I've seen the toggling macros that result from having two pins with the same 
number, where they are alternately added and deleted from the connections with 
successive netlist loads. This is similar, but slightly different.

I have built a common-mode choke schematic symbol, with 4 pins each of type 
Passive. I've checked in the list panel and there are no duplicate pins. 
Looking at the part in the library editor, there are no "inside-out" pins. Likewise 
the corresponding PCB footprint has exactly four pads, no duplicates, and no 
funny-business on any of them.

I'm still in the habit of explicitly creating the netlist from schematic, and 
explicitly loading the netlist in the PCB. Each time I do so, in addition to 
any macros I expect, I also get two extras: the first removes pin 3 of that 
chocke from its net (Gnd), and the second adds it back to the same net. There 
are no errors noted. Executing the netlist load causes no adverse effects but 
works just as would be expected. But then immediately reloading the same netlist 
(which should result in no changes) produces those same two stray macros.

This doesn't directly impact the board I'm laying out, as the net connections 
end up correct. But I've learned the hard way not to ignore it when Protel 
does oddball, unexpected things - it's trying unsuccessfully to warn me about 
some glitch that, sooner or later, will rear its ugly head in a defective batch 
of boards. Does anybody here have any thoughts on what I should be looking 
for?

Anticipating the first suggestion, I just tried using Schematic's <Design> - <
Update PCB>. Exactly the same result.

In moving the design forward, I added two grounded mechanical holes, by 
adding two "Testpoint"s on the schematic (single pin component I've used since 
antiquity) and grounding them there. Now I get three pairs of these stray macros - 
a pair each for pin 3 of the choke and pin 1 (only pin) of the two new 
testpoints. The only thing in common is that all three are connected to ground. But 
no other grounded pins (about a hundred) show any anomalies.

Uh-oh, I may be on the track of something here. I just discovered that there 
are two GND nets in my netlist. Using explicit sheet-port connectivity, but 
GND power symbols should be common regardless. One GND net relates to the 
top-level sheet and three subsheets; the other net seems to be all the GND 
connections for the most recently-created sheet, which is properly nested under the 
top 
sheet in the Explorer panel. In trying to turn on the trace option of the 
Schematic netlist generator, it claims to generate a trace file called 
filename.tng. But there's no such file on my system after running the netlist, and 
indeed no recently generated files that could be the output.

I'm wandering further and further afield from getting this job out the door, 
which has to happen in the next couple of days. Basic issues I need to 
address, then, are:

1) The split GND net MUST be fixed somehow.
2) The stray remove / add macros might be hinting at something dangerous.
3) I can't find the netlist generator trace output.

Any and all hints welcome!! Thanks!!

Steve Hendrix


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