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:).

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

CADSTAR Touch - how to use it.

In 2013 Zuken released the free CADSTAR Touch, the first PCB program related app which can be used on both IOS and Android.

However, like most free apps support is very limited -even if you have paid support for the main CADSTAR programs. Mind you - its a very simple app that once working should be very easy to use.

Although what the app does is already available within CADSTAR it has the following functionality.

a) Zoom and Pan. (Already on the mouse wheel or use a hotkey).
b) View all. (RMB and its there - or use a hotkey).
c) Run macros. (Already available via toolbars or hotkeys).

Perhaps useful if you are a left handed as you can make a macro to replace the Escape key that lives on the left of the keyboard.

There is however, one thing that is not already included in CADSTAR - "voice activated macros" (Android only) but perhaps the least said about this the better!

The setup is simple, use the quick setup or barcode scanning - the manual method is explained below.

1) Install the app on your phone or tablet.

This is done via either the play store for Android or itunes for IOS.

2) Install the server software on your PC.

The server software is available via zuken.com however requires registration.
Installation may require administrator privileges.

3) Start the server software, run the app. In the server software pick your IP address from the available ones displayed. In the app select the 3 dots in the top RH corner, then "settings" and select the "Server IP Address" option and enter the address shown in the server software.

Decide on the other options and select them if required.

4) Return to the main screen and if the communication is successful then the little computer icon on the RH side will turn green. moving your finger over your tablet screen will also show in the server software where it says "Processing message".

5) Start CADSTAR, open a design and have a play with movement.
5a) A single finger moved on the tablet allows you to pan in the direction of movement.
5b) Pinch with finger & thumb to zoom. Finger/thumb together then move apart to zoom in, finger/thumb apart then bring together to zoom out.
5c) Double tap to view the entire design (note - this also includes items not currently visible.)

Pan and Zoom also works in other programs

6) Setup your macros.
This is likely to be the most time consuming thing to setup, here are a few suggestions.

6a) Keep your macro name short, about 6 characters seems best. This is because there is only so much room in the button for the name - the same applies for when adding macros on your toolbars so I would expect them to be short already.
If you want to display them next to each other then I would suggest keeping the naming similar and remember that they are displayed alphanumerically.

6b) In the app select "Edit List" and you can choose which macro to display, once chosen select "Save List".

To use your macros simply tap the screen.
If you have a lot of macros you can scroll up/down the list with your finger before selecting them.

Congratulations, you now have your app setup and working (hopefully) and you can be an uber geek and use it within CADSTAR.

Pan, zoom and running macros can be very useful especially when the mouse is in use doing other things.

There are however a few drawbacks to this app.

1) It does not allow you to use macros in P.R.Editor - They can only be used in the Design Editor.
2) You cannot move macros up/down the list to sort them which can be done in a toolbar.
3) You cannot have different sets of macros that are displayed when in SCM or PCB like you can do with toolbars.
4) All the above can already be done using toolbars or hotkeys in the Design Editor.

What you cannot do in the Design Editor that you can do on Android devices only is use the voice control for your macros.

In the app settings you configure a speech recognition key word, it will be a bit like in Star Trek where Scotty tries talking to the computer by starting with "Computer". So you need a simple word that is only used for this function such as "Macro".

Then you start to talk to your device, on mine I have a macro called "Reload" that is simply a recording of me selecting File\Reload and accepting to abandon all changes, so I would say "Macro Reload".

Hopefully it would detect that a voice command has been given and the design would be reloaded, however in practise I come out with several variations of touch reload in different sounding voices as it struggled to recognise my accent. The microphone icon in the app will turn green when it recognises voice input.

Its a bit iffy, a bit slow and prone to ignoring you, I would also be wary of it running a macro when you are just talking in the office also of the weird looks your going to get.

If you have any issues, suggestions or other feedback then there is a "Send Feedback" link in the top RH dropdown that emails to cadstartouchandroid@zuken.co.uk where they will receive your feedback etc. Although do not expect them to reply to all emails - after all its a free app.

To finish off - I started writing this last year and I still do not know anyone that is actively using this app, so if you are leave a comment and let me know so that I can be sure that at least someone is.


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