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  • Proteus 8.5 - Introducing Visual Designer

    Version 8.5 is an interim release in the PCB development schedule and features a complete re-working of the CADCAM output engine. The RS274X output has been upgraded to make full use contours and polygonal apertures whilst the new code can also generate the latest Gerber X2 format as well as an IPC-D-356 bare board netlist.

    Other features added are significant improvements to the large pin count BGA workflow which are included in the release of 8.5 SP0. Meanwhile, our major development focus on 'push-and-shove manual routing' remains on target for the end of the year. 8.5 also sees the introduction of Visual Designer for Arduino AVR - a flowchart based programming environment for the Arduino ecosystem that makes full use of the simulation capabilities of Proteus VSM.

    Added automatic generation of assembly layers with options to print out and also export to graphics / Gerber / ODB++. Gerber RS274X and X2 now output all files in both imperial or metric. Gerber and Excellon files can be set to user either Imperial or Metric units. Panelization can now be performed across multiple editing sessions. Added warning on unrealistic FFT calculations when simulating Fourier Graphs. A full list of features and fixes is available from the Updates and Fixes Support Forum. Proteus 8.5 is available free of charge to all customers whose USC is valid as of 1st June 2016.

    What's New In Proteus Design Suite 8.0

    Proteus 8 represents the fruits of around 3 years of development. The following summarises the main feature enhancements in the Version 8.0 release. Minor system enhancements and modifications are announced in the members area of the support forums.

    The major changes fall into the following areas:


    Integrated Application Framework

    The integrated application framework means that ISIS and ARES are now modules with a single application (PDS.EXE) rather than being separate applications in their own right. They can be run in a single window (tabbed mode) or in two separate 'frames' to give a look and feel similar to that in previous versions. Single frame mode will tend to suit laptop users better whilst multi-frame mode makes the best use of multi-monitor desktop setups.

    Other features of the software such as Design Explorer, the 3D viewer and maximized graph windows are also presented as top level application modules which again can be held in a single frame or dragged onto another monitor to give a side-by-side view.

    Common Database

    The ISIS and ARES modules share a common database (CDB) which contains information about all the parts and elements in the project. Parts represent the physical components on the PCB whilst elements represent the logical components on the schematic. The CDB also stores the 'binding' between elements and parts. The upshot of all this is that changes to one element (e.g PACKAGE property) of a multi-element part can now be reflected to the other elements automatically whilst changes to the part (in ARES) can be reflected to all the elements. Functions like pinswap, gateswap and back-annotation are much more robust whilst we have also made clearer the effect of changing part IDs (reannotation - all elements get a new part ID) as opposed to element IDs (rebinding - the connectivity is changed) within ISIS.

    The common database also lays the foundation for a number of powerful features such as design snippets which we plan to bring forth during the lifetime of Proteus 8.

    Proteus 8 stores the design (DSN), layout (LYT) and common database in a single project file (PDSPRJ) which can also contain a VSM Studio (firmware) project and the associated source code files.

    Live Netlisting

    Proteus 8 maintains a 'live' netlist enabling changes made on the schematic to be reflected in ARES, Design explorer and the Bill Of Materials in real time. Changes to the PCB are shown in such a way that they can still be rejected before components and tracking are actually removed from the layout. A batch mode (live netlisting off) is retained should you prefer to work that way.

    3D Viewer

    A similar live update mechanism now operates between ARES and the 3D Viewer such that changes to the PCB are auomatically reflected into the 3D view.

    The rendering code has also been re-written to support both Direct X (as well as Open GL) and also to make it multi-threaded. Render times on machines with 4 or more cores can be more than halved when compared with Proteus 7.

    Bill of Materials

    Proteus 8 includes a completely new Bill of Materials module. This operates in its own application window with a WYSIWYG view of the BOM. Changes to the schematic and/or formatting are reflected immediately and an integrated header/footer editor is also provided.


    Further more, component properties can be added/removed or edited from within the BOM window. Any changes are automatically back-annotated onto the schematic. This is, of course, the most natural place to add stock/order codes, component costs and so forth.

    The final output can be to print, Excel, HTML or PDF as you wish.

    VSM Studio

    As with ISIS and ARES, the VSM Studio IDE is now an integral part of the single Proteus application. This has the following benefits:

    • Firmware is automatically loaded into the target processor(s) after a successful compile.
    • The new project wizard can both place and wire up basic connections (power, reset etc.) for the chosen target processor
    • Debugging can take place from within *either* the IDE or the schematic.



      Additionally, Proteus 8 introduces the concept of 'Active Popups'. These are regions of the schematic (e.g. LCD display, or processor pins) that you wish to see whist debugging the code. When debugging in VSM Studio, the Active Popups can be displayed and docked alongside the source code, variables and memory windows. This works especially well on laptops / single monitor setups where managing the popups whilst still being able to see the whole schematic was always something of a challenge.


      Quality Assurance

      As always, the Proteus software undergoes intensive testing before release. However, there is always the possibility of unforeseen behaviour causing a software crash. In the event that you do have problems, there is a crash reporting system in place that will prompt you to upload a 'crash dump' to our servers after a successful restart. We would be grateful if as many of you as possible leave this mechanism enabled as the crash dumps will be extremely helpful in understanding why a particular crash occured and where in the software the problem lies.

      Proteus 8.0 is available free of charge to all customers whose USC is valid as of 01st January 2013.