©Copyright 2001 Hans Wedemeyer, Houston, Texas. All Rights Reserved.

No part of this document may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright owner. December, 2001

Update note !

Recently I purchased the 5.0 upgrade, the first thing I tested was to see if Bug#1 had been fixed. I used the "official" number one project file Low Pass Filter, and soon found out Bug#1 had not been fixed… I stopped there, and refused to waste any more time testing the other list of bugs (see below) I just reached the limit, sick of it, this program has earned it’s place on sickofbug.com. OK so I wasted a few dollars, but it did show I honestly tried to make this program work. I had been promised a free upgrade, but it never materialized. !

I gave them 12 months to reply to my list, they did not, and now it is time to publish MY OPINIONS based upon my experience when trying to use this program. If I did anything incorrectly, then numberone.com has had a year to correct me, they chose not to do that.

Several of these bugs have been reproduced by another fully licensed user, and so I feel my findings are not out of line….. There may be other work-a-rounds for some of these bugs and issues, but I no longer use the product.

After this waste of money (several hundred dollars) I decided to buy a different product, and did the demo download rounds for several PCB packages. It was not so labor intensive this time as I had a good list of links. For anyone that is interested in the program I am using now, please email me at

As of November 2001 I no longer use Easy-PC, I still own it, and will try sell it on Ebay soon.

The Support Phone for Easy-PC is published at the numberone.com web site. http://www.numberone.com

Note! Where IMHO is used, it means "In my humble opinion" or "In my honest opinion" take your choice.

 

My system is a multi boot system, and so, it allows me to have this software installed on ONE SYSTEM. When possible (time being the limiting factor) I have tried to re-boot to Windows 98 (Second edition) and test to see if it a bug can be reproduced, my normal OS is Windows 2000 Professional.

My experience with Easy-PC as of

Version 4.0.5.

When a program has as many bugs as this one does, it makes me feel like I’m a "beta tester", the only difference is I paid for the product ! Hans Wedemeyer

The purpose of this document is to provide the user with information about the existence of any bugs and if possible a temporary solution for avoiding them. This is very important considering several of the bugs can happen unexpectedly and work can be lost.

Wherever possible I have described workaround solutions. These may be helpful for people that have not, or are not able to obtain the updated versions of the program for any reason, or simply are stuck with the current release and do not want to waste money on upgrading to a newer version.

The List….

Bug #1

Reproducible: 100% using Windows 2000, it appears to work on Windows 98(second edition)

\

Actions needed to reproduce:

I made a new component named 0V and was informed that this component already existed in the design and I should use "Update Components", which I did and then this happens.

Select Menu "Tools" / Update Components / All Components

This is a "show stopper" and needs to be fixed. I cannot use my new component.

Bug #2

Change Net 100% reproducible

Highlight a component, right click and select "Change Net", then select the same net and click OK

It may sound pointless to select the same net, and this is true, but some times I make mistakes.

Anyway selecting the same net should not cause the "Unrecoverable Error" it’s poor programming, and should not happen.

Update: It appears when a component has only one connection and the component it highlighted, the right click menu displayed the option to "change net". That should not happen. Pay attention to right clicking the X on the connection point and then change net.

This was a "show stopper", and still needs to be fixed.

Grids

As I can’t reproduce this in a constant manner, so I have not given it a bug number yet.

When making simple components, and using the Default technology file, I still get problems with alignment. When a component is rotated it’s often not aligned on the grid.

This can also happen if different grid settings are used during a session.

Bug #3

Add New Component to Library.

When I try to "Save to Library", this message appears.

There is no indication as to what the "Specified Resource" is, this is not a very helpful error message.

The problem is due to a typographical error somewhere in the "Terminal Names".

If instead of saying "Specified Resource", why not show it using it’s incorrect spelling, it would be a simple task to find it and change it.

On a 64-pin chip it is going to take a lot of work to figure out which terminal/s name/s has the error.

Work-a-round: Save to Library every 3-5 pins, and it will help narrow down where the problem Another work-a-round that sometimes solves the problem is to click the "OK" button on the first Error message and repeat "Save to Library" and 99 out of 100 there will be no further error messages. !

Bug #4

Flip a component and pin numbers are messed up.

Original Component

Flipped version

This has to be a bug, they manage to keep pin numbers aligned correctly when doing a rotation, so why not when doing a flip ?

In the original component, clearly pin numbers are about 45% from the left on the stub, in the flipped version they are 10-15% from the left ! they should be 45% from the right on the stub.

No work-a-round, pin numbers cannot be moved, unless one wants to edit the original symbol files.

 

Bug #5

Connections

In this example I made a connection from Component 0V to PL2 2 and there is no connection dot. Then I connected the emitter to another component (copy of first component) and a connection DOT is automatically made. This appears to happen randomly, I have not yet established a pattern of events to be able to describe how to make it repeat. It is annoying and splatters connection dots randomly in the schematic.

The Help File is not very helpful at all, IMHO about as good as useless.

Easy-PC decided to change standard Windows nomenclature.

If I want to "FIND" something in a Windows program, I would expect to use the menu item "Edit" and there I expect to see the "Find" feature.

Easy-PC has decided to change this.

If you wish to Find a Component you must now use the menu item "View" and select "Goto" or even "better" if I need to see where a particular net is, I need to select "Highlight net" !. The later is somewhat more descriptive, even so, it would be better understood if it were on a find menu.

In the help file there is NO mention of this change in nomenclature.

How much extra work would it have been to add something like this to the Help file.

In the help file under the obvious subject of FIND there is no mention of "Goto" or "Highlight net"

 

Bug #6

Cross Probe.

It appears to work very well, however…

Once it has been enabled there appears to be no way to switch it off.

I unchecked the Cross Probe menu item, but that did not switch the feature off.

I tried closing the PCB and did not save changes, which means no PCB file was saved at all.

Then when I highlight a component in the schematic, Easy-PC still tries to cross probe and brings up an empty PCB window.

Work-a-round close down Easy-PC and restart.

If there is a way to stop the cross probing without shutting down Easy-PC every time, and if it is described in the Help file, then I must have missed it.

 

Print

It does not have a bug number, but deserves mention.

In "Normal" Windows programs the "Print" feature is selected from the File menu. Easy-PC has decided to change the nomenclature for the Print feature !

For normal Windows programs, the Print is normally to be found on the File menu, but it is normally named print.

Using Easy PC to print a schematic I have to use the menu "Output" and then select "Windows"

OK, I’ll can go along it with the "Output" menu item, but the "Windows" item should be labeled "Print" and it should be on the File Menu.

This is silly, and there is no excuse to it.

Bug #7

In Component Edit Mode I can remove a package name.

But here the "0V" symbol in the schema.psl does not have a package name either, yet it works.

Several of the schema.psl components have no name for the package.

Even if I copy a schema.psl component and it’s ssl part into another library and then try to edit it, when I try to save it, I can’t because there is no name in the package field. !

Checked Help file, found nothing. That does not mean it’s not in the help file, it’s mostly likely buried somewhere or has been given some obscure name that no one could ever find in the help index. Remember ! For FIND (a component) look in the help file for "Goto" ! Makes sense Find = Goto !

Bug #8

Text is not visible when editing a Terminal Name

100% reproducible on Windows 2000. Work Correctly on Windows 98 (second edition)

I no choice but to use this and type without seeing the result. I have been told by Tech. Support this bug does not happen in the UK…

It appears here in Houston on my system, and I know of one other fully licensed user here in Houston that can also reproduce this.

As suggested by tech. Support, I tested this on my second system and it also produces the same blank field.

Update! This has been fixed in Version 5.0.

 

Error Messages.

Almost all error messages are useless; they do not inform the user of anything that could be used to help avoid the error in the future. Error messages normally consist of obscure messages on a dialog. I wonder if they know that Win32 has a built in error retrieval scheme, it appears not to be used.

There is no definition list for common Easy-PC error messages, at least not that I could find !

Often clicking OK on the error message trashes any work that has not been saved.

Remember to "Click the Save button" on the tool bar before doing anything new, and save another copy to a different name !

 

Bug #9

Schematic Symbol Editor

This error is 100% reproducible On Windows 2000 and Windows 98.

These steps reproduce this error. Warning. Save any work before you try this.

Menu Add Shape Rectangle then right click the background and select "Filled Shape"

Then draw a filled rectangle. Press "Esc" to stop drawing rectangles and then Left click the

Filled rectangle to highlight it and then Right click it for properties.

The error shown above will happen 100% of the time.

Bug #10

Some settings get lost.

I like to use the "Large Hair Cross" for my cursor. Sometimes when I start Easy-PC it defaults back to standard windows cursor.

So far I have only seen this happen on Windows 2000

Bug #11

Update Single Component Using Right Click Menu item.

Windows 2000 not tested on Windows 98 yet.

I made a mistake on pin names and then edited the psl, after saving it to library and overwriting the existing symbol, I went to the schematic and used the "right click" menu version to update a single component. It allows me to update but the symbol in the schematic still has errors.

The bad symbol is on pin 22 named BYTE


I tried closing the file and shutting down and restarting and

No work-a-round for this problem.

Bug #12

Polygon Problem. When this one hits, it’s time to shut down and start again.

I have not yet figured out the sequence that allows me to reproduce this bug, but it goes something like this.

Start by using menu Add / Shape / Rectangle the cancel and Add / Shape / Polygon, the aim here is to draw a straight line.

Then draw the line using the polygon and double click to end the line.

If I get the message "Cannot finish here", I know it’s time to save my work and shut down the program and start again.

It does not help to save the file and close the program, because it saves a setting and every time the program is restarted it appears to carry the setting with it. I can only draw "polygons" Only three or more sided shape not straight lines! May be the program understands polygon means at least three sides, and therefore it refuses to draw a straight line !

A very awkward workaround: Find a previous line segment, highlight it, and use copy/paste, then rotate and size as needed. If you do not have a line segment yet, copy paste from another drawing.

Comment, why do we have to grovel down through three menu’s to draw a simple shape…… See my other comment on this subject elsewhere in this document.

DXF export.

I can’t believe this is a "feature", it does not crash the system.

In the exported dxf file there are no pin numbers on schematics, which make it worthless.

I think this has been addressed in Version 5

Zoom

This is not a bug, just poor programming technique.

Easy PC does not zoom very much at all.

Version 5 does zoom more that V4.x 

Ergonomics…… Strictly my opinion, based on lots of experience.

Having already done carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand see

http://hans-w.com/oddanden.htm

I look for programs that make it easier to do things and that try to reduce mouse clicks where ever possible.

Easy-PC could be improved a lot. There are "silly sub-menu’s" for frequently used items that simply do not need to be on a sub menu at all.

Example on the Add menu for Shape.

A better solution would be to make the menu like this

Like this there is no need to wait for the sub menu to appear. The program does not allow me to set the timer to speed up he appearance of the sub menu’s, but the point is; there is NO need for the sub menu at all. It simply slows down any work effort. Of course best of all would be a tool bar with a button for each shape item, and better still hot keys for each shape so no mouse clicks are needed, and better still USER DEFINED TOOL BARS AND HOT KEYS.

To be able to draw a simple straight line I have to select "Polygon", it appears Easy-PC has decided to redefine the meaning of Polygon. I thought it requires at least 3 sides to make a polygon. Perhaps the menu item could be labeled "Line or Polygon"

Suggestions for improvements.

A major improvement would be "user definable toolbars", these are common in many Windows programs, why not in Easy-PC… ?

Let the "user assign" hot keys for major functions, that way Easy-PC can be run two handed with "user defined" keystrokes and the mouse.

Improve component selection process. It requires a lot of mouse clicks just to add a new component to a schematic, here is an example:-

1 mouse click for Menu / Add.

1 mouse click for Component.

1 – 2 mouse click for List Box selection of the Library.

1 – 2 mouse click for List box selection and/or scroll bar to the component of choice.

1 mouse click for Click OK.

1 mouse click for Final step to drop the component directly into the schematic or Component bin.

8 to 10 mouse clicks to place a new component!

Similar programs can place components in 2-3 mouse clicks.

Allow the user to save the contents of a component bin. A component bin could then be loaded at the start of a new project, and even fewer mouse clicks would be required for component selection.

This could be further extended to allow a users library to be displayed in the same manner as the Components Bin and thereby present a graphical interface with drag and drop during initial schematic setup, much like a painters palette.

Some of these bugs MAY have been fixed in later releases. This list was compiled as and when I ran into these bugs and other frustrating issues.

As of 7 September 2001 the latest Patch is 4.08 and as I have really stopped "trying" to use this product I have not had time to compare my list against that last release. Time permitting I will do so and post the results. See my update at the top of the page.