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Questions about Proteus

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Simon:
I'm thinking of buying Proteus but I'm a bit confused about the limitation of power planes. If I'm doing a power design where it makes sense to have a number of copper pause to carry high currents or to act as heat sinks this is mean I will not be able to do them? I would have thought the limitation on the pin count is already sufficient to stop people doing designs that are too complex.

I'm also wondering about how we library management system works. I use more than one computer to do my work a home PC and my laptop which lets me do work on the go. With one licence would be limited to one computer? How would 2 different computers be able to access the same library files? At the moment are you KiCAD and I put all of my libraries in my dropbox so they are accessible from both computers.

jpb:

--- Quote from: Simon on March 13, 2016, 09:24:28 am ---I'm thinking of buying Proteus but I'm a bit confused about the limitation of power planes. If I'm doing a power design where it makes sense to have a number of copper pause to carry high currents or to act as heat sinks this is mean I will not be able to do them? I would have thought the limitation on the pin count is already sufficient to stop people doing designs that are too complex.

I'm also wondering about how we library management system works. I use more than one computer to do my work a home PC and my laptop which lets me do work on the go. With one licence would be limited to one computer? How would 2 different computers be able to access the same library files? At the moment are you KiCAD and I put all of my libraries in my dropbox so they are accessible from both computers.

--- End quote ---
I would like to know the answers to these questions as well. (I'm looking at Proteus and trying to compare to Diptrace, Eagle, KiCAD).

The power plane thing seems to be a major limitation though - I think it means you can't do things like having guards around pins (except as perhaps tracks) and you can't choose to use coplanar wave guide. You wouldn't be able to reduce capacitance with cutouts beneath key components and I suspect there are other things I might want to do and suddenly find myself stuck.

The pin limitation is reasonable, if you want a more complex circuit you pay a bit more to increase from 500 to 1000 but if you're on the base version at £150+VAT~£180 and find you do need cutouts then you have to fork out about four times as much (£595+VAT ~£720) for the level 2 version. This is the main thing that is currently preventing me going the Proteus route.

Of course these costs are trivial for commercial use, but for someone like me - a keen amateur/hobbyist I can justify 2 or 3 £100 but when it starts to look like £1000 plus ongoing costs if you want to keep up with newer versions then it is unaffordable.

The trouble is I just don't know if the power plane thing is a real problem or something that can be worked around.

An example of a possible problematic layout is that of Figure 2 of the LT3081 data sheet:
http://cds.linear.com/docs/en/datasheet/3081fc.pdf

Simon:
I'm not sure if there is a limit on the amount of layers you can use. I think it's one power plane per layer whereas initially I was worried they were saying only one power plane. Yes it could become a problem where you want say a digital and analogue ground plane on the same layer. My designs at the moment are not too complex and as I am looking to make money with them I don't mind paying some money but I don't want to get locked into a software that is then going to be very expensive to get to do what I want. I'm also wondering about how the libraries are organised. I think I need to give them a ring. It's also not clear what they mean by 3-D viewer availability. I have 3-D CAD I don't need a 3-D viewer but I need a 3-D model which is a different thing. Dip trace is a bit cheaper although there 3-D modelling capability is an absolute joke because it cannot cope with external models I usually just fall over.

jpb:
I am more concerned with say guarding voltage references - these might be very simple circuits but you want to prevent stray current/conduction as in
the LT3081 example that I added as an edit to my earlier post after your reply (a case of crossed wires).

Reading these forums and looking at the various offerings I'm in a bit of a conundrum.

DipTrace users seem a little unhappy with it and the pace of progress/development.
Eagle people either love it or hate it and it is going to the web in the latest low cost version which I don't want to do.
KiCAD, like all opensouce stuff (and I use a lot of it) is liable to be a bit inconsistent - some bits very good and other bits neglected.

Finally Proteus is a bit more expensive and has difficult to assess limitations on the "cheaper" versions.

digsys:
To answer a couple questions -
Licensing is pretty well done. You can install on as many PCs as you want, but only 1 can run at a time. It checks your local NW to see if another instance is active.
It also "registers" you on the Internet, IF it can make a connection. IF one of the PCs can't access the Internet, you get a warning, but good to go.
Not sure how long you get, but I've had a couple running for a few hrs, by accident, our NW had died. It will simply shut 1 of the sessions down, once it figures it out :-)
Edit: The pin limitation is on the # used in the Netlist. There are ways to get around this, worst case, smaller sections. There is a lot of detail somewhere, I think on
these forums.

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