B> 2. The autorouter finishes, announces that it has completed 87% of the board
B> (or something like that), and leaves behind hundreds of design rule
B> violations, mainly shorts and clearance violations. Tracks will be on top of
B> each other and on top of vias. Vias will be in tooling holes. Etc. All the
B> autorouter passes are enabled.

I have found that if you are not fairly rapidly up in the 90-95%
completion range,  it is productive to halt the router and make some
changes to the design rule settings,  or improve the parts placement,
or add more layers,  or make some changes somewhere.

My guess is that there may be a design rule violation already present in
the design,  before you even launch the router,  or some condition already
exists in the design,  which the design rules will find impossible to
resolve.  Under these kind of conditions I've seen the router "do it's best",
but "give up" in the end,  usually with the low completion rates,  and lots of
design rule violations on the board,  as you have.

I've found the router dumb as a rock on small simple boards with few
parts and wide traces on them.  (maybe not enough to apply it's AI to,  to do a
good job?)  But it seemed to do a pretty good job on more significant designs
(like 4 and 6 layer PCI boards) with a ground plane.

As others have said,  getting some reasonable design rules set up right is 
_everything_.
Pay special attention to any wide nets.
Pay special attention to routing off any fine pitch devices.
Also smaller vias and holes than the normal defaults seem to help.

It's probably not (ok,  it isn't....) the greatest router on the planet,  but
I have found it generally useful and useable.  Except for the stubble
it leaves around,  which I have to go and manually clean up.

Hopefully DXP will be better.  Hopefully Altium will mend it's ways
(-ATS, -Bugs, -Cost) and make me want to buy it....

---Phil


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