Please download and try a 10-day evaluation of LP Wizard for Expedition here - http://www.mentor.com/go/lpwizard
Even after the 10-day license expires, the LP Wizard will run in "Demo Mode" as an LP Calculator, so it's worth your time and effort to try it out.
The Land Pattern Wizard is for building those IPC standard library parts in a fraction of the time (up to 90% faster than any other method).
I know exactly what you mean by building 300 new library parts a month.
I downloaded 4,000 random component package datasheets from the internet and was able to create 3,500 library parts in a month, all from scratch. That's 10x of what you need. 500 of the datasheets were unique one-of-a-kind component package that requires manual construction. So the LP Wizard was able to build 88% of all the library parts that I downloaded.
All you do is pick a component family template, enter the component dimensions and the LP Calculator auto-generates an accurate ROHS land pattern in IPC-7351B 3-Tier environment or use your personal preferences to create customized library parts.
Everyone who has used LP Wizard can never go back to their original method of CAD library construction. Once you start using it, there's no turning back.
Mentor Graphics has the best CAD library tool in the EDA industry and it's officially approved by IPC.
I am interested to know what events & actors have caused you to determine that there is “infighting” within the Board Division at MGC over component content creation products (feel free to Email me: email@example.com).
Your argument as I understand it: The MGC Library Content Creation Tools (Library Manager which encapsulates the New Symbol Editor and the Expedition Cell Editor) that have been customer proven to reliably create representations for any PCB component are more difficult to use because there are some additional products available.
Is that really what you are stating?
I think your implicit argument is that you need high productivity content creation tools to meet your current demand load and you dont think that Library Manager with the New Symbol Editor and Cell editor is “getting it done fast enough”.
We have our proven core PCB component authoring system: Library Manager. Library Manager has a variety of editors associated with it that span symbol, cell & part. These are the feature rich, Industrial grade editors used by PCB Librarians around the world. These editors span the complete breadth of PCB components.
Since we do understand that high quality PCB libraries are critical to the success of our customers we have not “kicked-back” and stopped investing in content creation technologies. A prime example is the acquisition of the Land Pattern Wizard (LPW) product and technology by MGC. Does LPW make some our customer’s lives much better? YES. Is LPW a replacement for the Cell Editor? NO
Land Pattern Wizard provides one heck of a productivity and quality boost but it is not sufficient; the cell must be completed in the Cell Editor. Does this undermine the value of LPW? No. Is it clear that there is room for improvement? We get it, we are working on it.
There is a difference between Land Pattern Wizard “the product” & Land Pattern Wizard “technology”. At the moment if a customer wants to access the productivity & Quality of LPW they need to use an additional product. In the future the technology will be integrated into the core PCB library content creation system. It takes some time but we will “get there”.
Clearly, MGC is investing in technology that will increase productivity & quality of library content creation. Does the new product “muddy the water” when it comes to tool selection? Not from my perspective => Library Manager (our recommendation has not changed). If you want some additional productivity before we complete our technology adaptation work then you have the option of using the stand alone tool (Sounds like LPW would be of value to you).
Onto symbols; the comprehensive solution is the New Symbol Editor in Library Manager…. You have full control to create symbols; you also have the ability to link simulation models through symbol properties.
I/O Designer was not intended as a PCB Librarian tool; it was intended for PCB functional or FPGA design engineers to use to optimize the FPGA – PCB interface for PCB performance, reliability & manufacturing costs. We have noticed that more than one PCB Librarian has used I/O Designer and in the EE 7.9.2 release I/O Designer will include a “PCB Librarian” GUI mode to promote “ease of use”.
I/O Designer operates off of an internal FPGA device database. The internal database is necessary to support the evaluation of complex pin assignment rules leveraged during signal assignment & interface optimization. The internal database also supports rapid generation of FPGA symbols using customer specified fracturing schemes.
I/O Designer "kicks tail" but we have had some customer’s request the ability to generate FPGA symbols who do not value the interface optimization.
I am going to re-interpret your comment “None of these tools can mine the pin data from a vendor's component specification PDF file” to imply that you want direct component data linkage with the Component Suppliers/Vendors. It’s your opinion that “PDF extraction” is the correct method to accomplish this linkage.
I wont say we haven't considered the PDF extraction approach. In fact, we have invested to acquire and evaluate that technology. The problem is; there is not a lot of consistency within datasheets for pin representation. PDF is a general purpose markup and not a pin definition format. Certainly, PDF extraction adds productivity but is also adds uncertainty: Is the extracted data “good”?.
Our investigation caused us to dig deeper into how the Component Suppliers create their datasheet and find a more accurate communication channel for elemental component information. Turns out, they have spreadsheets of pin information (It's a natural constituent of the package design process)
FPGA Symbol Creator is a product that reads the FPGA Vendor pin list information (spreadsheets) directly off of the FPGA Vendor’s websites. FPGA Symbols Creator is a niche tool that filled a stated void by some of our customers. FPGA Symbol Creator is a first pass, targeted, implementation of a strategic effort to implement dynamic integration directly with Component Supplier’s “golden source”. FPGA Symbol Creator leveraged considerable technology from our acquisition of that "PDF extraction" product.
If I am able to convince you that "PDF extraction" is an implementation detail and take you up a level I think you would agree that easy access to high quality component pin data is the requirement. At that point we could begin a more interesting conversation from my perspective: What constitutes an acceptable symbol generation "result"?.If we could boil this down and have a detailed compartive analysis defining "drafting standards" that would help push the research along. Otherwise we are going to end up with a mess... when you are done with "generation" open the resulting symbol in the New Symbol Editor and "fix it".
We are not actively promoting FPGA Symbol Creator. Why? We became concerned that some customers would be confused between I/O Designer and FPGA Symbol Creator. It never occurred to us that FPGA Symbol Creator would create customer confusion in regards to the New Symbol Editor. (live and learn).
If you understand that FPGA Symbol Creator has one objective: To generate FPGA fractured symbols for the PCB schematic design process and that the resulting symbols would be “dumb” (no intelligent pin swap information) then FPGA Symbol Creator might be valuable. As a rule, I recommend I/O Designer for both FPGA Symbol Generation and FPGA – PCB Interface optimization simply because FPGA – PCB Interface optimization will reduce product time to market by 30% - 50% (but this is not a PCB librarian function).
If you were stating we had created confusion between FPGA Symbol Creator and I/O Designer then I would have been forced to “fess up” as those products are both within my umbrella or responsibility. I was not fighting with myself but I was aware that I was treading a fine line between creating customer value and customer confusion.
Either way, FPGA Symbol Creator and I/O Designer both tackle a specific sub-class of popular components: FPGAs. Neither tool is a general purpose component symbol generator. There is a lot of pain associated with creating symbols for large FPGA symbols & validating them. At the expense of some customer confusion the boost in productivity has proven worthwhile for adopters.
I could state that the Board Systems Division’s Culture is not prone to discuss our product and solution roadmaps. That statement would not be accurate but I do understand the perspective since we are focused through our planning and implementation process. Our “best practices” is to partner with a handful of customers, “teaching customers” or “lighthouse customers”, and then work with them through plan & implementation review & refinement. The “deep dive” partnership is an investment by our customers that we value. If you are interested contact your MGC Account Manager and point them at me.
If you are not ready to bite off that level of partnership investment it would be useful to setup an interview and gather your PCB Library content creation thoughts directly.
As far as “Mentor has no one group in SDD responsible for librarian tools”; that’s an inaccurate statement. Absolutely, there is one Director responsible for Library Manager. There are other Directors who provide technology to Library Manager. However, that is Standard Operating Procedure…. Technology must be combined from every director to create a flow release. This resource utilization applies the appropriate expertise to the development effort.
I know every director responsible for any piece of PCB Library content creation and there is no fighting. We have internal research on-going, proto-type development, testing and have demonstrated investment through acquisition. We have frequent review meetings... No signs of battle.
There is a difference between “products for sale” and “what we are working on”. I think the assumption that we are not reading the market trends and planning appropriately is mistaken. That does not imply that we would not benefit from some help making sure we hit the target upon release.
The point of this long response is this:
- If your concern is higher productivity PCB library content creation solutions
- Then, the evidence is all around you, in your post, of MGC's continued investment in content creation technology
MGC is the technology leader because we invest in technology development and acquisition... we are never standing still.
Some times it gets a little "messy" and there is some functional overlap. The messiness is eliminated over time and typically accompanies technology acquisition & assimilation. The trade-off between early availability of new technology & waiting for an integrated component of the flow has it's own dynamics but a large population of customers prefer "early access" accepting "earlier adopter expertise requirements" to gain a competitive edge.
I hope you don't take my directness offensively. You were honest enough to be direct in your post.
- If your concern is higher productivity PCB library content creation solutions
First of all, thanks for being direct with me. As a 25+ year veteran of doing E-CAD support it's greatly appreciated.
Please realize that this is one customer's viewpoint.
This is a long post and will take me some time to digest but I do have some comments.
We do not use Expedition today. We are one of the few companies using DxDesigner for schematic capture and Zuken CR-5000 for PCB layout.
Since we support designs for many years, sometimes it is more cost effective to keep a design in a legacy tool, versus moving it to the current E-CAD design process. Thus our librarians must support multiple libraries to support these tools. They have many different tools that they use to put parts in the various libraries. Also because they are so busy putting in parts, they are not that interested in having to learn a new library creation tool unless it will significantly help them in doing their job. If we do go to the Expedition flow, our librarians will have more tools they will need to learn with each tool fulfilling a specific niche.
As far as the "infighting" that I perceive that is going on within the Board Division at Mentor, this perception comes from my own observations and experience, and also from what I've been able to gather with conversation with our account team and other people at Mentor. From this customer's viewpoint, I see that multiple people are in charge of the librarians tools and while you say that they meet and talk, as a customer I wonder if any decisions are actually made? I haven't seen any communication from Mentor that would support this.
I have had a little exposure to the Library Manager in the Expedition flow. From what I've seen, this tool does a pretty good job in supporting the Expedition flow. However, we have over 50,000 parts in our library today. I'm not sure how well the Library Manager scales in managing a database of this size. If we ever implement Expedition, we'll definitely implement the Library Manager with DMS but since I don't have much experience in this area, I'm not sure how this process would work. What I do know though, is because the Library Manager does not support the netlist flow, it will not help us today with our Mentor/Zuken PCB flow. So it's pretty much useless in our current PCB design process.
So let's talk about schematic symbols and the New Symbol Editor.. I don't know your experience in this tool, but have you actually tried to create symbols using this tool? In preparations for our migration to EE7.x, I spent two hours yesterday trying to demonstrate how this tool works to our librarians and had nothing but problems. It was embarrassing to have to demonstrate a tool that has major bugs. Here's just one example, we ran into a problem trying to place pins from the pins window where the pin labels kept getting changed. This bug makes the pins window useless and the pins window is a major feature of the tool. When I reported the bug via SupportNet I found out that apparently this bug has been there since EE2007.8. If I recall correctly EE2007.8 was released over a year ago. I was told that this bug will be fixed in EE7.9.2. This is one bug of many that exist within the tool. Frankly, while the ePD2005 DxDesigner symbol editor didn't have near the functionality and features that the EE7.x symbol editor has, at least it didn't have any bugs and it was much easier to create symbols with it.
While FPGAs make up many of the large pin count parts we create, there are other large pin parts that we create besides FPGAs. We need a tool that understands how to split a part up into mulitple symbols and keep all of the pins straight between the different symbols so that we don't get any duplicate pins. We also need to be able to move pins between symbols because engineers are finicky and like to change their mind. This tool also need to have the capability to generate symbols.
The New Symbol Editor does not have this type of functionality. Why can't Mentor take the functionality of the FPGA editor, modify it so it will work with other large pin count parts beside FPGAs, and add the functionality to the Symbol Editor? Mentor has this functionality in tools they've aquired in acquisitions such as the SymXpert tool and the Component Editor from Valor. Mentor has had the SymXpert technology for at least two years and has done nothing with it. For some reason, the Component Editor has never been released to the customers. So when is Mentor going to take advantage of the technology they already own and provide it to their customers? When is Mentor going to create a Symbol editor that can create large pin parts including DSPs, ASICs, FPGAs, processors and also create small analog parts that are not square boxes? All we have today is point tools which solve specific problems, not a comprehensive tool. EE2007.x/EE7.x has been available for almost three years now and besides the FPGA symbol editor, very few improvements have been made by Mentor in this area.
As far as "PDF extraction" goes, since SymXpert has this technology and the tools and technology to handle all the different variations that can occur, we've been very happy and very successful in using this technology. We have yet to see Component suppliers provide a pin table for a part in a spreadsheet form. If you have any information on where we can find this information we'd be very interested.
The problem with the current version of SymXpert is that the PDF viewer that it uses to mine the data is old (Adobe Version 7) and will not be supported with Windows 7. Since the current vendor of SymXpert has decided to "open source" the software, I don't feel that they are that interested in upgrading the software to use the latest Adobe PDF viewer. That's too bad, since this technology has been very helpful to us in our schematic symbol creation process.
Again, thanks for listening and responding to this issue. Responses like this will only help Mentor and it's customers succeed.
It's been over a month since Tony's last post, and I don't see any response to his concerns/problems with symbol creation. I, too, would like to hear where Mentor is headed on this front. This has come up today, especially, because we've just been tasked with two new high pin-count devices to add to our new DxD library.
I haven't used it for a while, but we purchased Symbol Wizard a while ago, before it was purchased by Mentor. I started to look into updating our program, but it seems Mentor currently has nothing to offer as far as this product goes. I understand that the Symbol Wizard tool is/was not ideal, but it's better than the alternative of creating high pin-count devices by hand, typing in all those pin labels manually.
Looking forward to hearing more........
Yes the new Tool has much more functionality - but it got much more bugs too.
Simple tasks do not work:
-) copying Pins with labels with CTRL key pressed (new pins are somewhere but not at the cursor position)
-) The NSE uses different "graphical" views than DxDesigner - (Labels appear to be much larger in NSE than Dx Designer)
-) editing labels or text in the graphical view does not work - cursors on right aligned text are somewhere, but not at the position where it should be
-) Selecting graphics and text offeres different color options => if you change one color you change all colors!
-) selecting one item eg. pin does not show the properties on the property tab (if you have the property window, the pin list in tabs). Reselecting the item helps if you first choose the property tab.
-) symbol import is not very easy and flexible - EE2005.3 was easy and worked!
-) preconfigured and not changeable definitions (like default pinlength and color)
-) tcl automation
What I cannot understand - did no one use the tool during alpha/beta/release canditate testing phase of EE 7.9.x.
Because there are so many usablilty problems or bugs which have been identified after 10 minutes of real work!
Also some nice things:
+) easy to use Bounding Box
+) I see a high potential in the functionality of the NSE - cannot be used since usability is very strange.
+) Good Ideas: like pin list or property list, insertion point
+) auto alignment ....
+) property handling is better with a complete overview
At the moment NSE is not my tool to create symbols - I only modify the symbols when I am in the EE7.9.1 flow.
For schematic symbol creations the Symbolwizard from EE2005.3 is still the choice number one.
Why not having VBS automation - this would be much more consistent to other Mentor products ....
Please invest something in usability and testing - after that NSE could be a good tool.
Thankyou for your post. We do continue to develop NSE and appreciate the feedback users provide. I will attempt to answer a number of your points as well as use this opportunity to seek some clarification.
To take your points in order:
Copying pins with labels: Agree, this is a bug and I have logged an internal DR for it.
NSE Graphical Views: We continue to investigate the issues with different rendering of items between NSE and DxDesigner, NSE uses a different development platform to DxD which is why we have some differences. This is seen as of high importance within Mentor.
Editing labels or text...: With the latest version I have tested (EE7.9.2) the cursor may be placed anywhere in the string but first you need to click the mouse twice to go to edit mode (select the text), this will place the cursor at the end of the string, a further click will place the cursor at the mouse position. This may be a consequence of the development platform used but I will check with engineering.
Selecting graphics and text...: With EE7.9.x (or EE2007.x) we use the Property Definition editor in conjunction with DxD to set default colours for text, in NSE colours are set to automatic which ensures they follow the use of colour schemes in DxD. The Preferences setting acts as an overlay to this automatic colour, if you change pin Graphics for example in the preferences it will change all such graphics to the chosen colour. To change a single pin use the Pin Colour in the Properties pane.
Selecting one item e.g. pin .... : Using 7.9.2 I cannot reproduce this, selecting a pin in the symbol pane updates the properties as does selecting a pin in the Pins List. I have selected many different pins between the two windows and the properties consistently update.
Symbol import is not very easy and flexible...: Can you elaborate on your requirements or post the information on Ideas compared to 2005.3.
Preconfigured and not changeable definitions: Pin Length has been added as a separate item in 7.9.2, it was tied to pin spacing previously. Pin Colour can be changed in the Preferences - Appearance section but with provisos that if launched from DxDesigner NSE will take the DxDesigner default settings and if launched from Library Manager it will use the preferences or automatic colour.
tcl automation: This is due to the development environment it is based on which does not offer VBA or VB Script.
>Selecting graphics and text...: With EE7.9.x (or EE2007.x) we use the Property Definition editor in conjunction with DxD to set default colours for text, in NSE colours are set >to automatic which ensures they follow the use of colour schemes in DxD. The Preferences setting acts as an overlay to this automatic colour, if you change pin Graphics for >example in the preferences it will change all such graphics to the chosen colour. To change a single pin use the Pin Colour in the Properties pane.
Maybe I said something wrong - but currently if I select eg pins including the pinlabel and pinnumber
I get the properties with Text Color and Pin Color now they are different.
If I change the Text color - the pin color changes to the same color. This is a strange behaviour.
Why shall I change the pin color if I just change the text color!
Logged SR - but closed with comment - works well - that is so - I think usability should be in the foreground.
>Selecting one item e.g. pin .... : Using 7.9.2 I cannot reproduce this, selecting a pin in the symbol pane updates the properties as does selecting a pin in the Pins List. I have >selected many different pins between the two windows and the properties consistently update.
Current EE 7.9.1 update 12: open a symbol - have a tabbed view of Pins & Properties - pin list is active
Now I select some pins - in the pin list the selected pins are highlighted.
Now I change to the properties tab - I do not see any properties.
Properties get visible if I reselct the pins!
>Symbol import is not very easy and flexible...: Can you elaborate on your requirements or post the information on Ideas compared to 2005.3.
EE2005.3: I have an excel sheet with following columns:
Pin-Label | Pin-Nr | Type | Symbol-Side | Pin Color | Label color | Label visible | pin inverted | label inverted
~test | E2 | out | right | 1 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 1 => column Symbold-Side, Label visible and pin inverted are generated with formulars
Currently I select the pins (all columns) from my list for the fractured symbol. Press Ctrl+C
Start Symbol-Wizard in EE2005.3 and in the "spreadsheet" view I press CTRL+V => now all pins are copied into the symbol.
With this method I am able to generate 500 pin symbols in less then 15 minutes from scratch.
The time for entering Pinnumbers and Pin-Labels in the Excel sheet is not included.
I do not have to make a CSV table for each symbol - as I read in the HowTos.
I can generate Symbol just with "drag & drop" - ok its copy and paste but thats OK for me.
That is easy to use and very fast.
>tcl automation: This is due to the development environment it is based on which does not offer VBA or VB Script.
For my opinion this looks like I want to offer something but I was not able to do it right.
OK tcl automation is better than nothing - but if you look at the complete EE flow - this is somehow excotic.
At least you should offer the possible to have a VBA or VB script wrapper for the commands - then it is no matter what to use!
To clarify my point of view:
First I did dislike the new EE 7.9 flow - now after we got support to generate a PDB from our netlist flow library I do like the new tools.
I still miss the ASCII files (SCH, OATS) - but Mentor improved the EE 7.9.1 Flow very well (Replace over projects works - but not so flexible like doing in the text files).
Still some features do not work as in 2005 - DxPDF (clicking on hirarchy symbols does not jump to the expected sheet - logged SR - now with DR)
Many things came into EE 7.9.1 updates which I missed.
Some problems are Links in hirarichal designs (I know they are not supported - but why to LINKS get the name of the hirarchy prior to the netname: eg Signal name is TCK after adding a link it gets FPGA\TCK ????)
The only tool I do not use for productive work is NSE - its too buggy, to userunfriendly - I only use if I am in the EE 7.9.1 flow and I have to modify a symbol.
NSE is a nice tool - but it needs very much improvement to be as fast as in EE2005.3.
I am sorry - I did not find the symbol wizard within DxDesigner EE7.9.1 => now it is part of the Library Manager and not part of DxDesigner.
In 2005.3 it was New => Symbol Wizard
>Symbol import is not very easy and flexible...: Can you elaborate on your requirements or post the information on Ideas compared to 2005.3.
It is done - but the symbol wizard has the same bug as in 2005.3
Pin Name Color is ignored - see attached screenshot!
SR 285197701 was done with EE 2005.05 and was closed in December 2009 => Planned Release EE2007.3
Because one answer we got - fixed in new release ....
Problems with symbol-wizard of DxDesigner 2005. If you copy the pin definitions from excel - the color of the label is not correct and if you try to change afterwards the color of the label the pin direction changes.
The bug is still here !
Symbol Wizard was added back into the flows several releases ago, from Library Manager for the EE flow and it is also available in the netlist flow from File - New - Library Symbol.
Also I have tested the case where you select multiple objects, as in your example a pin and its associated properties, and can confirm what you're seeing, when you change the colour of one item, say Pin Colour, the other colours also change. This is a bug and unexpected behaviour, again I have logged it internally. If you see any further such anomalies please log them with Customer Support.
>If you see any further such anomalies please log them with Customer Support.
I did a SR for the problem.
The answer from the support engineer was - IT IS OK!!!
If I want to change it - make an entry on the ideas page ....
I did this as well!
So, is anyone at Mentor going to respond to the issues I raised besides the marketing propaganda we received? What is Mentor's strategy for creating large pin count fractured parts? Is there even a strategy or plan?
The Symbol Wizard does not have all the needed features nor is robust enough to perform this task. Parts are coming with more functionality and more pins. Mentor needs to provide tools that will help the librarian create the needed symbols easily and without error.
Our largest Part had 784 pins. Since we did a mistake in pin assigning we needed to find a solution for us.
Now for every new part is created with one Excel-Sheet.
On the left we have the things needed for symbol creation.
on the right we have a graphical check if every pin of the package is used.
If one Pin is not used the pin on the graphical view is filled green.
So I can "fracture" the symbols in Excel as I want and then copy the "fracture" to Symol Wizard.
Since we use this - we did not have any assignment failures.
Of course - we review the schematic symbol and the pin/pad assignment manually too.
But with this symbol creation procedure it takes about 2 hours. This is the time it took me for 484 pins .....
11013_pinouts.xls 2.5 MB
Your Excel sheet looks good and you created this manually or using a script? And how you enter the pin number and pin name into the excel sheet?
I enter the data manually - either I cut the Pin Definitions from a Datasheet or I enter this manually.
No Scripts needed only formulas.
Our symbol creation process is as follows:
Enter Pins & Pin Label into the Excel Sheets
Manually to the usage (in,out,bi, power .....)
Copy the colored column into symbol wizard and you have your symbol ....
The "Pin Layout" is just done with dropping the pin names in one row the other row is done with the excel function VLOOKUP( ; ; FALSE) this delivers the excat value.
In addition I use conditional formatting of the "Pin Layout" if there is an error.
This worksheet is surely not perfect but it helps us alot for creating symbols.
You are free to improve it ;-)