Autoroute vs Manual

Anything not related to a specific project.

Autoroute vs Manual

Postby matseng » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:50 am

In the everlasting fight between the humans and the evil autorouters the humans is once again victorious.... ^_^

Autoroute.png
Autorouter on 2 mil grid after 20 minutes - Fail


Manual.png
Manual routing for 30-45 minutes - Win
User avatar
matseng
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:29 pm
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby Sjaak » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:30 am

That board is a pity for autotrouters :D If it starts wrong the error will be evil and lots of vias and odd routes will be used. I think the autorouter could do it better on a more regular board. It would be interested how it performs on a board like the arduino.

A big plus for autorouters is they don't sleep, don't complain and can work for hours.
User avatar
Sjaak
Fellow
Fellow
 
Posts: 3039
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:45 pm
Location: Hiero

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby matseng » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:34 am

I'll try to set the cost for vias to 999 and see what happens....
User avatar
matseng
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:29 pm
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby matseng » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:53 am

Nope, no joy. There's still more vias than one can shake a stick at :-) And the routing is all over the place....
User avatar
matseng
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:29 pm
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby Bertho » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:40 am

Autorouters have a problem with "seeing the big picture" and are unaware of emerging patterns. The pity human recognizes a pattern and adapts the strategy accordingly.

However, when you see a high-speed replay of a human routing a board (which is really funny), then you also recognize that there is a great deal of try and error. Neither human nor autorouter can see beyond so many steps and, apparently, only humans backtrack.
User avatar
Bertho
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:34 pm
Location: Somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby arhi » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:05 pm

don't judge all autorouters after using one !!! what autorouter did you use here

I seen this type of problems being easily handled in cadence... I don't use it but I watched it work many times and this is a simple task for it... with Altium Designer routing this manually is 3 minute job, not sure what autorouter would do with it but I don't think it would be that bad. Even el cheapo pcb design tool like ARES (proteus part that handles pcb edit) autorouter would do better job then what you shown here (would not be perfect unfortunately very often)...
User avatar
arhi
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 2109
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby matseng » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:03 pm

Eagle of course :-)

Just for the fun of it I think I'll try the "Freerouting" push & shove router as well. http://www.freerouting.net/index.php?page=description . I had good results with it previously when Eagle failed miserably on boards.

I haven't actually used the autorouters in a couple of years now, but sometimes I run it to get a quick feeling if the parts placement on the board is ok. If the autorouter can do a decent 90% job in a half a minute or so the board should be easy route manually.
User avatar
matseng
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:29 pm
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby arhi » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:28 pm

matseng wrote:Eagle of course :-)


sorry man but that is a crappy software, you can't expect it to have usable autorouter.. I seen some stuff cadence (specctra) do and I could not do it manually that good... of course price is another story :D

matseng wrote:Just for the fun of it I think I'll try the "Freerouting" push & shove router as well. http://www.freerouting.net/index.php?page=description . I had good results with it previously when Eagle failed miserably on boards.


I had some nice results with it but I think it's in the "great idea -> poor implementation" stage still :( .. editing of the autorouted output is very buggy.. anyhow it shows a big potential

matseng wrote:I haven't actually used the autorouters in a couple of years now, but sometimes I run it to get a quick feeling if the parts placement on the board is ok. If the autorouter can do a decent 90% job in a half a minute or so the board should be easy route manually.


well for e.g. the boards I do in proteus i do 30-40% of the board manually and then let autorouter finish, then I usually have to rip few tracks and route those manually and that's it .. fairly fast.. on the other hand, with altium I don't remember if I ever started autorouter (donno if the version of altium I have comes with autorouter) but altium have that "interactive routing" thing that works like a charm .. I'm far from expert :( but it's really super cool. check this out
User avatar
arhi
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 2109
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby matseng » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:46 am

Eagle==Crappy... Well yes, it might be but it's the "industry standard" for hobbyists and smallish companies so I'll stick with it for the time being.

I've got a licensed copy of Eagle 4 that I have upgraded to 5 for free. But I can't upgrade to 6 without purchasing a new license so I'll probably wait a while for 6 to get a decent market share and then get a Eagle6 Pro license with only the Sch & Layout modules and skip the autorouter completely.

But if I was doing EE design for a living I'd have no problem switching over to Altium. $5000 for a perpetual licence + $1500 / year in subscription fees is not too bad if you actually make money out of it.

Altium sure got a lot of nice features..... I wish there was a hobbyist license for it....
User avatar
matseng
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:29 pm
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby arhi » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:26 am

matseng wrote:Eagle==Crappy... Well yes, it might be but it's the "industry standard" for hobbyists and smallish companies so I'll stick with it for the time being.


Donno what to say about that, I hear that over and over on sites like DP but I do not feel eagle being standard for anything. Right now when I search for different projects I can say that
- 99% of them provide PDF's (and some of them also PNG/JPG's)
- more then 85% of them are not drawn in eagle (you can see by the quality of the PDF, footprints, schematic...)
- if you look at projects that provide eagle sources you can often notice (in over 10% cases) that they are designed in another application (altium designer, cadence orcad..) and then only the final version of the project is redrawn in eagle (probably 'cause everyone say it's "industry standard")
- if we ignore "here ma, my led is blinking" projects there's equal number of projects source files available in eagle as in kicad (while kicad is unlimited functionality open source piece of crap and eagle is crippled functionality closed source piece of crap where even file formats are regarded as top secret :( )

Of course if we do not ignore "here ma, I blinked the led" projects 99.99% of projects on the net are eagle but I'd say it's "standard for unusable beginner projects" and not "industry standard" :)

Anyhow, one should use what one likes, I used to be very proficient in p-cad some decades ago, if it worked on linux and was not swallowed by other players I'd be probably still be using it today (p-cad 20 years ago worked hell lot better then eagle today), unfortunately, you don't use it -> you lose it apply always, if today I started p-cad I would probably not be able to route a led blinker in few hours :(

matseng wrote:skip the autorouter completely.

I tried "fixed" version of E6 and it's autorouter today and man this is crappy thing :(, proteus ares can eat this for breakfast (and I'm very unsatisfied with how ares autorouter works, it's more/less crap but does save some time)

matseng wrote:But if I was doing EE design for a living ... Altium sure got a lot of nice features..... I wish there was a hobbyist license for it....


of course, they do not consider us important, but using it intermittently for many years I can say the pcb editor / schema capture is same great thing for years, they mostly focus on the fpga bs for version after version and that take up most of the cost. IMO and I might be very very wrong if they sold a "crippled" version that has only pcb & schema capture + autorouter (so without all the fpga crap) they could drop the price to 1000$ for perpetual licence and I'm sure many hobbyists would find that acceptable. I haven't checked cadence's prices recently, orcad used to be top of the line too, might be worth a shot .. their autorouter is best in the business but is iirc too expensive for hobby

What seriously buggs me with altium is windows limitation :( I have to run virtual machine in order to use it and I hate it .. if it was designed in some heavy low level c with winapi call's I'd just be sorry but would not be that pissed as I am 'cause they wrote the darn thing in DELPHI and with freepascal and lazarus and ... they should be able to make it work properly on linux in no time with minimal effort :( or at least make it work properly under wine

Anyhow, I don't see any app being "industry standard" in hobby sphere if we remove the led blinkers, I see kicad being used more and more (I dislike the app as much or even more then eagle but at least it's open and unlimited) and I believe that is good 'cause all technologies I monitored in past decades improved exponentially with adoption ... from java to reprap it's same story, more ppl use it, more ppl get involved, more testing, ideas, faster it gets developped and better it becomes .. compare speed of java today and java 10 years ago, or reprap output today and reprap output just 5 years ago :), hopefully same will happen with kicad. As for the autorouting, I just checked freeroute and it's by order of magnitude better then when I tried it last time... so there's some good work being put into that app..
User avatar
arhi
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 2109
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby matseng » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:58 am

Looking at the companies in the OSHW Top 13 more than $1 million they seem to be using mostly Eagle and Altium coming in at a good second place.

OSHW - Million dollar baby
http://www.adafruit.com/pt/fooeastignite2010.pdf

Adafruit - Eagle
Arduino - Eagle
Sparkfun - Eagle
Diy Drones - Eagle
Seeedstudio - Eagle
Dangerous Prototypes - Eagle

Parallax - Altium (?)
Solarbotics - Altium
Chumby - Altium

Beageboard - Orcad
Buglabs - Allegro

EMSL - gEDA

Liquidware - ?
Makerbot - N/A (?)
Maker Shed - N/A (?)
User avatar
matseng
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:29 pm
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby arhi » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:31 pm

99% of all adafruit and sparkfun projects are led blinkers that really do not require any fancy routing .. that's exactly what I was talking about ... I was more looking at some good open source projects you can find on electro-tech-online or edaboard or avrfreaks .. then breakouts and led blinkers from sparkfun :)
User avatar
arhi
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 2109
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby matseng » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:52 pm

Well, that's "trueish" in a way.... Adafruit and Sparkfun doesn't do really advanced stuff.

But there are lot of pcbs in consumer products that are on this level. Display and control boards in washing machines and microwaves, things in your car, cellphone chargers, remote controls. You don't need to to 6+ layer boards jam packed with bgas and tqfp144's to be a "pcb professional".

I'd guess that the few that does multilayer Chumby/rPi/D-Link router/cellphones and similar stuff uses Altium.

But then we have the many many companies that does the less advanced consumer things on single/two layers, many of them might not use Altium, but I'd bet that not many of them would use an open source product running on Linux either. Most companies like support when needed and most are win/mac users. (And yes - today there are plenty of open source products with excelent paid service & support, but a couple of years ago most open source support was, at best, a forum with random people telling you to RTMF - or possibly RTFS (read the f*cking source)...)
User avatar
matseng
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:29 pm
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby arhi » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:19 am

depends on how you define "couple" :D but yes :)

anyhow, if you looked 2 years ago there was really no competitor to eagle in that price range (free-500$), now there's a lot of viable competition to eagle in that price range (even proteus now offer for 500e unlimited size 16 layers 2000 pins with autorouter and it kills eagle in every aspect of eda, not to mention number of free closed source tools that are really comparable or even better in some aspects to eagle) + there's gEDA that's usable if you are masochist or university professor and there's KiCAD that's actually very useful and comparable to eagle (way better in some and unfortunately way worse in some other aspects) ...

anyhow, since for a long while eagle was the only sub 1000$ solution that "works" and is not stolen it was used for a number of open projects but what I said is that today it's losing that grip and is losing it fast. today when you look at new products pushed out in 2012 on forums -> so stuff that ppl like you and me work on, not stuff on what sparkfun and co. work on, you see that KiCAD is up there high in the game (yes I agree Eagle is easier to use and for many things waaaaaaaaaaay more powerful but hack, KiCAD gives you unlimited space to work on, multiple sheets that I don't know how to design without ... ) ... I just think it's something one should start considering as a viable tool.

I know I will continue to draw my stuff in purchased proteus (level1+) and in "borrowed" altium and when I finish them up I will redraw the schematic in KiCAD and share that source together with pdf's and gerbers generated from proteus/altium .. if KiCAD designers decide to make the flow less absurd I might join in adding functionality / fixing bugs there but for now ...
User avatar
arhi
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 2109
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Re: Autoroute vs Manual

Postby sqkybeaver » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:25 am

personally, i am waiting for a few more improvements in kicad before switching from eagle. however i do have both installed and am working on learning kicad for use on project where size and layer limits make eagle not an affordable choice considering the overall project size.

there is a free cad with autoroute from advanced circuits, it works great but you don't get access to gerbers untill you have them build your boards. this is a problem for open hardware, even with the quick turnaround and great board quality.
User avatar
sqkybeaver
Hero Member
Hero Member
 
Posts: 1095
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:50 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA

Next

Return to General discussion