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How To Specify Plated Holes?

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Tom H View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Sep 2014 at 12:57pm

V2014.09 with this new technology will be released today.

We will send out an email notification when it's ready for download.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aerolink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Sep 2014 at 1:09pm
Just to wrap up this thread, below is the reply I received from FabStream regarding this issue.  I will try the new version, but since these boards are already finished and they utilized approx 60 footprints created by the older version, what do I need to do to propagate this fix into my designs?  Presumably I have to "build" all of the affected parts again to update my library, but deleting and replacing the parts in my layout is a no-go since it would destroy a huge amount of manual routing.  Should I build the parts as "alternate" footprints and select the alternates in SoloPCB?  Seems like it might work, but this is round three for this board so I'd like to be sure. 

...from FabStream...

"We have confirmed with PCB Libraries that there was an error in their Library Pro Expert product. The error was discovered and corrected. A new 2014.09 release will be made available tomorrow (09-03-2014) that has the correction. The product incorrectly defined plated pads as non-plated in SoloPCB."

"PCB Libraries also informed us the person that discovered the error (ALINK) is eligible for a free upgrade to their 2015 release. You should contact them directly for this upgrade."

"The type of checking you suggest (detect opens that result from lack of plating in a hole) are not presently available in the SoloPCB product is planned for a future release."

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Tom H View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Sep 2014 at 1:16pm

Once you download and install V2014.09, open your FPX file and select the upper left corner cell (next to the Footprint Name column header) to highlight your entire FPX file.

Then select "Build Lib" button and regenerate your entire library.

In your case, contact Nick Ban and he will upgrade your license to include V2015 and all the updates to it for the next year for free.

Note: this issue was fixed in OrCAD Layout and SoloPCB.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ernestorey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Sep 2014 at 2:10pm
I personally would never use again a PCB fabricator who gets a design with all holes unplated and never flags this out to the customer. Do they do any preCAM inspection?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Sep 2014 at 2:15pm

I totally agree with you.

If a PCB manufacturer gets fabrication data with no plated holes, that's a red flag, stop production and notify the PCB designer to make sure.

I haven't heard of a non-plated through-hole board since the 1970's.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aerolink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Sep 2014 at 9:41am
You're right, I am not happy with my board vendor's (MassDesign) lack of understanding and involvement in this process, but I need "assembly" not just PCB's and they are one of the few supported vendors.

The concept of FabStream's SoloCapture/SoloPCB tools is that the tools are "free" but you are locked into a board vendor because they do not provide the gerber files.  I had to point out that MassDesign's own advertisement on the FabStream site says "Free CAD files" then pester them for days to get the files.  But you still don't get them until AFTER ordering the boards, which means you lose the ability to review and resolve physical issues.  Bad business model, IMHO. 

So I am in round-three of my prototype design (at $360 a pop) because of tool errors I could not have detected.  The SoloPCB tools do not detect the plated hole issue (they say it will be done in the future) and MassDesign's response was "garbage in = garbage out".  They do no electrical testing on boards coming in from this process.  I have used MassDesign for years on other products, but not with this tool suite.  They clearly treat these tools as hobbyist's toys.

...but in all fairness, the plating issue has turned out to be a problem with Library Expert PRO.  The lack of detection and prior issue of starved, overlapping thermal reliefs, has turned out to be problems with FabStream's tools, and the further lack of detection and general don't care attitude, is from MassDesign.   While we are spreading the blame around, I too am to blame for jumping onto a relatively unproven set of tools rather than sticking with what has worked for years.   Fortunately, the cost of these multiple rounds of rework will be absorbed by profits down the road.  Gotta spend money to make money!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Sep 2014 at 9:48am

I'm positive that Downstream will fix the problem of DRC checking for Non-plated holes.

Every CAD vendor has regression and bugs and that's just everyday software programming.

Having a bug is not the problem. How long it takes to fix the bug is a problem.

We've had our share of regression in the past month by trying to implement too many new features too fast.

V2014.09 has just been released 5 minutes ago that fixed a final bug that was reported last night.


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