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 Post subject: [Struggling Noob] Repeating group/block layout in PCB? How?
PostPosted: 02 Sep 2014, 22:02 
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Joined: 02 Sep 2014, 17:39
Posts: 2
I'm VERY new to PCB design, so please bear with me...

I'm building a 20-sensor home power monitoring system based on http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/ using a Teensy 3.1 microcontroller. The prototype works, but has only 16 connectors out of the planned 20, and is already a rat's nest of jumper wires. I'd like to build a more compact and clean version using DipTrace and have OSH Park or similar create the PCB.

Anyway - each sensor jack has the same set of components connected to it. From what I can tell, it looks like I should be using hierarchy blocks to repeat the components for all 20 jacks. I've figured out how to do that in the schematic, but when I create a PCB from said schematic, the components for each block have their own unique arrangement.

Is there a way to repeat the layout of the components on the PCB (based on hierarchy blocks or otherwise)?

FWIW - here's the block that gets repeated 20 times:
Attachment:
repeating_components.PNG


And here's someone else's prototype on which I've based mine (different microcontroller, but same gist)
http://boredomprojects.net/images/Artic ... -Small.jpg
http://boredomprojects.net/images/Artic ... -small.jpg
from
http://boredomprojects.net/index.php/pr ... gy-monitor

-- 03 Sep 2014, 13:09 --

Well, I found some more time to play with this and have gotten a little further. In the PCB, I found Route>Hierarchy and was able to get it to address the individual blocks, but haven't yet figured out how to make it repeat my manual layout of one block. I'll keep tinkering, but I didn't see anything in the documentation to talk through this particular scenario... any/all help would still be greatly appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: [Struggling Noob] Repeating group/block layout in PCB? H
PostPosted: 03 Sep 2014, 13:52 
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 16:28
Posts: 87
I don't think there is a way to do that in the PCB editor. If there is I'd like to know also.


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 Post subject: Re: [Struggling Noob] Repeating group/block layout in PCB? H
PostPosted: 03 Sep 2014, 18:39 
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Joined: 02 Sep 2014, 17:39
Posts: 2
Well, I'm closer... if you go ahead and route one of the blocks, you can then use a rather clunky process to repeat the arrangement. If you click on one of the non-routed hierarchy blocks and click "Select Blocks", it will auto-arrange the selected block(s). Annoying if you've already started arranging things. Note that the "Copy Placement and Routing" is grayed out:
Attachment:
select_block_also_arranges.PNG


If you then route the block in question and re-open the above UI, you'll have the ability to copy. I did so for block 1 and block 2 popped up to the right:
Attachment:
kinda_sorta_works.PNG


I still have no clue if I'm on the right track, or if I'm anywhere close to designing a working PCB, but it feels like progress... I only call the process "clunky" because I have nothing to which to compare it. I gather that Eagle can't do this at all. It would just be nice if schematic blocks were automatically treated as "linked" groups in the PCB view. The only thing I've found that works that way is Altiun, which appears to be WAY out of my price range as a hobbyist :p

-- 03 Sep 2014, 19:54 --

Eeek! Just notice I posted this to the PCB manufacturing forum by accident. I've asked "admin" to move it to the "Basic Schematic and PCB Design" forum where it belongs... sorry about that.


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