Thanks for highlighting this Matt. We'll pass it on to Altium to see if they can include a feature for this in the next release.
With the existing release I'll look into whether I can get a workflow to work in one of these two ways:
- Putting Null Supplier fields in my library component so that the Parameter limitation for multiple objects described here in the first paragraph (http://documentation.circuitstudio.com/display/CSTU/Sch_Pnl-SCHInspector((SCH+Inspector))_CS#SCHInspector-Editing/AddingParameters) can be worked around.
- Seeing if I can get the annotate tool to quickly and repeatably allow me to delete all unlinked components and replace with the linked component -- without breaking the linkage to the layout file.
I found the whole workflow of supplier links and component properties really lacking in CS as they've removed some of the basic capabilities out of AD.
It annoyed me enough that I've started working on an Open Source external tool for managing this. I briefly talked about it on the EEVBLOG forum, but no-one over there was too interested.
I've got all the parsing and filling of CS library files done and working. I need to work further on the UI. Once it's a bit tidier I'll put it up on github.
Coming from Eagle its a big improvement, other than this pain point on linking multiple components. Part of every design release in Eagle I was copying part numbers from previous BOMs and hand editing and releasing it. I'm saving a couple hours per design, and it should prevent me from messing up part numbers -- I made two mistakes in the last year that could have paid for CS!
The tool looks pretty interesting, I'll give it a try if you publish it. Probably not so much interest on eevblog because CS is a fairly new tool and the user base pretty small. Though, you can tell from the change in question velocity on this forum that they are bringing in a lot of new users at the lower price point. I think the tool is going to be a hit for introductory to intermediate professional use, and for higher end hobbyists.
This is a great idea, as one of the features I am missing most from AD is the supplier linking able to import all of the part parameters. I'd love to check out your progress on this tool as well as contribute to it's development - I'm also well-versed in C#. Please let me know if you're able to put this up on github anytime soon. Cheers!
Great thanks for the offer of help, it would be great to have multiple people working on this.
I've been putting a lot of boards through CS lately as it's now my main PCB tool for my small business. Because of this I've found lots of other related things that I want to be able to do.
As such I've actually changed my mind on how I think this should be implemented. Instead of a GUI tool that needs changing every time we want to do something different with the libraries, make a command line tool that decompiles the library into a set of folders and CSV files, then can recompile the whole lot into a library again. That way other tools could be built in whatever language the user is comfortable with that just parses and modifies the text.
Any thoughts on that idea?
That's great that you've been using CS as your main PCB tool - I'd love to pick your brain and get your thoughts on making the switch from AD to CS. I'm about 95% convinced I'm going to purchase a CS license based on a few days of evaluation, but want to make sure I'm not going to be bummed when I find a major feature missing later. I've really come to love AD after spending the past 5 years working with it, but I'm changing roles and will no longer have access to it through my employer, and it's not affordable for individuals to purchase so I'm hoping CS will be a good replacement. Anyways...
I think your idea of making a command line tool is also wise - I'm on-board. My goal is to find a way to link CS libraries/ components with the Octopart API and the Aligni API (https://www.aligni.com/doc/tools/api/), with the ultimate goal to be able to basically emulate the ActiveBOM document from AD. I imagine that using a C# command line tool to compile/decompile libraries would be a step in the right direction to enable this functionality. Feel free to connect with me at my username [at] gmail.com, or otherwise direct me to the best venue to coordinate our efforts. :-)
Any news on this?
Its really quite annoying to have to click on each identical item and enter the supplier details.
Furthermore, in the BOM, if you have items grouped, so that you get a line like
- 0805 1K resistors qty 12
It doesn't show any of the supplier info until you have done all of them.
The most effective way I've found to do this is to use the "Part Search" panel to find the supplier part you want to add, then right clicking it and doing "Add Supplier Link to Part" and clicking all the components you want to assign it to. Still not as fast as it should be but faster than copying and reannotating if you are only adding one supplier part. It defaults to visible though so you have to turn that off as well.
Then if you want to edit you would select all the components and delete the respective "Supplier #" and "Supplier Part Number #" and repeat adding the new part.
It's almost not worth it using their Supplier/ActiveBOM features because of the pain of making the links.
It can easily be done by doing following steps in AD schematic:
1- Go to Tools -> Parameter Manager
2- In Parameter Editor Options dialogue box, uncheck all but Parts, Documents and Exclude System Parameters and press OK.
3- In Parameter Table Editor tab, select all required parameters of a component to be copied by using Shift+arrow key and copy.
4- Paste the copied parameters to the parameter row of all those components that need to have same parameters.
5- Accept changes and Execute.
What is the recommended method to link multiple components to the same supplier source? I have tried everything I can think of but there seems to be no easy way to do this:
- Select multiple components and hit "Supplier Links": Only the component that was right clicked gets the link
- Select multiple components and attempt to use SCH Inspector: According to docs the parameters can only be edited this way if all components already have the parameter.
- Attempt to copy the list of parameters from a single component properties: Not possible.
- Attempting to use the hover "Insert" hotkey to grab parameters does nothing.
Things that work, but are unnecessarily painful:
- Link single component -> Copy supplier name and part number to notepad -> Remove supplier parameters from all components -> Manually add parameters via SCH Inspector -> Manually Hide all the new parameters, as adding this way defaults visible
- Link first component -> Delete other components -> Copy and replace other components with the linked component -> Rename copied components 1 by 1 to match previous designators (my layout is already in place and I need to maintain linkage).
- Create, link, and maintain library components for every passive value -- this does not work well in cases where component values need to change, as in when tweaking passive values for an analog circuit.
In my workflow anyway, often the circuit is drawn, and frequently the layout complete before values for many passives are finalized. So, the most straightforward solution of copying a linked component does not work well because the designators have already been annotated.
CircuitStudio needs to be able to copy parameters more easily using the "SCH Inspector", and there should probably also be a tabular editor for dealing with the properties of multiple components.