Author Topic: Stable Altium Version  (Read 2931 times)

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Offline Cleaver Greene

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Stable Altium Version
« on: January 05, 2022, 03:46:17 pm »
Hi all,
New to the Forum.
I have been using Altium AD17 for some time now. I am always reluctant to jump to the latest version until bugs and other nonsense are sorted out first. Generally I am always one issue behind on all the CAD software I use.
However, with Altium, I was not impressed with AD18 so never moved up a version.
My qustion is, If anyone who is using a later version than me could tell me if all the bugs are ironed out and it is a stable version, waht version would that be please?
Kind regards
Cleaver.
 

Offline djsb

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2022, 04:33:53 pm »
Are you currently on subscription, or do you have a perpetual Licence? If so, maybe read the Altium support forum. I'm subscribed to the email list and I don't think there is a version that is bug free. However, someone did ask the same question as you on 9/5/2019 (a Mr Binedell) and he got several responses to his question.
David
Hertfordshire,UK
 University Electronics Technician, London PIC,CCS C,Arduino,Kicad, Altium Designer,LPKF S103,S62 Operator, Electronics instructor.  http://debuggingrules.com/ Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2022, 06:05:26 pm »
Hard to say really, every version has bugs and often your use case determines if you bump into them or not.
For me v21 is working OK, but TBH I still miss the old user interface of AD15...can't recall what AD17 UI was like.
 

Offline twospoons

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2022, 08:47:48 pm »
I'm using '21 - it still has bugs, from complete crash to hidden file corruption. Not so much that its completely unusable, but backup often.
I don't think I've EVER used a stable, bug-free version of Altium - and I go all the way back to when it was called Protel!

I think the devs spend most of their time reorganising the UI instead of actually fixing issues.
 

Online Bud

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2022, 09:38:52 pm »
No such thing as bug-free Altium, accept this.
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2022, 10:39:22 pm »
Note also that they do relatively little (heh, any?..) compatibility testing; if you don't have a standard (off the shelf) system, or the hardware, expect poor performance, stability, etc.  That's most obvious with graphics card issues, but may apply, in more subtle ways, to other things as well: CPU, memory, HDD, networking (when cloud or net drives are involved), etc.  And maybe even some nonstandard configurations/versions of Windows, who knows.

So, besides using whatever up-to-date version you're using / licensed for; general usage, you know, save often, enable autosaves if you haven't, close and re-open every so often (daily or so is alright, may need sooner if you're pushing around a LOT of traces?), etc. Stuff like that.

Tim
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Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline Cleaver Greene

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2022, 11:21:10 am »
Hi Guys,
Thanks for the replies.
I am on subscription (who isnt?).
I must admit to feel a little bit conned. I know all Software sales will highlight how great the software is, I know - I sold CAD software for a few years. I constantly got told off by my boss for being honest about stuff it didnt do rather that yell about the stuff it could do.
However, I was shown Draftsman, me and my director thought that this was a deal breaker over Mentor Pads. Mentor were great in the pre sales, and were very helpful. I could not get anyone from Altium Sales to come to our office. I should have taken that as the big warning. Buy it or dont buy it was Altiums bottom line.
In the end we went with Altium, Draftsman does not work properly (AD17) and we now dont use it.
AD 17 does crash and do some weird stuff, but it is relatively stable and usable. I am concerned that the level of support, (such as it is) will disapear the longer we leave it.
Regards
Cleaver.
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2022, 11:30:06 am »
I am on subscription (who isnt?).

The people who are smarter than us ::)
 

Offline E-Design

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2022, 12:04:27 pm »
My strategy is to always use 1 major version back and use the last release of that version. I cant say I end up bug-free, but its been quite tolerable over the years.
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge.
 
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Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2022, 12:45:27 pm »
Oh yeah, isn't Altium's UK support notoriously atrocious or something?  I recall hearing others complain about it... Well, I guess you wish you'd heard about that sooner, alas... :(

But yeah, also if you're on a current subscription then what are you doing with 17?  21 is current and 22 is on the way.

I forget if 18 or 19 was supposed to be better; I haven't used them very much.  18 I think tends to be dodgy as it was their first build overhauling a bunch of back end stuff (porting programming language over)?  But that's stabilized since then, and they're back on newer things (SPICE simulation is supposed to be New and Improved in 21/22?).

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline Cleaver Greene

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2022, 03:15:56 pm »
I did say to my boss at the time that I would have thought Altium Sales would have been all over us like a rash.
They actually refused to come and see us at our site. They said if you want to see a demo, you come up and see us.
As for support since it has been poor.
I suppose I could look to install 21, but from what I have seen of AD21, its ridiculously different in look and feel to AD17.

Cleaver.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2022, 07:10:49 pm by Cleaver Greene »
 

Online ajb

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2022, 04:19:26 pm »
Draftsman is still a half-baked turd in AD21, so there's that for you to consider.  They fixed a couple of things like the idiotic grid offset thing, I think, but it's still painful to use because so many of the tools are broken, and the UI isn't consistent with other parts of the application. 

Altium's real issues run very, very deep, so the overall change in usability and productivity between major versions isn't huge IME, especially since they've been working on cloud shit instead of the core application.  Some things get better, some things get worse.  The major UI change (IIRC that was AD18, but really sucked until AD19?) I think was good, but it's largely a nice veneer on the same old problems.

I am on subscription (who isnt?).

The people who are smarter than us ::)
heh, we just turned down a 'generous' 30% discount on renewal.  After paying for a number of years of subscription without seeing any meaningful improvement in the parts of the application we care about I don't see the point.  The only argument the rep had was that if we renew now we won't have to pay the $4k subscription lapse penalty if we resub later on, which.....if the subscription were worth the money in the first place you wouldn't need the penalty, would you?  You could charge for the lapsed period like Solidworks does, that'd be arguably reasonable, but a flat 2yr penalty is insulting.  I'll take a look at AD23 when it comes out and if it's worth the money then we'll resub, but if it's gonna cost me an extra $4k then it'll have to be that much better!
 

Offline andyturk

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2022, 08:38:32 pm »
I got a perpetual license last year for less than half of their asking price. It came up for renewal last month and I said, "No." Before that, I used a client's AD17 and it was buggy on occasion, but usable. To me, AD21 seems more stable than AD17, but my usage isn't that heavy.
 

Offline ajawamnet

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2022, 07:22:41 pm »
I've been using 22.0.2 and it's not bad.  21.8.1 was OK; 21.9 was screwed.

Offline ajawamnet

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2022, 07:34:35 pm »
A perpetual license that comes with a standalone ALF file is the best, then download the full offline installer (2.5GBytes) that way you can install it without ever having to connect or deal with them again. 

The ALF file will be limited to the expiration date; in other words, you will only be able to upgrade (either online or via newer offline installer) to whatever version up to that date.  If an newer version comes along after the date of your ALF file expiring - even just a point release - you won't be able to run it.   Been doing this for years;  been a Protel Altium user since the 1990's.   

This is one of the good things about Altium - it's a real perp license with no bullshit.   

Another good thing is that you can install parallel installs and test newer versions without hosing your working one. 

 I too had stuck with 17.2 through the whole AD18/19 crap... I then got a call from some VP (I'd dealt with him before back in the 1990's) and got on a conf call/Go To Meeting thing back before they released 20.  They had brought back some features, tho AD20 was buggy as shit.  I then started using it in a production environment and it was OK. 

Like I mentioned above, I'v been using AD22 for a while now. But it still lacks some features that had been in AD since DXP/AD6.x.  One is the ability to dissolve mechanical layer pairs and maintain the primitives.  Finally, a user named Brett on the official forum released a script that you can just make a toolbar item that does it:

Create copy button set Process  :ScriptingSystem:RunScriptText
paste the below text into Paramters:
Text=Var B;C;I;P;M; begin B:=PCBServer.GetCurrentPCBBoard;P:=B.MechanicalPairs;C:=B.CurrentLayer;for I:=1 To 1024 do begin M:=LayerUtils.MechanicalLayer(I);if P.PairDefined(C, M) then begin P.RemovePair(C, M);ShowInfo('UnPaired Mech Layers :' + Layer2String(C) + ' & ' + Layer2String(M));break;end; end;B.ViewManager_UpdateLayerTabs;end;

This will unpair any selected mechanical layer with NO loss of primitives.
Last edit: Brett

Kicks ass.  You just gotta make sure that you one of the two layers when you run it.   

Some great guys on that forum. Best reason to pay for maintenance.  And I don't think you even need to maintain maintenance to be on the forum. Just when you sign up.

dunno...
« Last Edit: January 14, 2022, 07:37:21 pm by ajawamnet »
 

Offline ajawamnet

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Re: Stable Altium Version
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2022, 07:50:06 pm »
BTW - some of the things in AD21/22 are great, the selection filters and the snap settings are  one.   The Simbeor layer stack thing is kinda OK - I does work, but it got silly crap like not updating impedance driven rules if you mod the layer stack.  Just throws errors. 

Another thing is that it really does seem to open schematic pages fast, but make sure that the Properties Panel is NOT showing when open all the sheets.   

I guess Draftsman's OK, dunno; I tried it and it was a turd to me anyway.

The flex thing in the new Layer Stack is kinda cool. The way you generate subsequent layers by dragging previous layers is neat. 

I don't use any of the DBlibs shit (tried that back in Protel 98 - sucked then too) nor any of the on-line clown crap (we ain't allowed) so I have no idea about that 'cept what I read from other users.  Simple file-based libs for us.

And ahh, the Properties Panel.   It's like the old Inspector but with funky eyeballs and shit that take up much more room but look "man bun java jockey, pitiful Python-pirate" cool.  Not for me.

It does have some advantages


In the PCB the ability to edit tuning is nice.  And it now does trombones and sawtooth.    I typically use Specctra  and now I do some in Konekt Electra for autorouting (it does great with hi speed shit like that), but some of the manual tuning I have to do is a bit nicer.

BTW - the Konekt dev is just badass.  You send him some funky board that won't rout and he fixes it then and there.  Just a great guy.  Worth every penny of it (tho I don't dig the server license thing).

I don't dig the fact that you when you go to a routing layer you can still see the plane reliefs/knockouts.  In AD17 if you set it to do planes as outlines, when you went back to a routing layer from working on a plane, all the funky relief crosses went away, allowing for a less cluttered look.


And ahh, the Properties Panel.   It's like the old Inspector but with funky eyeballs and shit that take up much more room but look "man bun java jockey, pitiful Python-pirate" cool.  Not for me.

It does have some advantages


In the PCB the ability to edit tuning is nice.  And it now does trombones and sawtooth.    I typically use Specctra  and now I do some in Konekt Electra for autorouting (it does great with hi speed shit like that), but some of the manual tuning I have to do is a bit nicer.

BTW - the Konekt dev is just badass.  You send him some funky board that won't rout and he fixes it then and there.  Just a great guy.  Worth every penny of it (tho I don't dig the server license thing).

I don't dig the fact that you when you go to a routing layer you can still see the plane reliefs/knockouts.  In AD17 if you set it to do planes as outlines, when you went back to a routing layer from working on a plane, all the funky relief cross

And oh... the totally F'd layer drawing order with respect to mechanical layers - the holes always are on top regardless of layer stack order (with mech layers on top).  This sucks since for decades we've used 2D geometry from things like acad to line up thru hole components.

I've been talking with one of ther FAE's about it - I hope they restore that soon. You can kinda get around it by setting the Pads to 50% transparency, but when you are moving a part/thruhole pad, it goes opaque.  Totally useless.  The only work around is to use Draft pads (then it looks like Allegro or something)

I'm sure there's stuff I'm forgetting.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2022, 10:31:51 pm by ajawamnet »
 
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