Things I miss in DipTrace

Making PCB Layouts, Manual routing, Auto-routing, Copper pouring, Updating from Schematic, Manufacturing Output
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Hansel
Posts: 19
Joined: 09 Jan 2018, 18:39

Things I miss in DipTrace

#1 Post by Hansel » 10 Feb 2018, 09:00

I've been worked with DipTrace extensively during the trial period and I am not sure whether I really want to switch now. It took me quite some time to get the tool do for me what I needed it to do. My workflow has become quite slow as compared to another CAD tool for PCB generation. For what it's worth, here's a list of things I would wish improved. Some of them were already mentioned at some point:
  1. Wire points cannot be edited. There is no points editor, may it be for simple line segments or for curves.
  2. Cross highlighting: why would the tool not highlight objects I select in PCB on the schematic side or vice versa? It slows down the manual placement of objects in PCB Layout substantially, particularly when you create the initial board.
  3. The selection process is a hit and miss. Selected elements don't stay highlighted while properties are changed, leading to a loss of focus what's been changed.
  4. When routing a trace and setting several points, hitting Esc kills my entire route. I would expect it to return to the previous segment so I can fix my last mistake.
  5. For traces, there is no 90° option.
  6. There's no on-the-fly trace segment width change possible.
  7. Traces or segments cannot be copied to the keepout layer.
  8. Sometimes I want to change a trace. For that I may delete a segment or two. If I then want to continue from a trace end, DipTrace seems to have forgotten about the bending of the segment I want to continue from, effectively not allowing to have my routing continue smoothly. Instead I have to delete the segment I wanted to attach to and work onward from that. But that, in the end, means that I have to track all the way back to a straight segment. All in all it makes the neat feature of smoothly curved routing very cumbersome to use (the main reason I wanted to switch to DipTrace).
  9. Sometimes it happens that if I want to unroute an individual segment that other segments get deleted along with it or are altered in shape. That's insidious as I it may go unnoticed.
  10. DipTrace doesn't recognize connections through pads. So if there's an opportunity for copper pour to fill space, it won't do so if there's a ground connect possible through a pad.
  11. When deleting a component in PCB, the traces get deleted along with it.
  12. The snapping of traces to pin centers annoys the hell out of me. It's very difficult to work around this for nice manual routing.
  13. If I replace/update a component, the position of the object may change without getting noticed. I believe this has to do with the grid setting. But why try to snap an object on grid just because I updateit? This is another insidious problem as I may have placed pots, switches, and jacks to perfectly fit my panel only to be changed by DipTrace.
  14. DipTrace cannot handle oval pads with offset holes directly. Instead a list of points needs to be used. That's a reeeeally slow process. I have to calculate my points in Excel and then port it into DipTrace (and, no, it doesn't allow to copy over the list of points). Seriously, that calculation could really be provided by the tool since it already indirectly allows offset hole pins.
  15. Writing a Gerber zip file with a single click is not possible. Seriously?! What's the reason behind that?
  16. Why is the redraw process of layouts or schematics so slow? In today's day and age where real-time rendering of complex graphics is possible, the rather simple graphics in schematics take nearly a second or so to redraw?

Tomg
Expert
Posts: 1566
Joined: 20 Jun 2015, 14:39

Re: Things I miss in DipTrace

#2 Post by Tomg » 10 Feb 2018, 10:51

1) Add new node(s) by moving the mouse cursor to the desired spot and pressing the "n" key. After that, move the newly-created node(s) or segment. As far as I know, direct editing of their coordinates is not possible.
2) Yes, this is an often-requested feature.
3) After selecting the desired object, try using the Properties box located at the upper-right side of the screen to make changes without losing focus; or try using the right-click context menu.
4) Use the Ctrl + z hotkey combination to back up.
5) Yes, adding a 90-degree bend mode would be helpful.

6) Press the "w" key to enter a new trace width on the fly.
7) Yes, being able to send a copy of the trace to the Keepout layer would be helpful.
8) When in manual route mode, single-click on the trace end (do not continue to hold down the mouse button), move the mouse in the direction you wish to go and use the [Space] bar to toggle between bend modes.
9) Right-click on the desired segment and choose "Unroute Segment" in the pop-up menu.
10) I'm not quite sure what you are referring to here. Could you post a screen capture to show an example?

11) Right-click on the component (not a pad) and select "Disconnect Traces" in the pop-up menu before deleting the component.
12) A trace must be snapped to the pin/pad origin for a proper connection to be made.
13) That shouldn't happen. Could you describe the exact procedure you are using that creates this result?
14) An offset hole option for pads would be nice. This has been requested in the past, but so far nothing has come of it.
15) I agree. This is another often-requested change.

16) I haven't experienced this, but I don't make very large, highly-populated boards. Have you tried a different graphics mode to see if things speed up? (View > Graphics Mode).
Tom

Hansel
Posts: 19
Joined: 09 Jan 2018, 18:39

Re: Things I miss in DipTrace

#3 Post by Hansel » 10 Feb 2018, 11:32

I'm surprised you didn't tell me to RTFM :-) I didn't know about some of these options.

Regarding 8) this is something I already knew but it's not what I am missing. Let me try to explain it differently. Say you started routing a net manually, stopped in the middle of it, and saved your design for later. Now you restart PCB Layout and want to continue to work on the last segment. If that segment is bent and you want smooth bending to continue on the next segment, DipTrace won't do that.

Regarding 10), see the picture: the left side shows the top side where the pad is connected to the copper pour on the top pin of T2. However, on the bottom side of the PCB an island is left even though PCB Layout could have simply connected that open area via the pad.
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Hansel
Posts: 19
Joined: 09 Jan 2018, 18:39

Re: Things I miss in DipTrace

#4 Post by Hansel » 10 Feb 2018, 11:37

And regarding 1), I know about the node option which I had to use extensively to get the following PCB done. But it is still a PITA (lots of trial and error as trace segments get inadvertently bent, segments get lost, etc.). Wire point editing would be useful.

BTW, you can see here ratlines even though these pads are properly connected to ground (on the other side of the PCB). Another thing I haven't mentioned in my original list.
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Hansel
Posts: 19
Joined: 09 Jan 2018, 18:39

Re: Things I miss in DipTrace

#5 Post by Hansel » 10 Feb 2018, 11:42

And finally regarding 12), sure, I understand but if I am stupid enough to not connect to the center, just leave a ratline and tell me during ERC check that the connection is missing.

Tomg
Expert
Posts: 1566
Joined: 20 Jun 2015, 14:39

Re: Things I miss in DipTrace

#6 Post by Tomg » 10 Feb 2018, 12:47

10) You might be able to insert a copper island connected to that pad in the open space on the Bottom layer by changing the Island Removal settings in the Copper Pour Properties dialog window.
cppdw.gif
As for the mystery ratlines, you would think that if the through-hole pad is connected to the same net on the other side then those ratlines shouldn't be there.

12) Here's a related post from the not-too-distant past requesting a solution for "ghost" connection detection - viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11590&p=22388
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Tom

Hansel
Posts: 19
Joined: 09 Jan 2018, 18:39

Re: Things I miss in DipTrace

#7 Post by Hansel » 11 Feb 2018, 05:20

I am aware of these options and none of them help to fill the open area AND have it connected to ground. I don't want to have floating islands.

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