Author Topic: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?  (Read 20214 times)

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Offline Sainttronics

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20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« on: December 02, 2011, 08:58:21 pm »
Hi all,
I've been using Ulticap and Ultiboard since the very early DOS versions, and have paid for the various upgrades from DOS to Windows over the years until the product was taken over by NI. Only problem is that I can't afford the €2,500 needed to upgrade to 11. I love the product, been using it for over 20 years. Its running on a home brew Windows 2000 PC, not networked for virus issues, with the dongle (licence key) in the back. With a Roland DXY1100 A3 plotter that I use for plotting the PCB artwork and drawing A3 schematics. I do my own prototype PCBs (double sided). The plotter is in need of replacement (serviced too many times). Looking for an aternative, and am thinking of moving to another PCB schematic / design/ routing package. What products other there can I import V6 UltiCap and UltiBoard files into. Budget is about €400-€700, with board size up to 8x12 inches with about 2500 pins. Looking for some guidance on what other people have done in this situation.

Any ideas???

Should say that I dont mind spending a couple hundred each year for upgrades, etc, as well.

Thanks Brian
« Last Edit: December 02, 2011, 09:02:40 pm by Sainttronics »
Regards

Brian
 

Offline PeterG

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 11:05:21 am »
WOW, i have to say, i did not know MultiSim was still around.

There are a few commonly used Sims out there but i dont know of any that will import MultiSim files.

Regards
Testing one two three...
 

Offline Short Circuit

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2011, 02:43:18 pm »
Nothing can work with Ultisim/cap/board files as far as I know.
For Altium, there's a import filter for ultiboard files, but that only works with the old (ascii format) DDF format, not with the newer EWPRJ files. So thats not useful at all.
(Besides, Altium looks great watching the demo videos, but actually using it is another story...)

I have been a UB user since the DOS days as well, and I stayed for a while after the NI aquisition. But since the past few years, I stopped the subscription because it really seems to de a dead end. All they have done in that time is increase the version number from 10 to 11, but absolutely no new features (at least not in Ultiboard. Maybe in ultisim, but I don't use that, still hooked on Ulticap).
 

Offline Armin_Balija

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2011, 09:11:57 pm »
I use the NI Multisim 11 suite and it's interesting. I will say that their UI for their schematic capture is awesome in my opinion. However, Ultiboard is garbage. Clunky, awkward, and laggy even for my 8 core, 6 gig machine. There are numerous free* PCB design softwares out there, my favorite being DIPTRACE.

*I bought the educational version for $125 and I can have 4 signal layers and it has a ton of components and easy to use schematic capture, PCB design, and component creation software.

For a professional program though, I'd have to say I quite LOVE Altium's UI, best out there for PCB and schematic capture. I can't afford it though and it tends to lock up a little bit or lag when I load up the hundreds of libraries I've downloaded from their site.

A close second I think would be Cadence OrCad, really easy to use but I find their lack of PCB component footprints disturbing. :o

Anyway, that's just my two cents.
 

Offline Sainttronics

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2011, 03:32:55 pm »
Thanks Guys for your views, think I may have to stay where I am, and save up for Altium, will have to see if Santa will respond to my letter.
Regards

Brian
 

Offline baljemmett

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 03:48:41 pm »
By the way, what do you use in your DXY-1100 for plotting PCB artwork?  I have the same model but have only used it for A3 schematic plots so far; the pens I have are alright for that but the nibs aren't repeatable/robust and fine enough to do anything precise.  I've seen suggestions ranging from 'OHP pen on drafting film' to 'etch-resist pen directly on board'; just wondering what works for you!
 

Offline Sainttronics

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2012, 10:31:26 pm »
I used a range of refillable plotter pens, and a latex based drawing ink. I plot the artwork on a opaque acetate sheet. The plot speed was set down to 1ips, to get a nice dark trace. Sometimes I would run the plot a seconds time, for some of the more complex designs. The exposure in the UV box would be down to 60-80seconds for double sided PCB's.
Regards

Brian
 

Offline baljemmett

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 12:35:11 am »
Excellent, always good to hear about 'tried and tested' methods -- thank you!  I may have to investigate what refillable pens are still available and do some pondering...
 

Offline rz2k

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2012, 04:03:21 am »
I used a range of refillable plotter pens, and a latex based drawing ink. I plot the artwork on a opaque acetate sheet. The plot speed was set down to 1ips, to get a nice dark trace. Sometimes I would run the plot a seconds time, for some of the more complex designs. The exposure in the UV box would be down to 60-80seconds for double sided PCB's.
what tech. does your plotter do, I mean minimum trace width/clearance?
Sorry for my bad English.
 

Offline Deusjevoo

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2012, 10:35:54 am »
Hi,

Started with Ulticap and Ultiboard dos version to.
Was very pleased with it.
Especially liked the realtime design rule check.
Then other professional direction, haven't done electronics for over 20 years now I think...
Think about picking it up again.
In fact... been searching, reading, visiting forums, watching Dave's videos etc.
Thinking about doing a small project I found a schematic and layout for.
However, want to change a few things.

Haven't installed it yet, but think my Ulticap/Ultiboard, updated to old windows versions back then, still used a parallel dongle.
Which my pc now lacks offcourse.
Probably wouldn't even start up in the newer OS, unless in a virtual machine maybe.

What package might be easiest to learn for an old ultiboard user?
Preferably free for ever, or start free and no to expensive to upgrade.
Probably Eagle, Diptrace or Kicad?

Any suggestions?
 

Offline Armin_Balija

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2012, 07:48:53 pm »
Having to use MultiSim, LABview, and other packages in school and using Altium, KiCad, OrCAD, and DIPTRACE.. I found DIPTRACE to be the one I prefer, though I like Altium the best it's way too expensive for me and I feel as though DIPTRACE resembles Altium Designer enough that I can stick with it.
 

Offline Sainttronics

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2014, 11:34:53 am »
Since opening this post, I've tried Eagle, DipTrace and KiCad.
Maybe its the years of using Ultiboard and old age, but none of them gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.
DipTrace did come close, but the component selection wreaks my head.

I've built a dedicated Windows XP machine to run my old version of Ultiboard 5.72, with 1400 pin count and 200 x 250mm size PCB's.  It has dual hard drive and I've taken a snap shot of the drive in case it dies. It not connect to the Internet for security and I'm managed to repair the plotter and got a second one cheep on ebay.
Maybe if one of my little projects makes it big I'll invest in something better.
I just feel that the 400-800Euro price range is just not serviced well in this sector.

Regards

Brian
 

Offline Wilksey

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2014, 04:37:10 pm »
They did a DOS version? Didn't it used to be called Electronics Workbench?

I guess if it still works for you then why upgrade if you don't think the price is worth it?
You won't find much better for UI than Multisim, even Altium isn't brilliant!

You could try Pulsonix, that seems quite good, I used a demo but not gone further than that.
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2014, 05:14:12 pm »
Quote
Since opening this post, I've tried Eagle, DipTrace and KiCad.
Maybe its the years of using Ultiboard and old age, but none of them gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.
DipTrace did come close, but the component selection wreaks my head.
did you try the last version 2.4 of diptrace ? they made huge changes in the component selection and the libraries from the 2.3 version.

Offline GGeorgss

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2014, 08:22:40 am »
Hello guys,

I also started with Ulticap and Ultiboard in the end of the 80's.  Then later on, we used Electronic Workbench 5.12 for our small projects at work.
Now, I'm cranking up on the MultiSim 9 and Ultiboard 9 from NI.  I can import most of the EWB5 files, but I can't open up the old DOS based SCH files.

NI states that the SCH files can be opened in Ulticap 5, and then saved in a new format for EWB5, but unfortunately, I don't have Ulticap 5.

Any clues how to solve this?  I have a lot of old projects that I would like to continue playing with.

Maybe if someone still has the Ulticap 5, they can convert the files for me?

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2014, 09:33:16 am »
If you can wait a while, Altium will be coming out with a free (and low cost options) version.
 

Online tautech

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 10:24:13 am »
If you can wait a while, Altium will be coming out with a free (and low cost options) version.
Come on Dave, how long is a piece of string?
People are hurting.
Do we need to point them to the cracked versions of Altium?
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline GGeorgss

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2014, 07:26:37 pm »
If you can wait a while, Altium will be coming out with a free (and low cost options) version.
Come on Dave, how long is a piece of string?
People are hurting.
Do we need to point them to the cracked versions of Altium?

The two million dollar questions will then be,
Can Altium inmport the DOS based .SCH files?
And can Altium save those in a format that Multisim 9 can read?

What I can't understand, is why there is no simple conversion program available.  I would go for a cracked version of Ulticap 5, just for the conversion, but I have not found any :(
 

Offline SrS

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2014, 04:47:44 pm »
Back then I've used UltiBoard/Cap v5 (& 2001) quite a lot for school/personal projects (never liked Eagle) but after Ultimate B.V. was acquired by Interactiv it went downhill fast. Ulticap got replaced by Electronic Workbench (renamed to Multisim) and the focus was more on simulation than schematic design/PCB's.

After Interactiv was acquired by NI the only real change seemed to be related to LabView.
They also sell MultiCap but this is the same as MultiSim only the simulation button is disabled. You still get all the simulation garbage when creating a component for example.
A company I worked for used v10 but the guy using it was "not happy" about it.

I switched to Labcenter's Proteus a few years ago and it suits my needs fine.

Maybe if someone still has the Ulticap 5, they can convert the files for me?
I still have my copy of v5.72 & UltiCap 2001 so let me know if I need to convert something.
 

Offline tuxtor48

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2017, 09:43:43 pm »
Hello,

I have been an enthusiastic user of 5.72 too and I still do. I use Linux and there we have ' dosbox'. Originally dosbox is for gaming
and as such it does not support a parallel port for the dongle. At one time one of the dosbox developers gave me a patch that allowed the parallel port to be used. And yes that worked and works as of today. I had to modify the .dosboxrc too for the lpt1 to work.  WARNING: dosbox is also available on Windows but it has shown to eat (destroy) dongles...... Don' t try that!
Recently I tried to rebuild the dosbox binary but that failed with the modern Linux distro' s. I had to create a virtualbox with an 2.6 kernel (yes, that old) and could build the binary again. Moved over to  the host system makes it run there too, I believe I had to create a link for some older runtime library. But all in all that did not give too much trouble.
With a proper video driver select in Ultiboard/dosbox I can do 1280X1024.
Another issue is the gerber output format. It can build RS274D only.
To solve that I created a Perl script that takes a designated '.pls file AND the basic design-file name  and transforms the .g0,.g1....,g50 files into proper RS274X format, as well for the drill file.  It allows me to read them in gerbv/gerberview, but  also in FlatCAM. i.e. PPR_I2C.G0 becomes (aoutomagically) PPR_I2C_SIGNAL(TOP).GBR.
So for me, Dos Ulticap/Ultiboard 5.72 is far from dead :-) If any of you need more info, please let me know.

And of course I like to share my software.....

Kees
« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 07:33:08 pm by tuxtor48 »
 

Offline Sainttronics

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2017, 07:20:56 pm »
Still have the v5.2 running on a new old PC, have finally settled on Ki-CAD and have started the migration of some project's.
Its not been easy but I'm getting there.Making new symbols and footprints.
My reason for this choice was I can run it on Windows, Linux and Mac.
It just seems that I'm using all three platforms depending on the project that I working on with clients.
Regards

Brian
 

Offline tuxtor48

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2017, 02:34:07 pm »
I have tried to get along with Kicad but failed :-(  Too deep influenced by UltiCap/UltiBoard :-)  That is my main reason to continue. Now that I have solved the problem with the old Gerber format, nothing limits me with using it further.
The combination dosbox(Linux)-UltiCap/UltiBoard with the script d274tox274 is still priceless I think. Are there still active users for the Dos Ultiboard software?
 

Offline spostma

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2017, 04:44:42 pm »
Hi I still use UltiCap/UltiBoard 4.84 (DOS) to make my board designs (up to 1400 pins and 6 layers),
and use v5.72 (Windows) to generate output.

I also made a tool to convert RS274 to RS274X format, and supports blind and buried holes.
The output is a ZIP file with all gerber files with correct naming for each PCB manufacturer
(configurable via the UltiBoard postprocessor settings file).

A neat bonus is the high-res TIFF raster grphaics output that is made by using the freeware Gerb2tiff tool.
It works fine on my Win98SE PC.

I tried to attached the tool and its source code (Delphi), but is is too large (> 1MB).
Can send it by mail if you want it...


---

Indeed PCs with LPT ports for dongles get rare, so I am happy that a friend gave me
an UltiBoard 5.72 version that uses no dongle.
I have licenses for UltiBoard, even up to the 2001 version, so I should be doing legally OK.

I can give you this 5.72 version if you cannot use your dongle any more in a new PC...

-----

The Target3001! CAD program can import UltiBoard files, and Altium can do this too AFAIK.
 

Offline Epaperman

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2017, 02:15:55 am »
Yes Ultiboard forever haha. i am still using also, 4.83 1995 still working (on  a old Dell Latitude with parallel port)
I used it for almost 25 years, where the first versions where not so stable.. this 4.83 is rock solid.

I am still looking for a dongle free version.. i dont know how long this old Dell laptop will keep running.

i made up to 8 layer with 12 DSP's no problems.. some factories dont like the old format gerber... but what can i do..

Hans
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: 20 Years with Ultiboard ... What Next?
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2017, 03:26:24 am »
I guess if you work on boards with 2500 pads, then money isn't an issue. Get a real commercial EDA tool.
If you need a few hundreds pads, consider Circuit Designer.
The recent $430 Cadence is also great, but that's US only.
 


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