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Status of VUTRAX 12.3a Before Release of 12.3b (5 Oct 2001)

VUTRAX 12.3a (5 May 2001)
Enhancements & Changes:

  • Graphics files are interchangeable with Vutrax 12.0a to 12.2c.
    Proviso: Vutrax 12.3 Files with BLINK attributes defined, which are then modified by Vutrax 12.0a to 12.2c, and re-imported to 12.3, may have these markers confused, but they can be cleared or reset harmlessly.
    Other files are forward compatible, and in general backwards compatible if new features are not used (for example Libraries and Rules) that do not explicitly use new features.
  • All programs are updated. They are only explicitly listed when significant changes need to be highlighted.
  • Formal Support for Microsoft Windows ME throughout.
  • Changes to window selection in Windows 98, NT, 2000 and ME to stop windows popping up underneath unwanted windows.
  • Example files TUT XMPL.LOG, SAMPLE.LOG, OBJECT.LOG & TYCONN9.LOG now have default SIDE layer settings for the back side.

Version:    DRAFT 38.20c (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001


  • Support for a new highlighting feature to BLINK any selection of items while viewing, moving the cursor, rubber banding etc. You can use this to highlight a signal you are working on, highlight power rails, etc. The setting mechanism includes all the methods also available for PICK, including by name, selected items, and individual segments and points. Operations available for PICK are also available for BLINK, providing two distinct and independent selection arrangements. The existing Flash schemes remain and is again distinct, though Flash and BLINK do not occur together. BLINK settings are preserved in the graphics file, though may not be maintained accurately during changes applied by earlier issues.
  • Moving groups of components (including mass-changing the orientations) that you have Picked or Blinked explicitly, but name, or by enclosing in one or more boxes.
  • The Colours and layers dialogue includes controls for highlighting of Pick, Blink, Pattern, Gluespots, Visible data points, enable/disable of the cursor grid, and whether drilled pads and VIAs show their True hole size. These features are also available through command line extensions (for example to alter your startup conditions). A command line extension allows initial colour settings from a user Palette file.
  • Additional Dialogue boxes are provided for setting up complex command options:-
    Dashed lines, Dotted lines and Centre lines.
    Curves, Fillets, and Spirals.
    Schematic and other Curves & Ellipses.
  • The ROUND dialogue and a new command line option is provided to create a new point, rather than alter an existing one.
  • User defined command assigned to function keys, User defined Toolbar buttons, and DRAFT command (.DEX) files have the ability to cursor select and/or Rubber-band in multiple sequences.
  • Save As is extended to provide selected save based on items that are BOXed, PICKed or BLINKed.
    These new features are also used to provide a related graphical Cut & Paste facility.
  • Capacity limited users can ask how much capacity is used, and can be warned when over a selectable percentage.
  • Print Graphics options include choice of one of having no Heading, the current filename, or a user specified heading. You can also choose whether to include the date.
  • The menus dynamically control Greying of far more options to simplify selections. This has also allowed us to extend the local menus to include Boxed, Picked and Blinked operations.
  • A command is available to alter all Signals and Labels on a Schematic drawing from one name to another.
  • When you alter the NAME of an already named item (Device, Signal etc.), Script, Data and Silk can, upon confirmation, be updated to match.
  • Auto-Dimensioning allows selection of decimal symbol, and optional 'thousands' separators. e.g. the continental style 12.345,67mm
  • The FIND? dialogue can browse the content of existing Script, Data Points and/or Silk Legends when selecting items to search for. You can also search for particular ROUND widths, and items with Blinked and/or Picked attributes.

Version:    DRAFT 38.21a and 38.21b (Pre-Issues)
Entry Date: 8 June 2001 - 5 Oct 2001
Problems Fixed:

  • A very intermittent problem exists when a drawing uses [Auto Cursor Panning] from (View > Panning) (PAN AUTO). After minimising the DRAFT window, or using the Taskbar [Show desktop] it is sometimes impossible to reactivate DRAFT, and the windows pointer may also misbehave. (Problem also present in earlier issues).
    Escape: Ctrl+Alt+Del, select the stuck DRAFT, and [End Task] (Use arrow keys and <Enter> if the mouse misbehaves). Unsaved changes are lost - automatic save will not occur.
    Avoidance: Most users do not use automatic panning (which has to be explicitly enabled) and need do nothing. To avoid the problem select [Scroll Bar Panning] from (View > Panning) (PAN SCROLL), or do not minimise DRAFT. Save before minimising to reduce the impact.
    Fix: Trial issue DRAFT 38.21a Dev A is available on request.
  • An item other than Silk Screen box, on a silk screen layer (normally 6 to 9), that has a point coincident with the pad selected for [Move Component] (BOX DEVICE) may generate the message 'You have not selected a PCB Component'. (Problem also present in earlier issues).
    Workaround 1: Remove unwanted extraneous items, change the layer of items intended only for annotation, or arrange that the coordinates do not exactly match.
    Workaround 2: Select a point on the Silk-Screen outline rather than the component pad.
    Fix: Trial issue DRAFT 38.21a Dev B is available on request.
  • The configuration file feature allowing commands like
    ... SHOW < \VUTRAX\palette file.VPL ...
    to define an initial user selected palette is rejected if the path to the file includes a 'U'.
    Workaround 1: If you always work in \VUTRAX\WORK or a similar project subdirectory of \VUTRAX use instead
    ... SHOW < ..\palette file.VPL ...
    Workaround 2: Put the palette file somewhere else. e.g.
    ... SHOW < "\My Documents\palette file.VPL" ...
    Workaround 3: Use the file \VUTRAX\DEFAULT.VPL with command
    ... SHOW < @ ...
    Workaround 4: When needed on new drawing, import explicitly by clicking the layer list & [Restore Colours].
  • DRAFT [Find] from (Edit) truncates to 32 characters any script, data or silk text that you select using the [?] browse.
    Workaround: If you select long text, scroll to the end of the text entry control, and add any missing characters.
  • [Whole Width ...] selections are not reliable - it may simply not work, or select another item at point 1 of the structure.
    Fix: Apply SAN 197 (VTXPATCH) to draft.mnu using options -L4 -H4 with patch file:-
    40 40 73 65 67 20 77 ; ? ? 20 20 20 20 ?
  • DRAFT Blink or Pick 'action' (as opposed to 'setting') items may be disabled even when there are items that could be manipulated. The problem occurs intermittently when the last noted point was an unselected point on a structure which includes selected points. The typed commands still work.
    Avoidance: Select a non-picked/blinked item first.
    Fix: [Windows Only] Apply SAN 197 (VTXPATCH) to ...\win32\draft.exe using options -L2 -H2:-
    00 06 E9 07 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 00 01 ;
    ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 05
  • The whole structure BLINK attribute was not always accurately updated during BREAK, BOX JOIN or PICK JOIN operations. This can create some odd blink effects and warning messages with [Blink Information] from (Edit > Blinked Items). PICK does not suffer from the same problem.
    Workaround 1: Clear all the BLINK markers using [Clear All Blinked] from (Edit > Blinked Items > Clear Markers). If this is greyed, type PICK OFF * <enter>
    Workaround 2: If this is a repeated nuisance, use PICK (possibly with BLINK JOIN) instead.
    Workaround 3: With DRAFT 38.21b or later, you can update PICK markers using [Start Line] to create a single point, and then using [Break All] from (Edit > Break). The created point will disappear, and BLINK flags in all structures will be rationalised.
  • DRAFT Script editing normally recognises that you are changing a signal name and asks whether the selected text a legend for an indicated signal'. If the script includes lower case characters DRAFT does not realise the text may be a signal legend.
    Workaround: Undo any change applied, Type command SIG/ and then select first the drawn signal and then the legend.
    Avoidance: Type signal names in UPPER case.
  • [Windows 98SE] A background DRAFT window with Automatic Pan enabled may lead to the windows pointer becoming unusable. Workaround: Alt+Tab to the DRAFT to regain control.
Documentation Additions:
  • Blink of Overlaid Items may not be visible. This explains:-
    After the existing description of Blink
    "You can not choose the blink 'colour' - in order to work seamlessly with cursor movement and banding it must use the same 'colour flip (XOR)' operation"
    Include the following explanation
    "Blinked lines and other items drawn over one another an even number of times (e.g. twice) result in the un-enhanced appearance. Consequently such constructions may lead to parts of items not being blinked or being blinked intermittently. In the case of PCB signal tracks this can be reduced using [Optimise Plot] from (Reconnect > Options) although this is not recommended while you are editing.
    Note: The same effect on banding lines is largely removed by examining and modifying the limited number of single pixel lines drawn. This is impractical for potentially thousands of variable width lines in Blink.
    PICK does not suffer from this problem because it changes the painting colour, but thus can not be Blinked."

Version:    TOOLBOX 11.06a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001


  • DXF TO VUTRAX default setup defines mappings and colours for AutoCAD layers up to 255.
  • For SILKRENAME on PCBs the alignment of outline boxes is interpreted more intuitively. Warning: Results of particular scan patterns may differ from the previous issue.

Version:    AUTOPLACE 8.04a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001

  • Recognises new DESRULE directives SILKGAP and POWERLAYERS.

Version:    PLOT 15.08b (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001


  • Direct output restrictions from PLOT in Microsoft Windows NT, 2000 and ME are reflected in permissible menu settings (rather than being rejected by PLOT when you use them).
  • An option allows selection between 'Finished Size' and 'Drill Size' for CNC and other outputs.

Version:    VUTRAX.VXY 5.00a
Entry Date: 12 Aug 2001
Problem Fixed:

  • Selecting the fixed line width output option (generally to generate 'stick' diagrams) produced a line one tenth of the specified width.
    Workaround: Append a 0 to the width you specify.

Version:    GERB274X 2.00a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001

  • Options expect to start with '-'. In Windows '/' is also accepted for backwards compatibility, but deprecated. There are new options to explicitly define which you want.

Version:    DESRULE 34.04b (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001


  • Checking of Silk Screen Printing against copper pads, with various options for setting clearances, avoiding drilled centres of VIA holes, etc.
  • Checking connections to Powerplanes. This supplements the Split plane checking features in EMCRITIC.
  • User selected colours are preserved when the error markers are merged with the artwork

Version:    EMCRITIC 2.04a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001

  • User selected colours are preserved when the error markers are merged with the artwork.
  • Recognises new DESRULE directives SILKGAP and POWERLAYERS.

Version:    AUTOTRAK 23.04a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001

  • Recognises new DESRULE directives SILKGAP and POWERLAYERS.

Version:    VUROUTE 8.04a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001

  • Recognises new DESRULE directives SILKGAP and POWERLAYERS.

Version:    PARTGEN 10.00a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001

  • A Range of new options are provided to extract the part descriptions stored in the library index and include them in various ways.
  • Options expect to start with '-'. In Windows '/' is also accepted for backwards compatibility, but deprecated. There are new options to explicitly define which you want.

Version:    PARTGEN 10.01a (Development Update)
Entry Date: 12 Aug 2001
Problem Fixed:

  • When the option to extract descriptive information from the schematic index is invoked, 'value' devices without an explicit library entry generate <Device not Indexed>. e.g. RES#3K3 with only the RES# library symbol will not include any description provided for RES#.
    Fixed issue 10.01a is available on request.

Version:    PARTGEN 10.01b (Vutrax 12.3b)
Entry Date: 5 Oct 2001
Problem Fixed:

  • PARTGEN 10.00 (and 10.01a pre-issue) misaligned multiple index 'Info' entries in text output styles, and included a unwanted carriage return. Comma separated forms are correct.

Version:    CONNECT 28.00a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001

  • A new option processes pin lists with an existing placement file (e.g. for top-down modification).

Version:    SEE 11.02c (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001


  • Options to handle files in both UNIX (Linux) and Windows/DOS conventions, including both automatic selection and forcing required styles. (Existing utility VTXUDDU handles mass conversion).
  • Highlighting of the various new keywords in Rules files.
  • Clarification of the confirmation and error messages for Copy and Cut.
  • 'Cut' and 'Copy' to file include the names in the Recent Files list to make them easier to 'Paste'.

Version:    SEE 11.03a Dev A
Entry Date: 12 Aug 2001
Problem Fixed:

  • Use of the Windows 98 onwards [Undo Minimise All] from (Right Click on Taskbar), or using the [Show Desktop] icon twice for similar effect, often crashes SEE. Unsaved changes are lost.
    Avoidance: Restore windows by clicking icons in the taskbar.

Version:    MENUVTX 10.08a Dev A (Part of SAN 210)
Entry Date: 2 Aug 2001

  • Upgrades to Vutrax 12.3a do not reliably update menus in project directories created using [Linked to Project]. A patch file in SAN 210 provides a fix.
    Automated update also requires VTXSETUP 12.3c or later, but the patch overrides this requirement.

Version:    VTXSETUP 12.3b (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001


  • Separately recognises and handles Windows 95, 98, NT3.51, NT4, ME, 2000.

Version:    VTXSETUP 12.3c
Entry Date: 23 May 2001 - 2 Aug 2001

  • Upgrades to Vutrax 12.3a do not reliably update menus in project directories created using [Linked to Project]. A patch file in SAN 210 provides a workaround for the installer, plus MENUVTX 10.08 Dev A.
  • Vutrax runs under Windows XP (RC1) with no obvious problems. Installation and run-time for previous issues selects Windows 2000.
    Workaround: Install with this selection which is compatible.

Version:    VTXSHELL 5.00b (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001


  • Includes features for processing lists of files, including searching subdirectories and generating true numeric sequences.
  • Support for command files carried backwards and forwards between Linux and Windows.
  • New SORT option to handle quoted fields in comma separated lists.
  • New TABLE option to re-arrange the columns in comma separated lists.
  • New TYPE options to paginate and wrap output to fit Personal Organisers.
  • 'Insert' mode is now the starting state for typed commands.

Version:      CHECKLIB 1.04a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date:   5 May 2001

  • Additionally reports invalid characters in library names.

Version:    VTXTOSPC 4.03, SPCTOVTX 4.06 (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001


  • Verified to work with Specctra 10.0

Version:    BMP2VTX 2.00a (VUTRAX 12.3a)
Entry Date: 5 May 2001

  • The converter handles more variations of monochrome bitmap, and long file names, and is now menu controlled.