Aleph PCBs ?!

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I believe that Nelson said that there will be Aleph boards available via the diy site.
Failing that, I've got a layout for the Aleph 2 (modified with the Volksamp front end for higher Zin) that works well. Given that there are minimal differences between the Alephs, it would probably work fairly well for some of the other Aleph models.

Yikes! A tidal wave!
To cp642 and all those who have e-mailed me directly:
I have no objection to posting/e-mailing my artwork for the Aleph--as long as Nelson doesn't mind, of course--but I'm somewhat hampered by a format problem. I did the layout in a program by Ivex called Winboard, which uses a proprietary file format; nothing easy like JPG or GIF.
I do not recommend this program. It is cranky, counterintuitive, buggy, and just downright unreliable. Worse yet, it's prone to crashing Windows 95 (losing your changes, natch) if you don't save pretty often. Probably a memory management problem, but I'm not about to waste the time to reverse-engineer their code and fix it for them.
Options include:
--Trying to figure out a way to outwit the format problem. If I can get this thing into a reasonable file format, I'll try posting it here. At that point, all and sundry can look it over and decide whether they wish to download the layout.
--Upload the file as-is. This would require you having Winboard on your computer. See above. Don't say you weren't warned. For what it's worth, they allow a free download of an evaluation version of the software. (Boy, am I glad I didn't spend money for this program...)
--Try to lay hands on a scanner, and scan in a hard copy of the layout; another way around the format problem.
--Trying another PCB program. Yes, I know people have listed various other programs in threads here, but...once burned, twice shy. I'm reluctant to try another program unless someone I trust vouches for it, as it's a lot of work to do these things, and I don't want to have to re-enter all this by hand but once. (Life wouldn't be so kind as to allow a program that had an import function that would take the Ivex file format.)
Be patient, fellas, I'll figure something out.


I don't know if this will help, but it may perhaps save you some time.

If my understanding is correct, Winboard outputs a Gerber file (.brd). There is a free Gerber to PostScript converter available at:

Ghostview/Ghostscript can then be used to view the file and convert the Postscript to bitmap or JPEG. Alternatively, there is a free Gerber viewer at the same site but I don't know what outputs it has.

Other than the standard file format, there is an option for saving as ASCII--if anyone can import the file as ASCII, say so. No, it's not intelligible in a regular text viewer; it's still coded in some manner. There's no export function, per se. If, as Geoff suggests, the files are Gerber (yes, the file extension is *.BRD, but I don't recall any explicit mention of Gerber and I don't trust these guys to do anything right), you might be able to use the files as they are.
Thanks, I'll give that a try when I get home tonight. I'm hoping you're right about the Gerber format.
Printing isn't the problem--the program prints quite nicely (when it works at all, that is). I just want to get a nice, tidy layout where people can get to it, regardless of what program they use.
Ideally, I want to get an image up so that people can see the layout prior to downloading some sort of file. That way they can have a decent idea as to whether the layout will meet their needs, according to whatever model of Aleph they want to build. There may also be part size issues they'll need to be aware of prior to commiting to this layout. Some folks outside the US may have difficulty obtaining some of the parts I used; they may need to substitute, which could throw things off. (For instance, I used MPSA18s, which are EBC. If you substitute something that's ECB, the layout will need to be changed accordingly, although it may serve as a good starting point.)

It's worth a try.
I was able to get the SOZ w/current source schematics out of the Ivex schematic program by doing Edit/Copy to get it into the clipboard, then into Paint. Jason was gracious enough to convert it into something else so as to fit gracefully into the pages here.
I tried the same strategy with Winboard, but it was a no-go. It doesn't make it into whatever memory space Windows uses to pass things from one program to another. You'd think two programs from the same company would behave in a similar manner, but...

Your idea worked, but unfortunately the resulting file was too large. Jason's got a 100kb limit on files (I'm not complaining, just stating facts), and the best I could do with Paint was 400kb (16 bit--it was over 2.3M to begin with!). Monochrome got it under 100k, but clobbered the image.
I'll try Geoff's suggestion after I've had some sleep.

An alternative solution, is to make use of Acrobat Exchange: the software see it as a printer - so you can use it with any SW.- and the output file (.pdf) is a compressed image: this an be utilized directly, or you may elaborate it with for example, Corel Photo Paint, or others.
You can lose resolution, of course: I've tried some time ago, and worked perfectly.
The scale may be restored with suitable markers.
At least as it stands, LaserFilm, which is the program Geoff suggested (I think--there are a number of programs on that site, and I'm so tired my eyes are crossed) can't make head nor tails of a straight Ivex *.brd file. It gives Error 5 Empty Plot messages.
Plodding through the Winboard help stuff, I did see some indications that the program claims to be able to export a Gerber file, but I'm peeved enough at the moment that I'm going to take a break.
I'm not familiar with Windows Imaging or Acrobat Exchange. Jason had, at one point, suggested some other program that I can't remember at the moment. It's not for lack of conversion programs, it's for lack of getting the silly art out of Winboard in a coherent manner. Print Screen yields such a literal image that you're stuck with the little scaling dots that they give you to do the layout, not to mention all the program stuff surrounding the operative part of the screen. I can edit the program itself away, but can't get rid of the dots; and the layout itself is green. I'd like to be able to give you folks something black on white that would be easy to print and work with.
I once suggested that we all standardize on software (just not <i>this</i> program) so that we'd all be able to share files, but it turned out that there were about a dozen programs out there, with no more than two or three people using each one. Besides, I want this set up so that people who don't have any software at all can print this and use it--say JPG or something of that nature.
Note that I'm not in a position to spend money on this at the moment. Note also that I only have a 1G hard drive, and can't download every 10M program in the world until I find something that works (not to mention the learning curve for each and every program--can't afford the time). I'd just like to solve this once and for all, and if I managed to get out of Ivex software in the process, so much the better.
Is there a board program out there that will export a clean JPG or GIF file? At this point, it looks as though it would be more efficient time-wise to just key the art in by hand rather than go through this mind-numbing download/read the documentation/cut & try/find out it doesn't work/sulk cycle that I'm in.
I'll fight with it some more in a while. Bear with me.
(grumble, grumble, mutter, cuss, cuss...)

re: CAD program that exports graphics?


We appreciate all the effort you're going through to make your PCB design available!

To answer your question, I use CIRCAD trial version from It does integrated schematic capture and PCB layout. I don't remember if it exports GIF or JPG, but I have used it to export BMP, which is easily convertible to anything else. I will offer to convert the BMP for you if you go this route.

I beleive the trial version of CIRCAD doesn't output gerber, but does pretty much everything else. Generally, this is OK for me because I make some of my boards myself. To me, the earning curve is smaller than other CAD programs.

OK, I was going to layout an Aleph 4 PCB awhile ago, but hesitated when Nelson indicated he would be making them available.

For those of you willing to wait awhile, if Nelson's are not done when I return to the US (taking a one month holiday back home in Australia ;) ) I will proceed to make my design...I luckily have access to Protel so I can pass the design on in whatever fashion people wish. Additionally, if anyone would at that point like to join together in a group purchase to get them fabricatedd that would lower cost.

I'll post again re this situation at the end of Jan ;)
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