3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 24, 2012 2:14 PM by jduquette

    Moveable inspection dots in Pads Layout


      I noticed the latest Support Net offered how to place an inspection dot in a decal.  All that really does is put a copper filled circle in the decal that you have to enter decal editor to move anywhere. Is anyone interested in having inspection dots that act just like reference designators?  You can move them in the silkscreen, they flip to top and bottom with the part, they highlight the part they are associated with, and you can align them along a string of parts if you want to.  I came up with this a few years ago and love it.  It saves a TON of time adjusting the silks.


      To create the original attribute:
      1. Edit a decal in the decal editor.
      2.  Go to setup>Display Colors.
      3.  Select a visible color for Attributes on top silkscreen.
      4.  Under Edit select Attribute Manager
      5.  Select Add.
      6.  Add attribute "Insp.Dot"
      7.  Click on Value,
      8.  Click edit
      9. Add value "." (a period)
      10.  Close Attribute Manager.

      Attribute now exists in Attribute List so you can add into other decals:

      1.  Select decal.
      2.  Right click, select Edit Decal
      3.  Select a visible color for Attributes on top silkscreen.
      4.  Select drafting toolbar.
      5.  Select Add New Label
      6.  Under Attribute, scroll down list to Insp.dot and click on it.
      7.  Change settings:  Show=Value; Layer=Silkscreen Primary; Size=20 mils (.508mm); line width=20 mils (.508mm) Set justification to taste, but Center on both seems to align the best.
      8.  Click OK.
      9. Place attribute next to Pin 1.
      10.  Save decal and exit editor.

      When adjusting silkscreens the inspection dot (actually nothing more than a giant period; i.e., text!) will act exactly like a reference designator with no additional buttons or actions to take.  Simply move it where you want it.  You can even align them like reference designators if you want to.


      Please email me if you have problems with it.  It really works rather neatly.

        • 1. Re: Moveable inspection dots in Pads Layout

          Oh, I forgot to add you can do the same process for pin numbers for connectors if you do that.  Like when you number Pin 1 and the last pin on a connector?  Just make an attribute for each number.  Iuse num1, num2, etc, "value" them accordingly, and place them as attributes on the connector.

          • 2. Re: Moveable inspection dots in Pads Layout

            The new IPC Standard is dictating that all polarity indicators must

            remain within the component courtyard and therefore they are moving

            away from the dot.  I prefer the dot and your suggestion, however it

            looks like that is on it's way out.  Check out PCB Libraries for more




            • 3. Re: Moveable inspection dots in Pads Layout

              Keeping the inspection dot within the courtyard makes sense; if you move it out of the Courtyard you'll probably get all sorts of clearance violations from PADS as the 'courtyard' will increase to include everything.


              Neat idea, Tom!  I've often made dual patterns so i can select the one that has the polarity indicator out of the way; this gets me through most situations.  I like this idea though, because you can define the decal with the indicator in the preferred location, and then move it as needed for a design.  You just need to watch out on the 'update attributes from library' moving things back unexpectedly.


              John D