At 08:21 PM 7/24/2003, Brad Velander wrote:
why is the net connectivity called "Net Labels and Ports Global"? This seems to be the root of the problem, call it semantics or call it a bug, the statement implies ports and nets are both treated globally. But it is becoming apparent that they aren't, the question now is? Do the ports perform their connectivity between individual sheets or not, let alone globally.

Brad, you are assuming that "Net Labels and Ports Global" will cause *Sheet Entries* to be global....

Anyway, I couldn't stand it, I had to test this.

It turns out to be pretty simple.

It appears that with Net Labels and Ports Global scope, Sheet Entries are *ignored.* Further, Ports do not create nets that connect to net labels of the same name. Ports connect to Ports of the same name, Net labels connect to Net labels of the same name.

Ports do not appear to create net names at all. Net labels create net names. This is *very* useful.

If I have a Port on one sheet and a Port on another sheet, both named TEST, with Ports global, what is connected to the two ports will be wired together. A TEST net label will not be connected to this net, it will create its own net called TEST. The net of the Ports will have the default name assigned to it by Protel, usually derived from the component pin first connected to it, unless, of course, there is a net label on that net.

Now, about the Sheet Entries. I took a schematic, I'll call it toplevel, and placed a pin, E1-1 on it, and wired this to a sheet entry called TEST on a sheet symbol for a sheet named SUBSHEET. I then created the subsheet using Design/Create Sheet from Symbol. On this sheet I wired the automatically created TEST Port to E2-1.

Creating a netlist with Sheet Symbol/Port connections connected the two pins as expected. The net was named NetE1_1.

I then created another netlist with Net Labels and Ports Global. Two separate nets resulted, NetE1_1 and NetE2_1.

I then placed a Port named TEST on the toplevel sheet and connected it to the wire and regenerated the Net list, Net Labels and Ports Global. There was now once again a single net, NetE1_1.

I deleted the Port named TEST on the toplevel sheet and replaced it with a net label TEST. There were now two nets, TEST containing E1-1 and NetE2-1.

With Net Labels and Ports Global, sheet symbols perform only the function of calling a named schematic file into the full schematic document.

However, in my case I did not even rely on any global connectivity tricks of the ports, I wired the desired signals directly to the sheet entries and directly to the ports on the subsheet. The ports and sheet entries only had to perform their expected connectivity between the master sheet and the subsheet, it failed to do this. I still don't know why but according to Craig from Altium, it just plain won't work.

Right. It doesn't work because Sheet Entries are not Ports, they don't function like Ports, they only work with Sheet Entry/Port Connection scope.

Possibly he misunderstood my issue and therefore his answer was not correct but he seemed pretty sure of the fact that it didn't work because the only way to make ports work was by not having any form of nets global in the connectivity setting.

Yes. That's how it works.

Not going to happen, I don't need to spend hours connecting multiple sheets together on a top level master sheet that nobody will even want to view.

It's much easier than you think, and it makes for much more readable schematics. And *less* work and fewer errors, particularly if you use repeated blocks of circuitry.

Thus I typically use a flat hierarchy and global nets. This case was special because they tried to jam too much circuitry into a an existing schematic where my only option was to connect through a sheetsymbol in place of the former integrated device schematic symbol.

No, your option was not that at all, for the simple reason that it doesn't work. Your option, if you don't want to change your scope, is to place two ports (actually, four ports, since you had two of these subsystems). If you want to make them look like a component symbol, put down a rectangle to enclose them. You could also use net labels, as you ended up doing, but ports, especially with a dummy symbol outline, would look better.

At some point, however, I do suggest learning how to use Sheet Symbols and hierarchical schematics. I wouldn't leave home without them....

I don't usually have a top level schematic just for the purpose of tying together the other sheets. Rather, my top level schematic will normally include quite a bit of explicit circuitry. It might have I/O, everything connecting to the outside world. Then the internal signal processing of the project might, as appropriate, be placed on subsheets. It's easy to create the subsheets, and one does not have to worry about net name duplication. You can have a CLK on one sheet that is not connected to CLK on another sheet, a Net Label only refers to the sheet on which it appears; this is *much* easier to manage. You can take pieces of schematics, say a memory subsection, from another project, and plop it into your new project without having to rename the busses, you just have to control the sheet entries/ports.

Now, working with busses and sheet entries/ports can be a little tricky, but it boils down to the problem that sheet entries and ports do *not* create or associate with net names. They are merely non-net-naming devices for connecting between sheets. That they have names at all is only so that you can associate them together, those names have *nothing* to do with net names.

If you want a sheet entry or port to become a certain net name, you must place a net label on the topmost occurrence of the net.

So connecting a bus to a sheet entry (say A[0..7]) does not create a bus, i.e., a series of net names. You have to place an explicit net label to do that. This used to drive me nuts.... I did figure out how to do it, i.e., to place the net labels, but until now I did not really understand why this was necessary. Like you, I assumed that sheet entries and ports *were* net names, even after I had realized that sheet entry/port connections did not name the nets, I had not absorbed the full implications.

In this thread, there was a report that DXP allows Entries/Ports to name nets *as an option.* It could be argued that this could be a serious problem, since someone might enable the option when modifying a schematic where it was not enabled, and this could create serious chaos.

Better: good documentation that explains the difference between Ports And Sheet Entries and Net Labels. Hmmm.... Does the documentation explain this. Maybe I should read the manual and find out! ... :-)

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