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Protel 99 SE Service Pack 6 Information

Installation Notes
  • To install the Service Pack run the downloaded file and follow the instructions.
  • Compatible with both the licensed and trial versions of Protel 99 SE, but not suitable for Protel 99.
  • The Service Pack modifies the existing Protel 99 SE files. Do not uninstall the existing installation of Protel 99 SE before installing the Service Pack
  • To ensure that Protel 99 SE is not running before installing the Service Pack we recommend that you restart your machine before beginning the installation.
  • Protel 99 SE Service Pack 6 is cumulative and includes all previous service packs. You do NOT need to have previous Protel 99 SE service packs installed before installing Service Pack 6.
Uninstall any pre-release versions of this service pack before installation

If you have a pre-release version of SP6, you must fully uninstall it before installing the final release. Use the Add/Remove Programs option in the Windows Control Panel to uninstall all previous versions of Protel 99 SE Service Pack 6. During the uninstall process, please ensure that you select the Automatic method in the Select Uninstall Method page, and then check the Yes option in the Perform a Roll Back page of the uninstaller.

Updates and Enhancements

Below is a list of issues addressed in this Protel 99 SE service pack. All issues addressed by previous service packs are also included in this service pack.


Protel 99 SE Service Pack 6 updates and enhancements include the following:

Design Explorer

  • A Close All Documents option has been added to the floating menu that appears when you right-click on a document Tab at the top of the design window. This closes all open documents but does not close the Design Database.
  • A warning is now displayed as soon as a second user opens a design document that is already open. Both the original user and the second user are notified. This warning feature is enabled in the Design Explorer Preferences dialog.
  • Opening a design document in a copy of a Design Database could result in messages warning that other users were updating the same document, when in fact they were working on a separate copy. This no longer occurs.
  • A check has been added to report when documents that were in a Windows File System database are no longer present.
  • Deleting a link to a document in a Windows File System database would occasionally delete the linked file, this no longer occurs.
  • Viewing the properties on a Windows File System database and then restarting Protel 99 SE with that database automatically reopening, would sometimes give an error.
  • Occasionally linked documents would also be stored within an MS Access Design Database, this no longer occurs.
  • Compact Database after closing is set as default for new installations of Protel 99 SE.
  • Session information is correctly updated when a design document is saved using the Save As command.
  • Redundant or invalid session information is now correctly cleared from the Sessions folder.
  • Column headings across the top of the Design window now display correctly.
  • The Confirm File Replace dialog now displays the size and date of the source and target files correctly.
  • User read/write permissions defined by the operating system are now correctly obeyed when a user is working on documents in a Design Database.
  • Design Databases that are stored in read-only folders can now be opened. Due to limitations in the standard database drivers supplied with Windows 95 and Windows NT4 this update only works on Windows 98 and Windows 2000.
  • The Info button that opens the Process Reference help file for the current process now functions correctly.
  • Process Reference and What’s This dialog help files have been updated.
  • Stepping past the last line in a macro would give the message "error at line 0", it now steps back to the first line in the macro.
  • Using the Step Into command when debugging a macro, followed by Run (with the Animate feature enabled), would leave the cursor at the last line of stepped code, it now animates through the macro code correctly.
  • Spreadsheet fields were sometimes being incorrectly interpreted, resulting in certain values being changed from numeric to another format (such as time). This no longer occurs. This can also occur when modifying values in the spreadsheet, to avoid this enter a single quote at the start of the new value. For example, to enter the value 12p in a spreadsheet cell type ‘12p.
  • Dialog text now displays correctly under Windows 2000.
  • The Text Editor has been updated with a feature set comparable to professional software development text editors. Refer to the document, Text Editor Features (pdf - 127KB), for more information about the new Text Editor features. Some of these features include:
    • Improved syntax highlighting
    • Extended set of pre-defined languages, with enhanced language definition options
    • User-definable code templates
    • 3 word wrap modes
    • Auto indenting with smart tabs
    • Block selection
    • Regular expression support for Find and Replace
    • Enhanced Undo
    • Extended set of shortcut keys
    • Enhanced print features, including print block and color printing

Schematic Capture

  • Exporting from the Schematic Editor to DWG/DXF no longer gives an error on Windows NT/2000.
  • A Clear button has been added to allow removing the current Default Template File in the Schematic Preferences dialog box. Browsing for a template now checks to ensure that a schematic type document has been selected as the default template.
  • Net labels now maintain their position relative to the associated wire when the wire is dragged.
  • Occasionally moving a schematic component would reset the contents of the Part Fields, this no longer occurs.
  • All fields in the Schematic Place Part dialog now update with the correct default values when you click on the Browse button to open the Browse Libraries dialog, and then return after selecting a different component.
  • An option has been added to the Bill Of Materials Wizard allowing the user to choose whether components with blank Part Type fields are to be included or excluded from the BOM.
  • Attempting to move a component from one library to another when only one library is present in the current Design Explorer folder now gives an error message.
  • Orcad® Schematic files with invalid characters such as ^, -, &, etc would sometimes cause an error when importing into Protel 99 SE. If these are detected the file name is changed, replacing each invalid character with _1, _2, etc.
  • The Schematic Library Editor would give an error when the Component Rule Check feature encountered a component with an out of sequence pin with an alpha character in the name.

PCB Design

  • The Create Netlist from Connected Copper feature in the Netlist Manager now creates a single net for nets connected via a power or split plane. Note that power planes are not analyzed to check for connectivity, it is assumed that nets with the same name on the same plane or split plane are connected.
  • The DWG/DXF import dialog has been enhanced to add a setting for Imperial or Metric units. Previously the workspace had to be set to the desired units before performing an import. The Units are set automatically if the information is available in the DWG/DXF file.
  • The Testpoint Usage design rule now correctly detects pads that have different top and bottom layer size definitions, previously it was using the mid layer pad settings.
  • A warning message is now displayed when a PCB component is flipped by pressing the X or Y shortcut keys. Components are flipped to the bottom of the board by pressing the L shortcut key.
  • NC Drill and Gerber now support setting the generation origin to either Absolute or Relative. Gerber also retains the option to set the generation origin to Center on Film.
  • The NC Drill file report and the drill table created by the .Legend special string are now sorted from smallest hole size to largest.
  • The Reports » Measure Primitives feature now supports measuring the edge-to-edge distance between any primitives on any layer.
  • A new special string, .Printout_Name, has been added to the list of special strings in the PCB String dialog. This special string adds the Printout Name to each print/preview printout that includes the layer that the special string is placed on.
  • The .Plot_File_Name and .PCB_File_Name special strings now display the internal database path using the conventional path notation.
  • The .Print_Scale special string now displays the scale correctly.
  • The .Plot_File_Name special string now adds the name of the Gerber output file to the Gerber output, (previously it added the PCB file name).
  • Moving a large selection in the PCB workspace (more than 500 primitives) no longer resets the reference point to the nearest corner.
  • Hidden designators/comments now rotate correctly with the component for all settings of the designator/comment Autoposition option. Rotating multiple components with hidden designator/comments no longer moves the designator/comment to the origin.
  • Rotation values are automatically normalized to be in the range 0 to 360 degrees.
  • Globally editing strings and matching by rotation value now functions correctly.
  • Dimensions with a line width of zero could cause an error, this no longer occurs.
  • The PCB Editor includes a feature to automatically remove unconnected mid layer pads during Gerber generation. This feature now supports mid layer pads that have an arc or fill connected to them instead of a track.
  • Performing a right-mouse click in the Library Editor panel below the last component in the list would result in a List index out of bounds message, this no longer occurs.
  • Disabling all layers in the PCB or Library Editor could result in a Tab index out of bounds message, this no longer occurs.
  • The component list in the PCB Library Editor panel now correctly tracks the active component when the Next/Previous/First/Last buttons are used, or when the PCB Component Wizard is cancelled.\
  • Under certain combinations of pad dimensions and power plane connection styles PCB pads would disappear from the screen, this no longer occurs.
  • PCB pads that are selected or highlighted as a DRC error now display plane or mask expansions correctly.
  • The PCB Editor now imports version 2.x files correctly, previously it would occasionally load the file onto an already open PCB.
  • Bottom layer components in Protel Autotrax files now have their rotation value set correctly after being imported into Protel 99 SE.
  • A warning is displayed when an Advanced PCB 2.8 file is imported and the component layer can not be determined for a component.
  • The PCB ASCII file format was writing numbers as floating point numbers, it now writes them as integers.
  • The Outline Selected Objects feature now outlines pads and arcs correctly.
  • Print/preview rebuilds can now be aborted by pressing the Cancel button in the Rebuilding Previews dialog, or by pressing the Escape key.
  • Print/preview now supports boards up to 100" x 100" in size.
  • The AutoRouter no longer adds track segments to form right angles when it encounters a short diagonal track. The AutoRouter now adds testpoints correctly when the Testpoint pass is enabled.
  • The AutoRouter no longer routes across a keepout layer fill or a layer-specific keepout fill.
  • The SPECCTRA® interface now exports and imports boards which included pre-placed free single layer pads.
  • The SPECCTRA® interface now imports testpoints correctly.
  • The SPECCTRA® interface now exports rotated fills correctly.
  • When a PCB is exported to the SPECCTRA® router any spaces in the filename are replaced with an underscore character (the SPECCTRA® router does not support filenames which include spaces).
  • When a PCB is exported to the S SPECCTRA® router using the Protel SPECCTRA® Interface Wizard a warning is displayed if there are spaces in the filename path, and a Save dialog pops up to allow saving the file to an alternate location (the SPECCTRA®router does not support filename paths which include spaces).

Signal Integrity

  • The Signal Integrity Analysis tool would sometimes calculate the impedance for bottom layer routing incorrectly, this no longer occurs.
  • The IBIS-to-macromodel converter has been added to the Signal Integrity Analysis tool.

Circuit Simulation

  • A new Simulate menu has been added to the TextEdit main menu, allowing simulations to be preformed directly from the Spice netlist. Note that it is not possible to perform a netlist-only simulation if the design includes digital components and the original schematic is not present in the same Design Database folder.

PLD Compiler

  • There were some issues with running PLD on Windows 95 or 98. These have been resolved.
  • The PLDNET.SDF file has been updated to resolve errors in counter descriptions (this file contains the CUPL code that underlies each PLD-ready schematic symbol).
  • The PLD CUPL Wizard no longer allows the number of pins to go negative when selecting individual number of pins.
  • Compiling PLD designs into the PDF format no longer gives errors if Acrobat is installed.

Protel 99 SE Service Pack 5 updates and enhancements include the following:

Design Explorer

  • The Auto Save feature now starts correctly.
  • Having the Compact on Close option enabled when working with a Windows File System database no longer causes a system lock up.
  • It is now possible to open read-only design databases. A warning dialog appears when a read-only design database is opened, note that changes made in a read-only database can not be saved.
  • Spreadsheet cell height is now correct when exporting a spreadsheet and opening it in Excel.
  • Double clicking in the white space in the New Document dialog no longer causes the dialog to close.
  • Right-click pop up menu no longer appears when using the left-click and drag feature in a design database folder.

PCB Editor

  • A new Autoposition attribute has been introduced in the PCB Editor for component designator and comment strings. This feature allows you to select the relative location of the text strings, which are then maintained when the component is moved or rotated. Set the preferred locations for the designator and comment strings for Components in the Defaults Tab of the Preferences dialog (this will apply to all components subsequently placed in the workspace). Global editing can be used to change the Autoposition attributes for components already placed in the workspace.
  • A complimentary text-positioning feature has also been introduced, allowing you to reposition designator and comment strings on selected components. Note that this feature does not set the Autoposition attribute, it simply moves the strings to the desired location. To use this feature, first select the components that you want the change to apply to, then select Tools » Interactive Placement » Position Component Text from the menus. When the Component Text Position dialog appears click the required text location.
  • Manual routing has been enhanced when pressing the Backspace key to toggle back through the layers when a via is removed, and restore the display to the correct region when the track removal occurs off screen.
  • Warnings added to DRC report for pads on a net with unplated or zero size holes.
  • Unrouted nets violations now highlight only in the region of the connection line.
  • Global editing functionality has been added for Paste/Solder Mask Expansion and Tenting for Pads, and Solder Mask Expansion and Tenting for Vias. Global editing can now be performed across components in the PCB Library Editor.
  • The following library document options are now stored with the PCB Library: layers, layer visibility, units, snap grid settings, electrical grid settings, grid style (lines/dots), and visible grid settings.
  • Autorouter memory management has been improved to allocate memory more efficiently.
  • Design rule precedence is resolved and displayed correctly in the Design Rule dialog.
  • SMD To Corner rule correctly targets SMD pads.
  • Footprint design rule scope now functions correctly.
  • Importing design rules correctly imports the first rule in the rule file.
  • Design Rules dialog no longer incorrectly reports that router follows Starburst topology.
  • The PCB Board Wizard now supports metric units.
  • The PCB Board Wizard title block option now excludes the title block if the title block option is disabled.
  • The PCB Board Wizard title block option now includes the title block information entered into the Wizard.
  • Jump component and jump net dialogs remember previously typed Mask.
  • Loading from a pick and place file now places components on the correct layer and at the correct rotation. Pick and place file loading now supports the pick and place file format that includes the component comment.
  • PCB Library Editor prompts to save a library if the only edit action was to rename a component.
  • The hide attribute for component text in the default primitives is now obeyed.
  • Global editing and undo/redo involving the hide attribute for component text functions correctly.
  • Autotrax libraries load correctly.
  • Location markers are correctly saved with the PCB design.

Schematic Editor

  • Design Synchronizer now detects when multi-part schematic components have different footprints specified in each part.
  • Design Synchronizer now supports the Descend into Sheet Parts option.
  • OrCAD® DOS schematics can now be imported without causing an error.
  • Schematic sheet symbols that reference the sheet that they are placed on, are detected and an error message is presented. The Create Symbol from Sheet feature no longer allows parent sheets to be chosen.
  • Xilinx XNF netlist option correctly generates the XNF netlist.

Issues addressed in Protel 99 SE Service Pack 4

PCB Editor

  • The Board Wizard now correctly creates a PCB when the storage type is set to Windows File System.
  • Netlist Manager now correctly highlights the next object in the lists when an item is deleted.
  • A confirmation message has been added when a net class is deleted in the Netlist Manager.
  • Nets Report generated during a netlist load now displays the correct path to netlist file.
  • After a netlist load new components are automatically arranged to the right of the board outline.
  • Keepout Object has been added to the Object Kind design rule scope for the Clearance Constraint design rule. This object kind includes objects on the keepout layer, as well as layer-specific keepout objects. Combine the object kind scope with a layer scope to restrict keepout clearances to a particular layer.
  • Wildcards used in the Component Scope or Component Class Scope now work correctly.
  • File extension for the report listing design rules has been changed to .RLC.
  • Invalid design rules files are now handled correctly during import.
  • Maximum Via Count Constraint rule description updated to reflect that this rule applies on a "per-net" basis.
  • Running a DRC via the Run DRC button in the Design Rules dialog no longer results in a "File Not Open" message if the create report file check box was not enabled.
  • Entering metric units in design rules no longer results in incorrect values.
  • Clearance violations from a keepout layer object to a signal layer object now highlight as a DRC error correctly.
  • Objects selected by clicking the Select button when browsing by rules, are now deselected correctly when the button is clicked a second time.
  • Changes made to the Designator or Comment field when editing a component now get saved correctly when one of the other Tabs in the dialog is clicked on.
  • Mouse-clicks function correctly after using the MiniViewer magnifier.
  • Globally editing the rotation value for a group of components now correctly rotates all components around their individual reference points.
  • Chose Component dialog enhanced to include options to control if cursor should move to component, or component should move to cursor. Select Edit » Move » Component from the menus, then click in free space to display the Chose Component dialog.
  • Changing layers and pressing the * key to insert a via in the "any angle" track placement mode now functions correctly.
  • 45 degree polygon plane connections are now being added correctly.
  • Arcs in polygons that outline pads would very occasionally not be sized correctly, this has been corrected.
  • It is no longer possible to place a polygon with only 1or 2 coordinates (an "invisible" polygon).
  • Closing and reopening a PCB library file and then attempting to perform and Update from a spreadsheet back to the library no longer causes a crash. Note that it does not perform an update either. This sequence is invalid, the internal identifiers that are assigned to each object are unique for each editing session, so an update can not be performed on a PCB or library that has been closed and reopened.
  • PCB Library Editor reports are now sorted alphanumerically.
  • The select hole size feature now correctly supports the "=", ">=" and "<=" operators. This fix also requires an updated to a macro, which can not be updated as part of this service pack. For information on updating the macro refer to Knowledge Base item 2125.
  • The autorouter has been enhanced to better support pre-routes - including the ability to route to the end of escape routes (pre-routed tracks without a via at the end), better routing to fan-outs, and no longer re-routing power plane fan-outs when the Lock All Pre-routes option is enabled. Refer to Knowledge Base Item 2133 for more information on fanning out component footprints.
  • The presence of mid-layer pre-routes no longer prevents the router from starting when the Lock All Pre-routes option is enabled.
  • Routing completion information can now be reported by selecting Reports » Board Information, clicking on the Report button, and enabling the Routing Information check box.
  • Octagonal pads are now correctly analyzed for clearances on the diagonal edges. Note that the router does not support octagonal pads, for autorouting octagonal pads are modeled as an equivalent rectangular shape (smallest rectangle that encloses the octagonal pad).
  • Thermal relief's display correctly if the relief expansion+hole size is equal to the pad diameter.
  • Relief shapes on plane layers now have the correct expansion size (only occurred on plane layers added as part of Protel SE).
  • Single layer pads with zero hole size placed on plane layers no longer get expansion rules applied.
  • Gerber files with embedded apertures now import correctly (previously an aperture file had to be present for the Gerber files to import).
  • Gerber setup dialog now displays text in check box lists correctly in Windows 98.
  • Gerber files now include a D03 flash command when a pad of the same size as its connected track is encountered.
  • Mechanical layer data on mechanical layers 5-16 is now added correctly to drill plots when the Add Mechanical Layer To All Plots options are enabled.
  • SPECCTRA® export feature correctly transfers the board routing outline on the Protel keepout layer to the SPECCTRA signal layer.
  • Exporting a PCB which includes multilayer pads with different pad specifications on different layers now exports to DXF correctly.
  • Accel PCB files that do not include StartRange and EndRange statements in the vias now import correctly.
  • Saving As a PCB 3 binary file no longer creates an invalid file if the design uses mechanical layers 5 to 16.
  • Protel v1.12 binary files are now being scaled correctly during import.
  • Bottom layer components are now handled correctly when loading an Autotrax file.
  • Power Print now handles invalid printer drivers and fax drivers correctly.
  • Testpoint Find feature now supports a testpoint grid size of zero.
  • PCB default primitives are now correctly saved and reloaded between editing sessions.

Schematic Editor

  • Part Field information is no longer flushed when a component is moved on a schematic sheet.
  • Placing a component from the find dialog or the browse panel no longer flushes the Part Type field.
  • Hidden component designators are now correctly annotated.
  • The across then down annotation option would produce duplicate designators under some circumstances, this has been corrected.
  • Creating a Symbol from a Sheet functions correctly when there are no other schematic documents available.
  • The Part Fields Tab of the schematic Part dialog now supports resizing of the separator between the Part Field Name fields and the Part Field contents fields.
  • Schematic library documents correctly prompt to save when the only edit has been to rename a component.
  • Find Component feature now correctly searches all available databases.
  • The Part field in the schematic Part dialog has been changed to a drop-down list.
  • CUPL Wizard now creates the template PLD source file correctly.

Circuit Simulator

  • The simulator now displays a warning when an invalid character is detected in a netlabel.
  • A Show waveform operation in the Simulation results window would occasionally scale the waveform incorrectly, this has been corrected.
  • Drop down lists in the Analyses Setup dialog now sort alphanumerically.

Design Explorer

  • A warning is now displayed when there is insufficient disk space to save a document.
  • It is no longer possible to stop an Editor Server which has a document open.

Issues addressed in Protel 99 SE Service Pack 3
  • Schematic Editor Electrical Rules Check (ERC) now correctly detects unconnected net labels, unconnected power objects, duplicate designators and multiple net names.
  • Power Plane Connect Style design rule with a connection style of No Connect now loads correctly when a PCB document is reopened. When loading V3 format files you are prompted to automatically create a rule to disconnect all vias from planes if a via with the same net name as a plane is detected.
  • Width Constraint and Routing Via Style design rules created from PCB layout directives now have the rule attributes set correctly.
  • PCB reannotate now produces consistent results. Component position is defined by its bottom left edge, rather than the geometric center point, and all top layer components are annotated before bottom layer components.
  • Pad Specification and Via Specification rule scopes correctly handle no-net pads and vias.
  • Manually routing in Push and Shove mode functions correctly when pushing tracks against a Room Definition.
  • Reopening a design database which had a Power Print or CAM document open no longer results in blank dialogs.
  • Saving a V3 format PCB file which contained DRC errors could result in an exception error when reopened and checked by online DRC.
  • Select Connected Copper now functions correctly when a Room Definition or layer-specific keepout object is encountered.
  • Selecting a net always redraws correctly.
  • Moving a component whose reference point is outside the visible screen area now behaves as follows: Snap to Center On - cursor is moved to the component's reference point. Note that this is different to the behaviour of P98/P99, where the component is moved to the cursor. Snap to Center Off - the component is picked up where you click on the component. If the component is not in view the component moves to the cursor - use this mode when you wish to pull a component to the current cursor location.
  • Net names and pad names are displayed on a background rectangle when the display Show/Hide mode is set to draft.
  • Power plane connections are now indicated by a small cross in the color of the power plane layer.
  • Broadcast and Receive settings have been removed from the Security Locks dialog, it now functions the same as the original P99 release
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