Frequently Asked Questions
Finding Answers to Common Questions
You can use this page to view collection of Frequently Asked Questions to find help and information about a particular topic.
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|General||General Design Editing||I saved my design and I see another file with a “~” character before it, what is this?|
When browsing around your folders you may discover files that start with the ~ character.
|How can I change the 'angle' at which tracks and shapes are drawn?|
There are several 'segment modes' which control the angle at which each segment of track or shape is laid down.
|Using Star Points|
Star points are a way of linking different nets without them automatically merging into one.
|Why colour files will not update my design|
Some tips about how to use colour files in PCB designs
|Backing up your designs|
Keeping a history of earlier versions
|Why are layer types important?|
Layer types are frequently misunderstood. This explains their use.
|Configuring security copies|
How to configure where and when security copies are saved
|Can I list the hot keys?|
How to report the available shortcut keys in a design
|Filling imported DXF letters|
How to avoid gaps in letters imported as vector DXF from being flood filled
|Setting properties of multiple items|
If you want to change a particular property of a number of items, you can do this in one go if they are all the same kind of item.
|How do I place components using a reference point?|
Components (and other items) can be placed relative to a particular point using the Relative Origin.
|Making scroll bars more responsive|
The responsiveness of the scroll bars on an Easy-PC design window is related to the size of the design working area
|Frame-select using keyboard only|
When working on dense designs, you may find you need to start a 'frame select' action without the normal mouse-down
|Libraries||Can I reuse Symbols or Footprints in other Components?|
Existing symbols in the libraries can be utilised in new components.
|How do I add my own values to components?|
Components can have an unlimited number of values (attributes) which can be used for a variety of purposes.
|Components with non-sequential pins|
How to manage the creation of components which have 'gaps' in their pin numbering
|Having created a symbol, how do I add it to the design?|
Once you have created a schematic symbol, there is another step you need to take before you can add it as a component to a design.
|How can I verify that the symbol I have created is correct?|
Other than experience showing you, the easiest way is to add the newly created symbols to the design, both Schematic and PCB.
|Why are my footprint pads not showing as surface mounted?|
Sometimes you may find a footprint you have created is showing its pads as through-hole instead of surface-mount.
|How can I create a pad shape that isn't provided by the application?|
Some components require pads with strange shapes that don't match any of the inbuilt shapes provided by the application.
|Surface mount footprints with heatsink pads|
Methods of defining thermal or heatsink pads in your PCB symbols
|If I use the supplied libraries, should I verify them for my own use?|
A wide range of components is supplied in our standard and supplementary libraries, but you should still check them before using them.
|How do I place pads on a certain pitch on my footprint?|
Most footprints require pads to be placed at a specific pitch. There are tools that will assist you in doing this.
|How do I find the component I am looking for?|
With multiple libraries set up it is sometimes difficult to remember where a specific library item might be.
|Is there an automatic method to create Components and Symbols?|
Many components follow a similar pattern, and you can benefit from this by using the Wizards provided with the application.
|How do I create a connector?|
Connectors are not that different from other components, although we offer here two suggestions about how to create them.
|What are placement shapes?|
Using these can avoid spurious component errors.
|Why are there three types of library, do I need them all?|
Easy-PC uses three sets of libraries, for the Schematic, for the PCB and for both to tie them together (Components).
|Can I create my own components?|
You can create your own components very easily. Easy-PC is supplied with standard set of libraries to which you can add your own.
|Recovering components and symbols from designs|
If you find your libraries don't contain components or symbols that are used in some of your designs, those items can be 'recovered' from the design files to rebuild your libraries.
|Library loader won't work|
Resolving issues when the library loader malfunctions
|Disappearing silkscreen shapes|
When adding components to a PCB design, you might find that the expected silkscreen shapes do not appear in the design.
|Designing surface mount footprints|
Guidelines for the general principles of designing footprints for surface mount use.
|Finding 'missing' libraries|
With the different ages and installation paths of different libraries with Easy-PC, sometimes it's possible that libraries are not correctly identified. This describes a technique for finding and adding those libraries to the program.
|How to tell the program where to look for library files|
The application can access library files from a 'set' of folders with a specified 'search order'.
|Overview||Which should I create first, the Schematic or PCB designs?|
Although you can in theory start with either PCB or Schematic, if you are designing the whole project then it is better to start from the Schematic.
|Why do I even need a Schematic design?|
Although you can if you wish create your board directly as a PCB design without a schematic, there are benefits to starting with a Schematic.
|How do I save my preferences?|
Preserving custom configuration for reinstallation
|Properties||How do I change the value of discrete components such as capacitors and resistors?|
Once you have made a basic choice about whether you are using 'generic' components, changing their value is very easy.
|Repetitive Blocks||Repeated blocks of circuitry|
How to avoid the tedious task of laying out multiple iterations of the same pattern
|Troubleshooting||Why can't I install to my network drive?|
Why mapped drive letters aren't recognised
|Why are my toolbar functions wrong?|
Resolving scrambled icon functions
|Installation and Setup||Databook||Databook cannot find 'templates'|
On some installations the Library Databook has problems reading the 'templates' it uses to format the display.
|Errors||Unable to load Keylock.dll|
This error message may occur on a small number of systems
|HASP||Manually removing HASP drivers|
Sometimes it is necessary to 'force' removal of HASP (key) drivers.
|Licensing||Licensing the software|
Several issues and common questions related to the licensing of Number One Systems software are covered here.
|Moving Easy-PC to another machine||Moving Easy-PC|
Information to help you set up Easy-PC with as much information as possible from your old computer
|Router||Installing and licensing Pro-Router|
Several issues related to the installation and licensing of the Pro-Router autorouter are covered here.
|What to do if Pro-Router will not run|
Procedures for trouble-shooting a Pro-Router installation in the event of problems.
|PCB Design||Checking||Should I clear all the design rule errors?|
You may find that Design Rule Check flags up some errors. You then need to decide whether these errors indicate issues that need to be resolved.
|How do I correct DRC errors?|
After you have checked your design using DRC, you will need to take account of any errors that DRC has found.
|Design for Manufacture||Customising solder mask and paste|
This description assumes that the item with the non-standard mask is on the top side of the board.
|Producing a solder mask|
A solder mask (or solder resist) is a pads-only plot which may be oversized by a small amount, usually 5 thou or thereabouts. This plot can easily be created using one of two methods.
|Glue mask for flow soldered SMT|
Creating a glue mask for flow soldered surface mount components
|What size vias should I be using?|
Choosing the correct size for vias is dependent on a number of factors.
|How do I decide how many layers I need to use in my design?|
When starting a PCB design you will need to decide how many layers the design should have.
|General Design Editing||I can't select many items since upgrading|
How to resolve an inability to make selections
|Can I swap 'units' during the design process?|
The 'units' you choose will only affect what is displayed on the screen, the underlying data doesn't change.
|Using Bitmaps on PCBs|
The Add Bitmap function allows you to add standard Windows bitmaps to your designs. There are, however, some limitations on what you can do with them.
|How do I place a component on the back of the board?|
Just use the Flip command to turn a component over and place it on the back of board.
|How do I import a DXF board outline?|
Resolving any problems preventing direct import
|How do I create slots in a board?|
Various approaches to creating slotted holes in a board
|Selecting overlapping items|
When working on dense designs, or on designs where you have items that 'overlap' each other on different layers, it can be difficult to select the right item
|How can I join two nets together in the PCB design?|
Sometimes you may need to alter the design to join together two nets that are currently separate.
|What's the 'butterfly' symbol that's appeared on a pad?|
Meaning of '+' symbol with two quadrant arcs
|How do I make mounting holes?|
Although there is no specific item for mounting holes they can still be created.
|Finding the component to which a name belongs|
When moving items around on a PCB (particularly if your board is complex), it can happen that you manage to move a name away from its component so that it is hard to see which component it belongs to.
|Adding multiple tracks to increase 'thickness'|
Sometimes you need to add multiple tracks between the same pads, for example to increase the current-carrying capacity.
|Controlling default track widths|
Many users feel that the default track width in Easy-PC is 'stuck' at a single value, and cannot be changed. This is not correct, but the mechanism for controlling the default width is complex. This document attempts to unravel this complexity.
|Manufacturing||How to produce an assembly drawing|
A description of how to create an assembly drawing printout showing component outlines and pads
|How do I create a bill of materials (BOM) for my design?|
One of the key manufacturing outputs is a Bill Of Materials (BOM). There is no predefined standard for what this contains, so you will need to decide what your BOM actually needs in it.
|Panels||What are Panels?|
How to create and use panel designs
|Poured Copper||Getting best results from Pour Copper|
The Pour Copper option can be used to automatically add copper shapes to
|Can I create split plane layers?|
Split planes allow you to define more than one copper plane on a single layer.
|What controls the size of the gaps around poured copper?|
When a copper pour area is poured, gaps are left around items that are on different nets to the copper itself.
|How do I remove poured copper?|
If you find that some poured copper is no longer required, it should not be removed by simply deleting it.
|Copper Pour Management|
How to get the best results when pouring copper
|Finding isolated poured copper|
After a copper pour, it is quite possible for there to be areas of copper which are isolated from the main pour.
|Using Copper Areas after pouring|
Copper areas are used to define the boundary for Pour Copper to work in, but we recommend that they are not deleted after Pouring.
|Autorouting with poured copper|
How to handle poured copper when using automatic routing
|Pre-manufacture Checks||What checks should be done on my finished design?|
Before proceeding to manufacture, there are some checks that should be done to help ensure the successful production of your boards.
|Seeing what your powerplane looks like|
Easy-PC contains a feature that allows you to preview the actual appearance of your powerplane before it is plotted. This can be useful in helping you to check that you have everything set up correctly.
|Schematic||Display||How do I display the logic names for my component on the schematic?|
A component definition can contain logic (terminal) names describing the function of each pin on the device.
|General Design Editing||Can changes made in the Schematic design be sent to the PCB?|
Sometimes you may find it necessary to make changes to the 'connectivity' of the circuit partway through the design. These changes should always be made in the Schematic and forwarded to the PCB.
|Where do I find power and ground symbols in the library?|
The standard library includes many of the commonly-used symbols for power and ground connections.
|Methods of making connections in a Schematic|
There are three levels of connectivity in a Schematic design: ‘normal’ drawn/shown connections, implied connections (two pins connected but not all the connection drawn to declutter the design) and implied connections based on net name only.
|Projects||How can I create a multi-page Schematic?|
Creating a multi-page schematic requires extra steps that a simple single-page design does not need.
|Spice||Can I run a Spice simulation?|
Overview of considerations when linking to third party simulators