BatchPCB bot output only showing a few traces?

Questions about the BatchPCB service

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BatchPCB bot output only showing a few traces?

Postby dpaton » Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:28 pm

I've sent 2 ZIPs in to Batch PCB's DRC bot. On the preview screen, where you pick the function of each file, all of the traces on the bottom of my PCBs are shown just fine. After approval, in the PNGs attached to the bot's email, I only see one or two traces.

I know the gerber output is good. I'm generating these from the same Altium Summer 08 package that I make my living with every day.

I just want to make sure that the gerber data is being properly understood, and that the bot's pictures are the problem, not anything else.

How can I be sure, other than ordering?
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Postby Philba » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:21 pm

Try looking at them on the web site. If they look the same, I'd say you have a problem.
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Postby dpaton » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:12 pm

The website previews match the PNGs in the emails.

I send gerbers generated with this package to other board houses weekly without issues. No one has ever complained about the output, in the US or China or Singapore or Germany or Brazil. I'm at a loss.

Sent the package to support, along with the email, the PNGs, and all the supporting documentation I could think of. Hopefully someone on the back end can tell me what's going wrong.

-dave
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Postby dpaton » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:15 am

Support has been fabulous, digging into the bowels of this thing with me. Looks like the bot can't deal with some Gerber stacks that have complex bottom layers. The images generated only show a small subset of the bottom layer. My Gerber tools are conflited though, with Camtastic showing the file as designed, and GC-Perview showing it as the bot does.

Still working to get this resolved.
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Postby TheDirty » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:28 am

Complex bottom layers, meaning a large number of polygons/cm?

Now you have my curious how complex a layer has to be to break the bot. Can you share an image?
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Postby dpaton » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:43 am

This is what I see in my outptu CAM viewer:
Image

The bottom layer isn't terribly complex for me, but does contain a fair number of polygons compared to the standard back side pour. The project in question though is less complex than some others on BatchPCB, which is why I'm still working with support to figure out why it's failing. Oddly enough, the output of the bot looks like this, and GC-Preview agrees:

Image

Note the 13 missing traces.

The package I use is Altium Designer (summer 08 release), a high level industrial grade ECAD package used for serious design work. I push out hundreds of boards a year to board houses without any issues at all, so I know the files are good. I'm just trying to figure out why some of the most common reference tools can't interpret the files correctly.
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Postby dpaton » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:54 pm

Update: I got the following back from support at the end of another wonderful email:

"Since you sent us gerber files that tell us how it should look, if your board does not come out properly, we will work to correct the situation"

They're gonna make sure it's right, either way. Yay BatchPCB/Sparkfun!
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Postby busonerd » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:54 pm

Its likely that some stuff is drawn using negatives - aka, the whole area is drawn positive, then negative areas are drawn on top, which should be erased. Then on top of those negative areas, the traces are drawn. Its telling that the only traces that are visible are the ones that touch the outer edge.

Last I was there, the bot didn't support this, nor used a model that made supporting that easy [my fault, really].
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Postby olivier_p » Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:33 pm

Same problem here. I use Altium and it is probably the polygon pour that causes problem. I have sent an email to support along with a picture of the layer from Altium. Unfortunately it is the Easter holiday so don't think I will get an answer until tuesday.
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Postby dpaton » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:36 am

The first shot is from Camtastic. The Altium bottom layer looks identical.

I have a high level of confidence in the BatchPCB folks getting this right. I'll know for sure when my boards show up though.
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