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CAD tools compatibility ?

Discussion in 'CAD' started by Robert Lacoste, Feb 23, 2006.

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  1. Hi,

    We are looking for a new CAD system, mainly for the schematic phase as our
    routing is 99% subcontracted. Our subcontractors are using mid to high range
    products (PADS, Protel or CADSTAR). So the question : Do you know if these
    tools are able to import a schematic designed with a lower cost CAD tool
    (say Eagle or Proteus/Isis for example) ? I guess that the netlist could be
    imported but I would like to know if the schematic itself can be imported

    Many thanks for your advices,
  2. Ian Bell

    Ian Bell Guest

    Try Kicad. It can export netlists in a variety of formats.

  3. Ian Bell

    Ian Bell Guest

    I see. Not sure if this is possible at all.

  4. Andy Peters

    Andy Peters Guest

    It's one thing to export a netlist from a schematic program.

    It's another thing to ensure that the layout tool can deal with not
    only the netlist, but also the component packages. Your schematic
    program needs to work with the same libraries as the layout tool. When
    you place an OP275 symbol on the schematic, somehow that symbol must
    tell the layout program that it needs to use the SOIC-8 package instead
    of the DIP-8.

    Basically, you'll have to use the schematic capture program that goes
    with your contractor's layout program. If they use PADS, you'll need
    PADS. If they use DXP, you need DXP. If they use PCAD, you need PCAD.
    Equally as important, you'll need to use their libraries, or at the
    least you'll have to create your own library that you'll share with

  5. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    This isn't generally true. I'd agree that it's often easiest to keep
    everything the same -- and EDA vendors seem to go to some lengths to try to
    make people do it so that they capture both sales! -- but many PCB packages
    will accept netlists from a handful of the popular schematic captre packages,
    and if not there are conversion programs available for any reasonably popular
    From what I've seen, people who do PCB layout for a living have all their own
    libraries anyway and will use them by default unless otherwise instructed.
  6. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    Our subcontractors are using mid to high range products
    I can't image an affordable 100%-correct layout-import solution.
    Protection of proprietary formats and all that.
    (See JT's comment in the following thread.)

    A previous thread on interoperability:*+turf-battle+Pulsonix-*-*-*-*-*-EDIF
  7. Leon

    Leon Guest

    FWIW, Pulsonix imports schematic, PCB and library files from:

    P-CAD (*.PDF)
    Cadstar Schematics (*.CSA)
    PADS Logic (*.NET)
    P-CAD (*.PDF)
    Accel EDA (*.NET)
    UltiCAP (*.SCH)
    Protel (*.ASC)
    OrCAD (*.EDF)
    Eagle SCM (*.EIS)

  8. Paul Burke

    Paul Burke Guest

    Doesn't it import Easy PC then?

    Paul Burke
  9. Leon

    Leon Guest

    Of course it does! I missed it when copying the text.

  10. Chuck Harris

    Chuck Harris Guest

    Aren't OrCAD EDF (EDIF)files netlist only?

    On the old SDT/PCB 386+ stuff, OrCAD schematics are .SCH,
    and OrCAD layout are .PCB
  11. Yes, Leon is just copying something.
    lEON, you had better indicate what files/formats are what or you are
    seriously misleading these guys. I don't see one library format that I
    recognize despite Leon's comments.

    There are several formats in there that are simply netlists (i.e. PADs
    *.net & Accel *.net), not the schematics nor PCB files. Next you have the
    problem that most nobody saves their files in some of those formats (i.e.
    ascii, Protel *.ASC), so down the road you may not be able to readily deal
    with them again unless you have some friend with the tools to correctly read
    them and write the acceptable format/version files back out to an ascii

    Besides the basic information Leon has offered, there is surely
    limitations on the actual file versions that it can import. In some cases
    they may be well out of date versions. Don't be sure it will import any
    current specific format unless the software supplier will guarantee you.
    Then get ready to deal with the limitations of the compatibility upon
    importing. This is true of even the best imports because most packages have
    features or details which are not supported nor correctly converted on

    From what I have seen in over 20 years is that almost no package imports
    or converts schematic files, it is just not worth the development time. A
    schematic can be redrawn in a couple of days once you know your new tool.
    PCBs do have converters because that can save you weeks if not months of
    time to redevelop the PCB. Then you have to confirm that it is valid and the
    same as the original, all big costs.
  12. Leon

    Leon Guest

    Those were schematic ASCII formats. It will also import the same PCB
    design formats. I've only used the schematic facility on a few
    occasions, but it worked very well. It will also export EDIF

    Here is the Help entry for Protel files:

    "Protel PCB and Schematic designs and Schematic libraries in ASCII
    format. Protel PCB footprint libraries can be opened in their Binary
    library format.- Versions - Protel 98, Protel 99, Protel 99 SE and
    Protel DXP (2002). (Protel DOS and Protel V2.x and 3.x formats are not
    supported. Please contact your local sales office to check for
    alternative solutions.)
    Design types supported are for: Schematics and PCB
    Library types supported are for: Schematic Symbols and PCB Footprints,
    and Parts libraries"

    Pulsonix has all the major packages, and have imported native format
    files for me to one of them on a couple of occasions and saved them for
    me as ASCII.

  13. Hal Murray

    Hal Murray Guest

    One data point...

    Several years ago, I did the schematics for a board and we decided
    to have an outside company do the layout. They could read netlists
    from our CAD package.

    When we were talking to them to setup the deal, the question of
    package libraries came up. I handed the guy a stack of printouts
    of the package footprints from the data sheets. Smile. Next topic.

    Their library had everything we needed. They just needed to know
    which part to use. No big deal.
  14. Lukas Louw

    Lukas Louw Guest


    I've had good results opening PCAD/Accel schematics, PCB files and libraries
    with a Pulsonix demo. I was pretty impressed - some text rotation and
    attributes were not quite correct, but that was about it.

  15. Leon,
    Okay I stand corrected with regards to Pulsonix, I was speaking from my past
    experiences with numerous packages and commenting on your list of file
  16. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    FYI, Pulsonix can also save to ORCAD schematic format, although at the moment
    the feature is kinda in a "beta" stage where it doesn't work completely
    correctly. I expect they'll improve this feature in the future...
  17. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    They could read netlists from our CAD package.
    Without the names of the packages, your post is worthless.
  18. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    This is basically false.

    I use the old Orcad for DOS and it makes Pads2K netlists complete with
    correct package information. I doubt that there are any serious CAD
    programs that can't make a net list that has the needed package
    information in it.
  19. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    That has been my experience with contract layout houses too. They will
    take input in nearly any reasonable form. If they've been in business for
    any time, chances are they have a large library of netlist conversion
    programs. Even today, they will likely have people on staff that can hand
    create a netlist from a paper schematic.

    You should, however, expect to pay for everything they have to do to make
    your PCB.
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