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 Post subject: Reusing old layout in a new hierarchy - almost there!
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2016, 00:23 

Joined: 01 Feb 2016, 21:26
Posts: 20
Location: TN, USA
please somebody from Diptrace team check this out - I think you can help me finish this approach and make it working or DT still needs to make few changes to the code to make possible re-use of the previously made layout as a block to the new hierarchical board. Please check out my steps and the results:
1. I used previously made in DT schematic and layout as a block to the new design. 1st I used the same schematic as a block on sheet2 which is included 5 times in the main sheet.

2. I opened in PCB my old layout .dip file and manually changed all the ref IDs of the components to match a DT naming for hierarchical blocks... For ex. original R2 name I changed to R2_1 for a block instance #1, U1 changed to U1_1 and so on... Also in the component's property I added additional attribute "hierarchy" with value such as "block1 U1" etc... In other words all the components of my traced block had ref IDs as if they are made by DT hierarchical conversion from a schematic...

3. Now: "renew design from schematic"-> by Ref IDs (as they are matching now) -> my traced components ID's got right as I expected and all the "added" blocks from schematic were added to the layout with proper naming following the 1st imported block... in other words my 1st traced block components were "recognized" as a correct hierarchical conversion...
but my imported layout of the block#1 was broken into the common pile...

4. "undo" and another try: I used a "lock trace" feature. Then try again renew design from schematic by ref ID... Program asked me if I want to unlock the locked components for making a change - I clicked "NO" and........
program unlocked my traces anyway and kicked all components into the common pile again :D

Now - if we consider the inability to keep the locked traces in hierarchical layout - as a "bug", then I think program almost made this hierarchical feature work ... here is a workflow as it is "almost implemented" now:
1. Ref IDs for all the traced and imported components must be changed manually by a developer to match the DT's naming for a hierarchy. This process is inevitable because how else DT can match the schematic with traced components on the imported layout ?
And this is actually working - program excepted my manual Ref ID assignment for the 1st instance of block.
2.Previously made and imported layout must be grouped and locked. This feature, "lock", is already there but apparently does not work (at least not for a hierarchy)
3. renewing from schematic by Ref ID should just add new blocks to the one we imported .
If "locking worked fine - previously traced block was already accepted as a part of hierarchical schematic, so seems there is nothing else to prevent from continuation of the usual hierarchical steps to finish the layout process - copying the traces and positioning.

If keeping traces and positioning locked during the "renewing" process could be fixed, I think the re-use of the available layout would be done by DipTrace...

-- 18 Feb 2016, 12:11 --

Going into more details of the reuse of previously made design in a new hierarchical layout:
If DT internally maintains it's own netlist only by components RefID and their pin numbers ( means each trace is nothing but a record of joined RefID:pi_number connections) then whatever has been implemented in DT is already a "not-yet-but-almost-working" but well designed implementation of this much needed feature. Reuse of the same block of schematic should be tied to the reused components with the same pin numbers, pin patterns and connections between those pins. All is left to do - to debug the "lock traces" feature in a hierarchical layout for the grouped components along with their traces. Automatic "copy and place" similar blocks works wonderful.

On another hand, if however DT is still using symbolic names for the nets in their trace netlists, then this would have to be redesigned because the developer does not care much about symbolic net names beyond making the schematic. Symbolic names change often even between multiple versions of the same product and barely reused.
Diptrace team can answer how they maintain traces in their netlists...
I think next version of DT (even if it is just a "bug fix" release) can have this feature fully working...
I can volunteer to write a tutorial on how to do the integration with a previously made layout.

-- 04 Sep 2017, 00:55 --

Please let me know if reuse of the block/page of hierarchy layout was eventually implemented .
I didn;t update DT version for awhile, may be this important feature was already working?
Is "lock trace" of the block layout indeed gets locked and can be copied and pasted?


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