Author Topic: Altium Just Lost a Sale  (Read 6187 times)

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Offline Spark-Doctor

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Altium Just Lost a Sale
« on: July 16, 2018, 03:37:02 pm »
So i downloaded Circuit Studio. I had some issues at the start and after several emails to Altium directly, nothing, no replies, even after being contacted by their own tech team.  :-//

Contacted Elerment 14. Got to speak to a bloke there but he was unable to solve the problem after being on the phone for 20 minutes and he told me he would raise an E ticket. He copied me in on the emails and it clearly explained the problem.  :-+

Did i get contacted by Altium, did i hell as like  :-- it was a member here that solved the problem in a couple of easy steps. By this time, i only had a couple of weeks to run on my trial and because of work and international travel, it was hard for me to properly get a hang of things. My trial duly ended and the software was shut down. I emailed Altium and asked for an extension of the trial explaining the initial problems and again, nothing, not a bloody thing. :--

I know a couple of Altium people look at these threads so i am going to give you some advise ;


    1) If you send out an email directly after a customer had downloaded one of your products, ensure that the person can at least help if the
        customer has a problem as the footer on the email is telling me that the person whom sent the email is from Tech Support and then
        emails me back saying "i cant help you, i will get Tech Support to contact you"  |O
    2) Reply to emails. Nobody and i mean NOBODY likes to be ignored
    3) Support your product. Even though i love this site, i should not have to come here to sort problems out.
    4) Your help guides and training material is woefully lacking. Do you run training courses? I don't know because i cant find any information,
        again, support your product or if the information is out there, make it easy to find. The publications that i read all have adverts from
        Altium but few mention Circuit Studio. If you want customers to upgrade to Altium Designer as i am sure that CS was introduced as a
        teaser for this very reason, promote it.

With a very small amount of costs and effort, you are in a position where you could capture a much bigger portion of the market but it is instances like this that are loosing you sales and thus customers are not upgrading to your top tier product. When you look into much greater depth of situations like this, you find that most of the time this is not a isolated instance and the culture has become endemic within your organisation.

I have never been a person who would dismiss a product on reviews alone especially if those reviews came from the internet but in this instance, the negativity that i encountered about CS seems to be well founded.

I would really like someone from Altium to reply to this and have a open and constructive discussion about these issues.

Ian
 

Offline kaz911

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 09:06:12 pm »
to be honest - I do not think they care if they loose a sale or 500. If they did they would not have Farnell/Element14 be the banner keepers of CS. Not a single order regarding CS through Farnell has gone smooth and without me wasting a lot of time.

As is - they should just make it free. Yes it is a good tool when it works. But still many features are just "crippled" features from Altium Designer - quite often crippled without "thought" - so after effects are bad or annoying

 

Offline Simon

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2018, 07:13:57 am »
Altium do not give a shit about CS, that is why Farnell are mishandling it. Altium constantly lie to customers and so do Farnell. I have still not asked my employer to buy a licence and am using mine at work because I am scared that Altium will make a fool of me.

There is a reason CS is kept completely separate from AD......
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Online blueskull

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2018, 07:26:01 am »
Altium do not give a shit about CS, that is why Farnell are mishandling it. Altium constantly lie to customers and so do Farnell. I have still not asked my employer to buy a licence and am using mine at work because I am scared that Altium will make a fool of me.

There is a reason CS is kept completely separate from AD......

A lot of people (including me) only use AD because it's easy to use and it doesn't have the *nix style crap seen on some other CAD tools that were ported to Windows from *nix.

As a stripped down version of AD, if CS gets good support, then the above mentioned customer base will all move to CS.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2018, 11:27:13 am »

As a stripped down version of AD, if CS gets good support, then the above mentioned customer base will all move to CS.

This not about the support, different levels of functionality is common in software, Altium have instead decided to defy logic and create a separate product that they refuse to produce to an acceptable standard. It's a bit hard getting a grey bearded old judge to understand the point so this thing of companies misselling software and defrauding their customers will not end any time soon.

I don't want "support" as in being able them ring up any time, I want the program they pretended to sell me.
https://www.simonselectronics.co.uk/shop
Varied stock of test instruments and components including EEVblog gear and Wurth Elektronik Books.
Also, if you want to get ripped off: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/simons_electronics?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2018, 12:29:40 pm »

As a stripped down version of AD, if CS gets good support, then the above mentioned customer base will all move to CS.

This not about the support, different levels of functionality is common in software, Altium have instead decided to defy logic and create a separate product that they refuse to produce to an acceptable standard. It's a bit hard getting a grey bearded old judge to understand the point so this thing of companies misselling software and defrauding their customers will not end any time soon.

I don't want "support" as in being able them ring up any time, I want the program they pretended to sell me.

I just downloaded a trial copy of CS1.5, I wanted to see what's inside.
I installed the program, applied for a trial key, and created a new schematic.
PP doesn't work, and PC does bring the familiar dialog up, but when I pick a part, the part symbol doesn't show alongside my mouse pointer, I had to place parts "blind". It feels super weird as a 1.5 decade Protel/AD user.
The next thing I did was win+r, appwiz.cpl, and you know what happened then.
 

Offline mars01

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2018, 05:52:22 pm »
I just downloaded a trial copy of CS1.5, I wanted to see what's inside.
I installed the program, applied for a trial key, and created a new schematic.
PP doesn't work, and PC does bring the familiar dialog up, but when I pick a part, the part symbol doesn't show alongside my mouse pointer, I had to place parts "blind". It feels super weird as a 1.5 decade Protel/AD user.
The next thing I did was win+r, appwiz.cpl, and you know what happened then.

The shortcuts engine was something that got redesigned in CS. What you were looking for was C. Which works as PP. PC I don't think was supposed to work (P is for placing port, C is for placing component) as you tried to. In CS commands are added into a list so doing PC you added to the list, first P='place port' then C='place components'.
What you found is a bug.
 

Offline Wilksey

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2018, 07:30:34 pm »
Yeah, Altium don't give two shits about the small fry when they have people like my employer who they can rip off...

Having said that, we have an annual subscription and support package with Altium and when raising tickets within Altium Portal they do answer usually within 24 hours.

I downloaded a trial of CS, I think it was 1.3, a while ago, if you treated it as a standalone product it is missing some stuff, but mostly gets the job done, didn't need help with it so I can't comment on that part, if you are trying it to an alternative to AD then forget it, maybe Altium did it on purpose so you would go from CS to AD, not AD to CS, going from AD to CS well, i'd rather switch to another package than do that.
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2018, 07:52:07 pm »
I switched from AD to CS.

I had a much easier time than new Altium users starting with CS. There are some gaps in the documentation. Watching all the Altium YouTube videos is probably the best place to start.

Do I miss AD?
Yes. Of course, it is better, but for the compexity of 4 layer boards I do CS is perfectly adequate, it gets the job done..with some niggles along the way.
And I actually like the ribbon menu now  ::)
 

Offline Dubbie

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2018, 07:57:36 pm »
Does anyone else use PCB Expert for making footprints? I like it and import the footprints I’ve made into CS. Problem is, the first footprint I import always works fine. If I import a second one, CS crashes. Every time. Anyone else? Now I have gotten into the habit of restarting the software every time I am about to import a footprint.
 

Offline Wilksey

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2018, 10:04:36 pm »
I guess it works for some folks and just not others.

I tried a few PCB Library tools, but to be honest, I rarely switch packages, and if I do, it's something i've drawn up in AD and wanted for my own use in KiCAD, with 3D models and simple drawing tools in both I can knock up a footprint in a few moments, it's not a frequent thing to me, if it were then perhaps i'd look at investing in a library type tool.

How many EDA packages are you wanting to use the same device / footprint on?
 

Offline Dubbie

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2018, 10:36:14 pm »
The reason I use it is because I can make a footprint in about 2 mins start to finish including a nice accurate 3D model.

It takes a LOT longer to do it in CS.
 

Offline Wilksey

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2018, 10:58:16 pm »
Fair enough if it works for you then that's great, given the time to restart the application and do the import, I always found fields etc that were missing, it'd take me longer to get the "perfect" imported footprint.

Can you import into CS a batch of footprints? I suspect that CS is buggy or the exported file messed up the importer by having something in there that it doesn't like.  Do you have other footprints you could download and try to import that was done by a different program?
 

Offline JamesH-AltiumOfficial

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2018, 12:40:13 pm »
Hi all,

@Spark-Doctor sorry to hear about your experience and thank you for the feedback and advice.
CircuitStudio support is via Element14, however *some* licensing issues or issues with Vault sign in may require them to involve Altium to solve, but normally this would be via Element14 rather than Altium directly, to avoid these sorts of communication problems.

Altium Support wouldn't normally have the facility to extend your trial for CircuitStudio, however Element14 can arrange this so it's best to request directly via Element14. I couldn't locate you in our system so please let me know via PM if you'd like me to investigate further.

@blueskull CircuitStudio and Altium Designer allow multiple commands, so that another command can be done without having to quit the first. So if you accidentally used PP in CircuitStudio schematic, it will place a port twice, and you'd need to hit Esc (or right click the mouse) to exit the second P command, before returning to the first P command to place the port. So if you do this by accident, press Esc twice or more to get out of the commands and then press C to place the part on your schematic.

In CircuitStudio PCB, if you accidentally used PC instead of C to place a component, the component will be placed, then the dialog would popup again, so after you've closed that, a Pad will be on the cursor to place the pad.

@Dubbie This sounds like a bug, thank you for reporting it. If I can reproduce it I'll log it.

Best regards,

James Harriman
Altium
 

Offline mars01

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2018, 01:29:34 pm »
James don't forget to report the bug found by @blueskull that I also reproduced:

- in the schematic, if "place component (C)" is the second command in a list then there is no component shape attached to the cursor for the component to be placed and you have to place it blindly, based on the mouse cursor only.

You can reproduce the bug by pressing P key and then C key, choose a component to be placed and try to place it.

Compare it with how it works (correctly) if you first press C (place component) and then choose the component to be placed and place it.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2018, 01:33:42 pm »
If you want customers to upgrade to Altium Designer as i am sure that CS was introduced as a
        teaser for this very reason, promote it.

Actually, Circuit Studio was only introduced because E14 asked for it, as they were after a mid range package to sell. Hence why it was sold and supported only by E14. When E14 got acquired they basically didn't care any more and I guess Altium were left holding the bag of this product they created for them.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 01:35:25 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline bugrobotics

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2018, 12:53:50 am »
Very interesting Dave.  Explains quite a lot.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2018, 01:20:39 am »
@blueskull CircuitStudio and Altium Designer allow multiple commands, so that another command can be done without having to quit the first. So if you accidentally used PP in CircuitStudio schematic, it will place a port twice, and you'd need to hit Esc (or right click the mouse) to exit the second P command, before returning to the first P command to place the port. So if you do this by accident, press Esc twice or more to get out of the commands and then press C to place the part on your schematic.

Thank you for the clarification.
Frankly, I just installed CS for curiosity. I have a full commercial AD license on active sub, so personally I have no reason for downgrading to CS.
I was more or less exploring the possibility to standardize my lab to use CS, instead of a mix of student version AD, cracked AD, old university AD6 license (one seat fought for by the entire ECE dept), Eagle, KiCAD, whatever.
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2018, 07:17:39 am »
So you prefer to keep using cracked Altium rather than CS because you installed CS (for about 5 mins) and got annoyed that CS shortcuts were different to what you expected. Thanks for your very professional in-depth review. I wish your lab the very best of luck.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2018, 07:36:31 am »
So you prefer to keep using cracked Altium rather than CS because you installed CS (for about 5 mins) and got annoyed that CS shortcuts were different to what you expected. Thanks for your very professional in-depth review. I wish your lab the very best of luck.

I have a commercial copy under my name with active sub, but some of my coworkers use cracked copy.
The university only offers one legit seat of AD, and it is AD6 back to stone age, and we have somewhere 500 students in the dept. of ECE.
Some research groups or students may shell out some money for a student license, but some others will only buy software if the funding source pays for that.
Unfortunately, our department doesn't allow general purchasing orders to contain software orders, and all software orders must go through ECE IT department, which means piles of paperwork.

So at the end of the day, many students just use cracked AD in the lab. Professors don't care, since they don't do CAD works at all. They only care the boards delivered on time, they won't be bothered with Gerber and PCBDOC.
Please keep in mind that even a student license is purchased, it's still technically piracy, because student license doesn't allow you to do paid jobs, including grant money in university.
PhD students here are paid $2000 per month, and $1700 after tax, from which $1000 is the bare minimum to survive. We can't possibly afford a $10k software.
We do have unlimited Allegro license, but nobody likes to remote login to a Linux server to use a software that looks very Unix-y form the 90s.

The only reason I was able to afford a commercial copy of AD is because I like this thing too much (being a pirate user for years since Protel age), that I used my car fund to buy AD, and I spent the rest on a 20 year old Accord.
Unfortunately, I'm the only person I know in real life that uses a genuine copy of AD, despite more than half of the boards from our dept. are laid out using AD.
Like it or not, this is university.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2018, 08:09:40 am »
If you want customers to upgrade to Altium Designer as i am sure that CS was introduced as a
        teaser for this very reason, promote it.

Actually, Circuit Studio was only introduced because E14 asked for it, as they were after a mid range package to sell. Hence why it was sold and supported only by E14. When E14 got acquired they basically didn't care any more and I guess Altium were left holding the bag of this product they created for them.


But if the price can drop from over £2000 to £800 or £450 on a good day how much are Altium making. I really don't care what the problems between the two companies are, that is down to how well they wrote their contracts. It seems as usual that the customer is suffering.

Altium should have always realised that there was a market for a sub £1000 product, there are plenty out there but they are thick and it took a dodgy deal with element14/Farnell to bring that product to market. It has plenty of potential and could be a good advert for AD but really I'm almost sorry i bought into it but I can't keep changing, it takes time to learn the new package and even more time setting up libraries. As a program that works properly it would be perfect but it is full of bugs and no one seems to care to the point we are lied to. We get updates that were not really updates. Altium obviously would rather not sell CS as they seem to email every CS customer with an offer for AD which says a lot about how seriously they take CS, and I am supposed to sleep easy safe in the knowledge that CS will be bug free one day and properly supported and even exist for as long as there is a market for it? I think not.

One advantage to CS is that with it's similarities to AD the hobbyist or small self employed professional can learn the working of AD without buying it and that is nice to have on ones CV for moving into a more professional company.



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Also, if you want to get ripped off: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/simons_electronics?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2018, 08:42:53 am »
The only reason I was able to afford a commercial copy of AD is because I like this thing too much (being a pirate user for years since Protel age), that I used my car fund to buy AD, and I spent the rest on a 20 year old Accord.
Unfortunately, I'm the only person I know in real life that uses a genuine copy of AD, despite more than half of the boards from our dept. are laid out using AD.
Like it or not, this is university.

Altium almost resigned themselves to the fact that Altium Designer is the defacto standard PCB tool in China, but hardly anyone buys it. It's a China thing.
At one point Altium joined some new Chinese government initiate to promote legitimate software use, and sales in China did rise a bit, it's still almost all pirated, but sales are growing:
From the latest report:


 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2018, 08:48:08 am »
One advantage to CS is that with it's similarities to AD the hobbyist or small self employed professional can learn the working of AD without buying it and that is nice to have on ones CV for moving into a more professional company.

Yes, having Altium Circuit Studio on the resume is almost as good as Altium Designed. HR won't know the difference.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2018, 08:58:52 am »
Well CS does not even need cracking. You just export your license to a file and put it on as many machines as you like, I mean it's just crazy. China is china, no one in china cares about anyone or anything so long as they can make a buck. To be honest if CS carries on the way it is I would seriously consider a cracked AD, I paid my money....... I mean if the chinese can do it why shouldn't I ? I thought with the internet stopping piracy was easy and you can't design anything without an internet connection and if you spend £7500 on AD you bet you have an internet connection, no phoning home every 60s to validate your the only machine on this licence and it shuts down, simple as.
https://www.simonselectronics.co.uk/shop
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Also, if you want to get ripped off: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/simons_electronics?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Altium Just Lost a Sale
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2018, 09:00:35 am »
Altium almost resigned themselves to the fact that Altium Designer is the defacto standard PCB tool in China, but hardly anyone buys it. It's a China thing.
At one point Altium joined some new Chinese government initiate to promote legitimate software use, and sales in China did rise a bit, it's still almost all pirated, but sales are growing.

I work at North Carolina State University.
 


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