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Software Installation and Setup

This table lists the software which each group member should install on their university PC and laptop. Links in the table provide additional installation and usage information for this software.

Software   Source
MATLABECE helpdesk
Adobe Acrobat (full version)ECE helpdesk
Reader only (from the web)
Microsoft Visual Studio
EndNote X3
Dr. Jones
MathType 6.0cDr. Jones
Defeatured web version
Microsoft OfficeECE helpdesk
MS Office 2010 beta is free till next December. 
Subversion (SVN)WebYes
Microchip MPLAB latest version (full release zipped install)
Microchip C30 compiler latest version
Eagle latest version
OpenVPN (see the Tutorial link on the download page for instructions)ECE web site (on campus)
ECE web site (off campus) 
Remote Desktop
Packaged with Windows
PuTTY Web yes

To enter the MSDNAA, log in with your ECE userid and password.

These days, I'm using Mercurial. To set up Mercurial with the ECE servers, these instructions seem reasonable (though I only used bits and pieces). In particular:
  • Current versions (I'm using TortoiseHg 2.0.2) have Pageant and TortoisePlink already install in <program files>\TortoiseHg, so they don't need to be downloaded.
  • I had to modify mercurial.ini to add -l bjones, so that plink used my proper userid. The whole line: ssh = "C:\Program Files\ssh\plink.exe" -C -l bjones
  • Here is more ssh info.



Brief Tutorial

A cursory Eagle Editor tutorial is available to jog your memory on Eagle's operation.

Schematic Smash

"Smashing" a part means separating the part's package, name, and value. The name and value can now be moved, but are kept relative to the package.

  1. Select the Group tool and highlight entire board
  2. Select the Smash tool
  3. Click on the highlighted group and press CTRL + Right click or Right click and select "Smash: Group" from the menu

Font Properties for Manufacturing

Since manufacturers prefer all silk-screen text to be in a line segment format, the font needs to be changed to "vector."

  1. Before editing font properties, the package needs to be Smashed. See the section on Smashing the entire board.
  2. Use the Group tool to select the entire board
  3. Select Change -> Font -> Vector
  4. Right click the highlighted group and select "Change: Group" from the menu

Manual Character Width

Eagle actually calculates a character's line width as a function of its size. For legibility, BatchPCB recommends 8 mil line width. For example, if the character "size" (height) is 32 mils, its "ratio" needs to be 25% in order to have a line width of 8 mils. To change the properties of all displayed text:

  1. Use the group tool to select the entire board
  2. Select Change -> Size -> 32
  3. Right click on the highlighted group and select "Change: Group" from the menu
  4. Select Change -> Ratio -> 25
  5. Right click on the highlighted group and select "Change: Group" from the menu

Generating Gerber Files

  1. In EAGLE's board editor, click File -> CAM Processor
  2. In the CAM Processor dialog, click File -> Open -> Job
  3. Select gerb247x.cam in the pop-up
  4. Browse through each of the tabs in the new CAM Processor window and make sure that the correct layers are being saved in the correct layer files
  5. In order for correct previewing in ViewMate, uncheck the "mirroring" options
  6. Select "Process Job"

Additional PCB Resources

Other students and faculty have written excellent resources on PCB Design & Assembly and PCB Review & Ordering.


[ViewMate] is a free Gerber file previewer. Before sending off the generated Gerber files, it is recommended to preview them to ensure they contain all the wanted information.

Drill File Viewing

Based on the output format of EAGLE, ViewMate needs to be aware of the drill file's (.drd) format.

  1. Select an empty layer in ViewMate
  2. File -> Import -> Drill & Route
  3. Find the *.drd file you want to preview
  4. Before clicking Import on the dialog box, click the Options button at the bottom
  5. For the group of radio buttons named Zeros, select "All digits present" and choose "1" for the "Left of the decimal" drop-down box and "4" for the "Right of the decimal" drop-down box
  6. Close the window, and click Import

Cadence Orcad Capture and Layout Tips

Annotating changes from CIS to Layout

Problem: You have a schematic and you’ve exported it to layout and start placing components. You notice something is wrong so you want to change it on the schematic and have it automatically update the layout.

Solution: First make sure you have the pcb open in layout and the schematic open in CIS. This makes things easier to update in layout. In CIS, minimize the schematic so you can see the file/hierarchy tree. Select the .\your schematic name.dsn in the file tree. Click tools from the toolbar, select create netlist. Select the Layout tab. Check the box next to “Run ECO to Layout” under Options (also select the properties dimensions). Name the netlist file (I usually use the default name that is already there) and click ok. A dialog will popup that says Design #location of .dsn file# will be saved prior to netlisting. Click ok. There should now be a popup in Layout that says: This job’s netlist has changed. Update #location of .max?, click yes. The AutoECO dialog opens and gives you the options of naming the files(my personal preference is to leave them alone and let orcad manage them, in case you want to return to something and have worked many hours making changes, but it ends up being a waste of time), so click apply ECO. The AutoECO report is shown, click Accept this ECO. Processing completed, click ok. That’s it, your changes are now applied to layout.

Retaining items added to layout (i.e., mounting holes) when running AutoECO

Problem: When adding components to layout that are not on the schematic, such as mounting holes, the next time you run AutoECO to update the layout design with changes made to the schematic, the mounting holes will be deleted because they are not in the newly created netlist.

Solution: See Orcad_Layout_User's_Guid.pdf page 43 section labeled: resolving other AutoECO erros, subheading To define a component as Not in Netlist.

Adding a pin to a symbol in CIS as low true

Problem: Adding low true names to pins is not straightforward

Solution: When naming the pin place a backslash after each character that is in the name that is low true. I.e. mclr for the pic is low true, so we in order to name it, it would look like this: m\c\l\r\