Author Topic: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues  (Read 20455 times)

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Offline Joel_l

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #75 on: November 03, 2017, 09:23:55 am »
I agree with this, I bought CS with moderate hopes. There are some UI and feature items that are annoying but the lack of apparent support is the most frustrating. if you look back in time a bit, there was supposed to be a 2.0 at the end of 2016. Since I bought this ( about 6 months ago ) I have only seen one update and that mostly addressed a bug that Altium introduced in a previous release.

CS is usable, but if I were to do it again, I think I would go another direction. Seems Altium has no interest in the product.


I would be inclined to trial Orcad as well before making your decision. I like CircuitStudio and it is what I use but the customer support is virtually zero and it irritates me to think we are left out in the cold after giving them our money. There is no schedule for updates, no proper interaction with customers. Any bug reports are just left hanging.

I previously used EasyPC and must admit their customer service was exceptional. Any bug reports would get instant feedback and they would release several bug fix versions throughout the year. And you knew the next version would always be out in the summer.

I spoke with UK support for Orcad and it felt like they were with you every step of the way. But with Altium it really is insulting how little client support they offer.

Trev
 

Offline trevwhite

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #76 on: November 03, 2017, 09:53:09 am »
I actually would go so far as to say it has put me off any idea of upgrading to Designer because of the bad treatment with CS. As a company for them to just ignore everybody regarding CS it isnt the right way to go about things. So even though I like CS I am not about to give them more of my money after such treatment.

 
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Offline Phoenix

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #77 on: November 04, 2017, 09:53:59 pm »
I like CircuitStudio and it is what I use but the customer support is virtually zero and it irritates me to think we are left out in the cold after giving them our money. There is no schedule for updates, no proper interaction with customers. Any bug reports are just left hanging.

The lack of bug fixes is what concerns me. There are a few niggles that I'm still getting used to...

30 day trial is plenty long enough to start getting a small library of components how I like it. Might have to try some other packages. I've also heard good things about KiCad.
 
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Offline negativ3

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #78 on: December 26, 2017, 11:11:40 pm »
The way the vault defaults to all columns is a real PITA. Is there any way to make a default column list of say, part no & description, Supplier & price per?

 

Offline ahbushnell

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #79 on: December 27, 2017, 01:35:18 am »
The way the vault defaults to all columns is a real PITA. Is there any way to make a default column list of say, part no & description, Supplier & price per?



Make a new topic.
 

Offline tim_c

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #80 on: January 02, 2018, 09:54:53 am »
Long post - sorry, lot of content here.

I sent the attached to the UK support address listed in CS. I'm copying it here to let others know about the bugs I've found and to see if we can:
1. Ensure that the vendor is aware of the bugs that people are encountering. I listed a couple of those in the rest of this thread for completeness.
2. Try and get some of the bugs fixed.
3. Get more information to allow people to make a decision as to what they next design tool will be.
4. Try and get some better engagement with Altium / Element14 / Farnell and the likely buyers of their product

I'm interested to get confirmation that others see the bugs too - just so I know its not "just me"


I am an Eagle user who is constantly hitting the board size limits and am looking to convert across to a more capable product as I won't use subscription based software products at all. I place myself at the higher end of the hobbyist market, so well away from the maker / shield / blinky-light space where most seem to be moving towards?. I am just an ordinary user, I have no links to any of the vendors, other than being a customer that also uses Element14 and other suppliers

Having researched the topic, I signed up for the 30 day trial of CS over the Christmas break and have watched the CircuitStudio getting started videos on YouTube ). As a result of this, I have a number of questions and I've found a number of bugs that need reporting back so that they can get investigated and fixed, thus improving the product. Currently it feels like an incomplete beta release of a product that has a lot of potential if the issues are fixed.

During my research, and evaluation, I reviewed the information at the EEVblog at http://www.eevblog.com/forum/circuit-studio/circuit-studio-bugsissues/75/ which lists problems others have experienced. I have included some of these issue (that are relevant to me) within the attached to ensure that you are aware of the issues and to find out what is being done to resolve them. You may want to review the whole thread to ensure that you know of all the issues.

My machine is above average spec (It runs Windows 7 x64 on a quad core I7, 32GB RAM, SSD, 2 x 4K screens). I have a reliable Internet connection over FTTC. I do not experience problems in any of the other apps I use and the machine is patched up to date.

Due to the problems I have encountered, I have removed the application along with all of its settings, rebooted and reinstalled, then repeated the failing operation. No errors were reported during installation on either occasion and I rebooted after install and before using CS. The installed application was v1.4.1 (build 99)

It would be great to get a response since I need to make a decision on the successor to Eagle and who's going to get my money. KiCad doesn't look robust enough yet, but with NASA as a backer, this can only improve. I've not seen larger projects undertaken in KiCad which makes me cautious. Eagle is out unless they revert to sensible pricing without the subscription. I'm really surprised that one of the market leading products is so broken - with what I've found in just 3 days of testing with it. Hopefully this is just teething problems for the new user interface and Vault which will be quickly resolved.

To aid others in their reviews and decisions on CircuitStudio, I've posted a copy of this note to the above EEVblog forum and I'd like to get the response out there too. This will help others and allow them to test the issues I found and see if they are relevant to them. 

I notice the time limited upgrade offer for £375, which is finally in the right ball-park for hobby usage. How long is this offer valid for?
BTW - I wouldn't expect any hobbyist sales at £1K, that's a good amount towards a family holiday or a newer car. Even if a hobbyist was doing loads of hobby projects in a year, I still can't see any of their wives being happy with that sort of cost. Put into perspective, the budget for many projects in the hobby markets are typically <£100 - £200 for the larger ones, so spending far more than this on a CAD tool is extremely hard to justify. The sales people need to understand their potential market. We need a decent quality, capable, reliable and productive tool that doesn't break the bank. Many of us are involved in other ways with the industry and influence the upcoming generation of potential new engineers.

As background

I started by importing an Eagle file that is a 160x100 6 layer board with 5 schematic sheets and three custom libraries, one of my components, one of externally supplied script based library objects and one for Xilinx FPGA's. The import was largely successful, with only the following issues being encountered.

1. The import did not keep the sheet names, it gives generic names instead, this means that you have to manually rename them to get back to a like-for-like on existing designs. In most applications, its as simple as right-click, rename, but in CS the only options I can find are to open the existing file, work out what it was supposed to be called, do a save-as to create a duplicate of it, then save the project, then remove the now duplicate file from the project. Surely there is a simpler way - what is it?. Can you also report the import bug please.

2. I was unable to import the Xilinx FPGA library, which was 40Mb in size, CircuitStudio started importing, gave a "please wait" message then crashed out. I was unsuccessful in importing the library, but found the equivalent components in the Altium Vault and will just switch to them if I go ahead. This will be a bit time consuming given the 324 pins involved. I might be able to extract the single device I'm using and just import that as a workaround. 40Mb isn't a large file in the days of GB's of RAM and TB's of disk capacity, this file should import without error.


General questions

How do you download the install files to allow a re-install in the future?
I can only find the initial downloader tool, not the main installations files. 
There is not much point having an off-line licence file, if I can't download the application for backup purposes.

Where can I find the help files in PDF form so that I can read off-line, for example when sitting on the train, or if I'm working off-line. All the application help seems to go direct to the Internet.

Both of the above along with the need to use the Vault for any form of productive use implies that you need to be on-line all the time.

What is the support model for CircuitStudio?
There appears to be a bit of a black hole between Altium and Element 14, so exactly what does the annual subscription buy?
Is it just Vault access or is there any support capability / upgrade capability in there too? If so, what does it cover and who provides that support?

I have made some test diagrams by following the demo videos on YouTube, but I placed the wrong footprint devices - I work in Metric but searched for 0603 components, I ended up placing 0201 components as the Imperial equivalent of metric 0603. How do I replace the package but keep all other device attributes such as component name, value, PCB placement, etc. Eagle has a right-click, "package" option to alter just the package, where a component has multiple package styles. How do I do this for a group of objects?

I am unable to find an option to replace a component with something different - e.g. if I want to replace a connector with a different form of connector (say a different footprint or a 90 degree version, etc.). How do I achieve this?

The above are important to help Eagle users move to parts that are in the Altium Vault - to help with maximising value from CS and simplifying things like parts lists etc.

Given that many hobbyists produce PCB's at home, how do we print locally the image files that we need at 1:1 scale, with different options for black/white only printing, reversed video, 180 mirror, etc? The Output, printing option does not offer any of these options and the Gerber files are no good for home use !

I note that the CS application is only 32 bit and does not use all the resources of my computer - e.g. when auto-routing. I note that a 64 bit version of the Altium Designer was announced in late 2017 (http://www.altium.com/company/newsroom/press-releases/preview-altium-designer-18-altiumlive-2017-annual-pcb-design-summit). What are the plans to release a current generation 64 bit version of CS and is the application properly multi-threaded?

I note that the file formats used by the application are binary format and not open documents like many other applications use in 201x - e.g. MS Office and its variants, web pages, competing PCB design tools, etc.  What are the plans for open format documents, so that I am not tied in to one application vendor and can easily move to a successor platform at the appropriate time. Are the binary formats documented and openly available for others to write importers from?

Why do I need a pie chart tool on the Schematic editor? Can you explain what this might be used for? I've never seen a pie chart on any schematic before.

Farnell / Element14 provide a number of library definitions for either Eagle or generic scripts that can create the objects, how will this be used with CircuitStudio? I can find no interface to import the scripts with within CS, other than applying them into Eagle, then importing the resulting library to CS, which is not really a productive way to do that. Alternately, will you ensure that all components are present in the Altium Vault? If so, can we have a link from the component to the Vault equivalent, since its far more likely that people will research parts, their features / costs, then move to the schematic to draw it.

Searching for Farnell product codes or manufacturer part codes within Altium Vault does not return matches in many cases. I thought Element 14 was behind the circuit Studio edition of Altium? How are you expecting people to easily link components from the web site back?

At the CS web site (http://documentation.circuitstudio.com/) it says "we value you feedback", yet there appears to be no way to provide feedback, since the survey closed over 6 months ago. It was also based on closed questions, rather than allowing potential customers and existing customers to provide real feedback to help improve the product. Can you provide the current feedback address details please?
 

Fixes to bugs reported by others

Can't rotate a component in the PCB editor with the spacebar - This can be done, but you can't just select the component and hit space or Shift-Space for counter-clockwise, you also have to have the left hand mouse button down in most cases. This is shown in the training video sequences.
 
Bugs

Altium Content Vault - this just isn't finished. I spend more time recovering from application errors and trying to get visible data within it than selecting usable components to place. As examples:

Search for the generic 2n2222, Initially, it says "All Folders, 0 occurrences", leading you to believe that there are no matches, yet when you click on the "All folders", you get 4 occurrences that are not completely non-readable as everything is x.. t.. 3.. n.. 8.. Even the column headings are the same. Stretching the window across a 4K screen still gives no readable information, stretching across TWO 4K screens gives some readable information. A list of desired columns would be useful - like you do on the Farnell web site, it is after all the same components and parameters that we are interested in !

I've found the "printer icon" to the right of the search button that filters parameters (most apps use a funnel), but selecting a couple of those results in your search "2n2222" gives no results and all entries in the filter tab just disappear, so I can't change the list to refine things. Re-submitting the search forgets all the filters and starts over. This is useless.

At 4K screen width, I notice that the un-readable headings have down arrow options (that don't appear until you hover over them) and you can manage to get your mouse pointer between the left hand side of the column and the down-arrow marker, you can read the heading. On a standard HD screen, this is not possible on most of the columns as the drop-down takes the available space.

If I set a filter on say the HFE column of >100 and < 900, then we get two icons in the column heading that prevents viewing the column in the above manner again, unless you remove the filter first.

I try to get back to the folder view by pressing the green left arrow in the top right and get a "Please wait" (which seems to translate to get ready for a crash in a couple of seconds time), followed by Access violation at address 1FD0B6B4 in module 'ADVPCB.DLL'. Read of address 00000000 at 1FD0B6B4

If you are successful in extracting a component from the Vault and press right-click, the place option is greyed out unless you are already on a schematic sheet. If you want to move to one, it can be difficult to move the Vaults window out with it attempting to dock with the main window all the time. Why doesn't the place option let me choose the sheet to place it on if there isn't one it can use.

For fun, I opted to dock the Vaults window to the left menu, Its completely un-usable since you just get the folder view, none of the search or output data is visible - what's the point of allowing it to dock here??

If you use the Search tab for the "generic search", things get worse. I've had search results for 2n3904's return 144 pin and 100pin QFP packages, female sockets, chip inductors, etc. I currently don't trust the search tool.

Some attempts to drag column widths out so you can read the t.. 3.. type text results in refusal of the UI to do this request, other times it works fine.

The data on the search tab does not refresh correctly. I've had situations where a search on the search tab for 2n3904 followed by a search on the structure tab for 2n2222 shows 2n2222 data in both tabs, not 2n3904 per the search box contents above it.  I've also had problems getting the search tab to refresh any data, it just refuses to search a second time, but can sometimes be coaxed by clicking around the form on other fields, then pressing search again, other times it just flat refuses. Closing and re-opening the Vault page makes no difference.

The generic search does not always do a new search after the initial search completed - even if you hit the search button or press return.
The search box has hung completely for 30-40 seconds before coming back. This hangs all of CS, not just the Vault Explorer, then it just jumps back into life.

If you try and search using the generic search and type text "2n3904*", the search window will open a drop-down automatically, pressing return (to do a search) results in nothing happening. In all other all other apps when you hit return in a search box, you would expect them to execute a search. Within this app, you have to press tab, to close the drop-down that the app automatically opened for me, then press return. This is wasted keystrokes and not intuitive. 

A number of other bugs and error messages were received randomly during testing.
In Altium Vault, "Refresh All" resulted in "Invalid Pointer Operation". Sometimes this is followed by "DXP.EXE has stopped working" and the whole application closes.

When in system preferences, set to defaults "Privileged instruction at 000204B2., Base Address: 00020000."

Searching for 2n2222 in the search tab resulted in "retrieving items" .... and we wait, and we wait ... about 30 seconds, "Please wait a moment", a second "please wait a moment" (showing different progress), followed by
Access violation at address 51EC4F53 in module 'FolderAspect_FlexibleBrowseItems.dll'. Read of address 00000010 at 51EC4F53.
This repeated 8 times along with further "Please Wait" messages before I was able to get back to a working UI. Sometimes multiple concurrent "please Wait" messages with different progress bars were on screen.
On another occasion, it went round an endless loop of error / please wait and I had to terminate  the application after more than 12 errors.
 
The user interface is very inconsistent and very frustrating to use, why can't I use the same commands / approach throughout CircuitStudio, rather than having to learn a new command for each component. Microsoft defines the Common User Actions (CUA) for Windows, CS doesn't use them, for example Ctrl-F = Find.

As examples:

1. Want to search for something - use the "type here to search" box in the top right - but it will only ever search the PCB, not the schematic., but from the schematic, use right-click, find text (or Ctrl-F) and it will indeed find the text, plus it changes the screen zoom, then pops up a pointless messages box that I have to close before continuing on - why did one action turn into 3?? There is no right-click, find component on the PCB layout tool and the Ctrl-F standard shortcut for find in all apps does not work.

2. The application does not stop when it loses the focus. All other Windows applications and Linux applications stop if you not on their window - for example if you alt-tab to another window etc. If you are in CircuitStudio and doing something like routing a wire and you alt-tab to get to another application CS keeps panning around trying to route the wire, you can even move around the CS window whilst dragging the new app window, or just move the cursor and it follows the cursor location. This is not what's supposed to happen if an app no longer has the focus. eg Word does not keep scrolling, Chrome doesn't keep scrolling etc.

3. Some keyboard shortcuts do not work as expected, for example whilst routing wires, right-click and escape are supposed to stop the action. Escape does not work reliably to stop routing a wire, Having the context menu and cancel on the same button is weird.

4. The undo function is very selective on what it will undo, it only seems to work on about 50% of actions, change the grid or layer settings, etc - no undo, move a component, will undo.

5. Keyboard shortcuts - Design Rules Check (DRC), if you double-click on the offending DRC failures, the screen moves to show the issue in the PCB, which is what you would expect. If however you try and use the arrow keys, nothing changes - other than the mouse pointer walking up and down the screen unexpectedly (as a function of the zoom level). See the "what has the focus" bug again. However if you press return, then it does move to the next/previous issue, why can't I just use up and down arrows to speed up looking at the issues. Take out all the superflurious keystrokes.   

6.  Keyboard shortcuts - Compile Document. I'd expect this to work similarly to how the DRC works as its doing the same job, but its only consistent till you double-click onto an error line in the messages window, you can't go up and down with the arrow keys, it either just moves the Schematic up and down instead or sometimes, just moves the cursor up and down in the messages window but doesn't affect the blue bar showing which error is selected. Why is it so inconsistent and un-usable? You can however move up and down by keyboard until you click on a line. Given where the bounds of where the mouse pointer will move, it looks like the focus bug again showing through from the underlying schematic.

7. The menus are all jumbled up - why are all the Save options in 3 different parts of the File menu? Save Project, Save Project As at the top, Save, Save-as in the middle, then save-all at the bottom, or Open Project at the top and "Close All" (which presumably is the project), yet it's at the bottom? Open Recent doesn't show recent projects, which is probably the only thing you will want to do, since other files are shown in the project view.

8. The message window isn't a separate window in the Z-order for all OS windows, so you can't click on the Schematic view to put it behind and hide it (or say put Chrome / Notepad between it and the main app), thus allowing you to switch between the views, you also can't move it easily around as it wants to constantly dock with the main window, so you have to either put up with it taking space at the top or bottom of the window or keep closing and opening it as needed. Apps like Notepad++ uses the approach of making it transparrent so you can see the main window whilst still being able to move the cursor back of the search window to see its contents / move to the next match.

9. The main application is a tabbed interface, with lots of tabbed docs for the schematics, which makes sense. Why can't things like the message window work in the same manner, then we can put it where we want it and without it taking up screen real-estate.

10. The mouse wheel does not scroll up and down long lists like it does in every other Windows application.

It looks like some of the developers would benefit from additional training on productive user interface design as currently, the net result for people who try and use the application and who come equipped with a knowledge of standard Windows ways of working and the way that Eagle works. This results in an unnecessarily steep learning curve and a need to un-necessarily learn the differences within each component of the application. Reducing this step by following existing standards, using consistent approaches across application components and performing better testing of the application to remove bugs can only accelerate user transition to CS.

Based on the release date of Sept 2016 for the initial release of CS 1.2 (http://www.premierfarnell.com/content/altium-circuitstudio-v12-now-available-exclusively-element14-edelivery) and the initially high price of the application, I'm guessing that real-user use of CS has been fairly limited to date. I expect that the community would be more than willing to provide constructive feedback in return for resolution of the issues encountered. 

When is the next release expected to come out - I note that 1.4.1 came out in July 2017.

Updated ? -> KiCad in 2 places.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 07:55:54 am by tim_c »
 
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Offline evb149

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #81 on: January 02, 2018, 10:58:54 am »
Thanks for the excellent post above.
As was said, it is good to report problems to the community so they can be known and hopefully fixed so I'll add on a few "missing features" or bugs I've seen.  I probably have a bigger list somewhere but not that I can access at the moment.

These are relating to 1.4-something (probably the most recent) of CS.
* When you place arcs on the PCB they often dissapear from view after a while as if they are not there.
My use case was defining top overlay "Pin #1 position" small round circles in library parts using the arc tool on the top overlay layer and then placing a component with such a footprint on a Pcb document being created.  Sometimes you would see the arcs/dots, often (after some while of PCB editing actions like pan / zoom / save / edit / whatever) the PCB footprints will be in every other respect "there" as expected but the visual dots would just be gone.  Happens all the time, very easy to reproduce, but I don't have an exact test case handy.

* TAB to edit object properties does not work when placing a "floating" copy-pasted object.  Example, copy and paste a pad but you wish to TAB to edit the pin # property or something like that while it is selected and being placed.  I'm pretty sure I have seen similar behavior in the schematic editor while copy-pasting a schematic library pin object and similarly wanting to edit the name / pin number or whatever but TAB does nothing.  There are probably other bug/missing cases if this is a general problem / omission.

* PCBLIB inspector does not show edit fields for overridden paste mask expansion value sometimes.

* PCBLIB inspector does not show edit fields for overridden solder mask expansion value sometimes.

* Wish list item: there should be a "paste mask tenting top/bottom" option (exactly analogous to the "force solder mask tenting options) to choose fully closed paste mask for a pad regardless of its dimensions.
On a related note there should be entry fields to ask how much *OPENING* one *DOES* want in the paste / solder mask rather than ONLY an +/- EXPANSION value which is RELATIVE to the object size.  Having only the latter forces you to do math relative to the difference between the opening you WANT and the size of the object.  I'm not saying you shouldn't be ALSO able to have the relative expansion setting but ALSO just being able to specfy the absolute desired size would be nice.

* Wish list item: In edit fields where you're asking for a number, support simple calculator style expression evaluation for the entered text.  Ideally also RETAIN the entered EXPRESSION and display that along with the result of evaluating it in the field.  For instance a common case is when I am defining a part footprint based on dimensional numbers on the datasheet mechanical drawing.  Let's say it is a 8-pin SOIC with e=1.27mm pin pitch.  And I am drawing it in the standard rotation where pins 1-4 are on bottom along x-axis and 5-8 are on top along Y-Axis.  I want the center line of the part to be centered relative to the origin of the symbol X and Y.  So I wish to define a grid X for the pads.  The pad pitch e=1.27mm.  But since there are 4 pins, and the part is centered (no pin lies at X=0) they do not align with a 1.27mm grid.  Instead grid X spacing must be set to 1.27/2mm since they're offset from X=0 by half a pin pitch width.  But the pin pitch is 1.27mm.  So then I go and calculate what 1.27/2 is and enter that.
Similarly I see from the drawing that the pad row Y centers are another distance like say 1.9mm.  But again since the part is centered, +/- 1.9mm is not where I need the Y grid.  It is +/- 1.9/2 mm for the grid.
Now I move to the body outline layer and see the dimensions for package body X length is D=1.95mm and body Y width E is 1.25mm.  Again I go to set the grid but again I need a grid of D/2 and E/2, so I calculate that and enter it in the fields.
And so on in the same way for the courtyard size, assembly layer size, etc. 
Other examples are when you may be defining linear guide coordinates for some connector or something that has lots of relative dimensions relative to some other thing which is relative to some other thing... so you end up wanting to say
Ax=1, Bx = Ax + 1.75, Cx= Bx - 0.25, etc. etc. to capture something relatably meaningful to the way the drawing dimensions the parts.  In such a case at LEAST I would very much want expression evaluation so I can "show my work" and have something relatable to the dimensioning of a drawing as opposed to just random numbers that don't have any numeric or obvious relationship to what is specified on the drawing.
* Better: Have some little spreadsheet widget with some cells you can enter spreadsheet style expressions into and use those as your coordinates / sizes / whatever.
* Even better: Put some (even MINIMAL) useful MCAD parametric GDT / dimensioning support into the program.  Now the "fab drawing" and "dimension" layers are almost useless except for 100% manually drafted stuff.  We really should be able to parametrically specify and relatively draw out dimensioned relationships (using spreadsheet widget cells, mechanical layers, dimensioning tools, etc.) relationships / guides / grids / offsets / coordinates that are actually symbolically related to whatever GDT parametrics you want to enter and that MCAD information should be stored as part of the CAD drawing parameters / mechanical layers etc. so you can go back and review your settings and relationships and easily audit it for correctness relative to some overall mechanical specifications for the board / parts etc.

* The SCHEMATIC "SYMBOL TEMPLATES" are missing:
N-CHANNEL ENHANCEMENT MODE MOSFET,
P-CHANNEL ENHANCEMENT MODE MOSFET,
N-CHANNEL J-FET
PHOTODIODE,
SCHOTTKY DIODE,
NTC / PTC THERMISTOR SYMBOL,
FUSE SYMBOL
SWITCH / RELAY CONTACT / UNIT
and many other things but those are some of the most obvious deficiencies.


* Many times I will use raw PcbLib or SchLib files which are not used in conjunction with an IntLib / library package, nor are they related to anything stored in version control.  So often I may have some library like "Motorola_Footprints.PcbLib", and "Motorola_Parts.SchLib" correspondingly.  I noticed that it can often happen "randomly" that when I open and change (e.g. add new footprint to) the PcbLib, then I go to the open SchLib corresponding and Browse the PcbLib for a newly created Footprint for associating it with a newly created schematic library symbol it does not "see" the recent changes to the PcbLib file.  No matter how many times I Save or modify slightly / Resave the PcbLib file it will "cache" somehow the obsolete / old "contents" of the PcbLib and not "see" the new changes when going to find them Browsing the PcbLib.  But when I OPEN the PcbLib or look at the already open one all the recent changes are plainly there and are found as expected when the PcbLib is closed / reopened.  So something is not right with what is being cached or memorized or not refreshed...






 

Offline e14softwareuk

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #82 on: January 03, 2018, 11:01:30 pm »
Hi Tim

Thank you for taking the time to relay your experience of getting started with CircuitStudio, lots of valuable feedback for the community and Altium. I’d like to take this opportunity to address some of the issues raised, a number of which are simply a matter of being new to the product.

Help & Support
The main contact points for technical support are the forums at element14.com/altium, our dedicated software support email software@element14.com (also recommended for bug reports) and of course you can contact Farnell front line support by telephone , live chat etc. The maintenance subscription gives you access to software updates and our technical support desk.

Alternate Footprints
Each symbol can have any number of footprints assigned and you can override a footprint directly in the schematic editor.  Use of these capabilities is largely down to your preferred way of working, either having dedicated symbols with one assigned footprint or more generic parts with multiple footprints. See the discussion at https://www.element14.com/community/thread/62351/l/schematic-design-workflow-hints-please.

Altium Content Vault
This vault is the same one also used by Altium Designer so the products in there are not Farnell specific, this isn’t a special set of components to keep you buying from Farnell (although of course we would love you to buy from us). In addition to the vault there are a number of downloadable libraries available from https://designcontent.live.altium.com/. The supplier link feature is designed to allow you to lookup Farnell (and others) pricing from your schematic. You are correct in that the Vault interface is not ideal and would benefit from some improvements. Our best suggestion is to use the Search tab rather than Structure tab to display results because this does not add in all the possible columns.

Other Issues
The search box will search schematics but you will need to compile them first. The window docking system is very similar to many other IDEs, if you hold CONTROL whilst dragging a window this prevents docking. The message panel can be docked with other windows to create a single tabbed window, not quite the same as being able to dock with the main design sheets but it does mean you don’t need as many separate windows or regions of the main program occupied. If you need to change one or more symbols on a schematic you can use the object inspector to change the component without needing to delete the existing ones and re-add the new ones.

Do feel free to browse our Altium forums at element14.com/altium and if you have specific issues that you need assistance with please email us at software@element14.com.

Peter Barnard, Global Software Applications Engineer, element14 | Farnell | Newark
 

Offline tim_c

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #83 on: January 04, 2018, 08:37:45 am »
Hi Peter,

Thank you for your response. You are right that I'm new to the product (hence the eval), but fear not, I (and I'd assume the majority of other forum users) well versed in IT and Electronics, so generally pick up new products easily when they follow recognised standard ways of working - and get frustrated by them when they don't, since we spend much of our times using Windows, Linux, Mac, test equipment, vending machines, etc and the all have a common way of working. When things work differently for no apparent reason, this is often when things go wrong.

I have copied on the e-mail to the other e-mail address. How do we decide if a support e-mail should be sent to altiumsupport@farnell.com or software@element14.com. I had assumed that the latter is generic and the former, given the product name was more specific and therefore the correct one to use.  do incorrectly addressed e-mails get forwarded on internally to e14 / Farnell

I read the alternative footprint link suggestion, but this doesn't seem to resolve the problem, my problem isn't one about not knowing the values etc, its that I placed a component from the provided library with the wrong footprint and want to flip it to another one to correct the problem. I would have assumed that the provided Vault components would take full advantage of the CS product and allow all the appropriate footprints to be selected in the manner you discussed. We're back to vending machines again - this is how other products I've used work too.

Re the vault - if you want us to buy from Farnell, then please make it easy to find your part numbers in the Vault, it does after all ask which repositories should be used for parts during install (Farnell, Newark and others). Don't forget that browsing your web site is easy, browsing the H.. B.. T.. Vault I.. N.. T.. We are all pushed for time so go for the optimum path that works best for us.


Other issues
Search - from within the schematic - Thanks for the suggestion. I compiled again, i'd already done this to get to the PCB layout. The suggestion doesn't work. I'd send a screenshot, but when the app looses the focus, it clears  the search error message.. It says "no items match your search", even though I can see the component next to the message.

Ctrl key to prevent windows docking - That makes it easier to move things around, thanks. Perhaps this should be added to the shortcuts link along with any others that are missing. Offline readable documents would help here too ..

I'm aware of the ability to dock the messages window, this takes screen real-estate and a more common way of working is switching between panes, thus allowing the whole screen estate to be best used. This is common in all other multi-windowed applications, perhaps this is why the docked AND tabbed, but not interchangeable or playing nicely with other Windows outside the main application frame approach is so difficult to get used to.

Given that windows are moved around a lot and decisions on layout preferences are used far less, would it nor make more sense to reverse those, so that a window move acts like any other window move in the OS and a Ctrl-Window move docks it. Less keystrokes and a more logical way of working.

In regards to the open issues, think I've already got that covered, you have e-mails on both support addresses and you are aware of this thread. I look forward to receiving a response in the coming couple of days.

I was thinking this morning, perhaps if the product manager wanted to drop by the forum and say "Hello" or provide contact details, then that may help the potential new users of CS too, alternately, the "We welcome your feedback" problem could be resolved and used to achieve the same thing.

I think you will agree after reading the forum top-to-bottom that the general experiences from those who have tried the product are not great, yet we all realise the potential that you have here with the product if the stability and usability issues can be sorted out in a timely manner.

Regards

Tim
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #84 on: January 04, 2018, 08:56:12 am »
...the general experiences from those who have tried the product are not great...

Hmm. Forums are never full of people turning up to say "it's great", those people just get on with the task at hand.
I have done twenty-something mid-size projects in CS and I think its a great tool for the money.
Yes, there are fixes/improvements to be made and I'd like to see a bit more activity from the supplier - but I would likely still be saying that if I'd chosen any other ECAD tool on the market.

I'm sure Altium will appreciate your feedback but TBH your posts here are too long and ranty to get a proper response. Maybe pick your top three bugs and push them on the E14 forum?
 

Offline tim_c

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #85 on: January 04, 2018, 09:58:59 am »
Valid observation re forums. So what fixes / improvements are you proposing ? What tips can and "ahhhh.. " moments can you provide to the rest of us ? What did you move from ?

The reason that people seem to want to post here is because its from a reputable source and several people reported that postings go "missing" on the e14 forum - moderation to remove bad news perhaps ??

Accept the point about post length, but lots of things need reporting and sorting, its not intended to be ranty. What I want to achieve is to get the tool more usable and get better engagement between supplier and potential customers, since it looks like the best ECAD option once it works for the higher end of hobby / low end professional use.

I've already said that the price point is about right, by my maths and with the current offer, it works out to £250 + a years access to the vault +VAT

If they fix the issues and make it workable,  they can have my cash.
If I had to summarise the top 3 issues, then its summarised in 4 words - Functionality, Usability, Stability and Support.
 

Online tautech

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #86 on: January 04, 2018, 11:49:44 am »

The reason that people seem to want to post here is because its from a reputable source and several people reported that postings go "missing" on the e14 forum - moderation to remove bad news perhaps ??

Maybe exactly why, with your post only a few hours old why Peter chose to jump aboard with his fire extinguisher.
Moderation here is very transparent and fair, just as it should be.
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline JamesH-AltiumOfficial

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #87 on: January 04, 2018, 02:41:45 pm »
Hi tim_c and tautech,

Thank you and the other posters for your excellent feedback in this thread (and other threads like the survey thread). We're gathering as much feedback as possible for planning of the CircuitStudio updates this year.

By they way, Element14 did investigate the missing posts and a generic spam trap was trapping a few messages, so it wasn't a moderation issue. This spam trap is triggered very rarely and not something getting in the way. I'd encourage posting on both forums and remember more Element14 staff can easily post on their forum, with rich content like videos, etc.

Best regards,

James Harriman
Altium
 
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Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #88 on: January 04, 2018, 07:45:18 pm »
What tips can and "ahhhh.. " moments can you provide to the rest of us ?
I contribute to this forum as much as I can, trying to help with specific issues that folks have when using CS.
I think this is more useful than a list of my hints and tips. Some folks don't even read the CS docs before posting issues, let alone a random list of tips on a forum.


If I had to summarise the top 3 issues, then its summarised in 4 words - Functionality, Usability, Stability and Support.
Ahh, your cheating there, that's four issues! ..and they are too wishy-washy to get a meaningful response from Altium.
Imagine you were talking directly to a programmer what specific three issues/features would you want her/him to work on?
For me it would be:
(1)Autosave (should take 30mins to re-enable add in!)
(2)Layer Sets
(3)OutJobs
Disclaimer: I don't use importers or the vault, so maybe you have pointed out issues which need more urgent work.
 
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Offline e14softwareuk

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #89 on: January 04, 2018, 10:38:05 pm »
Hi Tim

Just to confirm I've received the email you sent. I have investigated and it seems that altiumsupport@farnell.com is currently going into a black hole  :-// so nobody from our support teams would be seeing your request. I've requested for this to be fixed so please don't use this email for now, send any requests to software@element14.com.

In general we (element14 | Farnell | Newark) only monitor and respond to our own forums on a regular basis at element14.com/altium. This is definitely the best place to post if you have specific issues that require an 'official' response. Discussions are also welcome and you should find other CircuitStudio users willing to pitch in with their experience as well.

To help new and seasoned users we will very shortly be launching an official Knowledge Base in conjunction with Altium. This will help overcome having to search through lots of forum posts and provide high quality answers to specific questions as well as best practice articles. Watch this space as they way...

Best regards,
Peter.
 
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Offline ahbushnell

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #90 on: January 05, 2018, 02:48:35 am »

[/quote]
(3)OutJobs

[/quote]
I vote for outjobs
 
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Offline mars01

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #91 on: January 06, 2018, 07:54:53 am »
Another bugs that I just encountered:

- copy/paste is not working very well while trying to copy one symbol from a component to another component in the same SCHLIB file. It seems to be a random bug because sometimes it works but only after a session of furiously clicking on the canvas...

- I can't move the opened tabs position like dragging to the right or to the left of the active tab. If the tab is opened in another window (like on another monitor) I can't drag it back to the main window. It will not dock. Also, if I try to drag a tab into an open space on the main monitor (or on the second monitor) it will not undock and create a new instance of CS. Altium Designer can do that and it seems a really simple thing to not be included with CS. It just annoys. Right click on the tab and click on the "Open in a new window" works but once separated it can't be brought back.

LE: Oops, just tried one more time  to dock a separated tab and this time ... it worked. What the ....
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 07:58:41 am by mars01 »
 
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Offline mars01

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #92 on: January 06, 2018, 10:57:11 am »
Now, isn't it really "fun" when you can't save anymore? Yes, I do save often but then again ...

Code: [Select]
Access violation at address 00B6D0FE in module 'DXP.EXE'. Read of address 00000008 at 00B6D0FE.

Exception Occurred In  SaveObject
 

Offline mars01

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #93 on: January 07, 2018, 01:21:28 am »
In the SCH Inspector the option "Show Comment" visibility tick is missing. Something like the "Show Designator" tick from the attached picture.

Can be useful when using the Value parameter in the Comment and that value is long (like showing different parameters - e.g value/voltage/ESR for a capacitor) and can be in the way while laying the schematic but required when looking on the schematic.

 
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Offline evb149

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #94 on: January 07, 2018, 04:03:14 am »

* It'd be nice to be able to cut/paste/load/save/use spreadsheet cells or something for linear guides / points etc. definition.

* It'd be nice to have some indication as to pad rotation for pads that don't have symmetrical shapes. i.e. if you select a bunch of pads, show which are rotated with common angles or something.

* If you lock pads or parts it'd be nice to have some kind of easy "unlock everything of type X" within the selected region since there is no easy way that I'm aware of to group unlock objects.  Maybe somehow to allow selection or pcb-inspector or pcb-filter to filter on locked objects of type X and then use inspector to unlock etc.

* I do wish scripting and parameter manager / find similar objects etc. were implemented.

 
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Offline mars01

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #95 on: January 08, 2018, 05:58:25 am »
Another issue found.

In pick and place file one can't select the parameters to include. I may need to add a Manufacturer# or a Digikey#, Farnell# but this can't be done due of lack of configuration options.
We are stuck with Designator, Footprint and Comment.

------

Also, once I add a length rule like showed here: https://www.element14.com/community/community/manufacturers/altium/blog/2017/07/27/circuitstudio-routing-with-accordions
then I'm stuck with it, there is no option to delete it.
LE: One of the comments in the cited article mentioned this last issue and the reply was what it was. Maybe it will be fixed.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 06:10:32 am by mars01 »
 
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Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #96 on: January 08, 2018, 06:34:39 am »
I don't think that is an actual 'issue' or bug, just an intended feature to differentiate from AD.
If your assembly contractor is demanding that format then a bit of spreadsheet or python script magic should make it easier for repeat jobs.

Length rule - why do you need to delete it?
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #97 on: January 08, 2018, 07:04:25 am »
I have few biggest gripes:

1. Output JOBS templates doesn't exist. Look at Eagle. They actually did that one very good.
2. Length tuning (meandering, accordion traces in Altium parlance). No support for differential traces, you can create rules, but not delete or edit them, and they are not visible anywhere.. Implement it right or don't implement it at all.. It exist in a marketing sheet, but it is not usable (it is broken and doesn't work).. And throws all kinds of errors that it is missing some parts of code that was torn out hastily...
For example of simple implementation that works look at DIptrace...
3. Eagle NEVER crashed on me..  Like  NEVER..  Also, Diptrace never did either... Circuit Studio is full of bugs and errors... 

Honestly, if Diptrace had Push&Shove routing, it would be better tool in this range... Simpler and faster to learn and use, and more stable...

I really want to like it (and there is many thing that I like). Also Altium people were very helpful when I needed support.. Plus for that... But it is a product that doesn't inspire confidence quality vise (too much crashes and bugs) and is obviously not a rounded, wholesome product, but more of Altium designer crippled by chopping of things with an axe..
And it is based on old 32 bit code, that will be abandoned once Designer fully moves to 64 bit..

My yearly maintenance will be due in February.. If there is no updates that show moving in the right direction, i might look elsewhere...

Regards,

Sinisa
 
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Online 2N3055

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #98 on: January 08, 2018, 07:25:05 am »
Length rule - why do you need to delete it?
Because if you happen to create it you can't get rid of it.... And you can't disable it .....
You cannot set length manually or from net (it doesn't do anything), and if you make rule from net or manual value, it keeps that length as default for all routing from that point on...
All. And you can't disable it, delete it or edit it...

Regards,

Sinisa

EDIT:typos..
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 07:27:43 am by 2N3055 »
 
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Offline mars01

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Re: Circuit Studio Bugs/Issues
« Reply #99 on: January 08, 2018, 07:25:52 am »
I don't think that is an actual 'issue' or bug, just an intended feature to differentiate from AD.
If your assembly contractor is demanding that format then a bit of spreadsheet or python script magic should make it easier for repeat jobs.

Length rule - why do you need to delete it?

You're right of course but on the same line of reasoning we can draw PCB's using Paint wouldn't you say? Of course, I'm just exaggerating it, to make my point.
Regarding length rule not being able to be deleted ... the word "clutter" comes into my mind.

Don't get me wrong, this is not simply pointless criticize or searching for "cracks in the surface", I just list them here once I find them so it's easier for James to "collect". Some of those might not be "essential" but it will certainly make the software "feel" more finite.

-----

Another issue is that even if the check-marks exists in the PCB Inspector, there is no field to actually adjust the Solder mask expansion value and Paste mask expansion value, globally. Though it can be done individually for each pad (in it's Properties).
 
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