Author Topic: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium  (Read 12642 times)

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Online tszabooTopic starter

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Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« on: August 10, 2018, 08:06:18 am »
I'm struggling on how to import BRD files from Orcad to Altium.
I have Orcad PCB designer Standard, version 17.2. Altium 18.1.17
When I try to import the board files with the import wizard, It wants me to have Allego licence. On different designs it said "Design not recognizes or version is too old". Am I missing something here? Is there a way to export ORCAD files into a different format that Altium can handle?
 

Offline Alex Eisenhut

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2018, 01:45:28 am »
Oh I think I've done this before. Send me the brd file, assuming I can open it, there is a small script that uses Cadence database extract commands to create massive ASCII files that Altium uses to re-create the board.
At least I think that's the Altium process.
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Online tszabooTopic starter

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2018, 10:39:19 am »
I cannot really do that, these are covered by NDA.
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2018, 02:45:42 pm »
IIRC, Altium only eats Orcad 16.2 or around there.  And I forget if it has to be ASCII or native.  Hmm, maybe they did the next version up in AD18, dunno.

In any case, Altium's import documentation shows the procedure.  You need to convert it using Cadence tools first, as Alex said.

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Online tszabooTopic starter

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2018, 08:12:24 am »
OK, I am starting to understand whats going on. Orcad is a despicable hackjob of programs glued together by spit, edits .brd files. .brd files are Allegro, and not Orcad, and Orcad doesnt even have a native file format. And it doesnt have the option to output files into ASCII format. Great. So In order to stop using it completely I need to update the license or get someone who can convert the files.
I think I just contact the Altium salesman, and get them convert the files.
 

Online tszabooTopic starter

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2018, 10:08:00 am »
So Altium support sent me a guide, stating that the demo version of allegro can convert these files.
I leave this here, if anyone stumbles upon this thread in the future.
I also report back if it was a success.
 

Offline Alex Eisenhut

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2018, 03:18:26 am »
I don't know what a demo version of Allegro does, but the export process is command line only, it uses the extracta.exe command. If you type "where extracta" in your windows command line, it should spit out the path to the command, showing that Cadence is installed correctly. Then you can type extracta -help (cadence tools are all unixy, you don't use /? to get help)

For example:

Extracta:
    obtains flattened infomation from a design from information
    contained in the cmdfile. See documentation for command
    file (cmdfile) syntax.

extracta [args] [<drawing>] [<cmdfile>] [<outfile>...]

With no arguments prompts for files.


(Yes, that typo is really there)

You need these command files from Altium that tell extracta what to extract from the brd file. I guess you don't need an allegro license for that command to work. I don't remember.
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Online tszabooTopic starter

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2018, 11:58:07 am »
Apparently, OrCAD standard also contains the file necessary. It is indeed the extracta.exe, has to be given to windows path, run a batch file winch comes with altium, and it converts .brd to .alg. And that can be actually imported. Although Altium needs a restart after import, because it doesnt work properly afterwards (typical).
My only problem is that they have a import wizzard, which even tells that it can import .brd. And then it doesnt in fact you need todo a bunch of manual work to import. Annoying if you have a few dozen project. Anyway, problem is solved now, thanks for the help.
 

Offline rcasciola

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2019, 01:52:37 pm »
Hi NANDBlog,

I'm now struggling with this issue you had from six months ago. I have Cadence 17.2 installed and a file in that version's .brd format. I want to get it into Altium 17 or 18. I understood everything in this post except the part about the 'Extract Command File'. I have no idea what should be in that file. I've tried Google, but no luck. Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Randy
 

Online tszabooTopic starter

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2019, 04:07:58 pm »
In the meantime they updated the guide on their wiki:
https://www.altium.com/documentation/19.0/display/ADES/((Allegro+Import))_AD
 

Offline ali_asadzadeh

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2021, 06:42:19 pm »
Hi,
Does the extracta.exe work as a stand alone exe? can someone upload it and share it, so I do not need to download and install allegro.
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Offline xjordanx

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2023, 03:15:09 am »
I'm looking for the same executable. I think I have a very old version (from OrCAD 16 or so).

If memory serves it is a command-line utility and has switches, input and output files. There are batch files even Altium Designer will call when using it to convert a binary BRD to an ALG for import.

I used to have a PDF guide on how it works, and would suggest searching for the guide on the Cadence website. The guide I think came with the installation of Allegro.
 

Online tszabooTopic starter

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2023, 08:53:18 am »
I'm looking for the same executable. I think I have a very old version (from OrCAD 16 or so).

If memory serves it is a command-line utility and has switches, input and output files. There are batch files even Altium Designer will call when using it to convert a binary BRD to an ALG for import.

I used to have a PDF guide on how it works, and would suggest searching for the guide on the Cadence website. The guide I think came with the installation of Allegro.
As I remember, if you downloaded the demo/trial version of OrCAD, it was working with that executable as well, you didn't need a license. Mind you this was a long time ago, websites and version are changing.
 

Offline Uky

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2023, 09:14:50 pm »
Cadence has pulled all "Lite" versions from the download sites that I am aware of.
They only issue 30 day trials now. (IMO: a downright stupid policy.)

But bare in mind that if you find anything out there, many of the hidden executables
like Extracta that can be invoked without starting the main executable Allegro.exe may
need DLL's that are parts of a complete installation. I have not tried to use this
file outside the Allegro installation so if it works or not I cannot say. Just don't be surprized...

 

Offline xjordanx

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Re: Importing Orcad BRD file to Altium
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2023, 12:45:22 am »
You are correct.

And like all commercial SW companies, they seem to want you to try out on the cloud only first - which means you don't even get to download the actual executables now. I could get them, if I were willing to call and speak with a sales rep.

In any case I do have an older eval somewhere - when I have access to that desktop that it was on (as the viewer) I'm going to do translations there and see how they turn out.
 


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