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Old 5th July 2014, 06:18 AM   #1
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Default New Version of DipTrace out! Version 2.4.0.1

I know that most of you likely are Eagle or KiCAD users but I just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that there is a new version of DipTrace out. For those that are looking for a PCB design package, I strongly encourage you to add DipTrace to your list of ones to try. Personally, I found it much more intuitive than Eagle and KiCAD; at least from the hobbyist perspective. Plus, creating your own parts is by far the easiest of any of the programs. Very useful when you need to create a part for something obscure.

Also, their licensing is much more convenient for hobbyists. Its a pin/layers licensing scheme, not a board size scheme. For example, lets say you wanted to make a board that was 4ft long, with twenty LEDs on it, for under cabinet lighting. If you use Eagle you are SOL, but its no problem in DipTrace. The standard Freeware license is 300 pins/2 layers but if you contact them and let them know you are a hobbyist you can get a Non-Profit Lite license for free. This gives you 500 pins, 2 signal layer with unlimited ground/power layers. In my designs, I haven't bumped up against this limit yet.

Enough about DipTrace in general, what have they changed? First and foremost they updated the previously horrible library management system. As much as I loved DipTrace, I HATED the LMS; I hated it with a passion. It has been no secret that it was one of the biggest letdowns in DipTrace. You could work with it (mostly) but it wasn't pleasant or intuitive. Novarm has long admitted the system was broken and they weren't happy with it. More recently, they mentioned that a complete rewrite was in the works and it now appears to have gone live. The library management system has finally been completely revised. Libraries are now broken into groups, separating the user libraries from the standard included ones. This appears to allow them to automatically add all libraries created on the computer. You can still add/remove libraries manually via Library Setup if you so desire.
Click the image to open in full size.

I seem to remember this at least partly occurring in 2.3.x versions but the standard libraries themselves have been revised. There are now libraries of common parts such as headers, connectors, caps, etc. Instead of the older system which only had everything broken down by vendor name.

Click the image to open in full size.

While selecting components in the schematic phase is MUCH easier now. Showing both the schematic symbol and the pattern in large easy to see form:
Click the image to open in full size.

Search of the libraries has been made much more prevalent and logical. Gone are the unintuitive concepts of active library, non-active library, etc. It is now called Filter and its kinda like the old search on steroids. It's easily available from the library menu on the side.You can search a single library, a group, all libraries. You can also search using one or MORE criteria by hitting the + button.

Click the image to open in full size.

Quite honestly, these changes to the LMS have made working in DipTrace even more fluid. Making the system feel much more unified and intuitive overall. The LMS doesn't feel nearly as cumbersome and awkward.

Another area that saw some changes is 3D modeling. 3D modeling now supports the much more common STEPS/IGS files for 3D models. This makes finding 3D models for your boards MUCH easier. Additionally, the most recent 3D model file has a bunch of new models added (on top of any that you import yourself)
Click the image to open in full size.
The Arduino Nano in this board is an IGS file I found online. The 3D model actually saved me from a huge blunder. On an initial design of this board, I actually had the nano rotated 90 degrees which meant that the USB port was rendered inaccessible by the pi-filter capacitors.

Being as this is a 2.3 to 2.4 update (and not to 3.0) most of the other stuff is behind the scenes and bug fixes. Such as switching to a new version of Delphi which supposedly will allow a native OSX version in the future(no more WINE). My guess is when that happens we will see version 3.0.

Edit: Also, they added full unicode support.

Edit2: Changelog here

Last edited by PedroDaGr8; 5th July 2014 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 5th July 2014, 06:28 AM   #2
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Thanks for the info

I always use Diptrace (freeware) and by coincidence installed this version some 48 hours ago (I'm building up a clean Windows 8.1 install). Apart from opening it and seeing it looked a bit different I hadn't got around to trying it yet.

Thanks for the info on the license, I didn't know they would do that for hobbyists... well I'd never even thought of it tbh. I've come up to the 300 pin limit before now but found you could work around that by placing pads separately rather than as part of a specified part such as a resistor.

(I know what you mean about the libraries... they were absolutely awful)
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Old 5th July 2014, 06:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooly View Post
Thanks for the info

I always use Diptrace (freeware) and by coincidence installed this version some 48 hours ago (I'm building up a clean Windows 8.1 install). Apart from opening it and seeing it looked a bit different I hadn't got around to trying it yet.

Thanks for the info on the license, I didn't know they would do that for hobbyists... well I'd never even thought of it tbh. I've come up to the 300 pin limit before now but found you could work around that by placing pads separately rather than as part of a specified part such as a resistor.

(I know what you mean about the libraries... they were absolutely awful)
Finished editing my post. For some reason, on longer posts I always find stuff to change after I hit the submit reply button, preview never cuts it.

Here is the Non-Profit page which includes a link to contact them (and shows the Non-Profit Lite version is free).
Non-Profit - DipTrace

Last edited by PedroDaGr8; 5th July 2014 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 5th July 2014, 06:39 AM   #4
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Thanks for that
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Old 5th July 2014, 06:45 AM   #5
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One question... do you have to reinstall Diptrace for the 500 pin version, or does the code they provide just unlock that feature on the already installed version ?
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Old 5th July 2014, 06:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooly View Post
One question... do you have to reinstall Diptrace for the 500 pin version, or does the code they provide just unlock that feature on the already installed version ?
I have always just added the code to unlock the 500 pin version. I'm not sure which installer I typically use. The spot to add the key is under the about menu.
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Old 5th July 2014, 06:58 AM   #7
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OK, thanks. I just looked on mine and there is an option to enter a code... one to find out I guess
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Old 7th July 2014, 04:44 AM   #8
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By the way, some interesting news out of the Novarm camp.

Quote:
Our plans for further development have been changed a bit. Improving (speeding up) filter and support of component categories will be delayed, but we start development of high-speed features (differential pairs, etc.). The goal is to release version with basic high-speed features at autumn. Also ODB++ export is currently in process and first preview version is ready, probably will be available in the next update together with differential pairs.

Frankly, I think this is a wise move. The current capabilities in the library category are finally good now. I might change my mind in the future but I think the search and libraries are solid and should no longer be focus #1. I'm glad that they are focusing on the next largest drawback (high-speed capabilities).
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Old 7th July 2014, 05:17 AM   #9
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Very Cool!!!
I just fired it up the other day and I got an update notice.
I haven't done it yet but I am glad to hear that they updated the library system, what a nightmare that thing was, it took me a long while to get used to it.

I am not sure if I had contacted them to increase my pin Capability or not but it is something I need to do if I haven't already.

The trick Mooly suggested works pretty good.

I had been creating some SMD adapter patterns with it, then I just export the pattern in a Lossless BMP or PNG (I forget which one I use right now) and repeat pattern to fill a whole page of paper using Irfanview and that works out nicely.

I wanted to post the files for all to use but they are rather large for the forum rules at 1200dpi.

Maybe once I get a good selection done I will up load them somewhere and post the link for my patterns.

I like Diptrace a lot!!

I just loaded the new version of Kicad on my linux system so I haven't had the chance to check it out yet.
Diptrace is my First choice, Cecond to good ole' Circuitmaker2000 and Traxmaker but that aging software lacks a lot of the newer packages as well.

Cheers!!!

jer

Last edited by geraldfryjr; 7th July 2014 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 18th July 2014, 04:38 PM   #10
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By the way, I have noticed a lot of people want user-configurable shortcut keys. Similar to what is used in programs like Altium and EAGLE.

I have posted this as a feature request on the DipTrace forum here:

DipTrace Forum • View topic - User configurable shortcut keys

Chime in if you are actually interested because the more people that support this, the quicker they will add it.
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