At 12:41 AM 8/10/2002 +0800, Katinka Mills wrote:
>I have a 2 layer PCB with top and bottom ground planes (like to balance up
>my copper) how do I hilight dead copper, I do not want to remove it, just
>need to see it so I can add vias to make it not dead :o)

As has been noted, there is a remove dead copper option in the polygon pour 
dialog. However, Ms. Mills does not want to remove said copper, but to 
connect it. I do this regularly.

It has been suggested to use "select connected copper" to highlite what is 
connected, thus leaving the unconnected polygon copper standing out like a 
sore thumb.

Unfortunately, "select connected copper" does not function where 
connections are made through vias to a power plane. However, connections 
made through a physical layer are selected by this command, so if this is a 
simple 2-layer board, it will work. A workaround would be to create an 
extra temporary inner layer and pour the entirely layer with the net in 
question. But that is probably more trouble than it is worth.

The job might be done, I think, a number of different ways.

I might simply examine the area of the polygon, wiht dead copper removed, 
for spots large enough to drop a via. This is easy to do with a via 
floating on the cursor and on-line DRC active. This is how I do it.

Note that the via, while it is floating, will show violations (if on-line 
DRC), but those will disappear if it is popped down onto a netted object 
(vias and pads generally take on the net of objects which they contact 
while being placed, if the placement does not create a short.)

If, while the via is floating, one hits TAB and assigns the pour net to the 
via, it will only show real violations, i.e., to other nets, perhaps on 
another layer.

(violating track on other layers will display under these conditions, 
making it fairly easy to find spaces that do not violate.)

Polygon primitives, while still associated with the polygon, are *not* 
assigned any net, which you can find by unlocking the polygon primitives so 
that they can be individually edited; rather the polygon as a whole carries 
the net. So in this respect, dead copper track and connected track are the 
same. Exploding the polygon with Tools/Convert assigns the net to all the 
polygon tracks, including any dead copper.

Normally, global edits can be done on "no-net" track to highlight it, but, 
as mentioned, all polygon track is no-net; Protel thus locks it out from 
global edits, just as it locks out polygon track from other global edits 
(for example, a global edit with width scope matching the polygon pour width).

However, I just discovered that if I unlock the primitives of a polygon, 
and double-click on one track, and then do a global edit on the track with 
net scope, all polygon track is highlighted, as well as all non-polygon 
no-net track. (Remember, all polygon track is "no net," even if the polygon 
has a net.)

One might think that this could be used to copy all polygon track to 
another layer, but, noooo: selected polygon track is not placed on the 
clipboard by Edit/Copy/Click.

However, it is not difficult to copy a polygon to a mech layer (be sure to 
have dead copper removal turned off, or you will have a famous Protel 
Invisible Polygon, a general nuisance). Then one repours the original 
polygon with dead copper removed. In this way dead copper regions can be 
contrasted with connected ones. But normally this is not necessary, it is 
quite simple to look for empty regions within the area of a pour, as I 
mentioned above.

Select Net does *not* select polygons belonging to the net. Some of this 
behavior could really be classified as a bug, rather than as merely a 
missing feature.

There should be a check box in the polygon dialog allowing selected of the 
polygon. Instead more convoluted ways may be necessary in order to select a 
polygon for copy. Polygons will pick up (Leftclick-Drag), a fact that is 
more of a nuisance than a feature.

However, the Query Manager allows the selection of polygons by various 
criteria; but such a polygon cannot be copied to another layer without 
repouring it. If it is repoured, it takes on the shapes appropropriate to 
that layer. Furses, coiled again!

I do not find it easy to copy a polygon to another layer, keeping it poured 
exactly as it was originally poured, without also copying other stuff. It 
would probably be necessary to explode the polygon, I have not explored 
what happens, for example when selected polygon primitives are exploded.




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