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Status of VUTRAX 12.4a & 12.4b Before Release of 12.5a (Nov 2003)

Extract of Change Marked Sections from

\SRCE\DOC\VTXLOG.PFM last updated on Wed Nov 05 09:41:24 2003

VUTRAX 12.4a
Entry Date: 13 Sep 2002 - 8 Sep 2003

  • [Windows only] The 'finalise the installation' phase of a Vutrax update from a system originated with Vutrax 11 (current until Apr 1998) may fail with a meaningless Menu error messages. Install is trying to update extracts from the menu you used at that time to preserve PLOT option settings or similar using (now obsolete) utility MENUTOOL.
    Workaround: Use Windows Explorer (or a DOS window) to remove files named VTXPLOT*.OMN from the Vutrax folder, and run update again. If this still fails first remove all *.MNU and *.OMN files - this time menu settings will be lost.
  • The Vutrax authorisation system may fail intermittently if you use always-active Virus checking, archiving, 'spyware' or versioning software that reacts immediately that a changed file is closed. Program may refuse to start or hold up while running, complaining of a missing key or sumcheck error.
    The cause is that authorisation files written for or updated by VTXMSG are accessible immediately after update because they are locked by the 3rd party software.
    Workaround: Disable such software temporarily. If it is 'spyware' you will probably want to delete it anyway.
    Fix: All effected modules will be updated in Vutrax 12.5a
Enhancements & Changes:
  • Design files are backwards compatible with Vutrax 12.3 - new attributes are preserved but ignored when edited by it.
  • Interactive facilities that generate 'backup' files now append the .bak extension to the current extension, keeping different backup files distinct.

Version:    DRAFT 38.22h (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 6 Dec 2001 - 13 Sep 2002


  • Automatic Saving features have been enhanced to include much more control of the name used by DRAFT. The default is to use the name <original name>.auto.bak .
  • DRAFT now assumes Schematic (SCHEM) mode when started on a new file.
  • DRAFT import of corrupt of truncated files (as might be received by e-mail) provides more useful diagnostics.
  • Changing of Surface Mount pad side changes provides more explicit information.
  • The DRAFT Parameter selection Dialogue has been altered to change the persistence of the parameter browse feature.
  • The DRAFT 'OPTIMISE' feature has been substantially extended to include sequencing of non-signal structures, and to include optimisation by name or explicit selection, rather than just optimisation markers. Warning: Some previously available typed commands have changed - if you use command line input you need to read the changes section.
  • DRAFT sets the 'optimise required' markers for some more selected track changes.
  • DRAFT Track length and Impedance measurements has been extensively revised to include partial tracks, and comparison of whole or partial tracks to enable erasure matching the trace lengths in time critical designs.
  • DRAFT 'PICK' and 'BLINK' setting options now include picking signal Routes, sequencing between zero widths (including curve fillets) and an explicit range of points.
  • DRAFT can now update script in suitable protected structure with a simple confirmation, rather than changing modes.
  • DRAFT 'GROUNDPLANE' now names the generated structures to indicate the signal name and layer to which they apply. Removing groundplanes has an equivalent selection feature.
  • Outline sequencing is automatically applied for DRAFT 'GROUNDPLANE' outlines.
  • DRAFT - BREAK on a named structure can opt to apply the original name to one or more of the fragments.
  • DRAFT 'BANDING' control can be used to provide your own prompt when you create your own function key or toolbar buttons.
  • DRAFT 'OUTLINE' is introduced to provide explicit control of outline drawing direction, and to show the effect of milling a particular set of cutouts and profiles.
  • DRAFT 'FIND' dialogue based searches automatically pan to the found item if it is off-screen. Typed and command file forms do not add this function so they will work as expected.
  • DRAFT 'PAN IFOFF' pans to current Vutrax coordinate if (and only if) it is out of the DRAFT Window.
  • DRAFT Library Building using Schematic Footprint and Netlist Footprint styles check that numbered pins are contiguous, and optionally include overrides so that it is accepted.
  • DRAFT 'Tool Tips' can be disabled by including a '-' anywhere in the envionment variable DRAFTHINTS using Auto Draft Hints from (File > Setup).
  • If DRAFT should suffer a protection error it will attempt to save your current database to a file name derived from that you use for automatic save.
  • DRAFT can preview the effects of drill settings sensitive to Plated-through and non-plated-through drill requirements.

Version:    DRAFT 38.23b (*** On Trial for Vutrax 12.5a)
Entry Date: 20 Sep 2002 - 2 Nov 2003

  • The groundplanes dialogue may harmlessly mess up the courtesy display of the selected outline name if the name is long.
    Fix: Apply SAN197 (VTXPATCH) to '\win32\draft.exe' (Linux: '/xwin/draft') using no options and with patch file
    0A 00 A0 00 0C 00 51 ;
    ? ? 18 01 ? ? ?
  • [Linux only] DRAFT variable layout dialogue boxes (e.g. 'Required Parameters' and 'Display New File') may not show keyboard shortcut underlines and all of character descenders.
    Fix: Available on Request.
  • If DRAFT 'Postscript' output fails (e.g. disk space exhausted) DRAFT will not update it's window properly, and in Windows may crash or hang.
    Windows Workaround: Save before attempting Postscript output. Ctrl+Alt+Delete & stop a hung DRAFT from the task list. Restart DRAFT from the top of the recent files list.
    Linux Workaround: Save if necessary, Exit and restart from the top of the recent files list.
    Fix: Available on Request.
  • During schematic analysis (WIREGEN), if more than 1 legend appears for a signal and the one furthest away from the signal is reasonably close to another signal, a warning diagnostic may be output.
    Workaround: Move the reported legend at least 200 thou from any other signal, or assign an 'ignore layer' and place it on that layer.
    Fix: On trial.
  • Using the dialogue setup versions of the BUS, HATCH or DASH commands when the previous command used a local menu command, and is still rubber banding, may skip the item selection stage for the new command.
    Workaround: If only the Banding is wrong, move to the proper starting position and use [Reselect] from (Local Menu). Otherwise UNDO and select the command again (e.g. using the [Again] menu or F3).
  • If a component pad or VIA matching the [Ground Signal Name] has it's centre on or just inside a GROUNDPLANE outline, and [Thermal] is the selected style for that type of pad, then there is a chance of an erroneous thermal tie or DRAFT crashing. If DRAFT crashes any unsaved changes written to <name>.crash.bak (as notified in failure message) are intact and can be restored.
    Avoidance: Ensure that the pad centre is outside the area or at least Minimum Gap + Resolution + (Tie Width / 2) inside.
  • SEG operations may select a line segment on a layer that is not on view when in SKETCH, SCHEM or MAKELIB modes.
    Workaround 1: Type 'SEG' and fall onto the start of the segment. Press <enter> until it locates the layer you want.
    Workaround 2: Type (or define a key/button) to the command prefixed by PRIV+T<space>. e.g. PRIV+T SEG C
    Fix: Use SAN197 to apply the following patch to ...\win32\draft.exe (Windows only):-
    75 1C B8 01 00 ;
    90 90 ? ? ?
  • [Milling Display] from (Options > Drilling & Milling) (OUTLINE M) may leave out single drawn lines of the CNCMILL milling path of profiles or cutouts that do not form simple enclosures (e.g. run back on themselves or include 'spurs'). PLOT will produce the same effects.
    Workaround: See PLOT 16.02
    Fix: Development issue 38.23a Dev G is available on request.
  • [Milling Display] from (Options > Drilling & Milling) (OUTLINE M) may leave out whole internal or profile outlines if you use the explicit priority style, and the CMCMILL<priority> names differ in length.
    Workaround & Fix: See PLOT 16.02
  • OUTLINE CLOCKWISE and OUTLINE ANTICLOCK of a multiple outline structure may draw a line from the altered part of the outline to the next part.
    Workaround: Set the erroneous line to zero width.
  • [Windows XP KB824141 update (15 Oct 2003 onwards) ONLY] DRAFT dialogue boxes for ROUND, CURVE and Parameter setting will malfunction if you apply (or allow auto-update) this update from Microsoft.
    Diagnosis 1: Start DRAFT and Select [Change Point  To] from (Edit > Change Point). Click [Browse] and if an almost empty area appears this indicates the problem is present. [Cancel] and select again - now you have radio buttons and a drop down listbox, but other malfunctions remain.
    Diagnosis 2: In DRAFT type RND<enter>. If [Elliptical] is initially checked, clear it, [Cancel] and start again. Now alternate between [Elliptical] checked and unchecked. In the checked state settings Y-Radius should appear below X-Radius. If only X-Radius appears you have the problem.
    Emergency fix: (NOT recommended) Uninstall update KB824141 - see Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-045.
    Fix: There are no workarounds for all of the malfunctions and it is not realistic to expect a prompt fix from Microsoft, so we have developed a patch that avoids the problem without removing the security patch:-
    Apply SAN197 (VTXPATCH) to '\win32\draft.exe' using no options and with patch file below.
    3b c3 74 10 83 fb 01 1b c0 40 50 57 e8 ;
     ?  ? 90 90  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
    Explanation: Windows API function IsWindowVisible returns Boolean state of the WS VISIBLE window style, but since the update it sometimes returns the wrong value. Microsoft article KB820252 provides some background to problems with this API.
  • [Linux Only] The Parameter dialogue [Build Up Sequence] scheme does not work.
    Workaround: Type parameters directly into the top edit box.
  • Explicitly stored Pan & Zoom states [Restore Zoom] from (View > Stored Views) were unnecessarily cancelled when a DRAFT was used to start displaying a new Window. Does not effect [Zoom Last].

Version:    TOOLBOX 11.08d (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 1 Feb 2002 - 13 Sep 2002


  • TOOLBOX 'FORWARD-MODIFY' checks that the SIDE layer settings are compatible.
  • TOOLBOX 'LAYOUT' and 'BACKMOD, WIRE combine to enable changes to position or content of Script text embedded in Silk screen outlines can be preserved through new layout and Back-modification cycles.
  • New facility 'PANELIZE' provides a facility for automating the production of 'panels' of a given artwork on larger production PCB blanks.

Version:    TOOLBOX 11.09a (VUTRAX 12.4a Update 1)
Entry Date: 7 Oct 2002
Problems Fixed:

  • The GLUESPOT directives for specifying automatic spot style for specific side, pad type or component size, did not suppress the output of non matching spots when spot positions were included in the provided artwork.
    Fix: Install Vutrax 12.4a Update 1.

Version:    TOOLBOX 11.10a (*** On Trial for VUTRAX 12.5a)
Entry Date: 31 Mar 2003
Problems Fixed:

  • [Make Job Library] (BUILDLIB) and [Schematic Renumber] (SILKRENAME) mishandle the drawing hierarchy references DRAWING & PEERREF if the filenames in the schematic include embedded spaces or are enclosed in quotes unnecessarily.
    Fix: Pre-issue update available on Request.
    o [Make Job Library] does not name a file that can not be opened before displaying the termination message box. It is usually the last filename listed for processing.
    Workaround: Start TOOLBOX using [Option n] from (Specify), run interactively, and the error message will appear.

Version:    AUTOPLACE 8.05a (*** On Trial for VUTRAX 12.5a)
Entry Date: 28 Sep 2003

  • Areas of Artworks using coordinates less than -2500 thou or -62.5mm may not be scanned for placements (a legacy of issues with lower resolution and smaller drawing board).
    Workaround: Move the whole board artwork into the positive quadrant without messing up convenient alignments.
    [Pick All] from (Edit > Picked Items > Set Markers.
    Note down the coordinates of the top left corner of your drawing (say -5700 -1850) and work out a suitable move to maintain alignments (say by 6000, 2000).
    Type the command (filling in your values) like:-
    NOTE;; RIGHT 6000;; DOWN 2000;; PICK T <Enter Key>
    If this has the effect you want [Clear All picked] from (Edit > Picked Items > Clear Markers) and [Save] the result.
    The next [Analyse Position] from (Tools > Placement) will adopt the modified position.
  • The DEVHT directive obtained from the Rats-Nest library is interpreted at one tenth of the specified size. The height limit assigned using rectangles named HEIGHTnnn are processed properly. Consequently height controls normally have no effect.
    Workaround: Rather than alter device assignments, reduce the values in the HEIGHT outline name by 10 until the next issue.

Version:    PLOT 16.01a (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 21 Dec 2001 - 13 Sep 2002


  • PLOT can output instructions for CNC Milling machines, including control of direction for cutouts and profiles, and milling holes too big to drill.
  • PLOT can generate CNC drill data or drill charts sensitive to Plated-through and non-plated-through requirements. DRAFT can preview the effects.
  • PLOT now includes the original artwork coordinate of any element it is unable to plot, rather than the plotting device coordinate.
  • CNC Drilling control files no longer automatically include paper tape 'run-out' which confused some viewers.
  • PLOT standard control files now introduce no fixed plot offset for any of CNC Drilling, Gerber Photoplotting or CNC Milling. The normalisation scheme for CNC Drilling now matches that for other forms. The intent is that mixing and matching numeric control sequences produces registered results.
    Warning: Be particularly careful when you first use the revised scheme.

Version:    PLOT 16.02a *** On Trial for Vutrax 12.5a
Entry Date: 17 June 2003 - 26 Sep 2003

  • MILLING output may leave out single drawn lines of the CNCMILL milling path in profiles or cutouts that do not form simple enclosures (e.g. run back on themselves or include 'spurs').
    Diagnosis: The DRAFT feature [Milling Display] from (Options > Drilling & Milling) (OUTLINE M) shows identical behaviour and can be used to check whether there is going to be a problem in PLOT output.
    Workaround: Simplify the drawing to remove awkward constructions highlighted by diagnosis. If necessary adopt the output from the test output for CNC purposes only, and correct it.
    Fix: Development issue PLOT 16.02 Dev D is available on request.
    Advice: When the board profile and or cutouts are a non-contiguous outline (e.g. include spikes, crossovers etc.) it important that you define each shape separately with its only sequence number so that each part of the milling is analysed as a separate item.
  • MILLING output may leave out whole internal or profile outlines if you use the explicit priority style, and the CMCMILL<priority> numeric parts differ in length.
    Workaround: Ensure these structure names match in length by adding leading zeros or whatever. e.g. to expand single digit to single leading zero use typed commands (or .DEX file):-
    Design Change: Priorities are analysed as numeric fields rather than alphanumeric strings.
    Fix: Development issues PLOT 16.02 & DRAFT 38.23a are available on request.
  • Spurious lines between outlines may appear if you allow complex milling to be automatically sequenced. The effect appear using the DRAFT test feature OUTLINE M.
    Fix: Development issues of PLOT 16.02 & DRAFT 38.23a are available on request.
  • PLOT issues 16.01a to 16.02a (Vutrax 12.4a to 12.5a beta 1) with non-Gerber 274X Control files generate the updated aperture list (normally PHOTO.NIB) with 'Draw' apertures listed as 'Mill'. If you try to make use of this file for subsequent plots it will be rejected.
    If you use the automated Gerber 274X output, or don't use the PHOTO.NIB file, then no fix is required.
    Fix: Apply SAN197 (VTXPATCH) to '\win32\plot.exe' (Linux: '/xwin/plot') using no options and with patch file below. Apply the patch once (each application reverses the effect).
    'Mill %' ; 'Xill %' ;
    'Draw %' ; 'Mill %' ;
    'Xill %' ; 'Draw %' (missing final ; intended)

Version:    GERB274X 2.01a (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 13 Sep 2002

  • Gerber 274X now orientates thermal rings to match the DRAFT display, and provides an option to choose your own orientation.

Version:    GERB274X 2.02a (*** On Trial for VUTRAX 12.5a)
Entry Date: 31 Mar 2003
Problem Fixed:

  • GERB274X generates an improper format for the definition of an Annular ring, using ',' instead of 'X' between outer and inner diameters. Most viewers and plotters interpret this definition as intended, but some do not. No other shapes are implicated (Broken/thermal rings and round pads with white centres meet the specification).
    Avoidance: When generating powerplanes Select [Disk + Clearance], the settings on first installation.
    Fix 1: Use SAN 197 to apply the following patch to ...\win32\gerb274x.exe (Linux: .../xwin/gerb274x):-
    'C,%s,%s' ; 'C,%sX%s'
    Fix 2: GERB274X issue 2.02a is available on request.

Version:    DESRULE 34.05c (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 13 Sep 2002

  • Includes checks that connectivity is not assumed though holes designated Non-PTH, and that milling objects are not confused with signals.
  • Accepts wildcard style names in the list of SYNONYM and ONENODE signal names. Particularly intended for use with the potentially large number of names generated by Groundplane generation.

Version:    EMCRITIC 2.05a (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 13 Sep 2002

  • Outline sequencing is automatically applied for any 'POWEROUTLINE' region outlines.

Version:    EMCRITIC 2.06a (*** On Trial for VUTRAX 12.5a)
Entry Date: 31 Mar 2003
Problem Fixed:

  • The warning for over-long connections to a Crystal lists the length in 0.0001" units rather than inches and mm. The actual check is correct.

Version:    AUTOTRAK 23.04c (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 13 Sep 2002

  • Accepts wildcard style names in the list of SYNONYM signal names. Particularly intended for use with the potentially large number of names generated by Groundplane generation.

Version:    VUROUTE 8.04c (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 13 Sep 2002

  • Accepts wildcard style names in the list of SYNONYM signal names. Particularly intended for use with the potentially large number of names generated by Groundplane generation.

Version:    WIRE 68.00c (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 5 Aug 2002 - 13 Sep 2002


  • TOOLBOX 'LAYOUT' and 'BACKMOD, WIRE combine to enable changes to position or content of Script text embedded in Silk screen outlines can be preserved through new layout and Back-modification cycles.

Version:    WIRE 68.01a (VUTRAX 12.4a Update 2)
Entry Date: 18 Nov 2002

  • [Windows NT, 2000 & XP] Rats Nest generation (WIRE) may crash when handling a new device whose name includes a '/' character, or where a silk name group designator implies the need for a new device not already placed.
    Fix: Install Vutrax 12.4a Update 2

Version:    PARTGEN 10.02a (NOT RE ISSUED)
Entry Date: 13 Jan 2003 - 28 July 2003

  • If you generate a [Production List] (Option -LR) without also generating an [Ordering List] (Option -LO) then any parts with multiple suppliers will list the lowest priority (last listed) suppliers part number rather than the first.
    Workaround: Check the [Ordering List] box but ignore the output. Fix: Request pre-issue PARTGEN 10.02a.
  • Devices with empty silk legend fields may be omitted from comma separate list output styles that include the silk reference. Any related 'accessory' part(s) will also be absent.
    Workaround: Empty silk fields have to be explicitly forced by the user to override a reference assigned during initial rats-nest generation. If you want none to appear in the artwork or schematic, set the Script point size to zero or remove the point.
    Fix: Pre-issue PARTGEN 10.03a is available on request.

Version:    SEE 11.04a (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 18 Dec 2001 - 23 Sep 2002


  • Automatic Saving retains the original file extension, using name <original name>.auto.bak .
  • You can now select between Edit and View-only mode when changing files or opening an extra window.

Old Version:  VTXUDDU (Various - not previously logged)
New Version:  VTXUDDU 5.01a (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 12 Aug 2001 - 13 Sep 2002

  • Upgraded to 32 Bit executable handling 'long' file names and with much larger capacity.
  • Absence of option -du and -ud implies 'convert to current operating system'.

Version:    PRINTFRM 41.02b (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 21 Dec 2001 - 13 Sep 2002


  • Direct printer output options specified that are incompatible with the operating system, and automatically modified.

Version:    VTXHELP Windows: 2.01a & Linux 2.01b (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 3 Nov 2001 - 13 Sep 2002


  • Selection to format the output for printing is offered. Depending on the volume it offers to print one or more of just one page, the whole section, or the whole volume.

Version:    SQUASH 12.00a (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 13 Sep 2002

  • Asks for confirmation before overwriting destination files. There is an option to override this check.

Version:    VTXSETUP 12.4a (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 16 July 2002 - 13 Sep 2002


  • Accepts Vutrax 12.4a changes.

Version:    VTXSHELL 5.02f (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date: 13 Sep 2002

  • Provides a means of obtaining and manipulating the time stamp of a file from within command files.
  • Command 'TOUCH' can be used to alter the time stamp(s) of files.
  • Command 'FC' has improved options for skipping white space and indents.
  • Command has arithmetic calculation capabilities for both integer and floating point.
  • VTXSHELL command option DIR /Z<depth>#<size> used for disk space management accepts multipliers K, M or G on the <size> field.

Version:    VTXSHELL (Not re-issued)
Entry Date: 18 Nov 2002

  • [Linux only] XCOPY does not reliably retain the time and date stamp of the source file. (COPY is fine but has no /S option). No impact on standard Vutrax operation.
    Fix: Available on Request.

Version:      VTXFIND 1.05b (VUTRAX 12.4a)
Entry Date:   13 Sep 2002

  • [Windows only] Display of found files recognises the .HTM and .HTML extension as needing the system registered browser.

Version:      VTXPATCH 6.07 (*** On Trial For Vutrax 12.5a)
Entry Date:   26 Sep 2003

  • Multiple patches in a single control files reported a continuously increasing offset for the patch rather than resetting each scan. The actual changes are applied correctly.