general solutions to
importing designs into Protel from nothing but Gerbers would be very much

Best Regards,
Ivor Davies
Diplomat UK Ltd


I actually enjoy converting gerbers to Protel. Something different from
normal everyday design. There are a few issues that need to be considered
here. Do you have a new netlist? Will you create a library of parts from the
design or use your new library? Does it need to match exactly? Is it
It is a very daunting task if your not use to this. I've done it many times
I'll mention some things here:

If you need to create one from the gerbers:
I don't know if you'll have success here. There are too many issues with
because of the lack of intelligence of the gerber data itself. There are no
designators and pin numbers. A CAM package may be able to do this but it
would be pretty extensive work. Not a reasonable method. Creating a
 would probably be better.
If you have a netlist:
You'll save a huge amount of work. You can load it like any other job after
 care of the library and placing the parts. See below.

It greatly helps to have a bill of material and data sheets to verify
pinouts and names
 of packages.
Import the gerber data into Protel (may have to use version 2.8).
Now you would start to make the footprints. You have to select the entities
make up one package at a time. Copy and paste into the library. Here you
will have
 to give it pin numbers. Use datasheets and /or netlist/schematic to make
correctly (beware of polarization).

Exact match:
It is a great help to have films to look at.
Now you may want to move the gerber data to reference layers. When parts are
 place them over the footprint that they represent. You'll play around with
moving the
 routes from the reference layers to their intended layer. Soldermask,
pastes and so
fourth can be compared to on your new component for a match. You may have to
go back to the library part to adjust things or modify rules.
You may have a silkscreen problem because of a different font type or size
was used.
You may have to decide if that is something that can be different from the
old design
 or you will have to use the reference layer for silk and just add new

Multi layer:
You will need to know what nets are internal if that applies. Are the
thermals necessary
 to be of exact match, size and type? Hopefully Protel provides the type of
 used. You should be able to address these issues.

I think this sound much harder than it is. If you have a lot of experience
as a designer
and with Protel it should get a lot easier as you start to get into it. I'm
sure I left some
 serious issues out, but I've gotten interrupted many times while writing
this and it
probably makes no sense at all. Good luck!

If not send that work to me.. like I said I like to do this kind of stuff.

Bob Jones
Digitized Technologies
2 Summit Road
P.O.Box 7284
Prospect, CT. 06712-1541
Tel: 203-758-6312
Fax: 203-758-3338
web: http://www.digitizedtechnologies.com
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