Posts tagged with 'Design Review'

Instance Synchronization

Sync Actions

  1. Set the main functions that should be synchronized between the two chosen instances.
  2. De-/Activate the compare functionality for the main view and list views.
  3. De-/Activate the synchronization of actions.
  4. Select specific actions that should be synchronized between instances.


Image Compare - Specific Settings


  • Dim Background: Darkens everything that has not changed. Makes changed areas more visible.
  • Accuracy: 
    • Standard - Fine details are grouped together. Contours are cleared.
    • Fine - Fine details stay separated. Contours are more precise.
  • 2x Resoultion: The resolution of the images used for comparing is doubled. Makes the comparation more accurate, but also more resource demanding (uncheck this to speed up the synchronization process).


  • Hide Difference Shadow: Hides the grayscale background image (shows ghost imprint from the respective other design on changed areas).
  • Difference Area Thresold: Defines the size threshold at which changed areas are marked as changed. If the slider is positioned further to the right, the fewer areas are displayed as changed. As smaller areas are increasingly ignored, the slider is also useful for preventing false hits due to artifacts.


List Compare - Specific Settings

Diff Tool Settings

  • Use Internal Diff Tool: Use the embedded diff tool for comparing changes between two lists.
  • Use External Diff Tool: Use an external diff tool for comparing changes between two lists.
  • Ignore sorting and filters: When this setting is activated, the list data with sorting and filtering is passed unchanged to the selected Diff tool. If unchecked the list data is passed sorted by the most meaningful column and without any filters applied. Note(!): Checking this option can result in related rows not being matched correctly (depends on the diff tool and its settings).

External Diff Tool

  • Path to .exe: Path to the executable file of an external diff program. Used, if the option ‘Use External Diff Tool’ in the section above is checked.

Note(!): To provide the program with the list view data, two temporary csv files are created. The paths to these files are appended as arguments to the program call. Only programs which support csv files, which allow command line parameters and which do not require a special syntax to define the files to be compared (eg. like a prefix before the filepath), are supported.

  • Arguments (optional): Additional arguments that should be passed as command line parameters at the end of the program call.


Instance Snchronization - Illustration

If you want to use the synchronization functionality, the new instance of PCB-I must be opened with the button 'Open new instance'


To activate the synchronization functionality, you must click the 'Sync On/Off' button on all instances you want to synchronize.
A green label (with white text) appears in the upper left corner of the main viewport. It shows the process ID under which the PCB-I instances run. The window called MAIN is the root instance. When it is closed, all other windows are closed too and the process is terminated. All windows called CHILD can be safely closed without closing other windows. There is no influence on the synchronization functionality, whether the window is MAIN or CHILD.
Once the windows are synchronized, all functionality and actions set in the Sync/Compare Settings are synchronized between all instances.


To activate the synchronization functionality, you must click the 'Compare On/Off' button on two instances you want to compare.
This also activates the live synchronization for both windows, if it was not turned on before. If the compare is active, all differences between the two opened designs are marked with white lines. The algorithm groups areas with many small changes to a larger area. The exact compare behaviour can be fine-tuned in the Sync/Compare Settings.


If the synchronization is active and any list view is opened in both instances, differences are marked in different colors (List Compare). A round button in the bottom right corner of the list shows that the compare is active. List views of which the button is showing the same number are compared. List views with compare active are also synchronized (sorting, scrolling, filter). Rows with red coloured cells are available in both lists but differ from each other. Green coloured rows and gray coloured columns are only available in one list. To identify rows that belong together, the most meaningful column for each list is used.
By clicking on the round button, a menu can be opened. There you can switch the things that should be synced on and off individually. The blue button in the menu opens an external diff tool. It uses the diff tool set in the Sync/Compare Settings. You don't need to install a separate diff tool for this. By default, one integrated in the PCBI is opened.

Assign Testpoint Attribute

User Interface of the Assign Testpoint Attribute
Fig 5. - User Interface Assign Testpoint Attribute

You can find the Testpoint Assign Tool under Plugin >> Assign Testpoint Attribute.
This tool helps to find and mark testpoints in a layout which could be defined via multiple non standardized attributes. Marking them with this tool then helps to standardize this and prepare the layout for following tools (for example the DFT Preperation).
On the top left you can switch between using the current selection or a set rule to find the testpoints and assign the test_point value.
When choosing rules you can add another rule by checking the checkbox of the lowest row in the current listview and then fill out which attribute should be tested and what value needs to be set in said attribute.
All attributes are listed in a simple drop down menu. The Filter Value then has to represent the value of the attribute. Wildcards are allowed when searching for attribute values. The image shows for example all ways to search for "tp" in the "geometry" attribute:

  • The first rows searches for all geometry attributes that have exacly the value "tp".
  • The second row seraches for all geometry attributes that end with "tp"
  • The third row searches for all geometry attributes that start with "tp"
  • The fourth row searches for all geometry attributes that have "tp" anywhere in their value

Also it is possible to search for multiple values of the same attribute as shown in the last row. Simply seperate the values with a semicolon.
Boolean attributes do not need any value since their existance already means they are set.
To remove a rule simply select the whole row by clicking on the left most column of the row you want to delete (left of Use Rule) and press the "delete" key on your keyboard.

Checking a rule will select all found possible testpoints of the job (the checkboxes Assign Top and Assign Bottom change the selection depending on the check state of them)

On the top right side there is an information panel showing:

  •  The currently already set testpoints of the loaded job for the top layer and the bottom layer
  •  A button to open this help page
  •  A button to select all currently set testpoints of the loaded job

Export Rules exports the currently set rules to a xml file on selected location on the machine or in a cloud
Import Rules imports rules from a file either from the machine or from a cloud
Remove all Testpoint Attributes removes the "test_point" attribute from all pads of the job
Assign Testpoint Attribute adds the "test_point" attribute to either the currently selected pads or the pads found by the selected rule (handled by the radiobuttons "using Selction" and "using Rule")
Assign Top is a checkbox that when unchecked the "test_point" attribute will not be set for the pads on the top layer
Assign Bottom is a checkbox that when unchecked the "test_point" attribute will not be set for the pads on the bottom layer

To find possible testpoints the attribute histogram is a good way to start.