PCB Visualizer update 18/07/2012

PCB Visualizer update:

  • For pattern classes 6 and lower, a warning instead of an error is given when the measured IAR value is between the requested IAR value and the requested OAR value. When the measured value is below the requested OAR value, an error is given. This is done because some CAD packages do not generate bigger pads for inner layers. In most cases the pads on the inner layers can be safely increased without causing isolation problems. For higher pattern classes however, the strict rules are applied because in these cases isolation distances are more strict.
  • For PCB proto service, when there is no top legend found and a bottom legend found, the order details are adapted automatically. In case no legends or a legend for top and bottom is found, a remark is given.
  • In case of single layer buildups, no error is generated if the soldermask on the non-copper side of the buildup is not found.
  • In case of single layer buildups, the ring value is now correctly calculated and shown.

PCB Visualizer update 17/07/2012

PCB Visualizer update:

  • Report import problems when tool sizes cannot be found. In this case no measured values are available.
  • Introduced a difference between measured values that could not be calculated (displayed as “-” and marked as a remark) and measured values that are not applicable or exceeding all requirements (displayed as “+” and marked as OK). Examples of the last case are isolation values on layers that contain only 1 net, or trackwidth values on layers that do not contain tracks.
  • Corrected error logging for old eagle files.

PCB Visualizer update 16/07/2012

PCB Visualizer update

  • Added check for support of HTML5 Canvas. If not supported, an error message is given.
  • Improved reporting of loading progress to avoid the feeling of hanging while loading.
  • Improved error reporting in case something goes wrong while loading and initializing.
  • The measured drill class is calculated and reported.
  • The measured pattern class is calculated and reported.
  • Problems occurred with some copper colors based on the selected finish. The copper layers in the buildup are now shown in copper color.
  • Visualizer could not load data for IMS pool boards. Solved.
  • Correct core color for IMS pool.
  • Correct drill layer display in buildup image when no bottom layers.

PCB Visualizer update 11/07/2012

PCB Visualizer improvements and updates released:

  • Plated and unplated drill layers are displayed separately. For layers counts of 2 and higher, the splitting depends upon the automatic plating detection. For layer counts 0 and 1 all drill holes are considered automatically as unplated.
  • In case of mixed drill layers (both plated and unplated drill holes in the same input file), the layer is split up in 2 separate entries in the layer list with an _plated or _unplated suffix.

PCB Visualizer update 11/07/2012

On July 11, the following modifications were uploaded to PCB Visualizer:

  • In case of single layer buildups, the copper side is determined by the availability of soldermasks. If there is a top soldermask and no bottom soldermask, the copper side is top. In all other cases the copper side is bottom.
  • In case of single layer buildups, one of the copper layers is removed from the buildup.
  • For trackwidth, isolation and ring, the following tolerances are used:
    • for class 6 and lower, the measured values are rounded up to the next micron and compared with the requested value.
    • for class 7 and higher the measured values are not rounded.
  • To determine the status of the job, the copper density values were also taken into account and checked against 0.4. This is now corrected. Only the plating indexes are checked.
  • In case no outline was found, the enclosing rectangle of the converted layers is used as dimensions.Plated and unplated drill layers are displayed separately. For layers counts of 2 and higher, the splitting depends upon the automatic plating detection. For layer counts 0 and 1 all drill holes are considered automatically as unplated.

When should you put up your Christmas tree?

Most people here in Belgium say you need to wait till December 6, because that is the feast day of Saint Nicholas “Santa Claus”.

In every family it is different. Therefore, no specific day or schedule is set for when to decorate your tree. Some people will choose to go with family tradition, others choose a random day where they have everyone together, while others decorate the tree on Christmas Eve.

This year you can start putting up your Christmas tree from December 7, as we start shipping the “Elektor” Christmas tree on St. Nicholas day. Make sure you order your tree well in advance as we will produce 100 trees only.

This years Elektor Christmas tree is available in 3 versions

More info is available in the December issue from Elektor or on the Elektor website,or watch the video on Youtube

All you need to know about PCB Visualizer

PCB Visualizer gives you complete control over the critical transfer of data from designer to fabricator. You leave nothing to chance. A brief on-screen check gives you 100% confidence that the board we are going to make is the board that you want – confidence and peace of mind so that you can concentrate on the next design without worrying about the last one.

Customers from right across the electronics industry tell us that PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker are already powerful tools to verify PCB data before placing an order. But there are always more features and more functionality they would like to make the software even more effective. So we have a dedicated team of software and electronics engineers who are constantly improving the tools and adding valuable features.

To keep you up to date with all the new functionality in PCB Visualizer we have now created a dedicated project website which has all the latest information as well as hints and tips on how to get the best out of the software.

PCB Visualizer – PCB Checker update 27-11-2012

Today we release an update for our PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker automatic analysis tools.

We have also doubled the processing capacity of our analysis software tool so that we can process more jobs in less time. Due to the rapid increase in the number of jobs we need to process in PCB Visualizer, the waiting times got too long to be comfortable.

From today you have the following added functions and features:

  • PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker are now available in English and in German
  • PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker can show the measured and the required values in both metric (mm) and imperial (mil). All measurements are done in metric, and we show the imperial values for information only. Both settings are available behind the “settings” icon in the top bar of PCB Visualizer ( see picture below)
  • We added a vertical and horizontal ruler to the detailed view window. When you zoom in and drag a part of the layout to one of these rulers, you can measure distances and sizes.
  • PCB Checker checks clearances, minimum track widths, and annular rings on outer and inner layers, as these are the most frequent data issues. Additional checks are now built in for drilled holes :
    • Smallest final hole size for the chosen service
    • Minimum hole to hole distance
    • Overlapping drill holes
    • Embedded drill holes ( drill hole completely inside another drill hole)

PCB Visualizer very much appreciated – but you want more

The feedback we received on PCB Visualizer has been very encouraging. The tool is very much appreciated by engineers, and gives major advantages over conventional Gerber viewers.

For example, you can:

  • Load all the data in a single .zip file
  • Input native CadSoft EAGLE V6 .brd files as well as Gerber data
  • See your PCB “live” as it will be produced instead of just a schematic visualization

And PCB Visualizer will:

  • Automatically detect and register all layers.
  • Check that your files and your order match up
  • Compare the measured values for key production parameters with those of your chosen service.

We definitely made something better than a Gerber-viewer, but you want more… your feedback is clear enough:

  • “Really good application to see the board before ordering.–Marking the problem in the image should be a good option to find the problem.–Could be a stand-alone application to check design rules?”
  • “Very impressive-Would be great if it could show you any issues or an example even of the issue that is flagged (just spent half day try to find an IAR issue – my own fault I know but a clue….)-“
  • “Nice tool to view the downloaded PCB. Unfortunately the errors are not marked!”
  • “Is it possible to show the exact location of the drill error, annular ring exception, etc.??”
  • “Mark the errors; e.g. make a circle around annular rings that fail the minimum ;-)”
  • “It shows me there is a problem with the inner and outer annular ring, but does not pinpoint where the problems are.–It would help if the problem areas were highlighted.”
  • “Please show the exact region where an error occurred.”

This is why we created PCB Checker, a new module within PCB Visualizer that does exactly what you asked for. It pinpoints each DRC issue on your board layout, showing the value measured and the value required for each occurrence in an easy to understand and graphical way.

If PCB Visualizer has found that there are errors, a single mouse-click opens PCB Checker. Select the category of error you want to check and PCB Checker highlights every case. If you want, step through them, one by one, worst case first. Change your CAD data or choose another Eurocircuits service. Click the Modify icon next to the PCB Visualizer column, make your changes and your order is under way immediately. Of course, our engineers would have found the errors and reported back to you, but you could have lost a day or two – and won’t want to be distracted from your next project.

Every day our customers are using PCB Visualizer to get their prototype and small batch PCBs faster. Try it out yourself with your next order.

We developed PCB Checker to improve PCB Visualizer as you requested, but this is not the end of the story. Keep sending us feedback and we will keep developing.

PCB Visualizer – functionality extended

Eurocircuits launched PCB Visualizer beginning of July. This first release gave you the opportunity to view the data you uploaded into your shopping basket and check that it conformed to the board you wanted to order.

User reactions so far show that this functionality is highly appreciated.

We have received a lot of useful feedback and this has enabled us to make continuous improvements in PCB Vizualiser”s performance.

Today we take PCB Visualizer one step further.

Up till now the functions have included:

  1. A graphic presentations of the CAD data loaded with your order (extended Gerber or CadSoft Eagle V6)
  2. A comparison of PCB Visualizer”s analysis of your data with the order values you entered on the Calculate and order page and the specifications or your chosen pooling service.
  3. A galvanic plating simulation on the data you submit

All this information is based on the CAD data you sent, and is gathered through an automatic analysis tool.

These results are still available as “Pre-check data”.

What new functions have we added today?

When you place your order, the data goes to our front-end engineering department. Here it is evaluated by front-end engineers using powerful Computer Aided Manufacturing(CAM) systems. You can find more information on what we do in our blogs about Single image preparation here.

At the end of this process, we now send the “Production data” back to PCB Visualizer.

This means that you can now access two sets of data in PCB Visualizer.

  1. Pre-check data : showing the CAD design the way it was interpreted by the automatic PCB Visualizer analysis tool.
  2. Production data : showing the CAD design prepared for production by our front-end engineers.

The Production data show you the printed circuit board as you will receive it. Differences between the two versions can be for instance:

  • Pre-check data shows a single circuit, but if you ordered a panel the Production data shows the panel as it will be delivered
  • Pre-check data shows the legend as you sent it, but the Production data shows a clipped legend (to avoid printing legend ink on the pads).
  • Pre-check data does not incluce slots and cut-out, but the Production data does.

Extra layers are created during the data preparation process. These layers are also available now in the Production data.

    • Top and/or bottom solderpaste for SMD boards
    • Drillmap with mechanical info ( dimensions) as well as drill counts ( plated and non-plated)
    • Rout layer showing routed outlines as well as slots.

The top left part of the interface (Board explorer) shows clearly which version of the data is shown. You can readily switch between them.

Why is there a difference? The PCB Visualizer analysis tool performs a high-speed mechanical analysis of the Gerber and drill data, but it has no interpretive power. For that we rely on our highly experienced CAM engineers.

PCB Visualizer Production data are available for all orders placed since September 17, and can be accessed in Running orders as well as in Order history through your account.

Please keep sending your feedback so that we can improve the functionality of PCB Visualizer the way you want it.