Welcome to the CADSTARguys Blog - Information, hints, tips and my waffle on the CADSTAR Printed Circuit Board design suite.

Please note that all names used are completely fictitious and any thing written is my own personal opinion or knowledge and not related in any way to either my employers or their customers (or Zuken).
Also this is not a replacement for proper Maintenence/support and you should read the help files before asking anything techy:).

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

CADSTAR Touch - Have you been touched by the app yet?

Introducing the new whizzbang application that all engineers that still have their own teeth must get, yes you guessed it - a CADSTAR app for the ithingy or Android devices.
OK so what does it do and how do you use it?

It's an app that is available in both Google Play and Apple stores for use on your iphone,  ithingy or Android phone/tablet. If you don't know what they are then please move on to the BBC news website.
As I do not have an iwotsit device I can only waffle about the Android version, however I understand that it is similar on both.

For Android you can find it in the play store, install it and then you will need to download the PC server software to link it to your PC. This can be obtained at Zuken.com and once installed will communicate to your tablet or phone using WIFI.

While installing the Android app I downloaded and started the install of the server software too. Unfortunately I could not get them to communicate using the quick setup.

The tablet tells me to use (the tablet IP) in the CADSTAR Touch Server, but the server dialogue only displays (the PC IP) so I went into the app settings and manually added the server IP address and bingo! it now works.

So what do you get:
It looks like thisOn the bottom half of the screen you have an area that allows you to pan, zoom in/out or view all of the screen.

Simply press a finger and drag to pan, use two fingers to pinch and zoom in or out and double tap to view all.

I'll tell you what - the zooming in with the pinch works quite smoothly AND it works in PREditor and other applications (the macros do not). I would advise against throwing away your middle mouse wheel though.

It's the top half that I find much more useful as it contains a range of macro buttons. I am someone that uses lots of macros, nothing too complicated as every design is different but simple things such as turning the grid or connections on or off or displaying particular layers, running DRC checks etc, those repetitive tasks that the macro was invented for.

By keeping the names of my macros short (something I do anyway because the existing toolbar macro buttons need to also be short) in portrait view I can display 5 wide by almost 6 high. However if you have more than 30 macros in your macro folder do not worry as you can scroll down the list. It's a pity that you cannot do away with the zooming area and just have a big macros bar - nudge nudge - possible enhancement there chaps, I can zoom in using 3 other methods already.

A typical macro I would use I call "Grid" and all I do when recording it is to go into the colours dialogue and double click on the visibility setting for the highlights\grid.
Go the long way via Settings\Colours - do not use a macro or a hotkey to get there - they may not be there when you run your macro) and a double click on where it says yes/no will toggle the setting.

Then to turn on/off the grid I just use the macro, normally on a toolbar button or perhaps a hotkey (CTRL+G) Or perhaps simply record a macro of you selecting a colour file that displays certain layers, runs a DRC, BOM or a reload - save even.

If you add to your collection of macros and you do not see them appearing in the list, simply run one when CADSTAR is in focus on the PC and the list will refresh.
You can edit the list and can choose to display or not however I cannot see any ability to order/move up/down macros so you would need to get clever with the naming to get them in the order you want to see them.

Bear in mind that you can set the macro folder with each workspace if you use them so can set it to different lists of macros per design. It also works with CADSTAR Express and the Design Viewer.

There is also a suggestion that you can control it via voice commands on Android, however there are no instructions nor helpful information on it available yet and I struggled to get this bit working, I just end up shouting rude things at my tablet (nothing new there then) and people think I'm a tad touched myself now and given that the air is often quite blue around someone laying out a PCB who's going to notice me using voice control?

I do however have a nice tidy list of macros now.....

Do you think you have a need for this? Are you short of hotkeys when using a laptop keyboard or just bored and want to play with your tablet when you are working?

Go on - give it a try, its worth the money you paid to download it.
And remember - its free and like most free apps there is no direct support but if you have a really bad bug or enhancement then use the feedback link in the app.


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