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Home » CadSoft Support Forums » eagle.suggest.eng » Manual routing assistance (push and shove) (Repositioning tracks in Eagle is far too laborious)
Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165316] Tue, 15 March 2016 17:25 Go to next message
justyn
Messages: 21
Registered: October 2014
Location: UK
Junior Member
Please, please, please add some real manual routing assistance in the form of online DRC and some type of push and shove.

In the right circumstances the follow-me router can be useful, but:
1) It isn't good enough for extremely dense boards with many non-straight tracks on a small grid (minimum follow-me router grid size is 0.02mm).
2) It really struggles, to the point of system freezes, with complex boards and a small grid.
3) It is no use for modifying existing tracks.

I route some boards that are very dense, where there is very little free space after tracks, components and vias are down. On some designs I must use a 0.0125mm grid to even fit everything on, that's how tightly packed everything is.

Many of these tracks are curvy and parallel - and therefore in Eagle they're impossible to move without causing many DRC violations.

Not only is there no help for moving a track or group of tracks aside, but you cannot see the DRC violations without repeatedly pressing ctrl-shift-d. This means that as you fix one DRC error, another pops up because the tracks must be precisely placed as close as possible, but no closer, and every little segment of a bend needs to be moved precisely and by hand.

Even moving a single track in such a dense design leads to a cascade of DRC errors that may take hours to fix, I'm not kidding!

The Eagle v7 release seemed to focus a great deal on fully automatic routing. This may be useful for larger boards with free space to play with, but it is unrealistic for small dense boards, particularly designed for modern portable electronics.

What is needed for dense, complex designs is functionality to help make manual placement as efficient as possible. Part of this is not just putting down tracks the first time, but moving them around as the designer experiments with different ways of routing the board to find a workable result.

KiCad 4.0, which is open source and free for all platforms, has just been officially released after a long time in beta, and it adds the push-and-shove router that they've demoed in the past.
Here is a little clip of their push and shove feature to give you a rough idea. Video is from 2 years ago, search for longer and more recent videos, (or download Kicad):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOqMAsZPotg

And here is a similar feature in the definitely-not-free PADS, for more inspiration:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C02D0_kNQeM

Compare that to modifying and moving tracks around in Eagle.

I beg you not to release Eagle v8 without, at the very least, online DRC with the option to prevent tracks from violating DRC when moving groups. But don't you think it is time for full push and shove capability, now that even a completely free tool can do it?

Thank you.
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165318 is a reply to message #165316] Tue, 15 March 2016 20:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Markus Rudolf
Messages: 181
Registered: September 2008
Senior Member
On 15.03.2016 18:25, Justyn wrote:

> But don't you think it is time for full push and shove capability, now that
> even a completely free tool can do it?

Fully acknowledge. CadSoft better focuses on listening to what the users
want since years or more people will start looking for alternatives.

Markus
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165325 is a reply to message #165316] Sat, 19 March 2016 20:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
eaglecandies
Messages: 186
Registered: September 2011
Location: Cincinnati
Senior Member
I watched the videos...very impressive...how does Eagle handle that with a ULP? Is there already one created, seems like this would be a common occurrence. I'm not sure how to automatically shove multiple traces aside when they are in the way of a manually routed connection.
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165326 is a reply to message #165325] Sun, 20 March 2016 14:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Markus Rudolf
Messages: 181
Registered: September 2008
Senior Member
On 19.03.2016 21:42, Hoyt wrote:
> I watched the videos...very impressive...how does Eagle handle that with a
> ULP? Is there already one created, seems like this would be a common
> occurrence. I'm not sure how to automatically shove multiple traces aside
> when they are in the way of a manually routed connection.
>

The Video is from KiCAD, an Open Source alternative to EAGLE. And EAGLE
is going to be outperformed by it if the developers don't catch up with
standard technologies available in other CAD systems.

I'm not aware of any ULP, but I'm pretty sure they would develop rather
an ULP than to implement even the most basic functions into the software
itself just because.

Markus
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165327 is a reply to message #165326] Sun, 20 March 2016 15:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
eaglecandies
Messages: 186
Registered: September 2011
Location: Cincinnati
Senior Member
KiCAD, an Open Source alternative to EAGLE. And EAGLE
is going to be outperformed by it

Eagle is like DOS, still a steady tug boat in the water. In fact, the Cadsoft website FAQ asks if Eagle will work with Vista & mentions a list of ULP's available in 2007...well that's almost a decade ago. Under career it says: There are no vacancies at the moment. How can this be true? All impressive reasons for a buyer to choose Eagle.
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165413 is a reply to message #165316] Wed, 13 April 2016 15:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rachaelp
Messages: 551
Registered: March 2015
Location: UK
Senior Member
Just to add another vote for this one, pretty please with sugar on top, can we have push and shove routing in EAGLE? Very Happy

Seriously though, this is the sort of big feature CADSoft absolutely needs to bring to EAGLE for people to keep buying it now that the likes of KiCAD offer serious functionality in an open source tool, and it would likely be a very compelling reason for existing users of older versions to actually be willing to pay more money to upgrade to a new licence too. I wonder what percentage of paid for v6 users upgraded to v7?

Many thanks,

Rachael
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165452 is a reply to message #165413] Thu, 14 April 2016 19:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jorge Garcia
Messages: 1291
Registered: April 2010
Senior Member
On 4/13/2016 11:21 AM, Rachael wrote:
> Just to add another vote for this one, pretty please with sugar on top, can
> we have push and shove routing in EAGLE? :d
>
> Seriously though, this is the sort of big feature CADSoft absolutely needs
> to bring to EAGLE for people to keep buying it now that the likes of KiCAD
> offer serious functionality in an open source tool, and it would likely be
> a very compelling reason for existing users of older versions to actually
> be willing to pay more money to upgrade to a new licence too. I wonder what
> percentage of paid for v6 users upgraded to v7?
>
> Many thanks,
>
> Rachael
>

Thanks you All,

It's a big job and it's definitely on the TODO list along with all of
the other stuff. I'll keep pushing to give this more prio.

Best Regards,
Jorge Garcia
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165671 is a reply to message #165452] Mon, 09 May 2016 19:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
justyn
Messages: 21
Registered: October 2014
Location: UK
Junior Member
Thanks Jorge.

Check out at least some of this lengthy video showing creating a whole PCB in Kicad. I hope that all the Eagle developers will get to know how routing in Kicad works, in particular since so many Kicad users seem to be former Eagle users.

https://youtu.be/mI3iMBc-8yA?t=20m32s

If you start watching at time (20:32) the author will configure and use Kicad's interactive (aka push and shove) router.

I'd like to draw attention to what he says at this point:

"Previously when I worked with Eagle it was always a matter, especially in tight little regions like in here, of just fiddling and fiddling with vias and traces, trying to get design rules to not be violated... but with the push and shove router in Kicad it's actually pretty easy."

I wholeheartedly agree with this. The process of laying down closely spaced tracks on dense boards is incredibly fiddly and frustrating in Eagle.

Please also see time (32:10) in the video. The author demonstrates optimising already routed tracks by just dragging them around, and they keep their minimum clearances. This is essential for really dense boards with many tracks and not much free space, as you play around with different layout approaches. Currently in Eagle it is a nightmare, and for me on the very complex designs that I work on, by far the most time-consuming part of the PCB design process - an almost never-ending cascade of DRC errors.

Eagle now seems to be almost alone among PCB suites in its approach to DRC violations when laying out and moving tracks. Unlike in most other software packages, Eagle will only TELL you about all the violations that are occurring - it will not prevent or fix them. Doing this manually takes a huge amount of time on complex boards, and for professionals that wasted time is wasted money, too.

The full autorouter is of no use for dense, complex designs, and the follow-me router is too limited and doesn't work well (or at all) at small grid sizes.


On a personal note, I have used Eagle professionally for many years. It has sometimes been a struggle for me to justify using it over other professional suites due to some missing advanced features - most particularly interactive routing. But it has advantages over the other suites too: it is cross-platform, the file format is version-control friendly and yes, it is somewhat cheaper (that said it is not saving me money if it is slowing me down). But now that even Kicad, this totally free package is able to tick all the boxes that used to give Eagle an edge, it is almost impossible to carry on as before.

I realise there can be some tension on this list between developers and users, and we are all very demanding, but still I feel I need to say my piece, I hope you understand.

I truly hope that Eagle v8 will improve this interactive routing and optimisation situation, and will be a good release all round. Due to the length of the Eagle development cycle, realistically if v8 isn't improved enough, it is likely to be too long before there is another chance. I personally will not be able to stick around for that.

But I'm staying optimistic for now Smile

Thank you for reading.
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165680 is a reply to message #165316] Tue, 10 May 2016 14:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
eaglecandies
Messages: 186
Registered: September 2011
Location: Cincinnati
Senior Member
It appears from the video that it can also show pin numbers and highlight all the traces with the net/signal names (so you can see what is next door when routing). This type of viewing option has been requested several times, maybe will appear next round.
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165683 is a reply to message #165680] Tue, 10 May 2016 16:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jorge Garcia
Messages: 1291
Registered: April 2010
Senior Member
On 5/10/2016 10:23 AM, Hoyt wrote:
> It appears from the video that it can also show pin numbers and highlight
> all the traces with the net/signal names (so you can see what is next door
> when routing). This type of viewing option has been requested several
> times, maybe will appear next round.
>
Hi Hoyt,

Just to clarify, you can see pin numbers in EAGLE now. Go to Options >
Set > Misc, make sure Display Pad Names is checked.

Currently there isn't a way to show the names of the traces themselves
like other packages do.

Let me know if there's anything I can do for you.

Best Regards,
Jorge Garcia
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165685 is a reply to message #165316] Tue, 10 May 2016 19:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
eaglecandies
Messages: 186
Registered: September 2011
Location: Cincinnati
Senior Member
Thanks Jorge:

Very good--didn't notice that option before..
Why not add another checkbox option to show the net names & you'd have it all covered.

It would be very useful to have a highlighter option so when you "show" a board trace or schematic net it paints the shown trace along with a wide marker (as though you used an actual highlighter on paper). When a bunch of traces/nets are very tight and you zoom out to study its path around the board, just making the razor thin trace bright xxx is still nearly invisible to spot.
Re: Manual routing assistance (push and shove) [message #165692 is a reply to message #165683] Wed, 11 May 2016 08:34 Go to previous message
CadSoft Support
Messages: 538
Registered: September 2006
Senior Member
Am 10.05.2016 um 18:44 schrieb Jorge Garcia:
> On 5/10/2016 10:23 AM, Hoyt wrote:
>> It appears from the video that it can also show pin numbers and highlight
>> all the traces with the net/signal names (so you can see what is next
>> door
>> when routing). This type of viewing option has been requested several
>> times, maybe will appear next round.
>>
> Hi Hoyt,
>
> Just to clarify, you can see pin numbers in EAGLE now. Go to Options >
> Set > Misc, make sure Display Pad Names is checked.
>

> Currently there isn't a way to show the names of the traces themselves
> like other packages do.

Here I can confirm that we will have this in future.


--
Mit freundlichen Gruessen / Best regards
Richard Hammerl
CadSoft Support -- hotline@cadsoft.de
FAQ: http://www.cadsoft.de/training/faq/
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