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Protel 2004 by Altium

Discussion in 'CAD' started by Fred, Jul 9, 2004.

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  1. Fred

    Fred Guest

    I've been using Protel 99SE for a few years and it's become a good tool
    for me. It was the first PCB layout package I've ever used and the
    learning curve was a lot of effort and not something I would relish
    undertaking again.

    I got a notice from Protel (now Altium ) that there was an upgrade path
    to Protel 2004. Their sales rep told me the user interface was different
    and would take some time to learn (how convienient).

    My questions:

    1) Does anyone on the net use Protel 2004? How does it compare to the
    Pads and Orcads of the world?
    2) How much trouble to learn Protel 2004 already somewhat versed in 99SE?
    3) Is it worth the effort to go from 99SE to 2004?

    Thanks in advance for any information.


  2. nospam

    nospam Guest

    Big question, very few people know more than one CAD package well enough to
    make an informed and unbiased comparison.
    Much more than you would expect.
    Ought to be a no-brainer but the answer far from simple.

    Go to and read
    some of the discussions.
  3. Bob Stephens

    Bob Stephens Guest

    I've been using Protel since 98, then 99, then 99SE, then DXP and recently
    2004, mainly because I've just got in the habit of upgrading. The learning
    curve from 99SE to DXP/2004 is fairly significant. Lots of 'look and feel'
    differences and conceptual differences as well. My 2 cents would be, if
    99SE is doing a good job for you - as it probably is - stick with it and
    save yourself the heartache and $.

  4. Fred,
    Besides reading the posts to the Protel EDA forum, join the
    forum and receive posts directly to your Email. The members of
    that listserver include many Protel professionals from around the
    world. If anybody can answer you questions or give opinions, they
    can. it is without doubt the best technical support system for a
    CAD package and the cost is "zero". If you gain from the forum I
    would suggest that you also take the time to participate and post
    advice for others when you can, nobody likes someone who is
    always just taking. The forum is essentially a user run forum so
    good solid participation is what keeps it alive.

    In short, the biggest difference from P99SE is the Query
    system. It replaces the older global edits and ties into rules
    and other aspects of utilizing the package efficiently. You can
    download tutorials and white papers on using the query system
    from Altium/Protel's website. I would strongly suggest getting
    those materials and downloading the demo product. Then play with
    the demo product and run through all the tutorials. Check the
    website for all the tutorial and how-to materials as well. Then
    you will be in some sort of a position to make your the best
    decision for you based upon your own experience and the
    assistance/comments from users on the Protel EDA Forum.

    Brad Velander and
  5. Hi Fred,
    I'm also using Protel 99SE SP6. It took a long time before 99SE got
    stable. I had a look at DXP and Protel 2004. Also I use Camtastic. There
    seems to be a lot differences in the new systems.
    In the moment I don't have any advantages of the newer systems. So I
    will wait.
    What are the functions of 2004 that you need, and that are not available
    in in 99SE? Also it disturbs me, that Protel depends on XP.
  6. George

    George Guest

    If you can keep the 99SE SP6 and the Computer and the OS alive then no
    need to change. But someday you'll need a new computer and then WIN
    XP will probably be the OS and that's the time to make the change.

    I'm in the same boat as you. But I also needed some of the parts that
    came in the Protel 2004 libraries. So I made the change and crawled
    up the learning curve.

  7. Fred

    Fred Guest

    I can't say that there are any new functions that I need at the moment.
    I'm window shopping so to speak.

    My first information regarding Protel was their Protel98 package. It was
    full of bugs and the folks I knew using it went berserk trying to get
    even simple designs done. It took quite a while for Protel to fix the
    bugs but I guess they got there.

    I started designing PCBs with Protel99. It was again loaded with bugs
    but gradually I got to know the program and it became a good tool after
    99SE was available (and alot of elbow-grease). But one thing that really
    stuck in my mind with Protel is that when they offer a new product,
    beware. It ain't gonna be fun! So I was looking to see what others have
    experienced with the newer Protel packages.

    Incidentally, I am using Protel99SE (SP6) with XP. At first there were
    some strange occurances (functions that used to work in 98SE stopped
    working or worked differently). I contacted Protel and they said they
    knew of no problems using 99SE with XP. I must have grown use to the
    differences cause it works fine now.

    I will look into the USersgroup. I've never tried that approach and am
    gratified to know it's of value.


  8. Bob Stephens

    Bob Stephens Guest

    Wouldn't it have been easier - and cheaper - to build the parts you needed?
  9. Hi,
    George schrieb:

    No I'm running Protel 99SE on XP.
    How long did it take? Only for the parts I would not change or upgrade.
  10. Hi Brad
    Which forum do you mean?
  11. The Techserve "Protel EDA Forum".
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