1. What operating systems are supported by DipTrace? What are minimum and recommended system requirements?
DipTrace supports Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. Both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista are supported. DipTrace works on Mac OS X (Intel based, XQuartz required) and Linux (with Wine). Recommended system requirements: 1GHz Pentium III processor or better, 1Gb RAM, 1,5 Gb free space on HDD, 1024x768 screen resolution or higher, OpenGL / DirectX 9.0 or higher.
2. I want to install DipTrace. What installation file should be downloaded from DipTrace web-site?
If you have a 64-bit operating system, you should download the corresponding, 64-bit installation package from the Download Center. If you have a 32-bit operating system, you need to download the 32-bit package. Select Trial or Freeware. When registered, DipTrace is converted to the edition you've purchased and it does not matter whether it is Freeware or Trial. Installation file for Mac OS X is available as well.
3. My antivirus/firewall reports viruses, while downloading or installing DipTrace...
DipTrace has no viruses or any kind of malware. But some antiviruses and firewalls mistakenly block DipTrace installation. In this case we recommend to disable antivirus or/and firewall while downloading and installing DipTrace. After installation you can turn it ON again. You may need to add DipTrace executables to exceptions list in antivirus setup if it continues to block them in the future.
4. I can't register my copy of DipTrace! What am I supposed to do?
Be careful while entering the user name and registration key. Please, do not try to type them with a keyboard. We recommend to copy and paste registration data from the email that you've received from our sales staff right into corresponding fields of registration dialog box.
5. I've lost my key. Please help!
Please, contact us - email@example.com. We will resend your registration key.
6. How to update to the latest available DipTrace version?
If standard libraries have been modified (for 2.3 version and earlier), you should save a backup copy of them because old libraries will be overwritten with the new ones. We recommend to backup custom designs from the DipTrace folder as well. Removing the old version isn't necessary. The existing registration key is valid for all minor updates (2.X versions), so you'll just need to re-enter it.
7. Is it possible to use DipTrace on two (or more) computers?
Yes, you can install DipTrace on several computers with the same license key. But only one copy should be running at a time. For example, it means: one user has DipTrace on two computers or several users work on one computer with installed DipTrace.
8. How to install two versions (stable and beta) on one computer?
You can install one version of the software and then install another version in a different folder. Notice that you'll be able to launch only one version of DipTrace from the Windows Start menu (it will probably be the last one to be installed). Another version can be launched by double clicking the *.exe file from the corresponding folder. Some settings are stored in the registry and they will be common for both versions.
9. How to get general information about my Schematic/Layout: number of pins used in design etc.?
Please open "File \ Schematic Information" from main menu in Schematic editor or "File \ Design Information" in PCB Layout in order to find the info you need at the top of the dialog box.
10. I can't find the component (pattern) I need. What to do?
Please do the following: 1) Check that search is conducted in all libraries. 2) Try to type a few letters of the component/pattern name, it will help to find similar components. 3) Check if libraries had been installed correctly. 4) Check Library Help, this may help to find correct pattern in the libraries. 5) You can always create a component or pattern by yourself if the desired has not been found in the DipTrace libraries.
11. I have a component library where a certain component has an attached pattern. How to find a pattern library with that pattern?
Information about attached patterns is stored within the component library, but the pattern itself isn't available from there. However, user can extract pattern directly from the component, select "Pattern \ Insert from Another Library" from main menu in Pattern Editor, and select component library and component to get its pattern.
12. How to copy pattern / component from one library to another?
There are several ways to copy a pattern or component from one library to another: 1) Select component / pattern then go to main menu "Pattern (Component) \ Copy to Another Library". 2) Insert new pattern / component from another library: go to "Pattern (Component) \ Insert from Another Library". 3) Press "Pattern Tools" or "Component Tools" button on the library manager panel to access the aforementioned functions.
13. How to change color settings in Component and Pattern editors?
Color settings in Component and Pattern editors depend on color settings in Schematic and PCB Layout, respectively. So please change color settings in these programs ("View \ Colors" from main menu), then restart all DipTrace applications to apply changes.
14. I get "Format is incorrect" message when opening a file. What does it mean?
You are probably trying to open a file that was created in newer version of the software. If this is the case, use DipTrace ASCII export for compatibility. Otherwise, please send this file to DipTrace support staff and we will figure out the exact problem.
15. Is forward and backward compatibility supported? How to open files in older version of the software?
DipTrace supports backward compatibility (old files can be opened in newer versions of the software), but forward compatibility isn't supported (older versions do NOT open files generated in newer versions). However, there is a solution to this problem. Export the file to DipTrace ASCII format in the newer version and then import the ASCII file in older version.
16. I try to connect two wires with the same type net ports in Schematic, but this doesn't work. What to do?
Net ports should have the same type and pin names. Only wires connected to net port pins with the same name will be joined to the same net.
17. How to connect analog and digital Grounds without merging them into a single net?
DipTrace automatically merges two nets into a single net once they have been connected together. To avoid this, place a 0 Ohm resistor or inductor between the two grounds. This will keep the two ground nets different, but you'll be able to short them together on the real board.
18. How to save my schematic/board to PDF?
Please install any virtual PDF printer. Then send the schematic or board to that printer from print preview, it will create PDF file for you.
19. How to connect GND net to inner layer automatically?
You can use Fanout. Right click on the SMD pad of the net and select Fanout from the submenu. In the pop-up dialog box select appropriate via style (should be created in advance) and press "OK".
20. Why are components on the bottom side mirrored?
User sees mirrored objects on the bottom side as if the board were transparent. If you need to look at the board in real-life mode, select "View \ Mirror" from main menu. However, we recommend to use default view while working on the project.
21. How to align patterns on the board?
Usually patterns are aligned to grid by pads (first pad) after converting the schematic to PCB. But patterns can be aligned by origin as well. Select patterns then right click on one of them and choose "Snap to Grid \ By Origin" from the submenu.
22. How to create circular boards in DipTrace?
The easiest way to create a circular board is to select "Objects \ Board Points" from main menu then choose "Create circular board" option and specify the board radius. Press "OK" to apply changes and you'll get the board you need. Another way is to select the "Create board outline" tool, left click on the first point on design area, right click and select "Arc mode" from the submenu. Specify the opposite point of the circle then left click on first point to close the board outline.
23. How to design single-sided board?
Any board in DipTrace has a minimum of two signal layers by default: Top and Bottom. If you want to create a single-sided board, just keep one layer unused; don't place any components or route traces there. If you're in manual routing mode. If you're going to use autorouter, block it from using certain layer(s) (see below).
24. How to achieve single-side automatic routing?
There are two built-in autorouters in DipTrace: Grid and Shape router. Open "Route \ Current Autorouter" from the main menu and choose one of them. Then select "Route \ Autorouter Setup".
For Grid router, set “Number of Layers = 1”, allow jumper wires, if it is available.
For Shape router, go to “Settings” tab, select "Use priority layer direction" and select "Off" for unused layer(s).
25. How to forbid automatic routing of through-hole pad nets on the component side of the board for certain component(s)?
There are two ways to do this: 1) Add Route Keepout around certain pads on the component-side layer (where components are placed). 2) Right click on the pad or pads and select "Hide pad ring in Layer" from the submenu.
26. I've created an internal plane layer and connected it to a certain net. But when I launch check net connectivity after completing routing, it says that this net is not connected. What's wrong?
You need to add copper pour on the plane layer and connect pour to the same net as the plane layers.
27. What is the difference between static and trace vias?
Trace vias are created when switching trace from one layer to another layer in manual routing mode. Trace vias move while editing traces. Static vias should be placed manually (but the fanout feature and Shape router create static vias as well). They do not move while editing traces. User moves static vias manually. In addition, there is an option that converts trace vias to static and back.
28. What is the difference between pad properties and default pad properties?
Every pad of the pattern has either default or custom properties. Default pad properties are the ones that apply to pads by default. If default properties are unselected, the pad has custom properties.
29. How to select trace or via under component for editing?
Just switch to "Edit traces" mode and click on the object.
30. How to select one of several intersecting objects (component, shape, etc.)?
Just left click on the object several times, each click will select one of the overlaying objects.
31. I can't see the solder mask and solder paste for pads. I've turned OFF all other layers of the board except the mask and paste layers, but still can't see what I want. How can I review mask and paste?
DipTrace automatically hides solder mask for pads and vias. Only custom shapes on mask and paste layers are visible. However, solder mask and paste can be seen in layer previews in the Gerber export dialog box. Mask and paste are created while preparing to Gerber export, if corresponding settings applied.
32. How to specify solder mask and paste settings?
All pads (vias) can have standard or (custom) non-standard solder mask and paste settings. If you need to change standard settings, go to the Gerber export dialog box and specify a new solder mask swell and paste mask shrink. These settings are applied to all pads and vias except those with custom settings. To specify custom settings, right click on a pad / via on the design area and select "Mask/Paste Settings" from the submenu. User can set custom values of mask swell and shrink or even disable masks.
33. How to move / rotate reference designators?
Select move tool ("F10" hot key) then drag RefDes with left mouse button. If you want to rotate it, press "R" or "Space" while dragging.
34. Why do connection lines remain on the routed board? Checking net connectivity reports that all connections had been routed...
This does not happen if default settings have not been changed. However, to avoid blue connection lines after routing, right click on the copper pour outline and select its properties from the submenu. Then go to the "Connectivity" tab and select appropriate "Hide Net Ratlines" mode. Sometimes ratlines remain when traces just touch to pads (not connected to pad centers), but this will be reported by connectivity verification.
35. How to create fiducials?
Fiducial is an SMD pad with custom solder mask and paste. Typically, solder mask swell is much bigger than the standard value. Solder paste should be disabled. All these settings can be specified in "Mask/Paste Settings" dialog box (right click submenu on the pad).
36. How to remove 3D model from the pattern?
You can remove the path to 3D model file and this will be enough to remove the model. PCB design doesn't have any 3D models included, it's just paths to them.
37. How to modify existing design (schematic and layout)? What is the best way to do this?
Modify your existing schematic and save it. Then open existing board project in PCB Layout and renew design from the Schematic (select "File \ Renew Design from Schematic \ ... " from main menu). If you have made changes in PCB, use Back Annotate feature in Schematic (select "File \ Back Annotate \ ... " from main menu) to bring changes from the board into the circuit. See below for various modes of renewing.
38. What is the difference between numerous ways of renewing layout from schematic?
Renewing designs from schematic by components is renewing by hidden IDs. Even if reference designators in schematic and PCB Layout do not correspond (had been renamed), this kind of renewing will work correctly. Renewing by RefDes means that components are renewed by reference designators, they should match on the board and in the schematic. This kind of renewing is ideal if you've imported files from other CAD-programs (because hidden IDs won't match). Renewing by related schematic is identical to renewing by components, but the user doesn't need to select the related schematic every time he performs this operation.
39. I select "Renew design from schematic \ Related schematic", but nothing happens; program answers that schematic file couldn't be found...
Probably, the path to related schematic is wrong. Please, renew the design from schematic by component or RefDes one time. Then you will be able to renew the design by related schematic in the future.
40. I've made insignificant changes in my design, but when I renew layout from schematic some (a lot of) patterns are moved outside of the board and existing traces got unrouted.
Renewing design by components or related schematic works by hidden IDs. However, if user makes some changes (removes component, places it back, deletes net etc.), the hidden IDs in Schematic and PCB Layout would not match anymore. Thus PCB Layout removes outdated components and adds new ones outside the board outline. Check that Reference Designators match and renew by RefDes one time.
41. I can't fill a copper pour. Why?
Sometimes users place a board cutout instead of a board outline. These objects are visually similar and it is easy to mix them up. Please check that you have a board outline on your design. If this does not fix the problem, the answer is in copper pour properties: clearance and line width. Values that are too large can make filling impossible.
42. How to multiply board on the panel?
Use panelizing feature. Select "Edit \ Panelizing" from main menu and specify necessary parameters. More info about panelizing can be found in the DipTrace tutorial.
43. How to merge several different boards on the same panel?
Panelizing of different boards is possible as well. Select "Edit \ Keep RefDes while Pasting" before starting panelization. Convert board outline to board cutout, because there should be one board outline per design in DipTrace. Open another design, copy it and paste to the first one. You can paste more designs if needed.
44. How to reuse blocks within a design and keep Schematic and PCB synchronized?
If you have several identical blocks, you can create one and then copy/paste it in Schematic and PCB Layout several times. To keep schematic and board files synchronized, you need to ensure that reference designators (RefDes) are identical on the board and in schematic. Correct some of them if needed. Then renew board from schematic by RefDes.
45. How to reuse a block from one sub-design on the new main design?
The procedure is similar to the previous question, but user should copy/paste blocks from the existing design into the new one.
46. I make PCBs by myself and I need to print all copper layers on a single sheet. How to do this?
Print one layer on the printer, then return paper back (you should rotate paper to avoid layer intersection) and print second layer. And so on.
47. Do you know a PCB manufacturer that accepts DipTrace files directly in my region?
Most PCB houses all over the world support Gerber and N/C drill files. DipTrace can export these files, so you just need to find the nearest or the cheapest PCB house in your country (region) and send files to them. However, we have partnering PCB houses from all over the world with direct DipTrace support. If you live in the USA, press "File \ Order" to manufacture with our partners in California (no need to export Gerbers, fast delivery, affordable pricing).
48. What files should be sent to a PCB house?
User should send Gerber files (one file per layer) and N/C drill file(s). Sometimes the drill legend (Drill Symbols) or other PCB fabrication specific files are required. Regardless, you can contact the PCB house directly and ask their requirements or select one of the PCB houses with direct DipTrace support.
49. When I export N/C drill files and automatically assign tool numbers, the software sometimes assigns different tool numbers for holes with the same diameter!
DipTrace shows hole diameters with a limited number of characters. Sometimes (depending on measurement units, for example inches) the displayed precision is not enough to show the specific hole diameter. Therefore the software rounds hole sizes. If you select different units (mils, for example), a much more accurate hole diameter will be displayed and you will see that the holes actually are different.
50. I'm seeing a blank line or a "No Library File" message in the list of libraries...
If you experience missing libraries, uninstall the previous version of DipTrace, download the latest DipTrace build and reinstall it in the separate folder, for example ("C:\DipTrace"). Do not install it in the Program Files directory.
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