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Now available: The latest version 10.5 of PCB-Investigator!

Benefit from the numerous updates and improvements of our latest PCB-Investigator Version V10.5

Overview of the most important innovations:

  • Eagle Update: improved area fill flooding / thermal tie creation
  • Database Compare Update: percent values for pins instead of components per net
  • DPF-Update: better internal attribute handling
  • GenCad Update: better error handling with invalid package names and empty text content
  • Improved graphically compare for panel
  • Improved TGZ Import: invalid file chars are now replaced by "_"
  • Dimensioning Update: better visualization of dimensions in bottom view
  • Attribut Histogramm Update: package size added for component layers
  • Component Attribute Export Update: package size added
  • If PCB and Panel are existing in a dataset, the PCB is always loaded at start-up
  • More links to the manual in different sub-windows
  • Printing Update: last used options are stored in the ini file
  • Reworked mouse wheel zoom: if sub-windows are open and overlapping the drawing area, the view is centered to the remaining part of the drawing area
  • Bugfixes: e.g. no empty file output, some missing flags for saving

The newest Version 10.3 of PCB-Investigator has been released.

You are now able to calculate critical areas with Hazard Analysis!

PCB-Investigator V10.3 offers you some new functions that will facilitate you daily work:

  • Hazard Analysis: Hazard analysis was previously only possible using distance values. Now, you can carry out a surface check following the risk assessment tool of ZVEI (for the determination of the short-circuit risk by particles). The possible danger zones can now also be displayed as an area. Examples can be found in the appendix.

  • Dimensioning Feature: With the new dimensioning feature you can now also add e.g. dimensions or notes to your design. Here, you will also find an example in the appendix.
  • H-Bridge Inspection: It defines the keepouts between the pins of a component. All areas will be reported in which copper tracks are within a barrier and are also connected to at least one of the two pins, as they might cause AOI problems.
  • TP Report updated with new options.
  • Tombstone Check with new filter options.

A printed circuit board runs through many different steps starting with its development and design to its final production.

Using PCB-Investigator Embedded Export Viewer you enable every involved person to work with PCB-Investigator without buying more licenses or running more time-consuming installations. You have no additional costs, but can easily bring everyone down to a common denominator. Choose the chargeable version Embedded plus and automate your viewer for your individual needs.

The PCB data set and the PCB-Investigator Software are saved together within one file and sent as an email attachment or exchanged via any data medium.

Every participant of the production process gets access to all necessary data and is able to work on it with a restricted full version of PCB-Investigator. Optimizing BOM management or EMC control are just two examples of how much you can profit from this special PCB-Investigator feature.

Here is an overview of all features included in the Embedded Export Viewer:

  • Search for components and display it including all attributes
  • Search function Ctrl - F
  • Top and bottom view
  • Select nets and display over single layers or all layers
  • Select single elements or a whole net
  • All measuring functions
  • Labeling of the nets with net names or conducting path thickness
  • Display all components and uses; switchable over tab
  • Notes system for the display of notes and automatic zoom to a position
  • Different color adjustments
  • Assign colors to all nets and components
  • Display the section in a layout plan
  • Metric or imperial view of units
  • Display a histogram of all parts of a layer
  • Fade in a grid as a point or line
  • Print all layers
  • supports touchscreen devices
  • No additional costs

Choose the customizable version Embedded plus and automate your viewer for your individual needs. This plus version offers you even more features than the basic Embedded Export Viewer.

Get the chargeable license of Embedded plus and benefit from the following features that will optimize the flow of information in your company to a new maximum!

  • Runnable over a batch file with specific ODB++ data
  • Linked with a PLM system data base or web request (RestFull) over a .NET interface
  • Selection by an interface, e.g. barcode scanner, ICT, AOI
  • Individual defaults for display
  • Individual color adjustment for components and nets, e.g. all polarized components in green
  • Rotation of single components for a better visualization
  • 2D and 3D view of the board including the real components
  • Live integration of pictures of a camera
  • Generate a digital first sample test report
  • Zoom controlled by external devices
  • Synchronize with machines, e.g. Boundary Scanner, ICT adapter, AOI, Flying Prob
  • Connection to a PLM system by.NET interface
  • Automatic dimension of component groups
  • Integration of an individual surface for customized tasks
  • Adaptable ribbon menu for individual requirements
  • Display of the layer structure including copper thickness and drills
  • Fade-in of information directly in the CAD Display, e.g. component rotation, drawing number
  • Includable menu for opening PDFs
  • Create screenshots with automatic storage
  • Display of solder resist masks (positive or negative)
  • Fade-in of releases or quantities
  • Display of BOM including variation

In addition to other PCB data formats like ODB++, GenCad, IPC2581, DXF, DPF, ... now, PCB-Investigator is also able to directly import your EAGLE layout without having to use any ULP program or workaround.

Just drag&drop your '.brd' file, it’s as simple as that!

To ensure further processability in e.g. DRC check or Thermal Simulation, PCB-Investigator takes over any useful data like:

  • signal, mask, paste and drill layers
  • flooded area fills
  • net names
  • components including available attributes
  • stack-up information
  • restriction areas / keepouts

Of course the read in data set can also be exported to ODB++, GenCad, Gerber, IDF, DXF, ...

In that way PCB-Investigator is also the perfect tool for data conversion between EAGLE and other data formats.

The Profile, also known as contour or outline, represents the outer edges of a printed circuit board as well as its inner recesses like drill holes. Among other things, it is prerequisite for indicating the shape of a PCB and thus being able to string several boards together on a panel. Moreover, PCB-Investigator uses it for a variety of calculations, tests, and features. These include:

  • measuring from components to outer edges
  • calculation of areas such as the amount of areas covered with copper
  • verification if PCB fits into its case
  • for displaying 3D

The contour function which can be reached through view > contour reflects the importance of the Profile and offers an overview over the entire outline network by placing the contour of the PCB in the middle of the screen with the highest zoom possible.

Given the importance of the Profile, it is no surprise that it is a fixed part of many data formats like ODB++, IPC2581 and GenCAD, but not Gerber. This is why PCB-Investigator automatically creates the Profile when importing Gerber files, but only at the first time meaning the initially created profile is not changed. Its dimensions will most likely diverge from the ones needed thus making an editing possibility vital, which is provided by the Set Profile function available at Edit > Profile.

The Set Profile function allows to clear all previously defined outlines as well as define new ones. You can either let PCB-Investigator set outlines around all elements of an active layer automatically using “Set by all Objects” or draw them freely. The easiest way to draw freely is using the rectangle selection, but you can also draw the outlines using several connected lines.

The “Add active Layer to Outline” adds the contours of all elements of the currently active layer to Profile. If there is more than one layer active the first layer of the layer stack up is used.

“Add Selection to Outline” allows you to add the outline of the currently active selection to the Profile, while “Create Layer from Outline” adds a new layer named “Outline” to the layer stack up which contains the Profile as ODB++ objects. If there is already a layer named “Outline”, all Profile objects will be added to this layer.

“Add/Set from Selection Middle” is similar to “Add Selection Outline”, but it emanates from the middle of the selection. Therefore, it is essential that the selection comprises of several objects with a closed contour. The difference between “Add” and “Set” consists in Add adding the selection to the Profile and Set replacing it.

Template layers of printed curcuit boards have to represent huge amounts of detailed information. Therefor it is not surprising that they often are not defined sufficiently large. In these cases the PCB supplier has to enlarge each and every object on all template layers, a tremendous task which is greatly simplified through the use of PCB-Investigators "Generate Oversize".

The Oversize Options offer two possibilities to enlarge or shrink template layers: one is through fixed values the other through percentage which both can be applied to any number of objects like surfaces, lines and arcs. It is also possible to work on multiple levels simultaneously.

Please be advised that there is a high possibility of holes, indentations and similar to literally grow together when using enlarge for several times as the spaces get smaller with every increase until they disappear completely (cf. image 4 below).

When the copper is not applied evenly, it can lead to twists and bow on a printed circuit board because of thermal load in production. Check first with the PCB-Investigator if danger zones exist - for individual nets, layers or the entire board!
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