Scor­pio News

  

January–March 1988 – Volume 2. Issue 1.











Page 14 of 39











In the short time I have had this package, I have produced PCBs for two pieces of equipment – a pH meter, lightmeter etc. and the results have been quite acceptable. The author claims that this is a simple computer-aided design package – and it certainly does not aim to compete with the more costly end of the market. Most users will find it perfectly adequate, once they become accustomed to it. I found the package relatively easy to use, and without evident “bugs”, but felt that the restricted nature of the library of predefined shapes was a disadvantage. A more important disadvantage is the lack of a facility to define shapes for use on future occasions.

Compared with the DROEGE PCB program which is available for PCs and clones, this one is much less sophisticated. A “Shareware” cut-down version of DROEGE is available for £5 – the full version costs about £92 but has an amazing range of facilities (including multilayer capability and excellent libraries to which more, user-defined shapes – such as connector or pad clusters – can be added).

Pineapple Software do a similar program for the BBC range which is very good but restricted in its some of its capabilities. The track pattern dumps are done in quad. density and need little attention if they are to be used as PCB masters. Another useful feature is the component mounting plan, but the size of PCB is limited at 8″ x 5.6″ and users cannot create their own library of standard shapes, whether of components or pads. It allows printing at 2:1 and 1:1 scale and track widths of 0.025, 0.05 and 0.075″ are available together with flood-fill capability which allows wider tracks and other large copper areas to be designed very easily. With the plotter option, it will set you back £138.

Conclusions

The Folly Bidden program is quite good. There are a number of weaknesses, mainly concerned with the range of shapes, track width and lack of a user-definable library or flood-fill routine (which should be possible with the SVC), but on the whole, it is a useful basic tool and worth getting.

I would suggest that the author does some more development, concentrating on really useful features such as auto-routing of tracks (selection of the most efficient way to position a track between two pads), more choice of track width, user library facility and component overlay, as well as implementing the flood-fill facility. This would make the program a real winner and, with most users having a TPA of about 60k, the extra 16k of RAM on an 80-BUS machine would be well used. Most of these facilities are available on the Pineapple program which runs on the memory-deficient BBC B.












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