Technical Support and the Latest Information for
- Vutrax Version 13.0a -
Vutrax 13.0a was released in April 2006 for
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 3.51, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, XP x64
Linux operating systems.
The primary content of
this bulletin is an outline of the enhancements.
Operational details of the changes are
embedded in the installed product.
- Availability -
When available, this
issue of the software can be supplied from Downloads
situated on our Web site
(www.vutrax.co.uk) or supplied on a CD-ROM.
Those who have subscribed
to the Support and Update
Rights Agreement can either
software, or if a CD-ROM is required
'Freeware' customers can update from downloaded materials
alone. The same 256 pin
limits and indefinite
Users who have NOT
subscribed to 'Support and
Update Rights' and would like
to know more details of the
costs involved, please telephone or e-mail the
Computamation office on:
- Vutrax 13.0a Enhancements -
provides full support for turning components to
any angle (0.1 degree
changes include arbitrary rotation of script, pad shapes
and rounds and curves that form part of silk
screen outlines and elsewhere. Device orientation is
maintained through Analyse Placement, Back-Modify
and Forward (Top-Down) modification.
supports 64 layers which can be assign in any way you
please and 2047 pad
shapes are now
available for user definition.
- Support for multiple layer silk screen symbols.
- A graphical editor Edit Silk Shape (EDLIBSLK) is available for altering the silk
outlines from existing
Physical Libraries (.LIB), particularly (but not limited
to) assigning meaningful layer changes.
- A new utility Create Library (CREATLIB)
for generating usable physical
libraries for use where only
schematic and PCB artwork files are available for
modification (quite a common situation when modifying
- Windows XP x64 is formally
supported, including provision of a new 'Help' Browser
that will operate in
the 32/64 bit only environment.
The major enhancements
achieved in Vutrax
13.0 are primarily
concerned with functionality and were
impractical without a database change.
Vutrax 13.0 accepts graphics files from all older version of
Vutrax.All your data
and libraries are forward
compatible - Vutrax-13 can still read and edit files
written in the 1980's!
Whatever is in a Vutrax 12
artwork is preserved in Vutrax
13 unless a new rats-nest is
by Top-down-Modify) when some aspects of turned components
Graphics files written by Vutrax 13.0
can be converted to
Vutrax 12 readable form using
supplied utility. Apart from detailed format changes the
following conversions are performed and
warnings generated as necessary:-
- Pad definition or use above pad 999.
- Explicit turned pad actions are
specified in the pad
table, or degree turned pads are
- Degree turned Script or Rounds are used.
numbers over 31 are used.
and Butt end are both used on a single width
(making it impossible to define
them unambiguously with a single width based CAPPING
Each warning is includes an
assessment on its likely impact so that the user can
decide whether the
resulting file can be used or the Vutrax 13 file first
Where designs use the Vutrax 12
directive <TURN ANGLE>
library, some problem may be experienced with compatibility of
rotation where the library TURN is not positive and less that 90
degrees, or where the component is on the 'back' side.
A Rats-Nest (WIRE) option
can be used to force compatible operation at the expense
of some new
Placement (.LAY) files from Vutrax 13 may need
manual modification for use in Vutrax 12 to
remove any DEGTURN keywords and values).
The following however, work without
- Vutrax 12 Artworks presented for plotting at Vutrax 13
- Vutrax 13 Artworks presented for plotting at Vutrax 12
based manufacturers who
process the artwork using the
Vutrax 12 Utility and are
presented with no warnings.
- Various comma separated forms
contain additional information about degree pad rotation
when it is used. When not used the file format is
- Schematics and other drawing where
VTX13_12 utility presents with no warning
The general adoption of function
key F5 as 'Repaint' in Windows Explorer & Internet
led us to swap the functions assigned to the F5 and
function keys, along with their Shift & Cntl
The graphics file KEYPLATE.DIA
in the ...\WORK folder contains a printable function key
template that fits PC
keyboards with standard size Function keys arrayed in
groups of 4 along to
top of the keyboard. The file is standard Vutrax
graphics - you can massage it and rescale it during
printing to whatever you want.
Vutrax has long supported the
turning of outlines (including CURVEs) by arbitrary angles
support for 45 degree turned rectangular pads. This has
now been extended to provide full support
for turning components to any angle (0.1 degree resolution).
The changes include arbitrary
rotation of script, pad
shapes and rounds and curves that
form part of silk screen outlines and
The 'size' field for Script
Text, Rounds & Pad Shapes can include an additional
where the <TURN ANGLE> can take any
value from 0.0 (no effect) to 89.9 degrees in
increments of 0.1
Integer values (no decimal point) are accepted. Such a
rotation on an object is known as a
Degree Turn (DEGTURN).
Round Points maintain there radius and segment information
independently of the 'Size' field, and
maintain their Degree Turn (DEGTURN) separately, It can
be explicitly set using a variant of the
ROUND command as in:-
The command 'turn' now applies the
turn angle to each of the Script, Round & Pad
Shapes in the
turned item so that the whole shape is changed
naturally. Options are available to provide more
control of the 'turn' command.
Turns the selected component silk
screen, silk legend, component footprint and component
the nominated angle. The command adjusts the actual turn
angle to the nearest resolution that
Degree Turn (DEGTURN) permits, and adjusts the angles of
any pads and rounds on the selected
structure and any pads moved as part of the device.
Note: Device orientation is
maintained through Analyse Placement, Back-Modify and
Turn Component ...
Turn Comp Lock Pads
Turns the device, but does not
apply changes to silk legend or component pad
Turn Comp Pads Only ...from (Place)
Turns the selected component silk
legend and component pads by the nominated
angle, but does not change any point coordinates.
Various 'Pick' and
'Blink' commands are also available for 'Turn'
manipulation, as follows:-
'Pick' and 'Blink' Just
The 'JUST' directives can be
added to a number of Pick and Blink marker setting
clear existing markers first. The change from Vutrax 12
is that after the command has been executed
most of the 24 command styles including JUST change
their prompt to the standard TOGGLE or set
to ON variant as appropriate so you can add further
selection and/or toggle the settings without
selecting a further command.
The exception are the command forms
which include a <WILDCARD NAME LIST>.
Vutrax 13 permits use of
64 user assignable
layers, and provides additional
controls on their use
by way of display without selection and use of multiple layers in silk screen outlines.
This dialogue can be
invoked by either clicking on the layers/colour bar at the bottom of
or by selecting: -
Show Palette from (View)
The Check boxes for each layer can
now take 3 states to support a new visible (or Zilched)
Visible (if not zilched) but not
selectable unless a Hole or Fixed Hole designated for
layer is also visible on a selectable layer.
The layer selection check box
automatically updates when you explicitly select a colour,
the layer from normal to Zilch colour or back. Normally
the new selection will be what you want - if it
isn't click on the check box to change it.
Also within the dialogue box
Save Colours has been renamed Export Settings
has been renamed Import Settings
to reflect that this feature now
permanently stores the complete settings controlling how
displayed by way of colours, layer selections, selectable
layers etc., explicitly excluding display the
area and zoom factor.(Previously only the colour
selections and selected check boxes were stored
in the created file).
The list of layers and colours at
the bottom of the Draft screen has been re-formatted
of layers to accommodate as many of the 64 layers as
practical within the window width available.
'Show' command 'Same Colour'
For command & macro users ,
the colour 'S' can be used instead of the primary
colour letters to
specifies the same
colour as already imported as
a palette or set through the dialogue box, and
can be used to enable a pad or layer display without
assigning one of the primary colours. Any Zilch
colour is cancelled but 'NODE and FIXED NODE
the same colour as tracks' is not cancelled if
Multi-layer silk shape library definitions can be specified
with the additional layers
changing with component side assignment.
Side Dependent Unplaced and Placed
The designation of layers as
Rats Nest, Pads, Unplacement Components &
Placed Components is
unchanged, but an additional section of this table can
be used to define pairing of layers used in silk
screen outline which exchange sides if the side on which
the component is mounted is changed.
Note: This table has an equivalent
that should be included is the Rats-Nest Rules (.WRL)
that layers are initially assigned correctly in the rats
Vutrax 12 supported Line-Capping by means of a 'Capping Table' that specified whether any
particular width was to be
Round or Butt-ended.
Vutrax 13 stores the selection on a per line-segment basis.
The 'Capping Table' no longer exists.
By default lines are Round-end as is the
normal requirement, but commands are available to
individually or mass-set Round or Butt-ended within
Width ... from (Edit > Properties > Width)
The width absolute and incremental
parameter can accept a capping directive letter before
width or immediately after the width (without a space)
from one of
B Force Butt ended
R Force Round
leave line ending alone (The default)
To change the line ending style of
a single selected point without changing the width.
Propertues > Width)
Propertues > Width)
Multiple changes for 'Boxed',
'Picked' or 'Blinked' width operations
The <FROM> and <TO>
specification can take a suffix letter:-
B Select only / Set to Butt ended
R Select only
/ Set to Round ended
either line end style (default) / Leave line end style
The Pad definitions table now
supports 2047 pad definitions (pads 1 to 2047).
Degree Turned Pad Handling
The pad shape table defines for
each pad shape what should be done about pads specified
an angle (0.1 to 89.9 degrees).
For each pad there exists a table
of defining what action should be taken for each of the
Construct Pad Shape:-
Vutrax internally creates a TRACE
shape that provides the defined shape in it's turned
form. This is the default and most user
will leave this as the most suitable setting.
Vutrax will use the nominated pad
shape number (at its normal orientation) for the pad at
the tabulated angle. The nominated alternate can be 0
(zero) to specify that the pad
should not be plotted.
This pad at this angle is
specified to be not allowed. Various parts of Vutrax
their appropriate ways if such a pad shape is requested.
Trace pads can now be constructed using Butt-ended lines allowing
accurate and efficient
construction of rectangles and sharp cornered' shapes.
In Vutrax 12 component
oriention was controlled from the library or by ad-hoc
TURN DRAG. Some complications arise in moving designs using
turned components to Vutrax 13.
While PCB layouts carried into Vutrax 13 appear the
same and can be manipulated without
problems, use of the design modification cycles can be
eased by using some new
Custom ... from (Tools > Interconnect > Make Rats
Nest > Extra Options)
Suppresses Degree Turns in the .LAY file and
correspondingly obey library defined
turns and pad substitution specified by TURN and
This option provides full
compatibility with Layout files written by Vutrax 12 and
be used when continuing modification cycles on artworks
from Vutrax 12 when the
additional rotation capabilities are not required.
Library descriptions containing
or ALTERPAD directives are treated as defining
the preferred library item from which to derive the
footprint. Implied by option
This option is primarily intended
for use with libraries where only the TURNed
component with alternate pads is properly defined.
Suppresses warnings when finding
or ALTERPAD directives are found in the
library and are being ignored.
This option allows you to suppress
the warnings without altering the libraries.
-YD, -YT and -YW are
mutually exclusive and should not be specified
Degree Turn in Libraries
Definition or Pad, Script and Rounds in the
library can include
directives. Within the SILKSHAPE
definition the format accepts a specifier, immediately
before W <WIDTH>,of the form
Device Turn in Placement (.LAY)
The start of each device placement
directive takes the form
where <ORIENTATION> takes the
Degree Turns can also be embedded in records of the silk
legend and other text embedded in
the @...@ section of the placement file. e.g.
lat deg 70.0 qrot place
DIODE-1N914 4625 775 @ 0U 1 8LD70T 225 225 ;
SCRIPT 250 300 6LD70T "DIODE-1N914" ;
GLUE 78'6 40'6 @ D3
Angles in the Kitting (.KIT)
The 'Rot< 90 | 180 | 270>' field that may be present in Kitting (.KIT) file
entries is replaced by
Design Rule Check
(Desrule), Automatic Routing (Autotrak)& Rip-up &
You can specify items in the
SILKSHAPE part of the library defintion to be on tracking layers, so it
is possible to include heat
sink pads and the like as
part of the footprint. You can find an extreme
worked example of a hatched area related to a voltage
regular REG-7805 in file
Sample Partially Place.slk
in the ..\samples
To make the design checker ignore
apparent violation it may be necessary to SYNONYM the
outline name (the library device name) with the signal
that the copper represents, as in
'UB', 'UU', 'U?' and 'Q1'
The UB ... and UU options
for forcing line end style based on width ranges
are no longer
and has been discontinued. Their use generates an error
diagnostic. Vutrax 13 can apply
functionally identical changes to the artwork file.
The harmless U? option for checking
for butt-end lines in the artwork is also redundant.
generates a minor warning and the continues. It has no
The long deprecated option Q1 (for
compatibility with Vutrax 9) now generates an error
Support for Windows XP
Windows XP x64 is formally
supported, including provision of a new 'Help' Browser
that will operate
in the 32/64 bit only environment.
To support help browsing an
alternate browser is selected which runs in 32 bit mode
- a later
section discusses why and how you might select this
browser on Windows XP.
The banner and environment variable
WINNAME identify that is is running in the 64 bit variant of
Windows XP with the
Windows XP x64
Operation with a 64 bit processor using
standard Windows 95 through XP generates the
operating system identification.
TIMESTAMP /F <FILENAME> style commands now sets the additional
environment variable FSIZE to the decimal
size of the nominated file.
The Linux version now
supports the OPEN command. It associates the standard
extensions with either
DRAFT or SEE.
Vtxhelp - Webview &
Windows XP x64 (for 64 bit support on 64 bit processors) will
not run 16 bit applications, so on
this operating system Vutrax can not use 16 bit Windows
application Webview. For XP x64
the browser Amaya is always automatically selected. For
Windows XP onwards Vutrax continues to
use Webview but can instructed to use Amaya by
from (File >
and adding the setting
Note: This setting is ignored for
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT and 2000
Amaya supports the mouse scroll
wheel, is more HTML standard
compliant than Webview, and can
be used for web browsing. Page layout is also
cosmetically different - you may or may not, prefer it.
To improve rendering performance the
standard green navigation buttons are normally replaced
standard grey buttons. If this doesn't bother you and
you would prefer the green buttons, select
instead the following setting (which also changes the
rendering in the Linux
version though it is less
of an issue here)
To revert to Webview either:-
Visit the same item and remove the
or 'C' and leave the box enabled (this scheme is
convenient for flipping back and forth between the two
the mention of VTXAMAYA altogether and
restart Vutrax (best scheme for reverting to
issue uses only the Amaya Browser
which has been upgraded to issue 8.8 with CMSL
local CGI modifications You should find the rendering a
lot tidier than the previous issue.
Draft (Graphics) & See
These editors now append an
asterisk ('*') to the filename when changes have not
saved by the user. Automatic saves (usually selected to
be written to an alternate name) may be lost
so this does not clear the marker.
Protection against program exit or
system shutdown without saving remains.
Vutrax System Menu
Previously the Vutrax Menu sytem
window preserved it's position only in the Maximized
could not be permanently reduced in size. If you now
select Normal size you can adjust the
window size down to 2 lines high (enough for error and
status messages) and can be reduced in
width to only just fit in the menu bar. Such settings
are new preserved.
New Utility - Creating a
Library from Artwork (CREATELIB)
This generates a physical library (.LIB)
for the devices used in a properly formed Vutrax PCB
It is designed to be used in
conjunction with an existing schematic or the output
to permit modification work on
designs for which only the final artwork (and possibly
pin list) still exist.
However started the features
requires just two parameters:-
- The name of a Vutrax Artwork, Rats-Nest or
any state in-between. The artworks must
include the standard Vutrax silk screen outlines and
- A destination .LIB filename to store
the resulting library. Do not casually overwrite any
Each device found generates a
library name based on the silk outline structure name
the pins and groups as the pin-information points
Multiple instances of the same
device appear just once in the library, but devices
using the value
style (embedding a '#' in the name) produce a devname
library for each distinct value. If you
subsequently want to add or change a value you can
either duplicate one of the exsting values and
assigned the new value, or derive a devvalue style library
item, being careful that some of the values
are not physically different as is common with
The silk outline is analysed and
encoded in library format - in some circumstances it may
convenient to analyse an artwork and then Copy & Paste such definitions into existing libraries
The pad shapes in the artwork are
translated to PADSHAPE directives in the library.
No attempt is made to interpret
any SIDE, or SILKSIDE directive which should appear in the
Rats-Nest Rules (.WRL). The Physical Library does
not embed any Script font settings so you may
wish to import these later from the original artwork.
New Utility - Graphical
Edit of Library Silk Directives (EDLIBSLK)
This utility is designed to help
you make use of the new multi-layer features available
for silk screens
by editing changes to silk shapes in existing .LIB files
in the graphical domain. The procedure is as
Archive your .LIB files
Make safe copies of your existing
.LIB files to guard against loss in the case of your
own or system
errors, and to retain a set of libraries for use
with Vutrax 12. Layer selection with SILKSHAPE
directives is not back-compatible with Vutrax 12, but if you
leave the layers as standard then this
tools leaves libraries compatible with Vutrax 12.
For safety the menu system
requires selection of the destination filename. You can
opt to write the
result to a different file or back into the original
file (generating a .BAK file of the original)
Include Corner Marker (Option
-Z) specifies handling of the single SILKSIZE
directive per library is optional. This field includes:-
- The width of the standard
silk box and the corner marker
When SILKSHAPE is use this is assumed to by "SILKSIZE 0 0U ..."
- Optionally the size of the silk screen legend.
- Optionally (only if the above all
appear) the relative position of the silk screen
If you include such processing then
Edit Silk Library assigns it's own default values to
unsupplied fields and these will become the libraries
defaults unless you explicitly adjust them
or remove the whole silk item.
Custom option can include
- -12 to edit Vutrax 12
libraries without converting
them to Vutrax 13 forms - Layer
changes are discarded.
Degree turn assignments should
NOT appear and will cause
problems if the
Library is used in
DRAFT Edit the file
Edit Silk Library (EDLIBSLK) reads the .LIB file and
generates a graphics file (normally
EDLIBSLK!.LOG in the current folder) that contains
all the graphical shapes laid out in an
array. DRAFT should start automatically to enable you
to edit this file
The shapes are identified as
- The shape structure name is the
as that of the library
- Point 1 is a data point identifying the line in the
file at which the SILKSHAPE
- Point 2 is a small NODE identifying the 0, 0 reference for
your device - normally 'Pin 1'.
- Point 3 is the first point of the library SILKSHAPE
which follows sequentially.
- The graphics file is selected as
or METRIC to match the most used coordinate
type in the library. Each SILKSHAPE is maintained
in whichever coordinate system it
was defined in. When the coordinate system of the
SILKSHAPE does not match that of
the graphics file then coordinate are converted to and
from the graphics using unscaled
coordinate mapping where 1 Thou = 0.025mm. This avoid
potential rounding errors but
you need to be aware of this if you a precisely
- Library items without SILKSHAPE
directive are not represented in the graphics file. If
you want to build a shape for a device without one
first edit the .LIB file and in each
device you want to edit find the first 'group' or
'fixed' keyword and insert the line
- If you add any points, script
etc. to a shape ensure that it is joined to the original
structure - e.g. Flash (Draw 0) to see
the whole outline flashing.
- You can move the whole of any
structure that you like, but do not alter the first or
points except for incidental changes to the layer.
- Shapes you don't want to change
can (and preferably should) be deleted - Any structure
shape with an appropriate first two points will be
re-evaluated and a new SILKSHAPE
sequence generated. Unchanged shapes will functionally
match the original but which
may be differently laid out in the .LIB file.
When you are happy with your
changes [Exit] from DRAFT saving changes.
Analysis and output
Edit Silk Library will ask you to confirm that the
update should go ahead.
If you say NO or something goes
wrong during analysis you can still analyse the graphics
using the -RESCUE option.
You can check the results are in
a .LIB file by applying Edit
Silk Library to the file but
declining to update when you exit DRAFT.
Vutrax is a registered trademark of Computamation Systems Ltd.