Diptrace Tutorial: Layout


I did a brief video tutorial on Diptrace - this is part 2 on Laying out a PCB.  Part 1, covering schematics is here.



Love your tutorials!

As a beginner with Dip Trace this is most handy but you left out the auto routing which is very impressive in Dip Trace. Hopefully you’ll come back to that later in the series?
I feel that starting with a rats nest and do a auto route  will get me fare, -then fine tune the layout afterwards.


Thanks for the kind words!  I did leave out autorouting and a few other things, like copper pours.  I’ll revist both in part 4. If I covered everything in one video, it would 2 hours long and you might fall asleep watching it :slight_smile:

I’m not a big fan of autorouting. It’s okay for simple boards, but I haven’t had much luck with more complex designs. As an example, here’s the ratsnest for the Propeller Platform USB:


Here's the autoroute:

You might notice that some of the traces don't pass the design rules check.  It also couldn't complete a few nets.  If you look at the other side of the board, it's a mess.  To compare, my manual route is below;

To be fair, the autoroute took 60 seconds, and my manual route took about 16 hours.  But you can try it yourself - here's the layout

Nothing wrong with giving the autoroute a try to see what it comes up with - I've also had success when I had already routed most of the board but was having a problem with a few nets. 

I stand corrected

I can see that the human touch makes all the difference between a board that might work and a board that is a master piece.

And there was a good tip in your response. I was not aware of that you could route some manually and get an auto route suggestion for some of the nets. Neat :slight_smile:

As I said, I’m a beginner.
Keep up the good work! 

I could not agree more. No auto.

I use diptrace for all my boards and love it. I especially like the pattern editor as I can draw any part I need, just following dimentions from it’s data sheet.

I have never used auto route… … or the schematic for that matter! For all my boards, I go straight to the PCB editor and just start drawing. Never had a problem. --Good walkthrough, my friend.


Neither do I

I usually do the schematic after I’ve done the layout - just because I sell the board and customers want the schematic.

I do usually do the net list (just clicking from pad to pad) before doing routing, though - that helps me to figure out which way to rotate a part, where it should go, and so on. 

All my stuff is public domain and in diptrace. if you can use it for anything - the Pixter X is a PICaxe 40x2 & the diptrace file is here.

Forgive me if I’m out of

Forgive me if I’m out of date, but I’d LOVE for diptrace to become available for mac…does anyone know if this might happen? (or has happened, and I missed it…?)


Windows or Wine

Diptrace will work in Windows or Linux (via wine).  If you run wine in OS X, I think you can use diptrace on mac, but I haven’t tried it myself. 

**human routing **

the human routing is a lot better than auto routing ,its tidy and clear and easier to understand the schematic . thanks for this helpful tip .