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PICList Thread
'Anyone using Ultiboard for PCB Layouts?'
1998\08\17@094528 by Roger Morella

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I am considering getting UltiCap and UltiBoard to do schematics and PCB
layouts. (The package I'm using now is getting way to expensive to
maintain) Does anyone have anything at all (good or bad) to say
regarding this package?

Roger

1998\08\17@110443 by myke predko

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Roger Morella asked:
>I am considering getting UltiCap and UltiBoard to do schematics and PCB
>layouts. (The package I'm using now is getting way to expensive to
>maintain) Does anyone have anything at all (good or bad) to say
>regarding this package?

For an overall low-cost tool, it's the best one I've found (and I've tried
about five).  Personally, I believe that it has been released without proper
testing, but I think it's more that the developers (the company's name
escapes me right now) wanted to get a product out there and make some money
to support their development.

To be fair, their support has been excellent with a new CD coming in the
mail every quarter (I pay the $50 (USD) per year maintenance fee) with a
pretty good understanding of the current problems.  Phone support has been
excellent and they will spend the time to call you back and walk you through
it.

In the most recent version of the schematic capture tool ("UltiCap") there
is one condition that causes a GPF and that's double clicking on text to
change the parameters.  To avoid this, you have to delete the text and
re-enter it with the correct parameters.  This is a recognized problem and
the next version out should have a fix.

I have never had any version of Ulti-Cap since the middle of last year lock
up or GPF unexpectedly.

My main complaint about Ulti-Cap is the difficulty in creating multiple
pages.  You'll find you'll have quite a bit of fighting to work with it and
have the Netlist tool pick up all the pages.

A sample schematic in Postscript format along with a netlist can be found on
my web page for the Emu from the PIC book:

http://www.myke.com/picpage1.htm

Why are all the low-end Schematic Capture tools plagued with GPFs and lock
ups?  I presume they're written in VB or VC++ and I seem to be able to write
applications that use pretty complex hardware interface .DLLs and .VxDs and
reasonable graphics without GPFs.

For schematic capture, it's pretty good, although the creation of new
components is not 100% and may take a couple of tries for it to be saved
properly.

Netlist production is good and accurate.  The format is also easy to follow.

I have completed three designs on Ulti-Board (all 8051 designs).  They'll be
published in "Programming and Customizing the 8051" early next year.

It's not terrible, although remember the line: "You get what you pay for and
pay for what you get".  The two-layer autorouter isn't worth squat; you'll
end up routing the lines by hand, but with the connections rubber banded
from the netlist, it's actually a lot easier and more accurate than using
something like EasyTrax.  I found the autorouter dropped a few nets when it
got stuck, it does flag them, but usually if it can't place a trace, you'll
have problems doing it with how it has dropped the other nets.

My only substantial complaint about it is, I can't use my "standard" Drill
and Aperture files (for AP Circuits).  You can replace the Ulti-board
generated files, but check what you've done over with something like
"GCPREVUE" - In one case I found a problem with text becoming illegible
because of differences in aperture names.

As I said above, for a home system, it's the best I've found.  If I were a
consultant and was looking for a schematic capture system/Board layout tool,
I would be looking elsewhere.  But, I don't know of anything under $5K a
year that I would recommend (and please, <i>nobody</i> recommend Ivex to me).

myke

This week in the Book Room; "Video Hound's Golden Movie Retriever"; the best
movie review book I have found with over 22,000 movies reviewed with many
cross references and indexes.

http://www.myke.com/Book_Room/book1a.htm

1998\08\17@133958 by Bert Koerts

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Roger Morella wrote:
>
> I am considering getting UltiCap and UltiBoard to do schematics and PCB
> layouts. (The package I'm using now is getting way to expensive to
> maintain) Does anyone have anything at all (good or bad) to say
> regarding this package?
>
> Roger

I use this package for some time now, and I am quite pleased with it.
The latest version UltiCap 5.5 is a lot better than the one before. You
can download a (demo) version from http://www.ultiboard.com .
The version before did have alot of gpf, this new version didn't show me
any till now. UltiBoard always worked allright for me. (5.3 is the
latest right now)

The excellent library's gives your silkscreen a proffesional look and
once you get the hang of it, it isn't hard to make your own shapes and
symbols.

The CD-rom are also includes the DOS-version of the same packages. They
always worked without any problems, but have a difficult shell program.

Bert

1998\08\18@072854 by Morgan Olsson

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At 09:40 1998-08-17 -0400, you wrote:
>I am considering getting UltiCap and UltiBoard to do schematics and PCB
>layouts. (The package I'm using now is getting way to expensive to
>maintain) Does anyone have anything at all (good or bad) to say
>regarding this package?
>
>Roger

I am using it. Like it a lot.  
Tried some other mid-range systems before.

The copper layout program Ultiboard works very nice, and so do the dos
version of Ulticap schematics and its inbuilt symbol editor, ant they also
run flawlessly in Win95.

The schematics (Ulticap) windows version and it«s separate schematic symbol
library manager are not ready yet, but available as beta versions.
However theese are annoyingly byggy, and lacks proper documentation, so if
you are not used with the earlier versions, don«t use Ulticap for windows.
The win version is ready it has more nice editing functions, but if You
have not used Ulticap before, use the dos version.

The three autorouters (in-built, GXR and specctra) are all fast to invoke
to try out the placement, and also makes a partly good routing, they also
use pinswap and gateswap methods using dafault or user defined rules.

Output is Gerber, drill and any windows installed printer.

Their 25-year jubilee offer on the 1400 pin system is *very* appealing.
hmmm. I wonder maybe it is cheaper to buy new system than upgrade?!
see http://www.ultiboard.com

/Morgan


/  Morgan Olsson, MORGANS REGLERTEKNIK, SE-277 35 KIVIK, Sweden \
\  spam_OUTmrtTakeThisOuTspaminame.com, ph: +46 (0)414 70741; fax +46 (0)414 70331    /

1998\08\18@073645 by Caisson

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> Van: Roger Morella <.....rjmKILLspamspam@spam@BUFFNET.NET>
> Aan: PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Onderwerp: Anyone using Ultiboard for PCB Layouts?
> Datum: maandag 17 augustus 1998 15:40
>
> I am considering getting UltiCap and UltiBoard to do schematics and PCB
> layouts. (The package I'm using now is getting way to expensive to
> maintain) Does anyone have anything at all (good or bad) to say
> regarding this package?

My opinion ?  _don't_ buy.  I have to work with it, and I got the
last-to-be-build DOS version (at the moment of purchase) of Ulti-Cap and
the Windows-version of Ulti-Board.  My god ! What a Mess !

Ulti-Cap :
Connect 3 components to each other without a wire and it will "forget" one
of the connections.

To change anything of a component component (that is not directly visible)
you will have to LOTS of mouse-clicking.

The Component-edit draws differently from the Capture : Draw a diagonal
line : Draw a Edge (to lines connected under a 90 degree angle) and than
"remove" the edge.  Geeezzz ...

UltiBoard:
Put two Hierargical symbols on your sheet _with the same reference_ (that
is not allowed, but IS possible). Now remove them both ...  A nice
System-crash eh ?

Placing a component that won't "stick" on the sheet (it disapears).  Why ?
Beats me ...


And last but not least :

A dongle that crashed !

Impossable to start UltiCap/Board/Mate while a non Ultixxx print-job is
performed , due to the dongle ...

A company that goes on holiday but does not even bother to leave a message
regarding their return (on a answering machine).

Libraries:
Links between Symbols & Shapes that are wrong.
Components with non-to-speak-of pads (to small a pad or to big a hole)
Inconsequent naming of pins (some elco's with pins named 1 & 2 others with
pins named + & - for example)

Not one conversion from Ulti-Cap to UltiBoard went without problems.  Even
with all standard (non-customized) parts.

But, they have a help-desk !  The first to answers to every problem are :
1) If you do not have the latest version you should upgrade.
2) If you have the lastest version you should wait for the next release.


No, I don't like UltiCap/Board/Mate at all !

Greetz,
 Rudy Wieser

P.s.
If you know that the latest DOS version of Ulti-Cap is the result of 12
years work than I can't understand how they managed to survive in this
world ...

1998\08\18@085242 by Stefan Sczekalla-Waldschmidt

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Caisson schrieb:
{Quote hidden}

I4ve something to add. Their licensing is confusing because they sell-
support contracts a) to the appearing of a certain version, b) valid to
a certain date. if you agreed to an "update-offer" you will get updates
longer than your contract is valid - but only because the appearence of
the revision the update-offer was valid to, took serveral month more to
get ready to ship than previously announced.

When I first saw it, the handling of ulticap (dos) looks useful.
unfortunately (!!!) I didn4t do much testing to the pcb-part.....

compared to eagle (cadsoft) the pcb-part ultiboard is very un-handy.

Today I would prefer Eagle, but to get a better CAD System I would
merge Ulticap (without errors) and some functions of ultiboard to
eagle ... also I could recommend the specctra autorouter.

kind regards

       Stefan Sczekalla-Waldschmidt
       .....sswKILLspamspam.....oikossw.de

1998\08\18@103146 by wolfgang willenbrink

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Hi Steff,

I think your problems will could parts of ancient days - you have to take a
look at

http://www.ibfriedrich.de

Here you can find a very powerful pcb-program (layouter, router...)!

Regards

Wolfgang

1998\08\18@114730 by Stefan Sczekalla-Waldschmidt

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wolfgang willenbrink schrieb:
>
> Hi Steff,
>
> I think your problems will could parts of ancient days - you have to take a
> look at
>
> http://www.ibfriedrich.de
>

Ist da ein Schreibfehler drin ? ( engl. has the url an speeling mistake
) ?

> Here you can find a very powerful pcb-program (layouter, router...)!
>
> Regards
>
> Wolfgang

Greetings

       Stefan

1998\08\18@175800 by steve

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> I4ve something to add. Their licensing is confusing because they sell-
> support contracts a) to the appearing of a certain version, b) valid to
> a certain date. if you agreed to an "update-offer" you will get updates
> longer than your contract is valid - but only because the appearence of
> the revision the update-offer was valid to, took serveral month more to
> get ready to ship than previously announced.

"Confusing" is a nice way to put it. Last year it was "pay up now and
get SpiceAge with the next CD". This year it's "pay up and get
SpiceAge with the next CD".
Has anyone got that CD yet ?
Is there a functional Spice with it (not the demo we got last year) ?
Specctra V7 was released more than a year ago. Last CD from Ultimate
was still V6. Has that been updated yet ?
And lastly, does it work yet ? I'm sick of paying to be a beta site.
I don't want a Dining Pass. I want a stable CAD system.
I've only just received my update notice so I'm deciding whether or
not to cut my losses.

Steve.

======================================================
Steve Baldwin                Electronic Product Design
TLA Microsystems Ltd         Microcontroller Specialists
PO Box 15-680, New Lynn      http://www.tla.co.nz
Auckland, New Zealand        ph  +64 9 820-2221
email: EraseMEstevebspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTtla.co.nz      fax +64 9 820-1929
======================================================

1998\08\19@035109 by Wolfgang Kynast

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Hi,

>> http://www.ibfriedrich.de

> Ist da ein Schreibfehler drin ? ( engl. has the url an speeling mistake
> ) ?

Yes: http://www.ibfriedrich.com/

>> Here you can find a very powerful pcb-program (layouter, router...)!

ACK

Regards,
Wolfgang
--
PIC links:
http://people.frankfurt.netsurf.de/Wolfgang.Kynast/pic.htm

1998\08\19@091547 by wolfgang willenbrink

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Sorry about that; the right link is
http://www.ibfriedrich.com

Have fun!

Wolfgang

-----Original Message-----
From: Stefan Sczekalla-Waldschmidt <sswspamspam_OUTOIKOSSW.DE>
To: @spam@PICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU <KILLspamPICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Dienstag, 18. August 1998 17:47
Subject: Re: Anyone using Ultiboard for PCB Layouts?


{Quote hidden}

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