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Conversion process from ePD2005 netlist flow to EE2007 iCDB flow is cumbersome and difficult to use.

Question asked by avjohn on Feb 3, 2009
Latest reply on Mar 3, 2010 by robert_davies


As I've been attempting to convert a design from the ePD2005 Zuken netlist flow to an EE2007 Expedition iCDB flow, I've noticed that this is a difficult process to use and can be prone to many mistakes being made in trying to convert a design successfully. 


This is just my opinion, but it looks to me that Mentor's DxDesigner/Expedition engineering group put most of their emphasis on the iCDB flow and didn't put much thought into how they were going to support the netlist flows in EE2007 and how to migrate from a netlist flow to the iCDB flow.  EE2007 is a great release if a customer is already using Expedition, but NOT if you are a customer who currently uses a netlist flow and would like to migrate to Expedition.


The current process to convert a design from our Zuken flow to Expedition is not a workable solution.  The current process is cumbersome and difficult to use.  There are many reasons for this:


  • We would have to keep a copy of ePD2005.3 available as there is no method or process today to use EE2007 to convert a netlist flow design to the iCDB flow.  It first must be converted to the iCDB flow in ePD2005.3 before converting to EE2007.

  • We would have to install ePD2005.3 on separate PC systems other than the user's local PC so they wouldn't have to run the configurator to switch between the tool versions.  Since ePD2005.3 is a user based install (all the registry entries are entered by the configurator per user login), it will be difficult to have multiple people use the same system.  This will also be difficult to support.

  • We would have to train personnel on how to convert the designs for engineers as the conversion of the design can be easily corrupted unless you follow the steps exactly as written.  This introduces another hand-off in the design process and increases the design cycle time.


While we have been successful in converting a Zuken flow design from ePD2005 to EE2007 there are issues here also.  When we release a schematic design into our PDM system, we do not store the "wir" files or the .dproj file as they can always be recreated when the design is checked out of PDM.  To get the wir files, you must do a "Save and Check" on the design in ePD2005.  The .dproj file can be created using a text editor because in the netlist flow, this file only has 2 lines of text. 


Today, I would not recommend migrating to EE2007 for anyone using the netlist flow process at this time because there are too many issues with EE2007.


We have thousands of designs done using the ePD Netlist flow.  Many of our new designs are spin-offs and/or improvements to a current design, or combining two designs into one.  If we migrate to EE2007, we need to be able to convert designs easily.


If I was to design the ideal process to convert a netlist flow design to the iCDB flow it would be this:


  • User gets the design they want to convert (usually out of PDM).

  • User runs a program that creates the "wir" files, changes the viewdraw.ini file to point at the iCDB library and creates the .dproj file using EE2007.  ePD2005 would not be required for the conversion process.

  • User starts EE2007 DxDesigner and does a File > Open to find the .dproj file.

  • The design is converted to the iCDB flow.

  • The iCDB flow allows the user to netlist either to Expedition (and all it's capabilities) or to a netlist flow PCB tool (and it's limitations).



What do the rest of you think?