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How To Specify Plated Holes?

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    Posted: 28 Aug 2014 at 8:52am

How do I specify that my pin holes are to be plated?

I see there is a checkbox that say's "Plated" when I view the pad stack. 

The box is checked and greyed-out but my boards came back with unplated holes. 

Did I miss something?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2014 at 9:06am

We need to know if you are referring to the IPC Calculator or FP Designer.

We also need to know what version of Library Expert are you using?

V2014.08 is the latest release with updates to the FP Designer Pad Stack Manager.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aerolink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2014 at 7:55am
V2013.20   FP Designer
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2014 at 8:07am
You should download V2013.21. That will help.

I haven't used V2013 since last February and FP Designer has a completely new Pad Stack Manager in the current V2014.08.

  1. Create your component body shape Length, Width and height and select OK
  2. The Pad Stack Designer will appear
  3. For through-hole you have a choice -
  • Enter the Lead shape and size will auto-calculate the pad stack
  • Or just enter the hole size will auto-calculate the pad stack
  • Select the Pad shape
  • Then select the ADD button to add the new pad stack to the list
  1. For the surface mount Tab you enter the X & Y values and select the ADD button to add the new pad stack to the list
  2. When you have created all your pad stacks select the DONE button


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ernestorey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2014 at 1:50pm
You should always review your GERBER files prior to sending them out, use an independent GERBER viewer (not tied to the layout tool) to check the outputs. I recommend ViewMate from www.pentalogix.com, been using it for 10+ years.
 
Regarding your holes, if drilled through a metal pad they will be plated. If there is no metal on the outer layers they will be unplated. If the metal is the same size as the finished hole size, they will be unplated since they need to be drilled larger in order to plate.
 
On many drill data outputs the plated/not-plated information is not encoded in the NC files, you should have a drill "map" or "chart" as part of the GERBERs or the Fabrication Drawing specifying which holes you want plated or unplated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aerolink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2014 at 9:52am
Unfortunately, when using SoloPCB for layout, we are not given access to our Gerbers until after the board is purchased!  This has caused a lot of trouble for me and after one round of bad boards I convinced my vendor (Mass Design) to share the files with me.  I spotted that problem right away.
Unfotunately, round two has this thru-hole plating problem.  I need to figure this out before round three.  BTW, I use the same viewer as you,,, when I have files to view.

Anyway, back to the problem.  On EVERY thru-hole component I have created, my actual boards come back without plated holes.  Every hole that is to be connected to a power or ground plane is not connected due to lack of plating.  The gerbers look correct.  They show thermal reliefs to the pin hole when I view the plane layers.   There are no top or bottom layer signals to these pins but the pad rings look normal and are plated, just not the bores.

You may be onto the problem with the hole sizes versus drill sizes.  I don't know the mfg process, but  could they have drilled out the plating?  All I find related to this is the greyed out, but checked, "Plated" checkbox on the padstack manager.  Not sure why it is greyed out, but at least it is checked.
The pad size is 2.20 and hole is 1.6, so I don't see a problem there.

I just want to understand how this works from the library point of view to see if I missed something when I created these footprints.  I will post to the SoloPCB forum too.

I hate to think this is a problem with the PCB Library version I am using?!?!  Certainly someone else would have run across this by now?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aerolink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2014 at 9:55am
Is there any reason why I shouldn't just upgrade to 2014-08?  You suggested a 2013 version.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2014 at 10:07am

You should upgrade to V2014.09 which will be available next week -

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aerolink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2014 at 11:44am
Will do...

Does the footprint convey plated versus non-plated holes to the layout tools or not?

As I look into this further, I find nothing in the footprint that would indicate that holes are NOT to be plated.  The "Plated" checkbox seems always to be checked, as I would expect for a thru-hole part.

I just reviewed my drill layer in SoloPCB and sure nuf, the drill chart says "Non-Plated" for all of the holes related to my footprints.  I can use the SoloPCB's padstack editor to mark these holes as plated (clearing the "Non-Plated" checkbox) and all looks well again....

So.... where did this fall apart?   Does the footprint convey platedness to the layout tools?  If so, then the layout tool is not honoring this info.  If the footprint does NOT convey plated info, then it would appear to be human error (me of course) for not knowing enough to edit the padstacks that need plating (seems like a sensible "default" for thru-hole parts to me).


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2014 at 12:52pm

In the through-hole Calculator component families, every hole is automatically plated and you have no control of that with the exception of the Mounting Hole calculator can toggle Plated or Non-plated.

The FP Designer the user has a Plated check box and an assortment of pad shapes.

And even though the calculator will provide a good annular ring, the user can override the calculation and enter a unique pad size.

Once the pad stacks are created and you select the "Done" button, the Pad Stack Manager dialog window will open. That allows the user to further customize each pad stack for outer and inner layers, solder and paste mask, anti-pad and thermal relief, making the FP Designer totally flexible to create unique pad stacks.


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