Author Topic: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB  (Read 13202 times)

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Offline IanJ

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Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« on: July 19, 2016, 09:10:16 pm »
Hi all,

Carl at Farnell said to me on the phone.........you'll get into situations where you can't find stuff, or don't know how to do this or that.....but keep looking it's there, and can be done.

With that I installed CS and as a complete an utter Altium newbie I started playing, but on my i5 laptop, not my Dev PC (which I'm rebuilding) so screen res is hindered to 1366*768, and just one monitor.................ach I thought I'd give it a go!
The target - to convert one of my existing Eagle PCB designs to CS.......same schematic layout, same designators, same exact PCB layout and hopefully track layout.

Some components from the vault, some from the built in library, and one or two from VinceH's (kindly publsihed online). There's also about 6 components I've had to design from scratch myself.

You know, moving from EaglePCB it's not that bad.......once you get your head around how the schematic and footprint parts of the libraries work in comparison to Eagle.

There's a few bugs, issues, crashes, memory leaks, and missing functionality in CS, mostly to do with the vault/libraries......but I'll detail those later. I'm making notes along the way. And, just like any other design there's moments where you have to walk away and come back.

I'm about 3 days in........and the following screenshots I think show I am making progress......and as you'll see I haven't started routing yet so I don't know whats in store!

PS. No cheating, the Eagle import function is NOT being used.......:-)

Ian.




« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 09:41:54 pm by IanJ »
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2016, 09:22:48 pm »
As an Eagle user - this is exciting to watch. My biggest concern moving to Altium would be the challenge of the learning curve.

Look forward to seeing this play out.
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Offline LabSpokane

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2016, 12:53:50 am »
How are your user-created components doing?  I can't get any of mine to be placed properly on the PCB. 
 

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2016, 03:38:33 am »
Does it support shotcuts? Such as PL for placing wire, PT for placing track (wire with net), PV for placing via, etc.?
 

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 03:40:17 am »
With that I installed CS and as a complete an utter Altium newbie I started playing, but on my i5 laptop, not my Dev PC (which I'm rebuilding) so screen res is hindered to 1366*768, and just one monitor.................ach I thought I'd give it a go!

Yep, Altium (Designer or CS, same thing) is painful on a single screen, let alone 1366x768
IIRC there are even some dialog boxes at that screen res that are not usable.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 03:41:59 am by EEVblog »
 

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2016, 03:41:47 am »
As an Eagle user - this is exciting to watch. My biggest concern moving to Altium would be the challenge of the learning curve.
Look forward to seeing this play out.

Me too.
It will be interesting to see how hard it is for Eagle users to switch.
 

Offline IanJ

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2016, 04:24:02 am »
How are your user-created components doing?  I can't get any of mine to be placed properly on the PCB.

I had same problem.......compiled ok, updated PCB and all components went across EXCEPT my user created ones. Not sure exactly what I did but I jumped around checking everything from the adding of the footprint to the schematic, to compiling everything and saving, and restarting the app.......then when I updated the PCB again my new part was suddenly there.
Whether I did something wrong or there's a bug I don't know.
I have some other components still to sort out so will try and see exactly where it or I is falling over.......but I've a feeling the restart did it.

Ian.
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Offline IanJ

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2016, 04:26:55 am »
With that I installed CS and as a complete an utter Altium newbie I started playing, but on my i5 laptop, not my Dev PC (which I'm rebuilding) so screen res is hindered to 1366*768, and just one monitor.................ach I thought I'd give it a go!

Yep, Altium (Designer or CS, same thing) is painful on a single screen, let alone 1366x768
IIRC there are even some dialog boxes at that screen res that are not usable.

So far there's only one dialog box I came across where the OK & CANCEL button are inaccessible right smack under the task bar.........had to use TAB to reach 'OK'.

Ian.
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Offline IanJ

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2016, 04:31:31 am »
Does it support shotcuts? Such as PL for placing wire, PT for placing track (wire with net), PV for placing via, etc.?

List:
http://documentation.circuitstudio.com/display/CSTU/HelpAdvisor_Pnl-Shortcuts((Shortcuts))_CS

Ian.
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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2016, 04:54:40 am »
Nice going Ian, have you figured out all the hidden pop outs on the side bar, I see you have the file structure one out all the time.  :-//
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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2016, 05:03:19 am »
How are your user-created components doing?  I can't get any of mine to be placed properly on the PCB.

I had same problem.......compiled ok, updated PCB and all components went across EXCEPT my user created ones. Not sure exactly what I did but I jumped around checking everything from the adding of the footprint to the schematic, to compiling everything and saving, and restarting the app.......then when I updated the PCB again my new part was suddenly there.
Whether I did something wrong or there's a bug I don't know.
I have some other components still to sort out so will try and see exactly where it or I is falling over.......but I've a feeling the restart did it.

Ian.

It's finally working for me.  Albeit, on a different computer that has never had CircuitMaker installed.

My new problem is that I keep getting "pin not found" errors when validating and executing a part addition to load new parts onto the PCB.  Many times, I'll get errors, but if I execute, the part ends up on the PCB with the correct air wires.  There's a few windows that have the text clipped.  The pin editor suffers from this. 
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2016, 05:16:16 am »
As an Eagle user - this is exciting to watch. My biggest concern moving to Altium would be the challenge of the learning curve.
Look forward to seeing this play out.

Me too.
It will be interesting to see how hard it is for Eagle users to switch.

There is a very low learning curve switching from Eagle. Almost all of the issues that I am experiencing are related to the Vault accessibility and user component generation.  If Altium would actually respond to my inquiries and find a workaround/fix or give me the secret knock, it would be a no-brainer purchase. 

I just got an email from E14/Altium today with links to several tutorial videos - one of which was on part creation.  I thought I was saved.  I would discover the errors in my ways.  Sadly, it turns our that Altium's video doesn't show the user the correct /complete way to create a part.  They left out the key step of how to link the schematic to the footprint.   :palm:
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2016, 05:25:46 am »
There is a very low learning curve switching from Eagle. Almost all of the issues that I am experiencing are related to the Vault accessibility and user component generation.  If Altium would actually respond to my inquiries and find a workaround/fix or give me the secret knock, it would be a no-brainer purchase. 

Overall, that sounds encouraging. I suspect the user components challenge is primarily an education/documentation issue? Even if you know every trick in the book - creating parts in Eagle is about as fun as lemon juice in your eyes.
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Offline LabSpokane

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2016, 05:46:46 am »
There is a very low learning curve switching from Eagle. Almost all of the issues that I am experiencing are related to the Vault accessibility and user component generation.  If Altium would actually respond to my inquiries and find a workaround/fix or give me the secret knock, it would be a no-brainer purchase. 

Overall, that sounds encouraging. I suspect the user components challenge is primarily an education/documentation issue? Even if you know every trick in the book - creating parts in Eagle is about as fun as lemon juice in your eyes.

Which brings us to CS documentation: there is very little available, and nothing covers the nuances that would resolve my problems. Today is day six of waiting for a response from Altium on a laundry list of issues. I'd nearly settle for a RTFM manual response because then, at least there would be a FM.

I'm not giving up quite yet because this really is the Promised Land of powerful tools for the prole. But, I'm starting to get a taste of Altium's notorious dysfunctionality. 

This weekend I'm going to install a trial of Designer. It will be a good test. If the problems follow, it's user error. If they go away its software error.

I'm really hoping its me because that means I can learn the trick and be off and running.
 

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2016, 10:08:20 am »

It's finally working for me.  Albeit, on a different computer that has never had CircuitMaker installed.

My new problem is that I keep getting "pin not found" errors when validating and executing a part addition to load new parts onto the PCB.  Many times, I'll get errors, but if I execute, the part ends up on the PCB with the correct air wires.  There's a few windows that have the text clipped.  The pin editor suffers from this.

Well, for the life of me I couldn't get a 2nd custom part onto my PCB. After Execute the ECO reports unknown pins.........but everything is in place!

So then I deleted the footprint reference (Model) under EDIT in the Schematic library.......and re-attached it, but specifically I added it again by selecting LIBRARY PATH and navigating manually to the lib it's in. At that point the bottom window will say can't find.......but then type in the NAME of the component under NAME at the top, your footprint image should appear in the box.
Update schematic, compile etc then when I then updated the PCB......BINGO!

So what I believe is that there's only a specific way you can attach your footprint that works, even though either of the ways to reference the library it's in appears to work.

It's either that or it was another fluke!

I have more to add to the pcb........so I hope it's repeatable.

Ian.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 12:26:31 pm by IanJ »
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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2016, 10:20:30 am »

It's finally working for me.  Albeit, on a different computer that has never had CircuitMaker installed.

My new problem is that I keep getting "pin not found" errors when validating and executing a part addition to load new parts onto the PCB.  Many times, I'll get errors, but if I execute, the part ends up on the PCB with the correct air wires.  There's a few windows that have the text clipped.  The pin editor suffers from this.

Well, for the life of me I couldn't get a 2nd custom part onto my PCB. After Execute the ECO reports unknown pins.........but everything is in place!

So then I deleted the footprint reference (Model) under EDIT in the Schematic library.......and re-attached it, but specifically I added it again by selecting LIBRARY PATH and navigating manually to the lib it's in. At that point the bottom window will say can't find.......but then type in the name of the component under NAME at the top.
When I then updated the PCB......BINGO!

So what I believe is that there's only a specific way you can attach your footprint that works, even though either of the ways to reference the library it's in appears to work.

It's either that ot it was another fluke!

I have more to add to the pcb........so I hope it's repeatable.

Ian.


That's the exact error I'm getting. Will try your trick. Thanks for sharing!
 

Offline IanJ

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2016, 10:40:38 am »
That's the exact error I'm getting. Will try your trick. Thanks for sharing!

Just tried again and appeared to work first time for me.

PS. Have edited my post a couple back just to make it clearer.

Ian.

UPDATE:
Yes, very repeatable, just added 4 more custom components first time.
There is an issue with using a custom schematic component and a library footprint, dialogue says footprint not found (but it is ok), and when updating the PCB a pop-up complains about possible NET issues, but all goes through ok.

The biggest positive with all this, and CS in general is that you can change between schem editing, footprint editing, the main schematic/pcb etc etc etc without leaving any of the processes, they are just tabs on the robbon.............a HUGE positive over EAGLE PCB.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 01:18:17 pm by IanJ »
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Offline IanJ

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2016, 01:32:18 pm »
Nice going Ian, have you figured out all the hidden pop outs on the side bar, I see you have the file structure one out all the time.  :-//

Just that one and the PCB/SCH LIBRARY editing ones.

Ian.
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Offline IanJ

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2016, 01:39:36 pm »
Wow......this makes a change from Eagle!

Ian.

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2016, 02:52:18 pm »
The solid model is pure gold. 

I haven't gone much farther than the errors that I've been flagged with, but I may see if I can drive a test design all the way through OSHPARK and see what happens.
 

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2016, 03:27:54 pm »
The biggest positive with all this, and CS in general is that you can change between schem editing, footprint editing, the main schematic/pcb etc etc etc without leaving any of the processes, they are just tabs on the robbon.............a HUGE positive over EAGLE PCB.

Part creation workflow and management in CS is a massive improvement. Once we have the little bugs worked around, there will be no comparison.

=======

Ian,

Have you tried attaching STEP files to parts yet? 
 

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2016, 04:11:41 pm »
Part creation workflow and management in CS is a massive improvement. Once we have the little bugs worked around, there will be no comparison.

Fantastic news! Thanks for the play-by-play.

I found myself avoiding improvements in my designs because it is such a penalty to add new parts. If creating new parts is reasonably easy and quick - I am now paying much closer attention to this option. Much closer.

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Offline IanJ

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2016, 04:41:48 pm »
Hi all,

Am I having a senior moment!............is it not possible to copy symbols or footprints from the vault or any of the built in libraries? I simply want to duplicate and then edit a 3.2mmx1.6mm tant cap footprint to make a slightly bigger one.........rather than draw from complete scratch?

Related......I came across a new issue today, I used the schematic symbol from one lib and a footprint for from another and got the unrouted pin error when dropping it onto the PCB............just had to edit the pins as they didn't match. Job done, but I'd also like to be able to save my fixed component to my own wee library.......but how?

#####

LabSpokane,
No haven't look at the step files at all yet.........won't be looking at that till I get this pcb fully routed and optimized.

Ian.

UPDATE:
The new component wizard goes some way to helping.......at least there isn't the need to manually create pads etc when creating a new footprint. Still, the ability to copy and paste symbols etc from the library has to be included.
Also, if a package is locked (i.e. an Altium library/vault component) then the ability to ADD a secondary footprint would be good to have. At the moment it seems like the user is locked out completely.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 08:16:44 pm by IanJ »
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Offline LabSpokane

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2016, 04:46:00 pm »
Part creation workflow and management in CS is a massive improvement. Once we have the little bugs worked around, there will be no comparison.

Fantastic news! Thanks for the play-by-play.

I found myself avoiding improvements in my designs because it is such a penalty to add new parts. If creating new parts is reasonably easy and quick - I am now paying much closer attention to this option. Much closer.

I'm seven days and counting with no response from Altium, so I'm questioning their commitment to Sparkle Magic. Even so, we will win if and when Autodesk reinvents Eagle. CS is sooo close to being ready for prime time that it could really be a horse race.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2016, 12:51:54 am by LabSpokane »
 

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Re: Altium Newbie (CS) coming from EAGLE PCB
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2016, 04:47:33 pm »
Hi all,

Am I having a senior moment!............is it not possible to copy symbols or footprints from the vault or any of the built in libraries? I simply want to duplicate and then edit a 3.2mmx1.6mm tant cap footprint to make a slightly bigger one.........rather than draw from complete scratch?

Related......I came across a new issue today, I used the schematic symbol from one lib and a footprint for from another and got the unrouted pin error when dropping it onto the PCB............just had to edit the pins as they didn't match. Job done, but I'd also like to be able to save my fixed component to my own wee library.......but how?

#####

LabSpokane,
No haven't look at the step files at all yet.........won't be looking at that till I get this pcb fully routed and optimized.

Ian.

Ian,

The vault and supplied libraries are locked down. That was one of my major complaints to Altium. I'll post their response as soon as I get one.
 


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