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Old 20th October 2006, 07:43 PM   #1
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Default Why a Gerber Viewer?

Your PCB design program doesn't always tell the complete truth --most of the board houses I use recommend the use of a Gerber Viewer before shipping the design off to them. Here's an example of why it's important -- these traces appear to be sufficiently separated on the computer screen but the Gerber Viewer shows them to be too close for comfort. I use the Pentalogic product which is a free download:
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Old 20th October 2006, 08:56 PM   #2
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I have never experienced this kind of problems....

I use Easy-PC for pcb-layout and always check my files with Macaos (which is the program I ship my gerber files in to the manufactorer)
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Old 21st October 2006, 01:31 AM   #3
Arius is offline Arius  United States
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What about using design rules in your PCB CAD program? When the design rules are properly setup (e.g. min 7mil clearance for anything), then no matter what the display shows, you can rest assured that there can be no errors if your DRC covers them.

I do use gerber viewers (CAM350 is my fav) but for other purposes. The PCB CAD tools that I use have built in gerber viewing (e.g. PADS, Allegro).

If you want to be a little exotic, VALOR checks are great. I use that for work but not for my diyaudio projects.
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Old 21st October 2006, 03:49 AM   #4
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I had been fooling around with the pcbs for about 3 years. 1st time when I sent to a fab house was about 1.5 years ago. My pcb software, the Autotraxeda, really sucks. The fab house told me that a short trace was probably missing on the gerber files. (They were able to spot it because they check my work with the layers super-imposing on each other, just like what we see when we were using our pcb software to design the board.) So I look at it again but it was there (with my AUTOTRAXEDA) It was there. So I tried regenerating the gerbers and view it wtih GC-prevue, the track was missing. I go as far as deleting everything around that area and redraw everything back, regenerating the gerber again. The trace is still missing. I never know why tha A-sh*t is doing this. The story end up that the fab house add in that trace for me and tell me to recheck with GCprevue That is my story why we need to use gerber viewers to check our work.

Lucky that I made a mistake in the 1st time (or I did not make it myself) work with the fab house. Now for every work I sent them, I check with gerber viewers first which has become a habit or must if I should say.
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Old 21st October 2006, 02:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Arius
What about using design rules in your PCB CAD program?
Design rules are in effect -- with a 10 mil trace clearance.

I think that there are just "sometimes" operational problems -- and this was for a power amplifier with about 50 components -- we aren't doin' work for Cisco here.

The one good thing about Multisim and Ultiboard --- since EWB was taken over by National Instruments things seem to be working more smoothly.
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Old 21st October 2006, 05:10 PM   #6
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I never fully trust any one piece of equipment or software. I always check my files in a Gerber viewer and then if they look good I have confidence. I do the same thing on the bench, DMMs along with scope. If both agree then I feel the number(s) are right. Takes two or more for me to believe I am seeing truth. I think it best if you always give a quick look over a layout in a Gerber file view. Sometimes it just helps to spot something you missed before.

-SL
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Old 21st October 2006, 06:20 PM   #7
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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Quote:
Originally posted by ACD
I have never experienced this kind of problems....

I use Easy-PC for pcb-layout and always check my files with Macaos (which is the program I ship my gerber files in to the manufactorer)
Unlike ACD I have had a problem. I too have used various incarnations of EPC, and just once, my PCB manufacturer phoned me to say they had spotted an error in one Gerber plot file which cause a large track aberration. The Design Rule Check that the software has, should have shown this short-circut, even if my eyes had not. After re-routing the area and re-plotting, the files came good.
Since then I use a free Gerber viewer to give the design a "once over" before sending, or leave the plotting to the PCB house - send them the .pcb file and ask them to extract.
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Old 21st October 2006, 06:42 PM   #8
PMA is offline PMA  Europe
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Every professional should use a photoplotter file viewer (gerber viewer, e.g.) before releasing his PCB-CAD data for PCB production.
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Old 21st October 2006, 07:35 PM   #9
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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Obviously I was being less than professional..
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Old 21st October 2006, 08:49 PM   #10
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The Macaos software shows me the gerbers, and convert them to a CAD file, which I email to the manufacturer for PCB manufactoring
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