Which Freerouting are people using?


#1

For the longest time i’ve been using the original one available from the original freerouting github - auto routes pretty well, but doesnt have command line arguments and various other issues. I only use freerouting for autorouting (manual routing I do in pcbnew). But my current board caused that version of freerouting to crash (first time time thats happened) on loading the dsn file… That started a bit of pain trying to figure out what was causing the crash - including upgrading kicad (Currently on 4.0.2 - what ships with ubuntu 16.04, tired 5.0.1 from ppa and rolling that back)

Anyway, I then ended up trying this one https://github.com/Engidea/FreeRoutingNew which looks really nice, didnt crash, supports cli arguments, but no autorouting…

I then tried a couple of the forks from the dozen or so that exist from the various root versions that seem to exist and the only one that kinda seemed to work was https://freerouting.mihosoft.eu/ but requires java 9 (which i dont mind really) and the fonts are really small (well beyond unreadable) and the forks of it seem no different really - does support cli arguments and does autoroute, if i could read it it would be awesome!.

Having tried about a dozen by now and not alot i can find suggesting which is the best to go for, I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion as to which freerouting version they use (has to autoroute and cli arguments would be nice). Dont mind rolling back to 1.2.43 if theres nothing much else that supports the auto-router function. Or, if there are other alternatives to freerouting available now (there has been much searching involve before ending up here though and i figure someone may have a good choice already)


#2

I’m starting to think we may need to start a Freerouting sub forum. Maybe we could get some of the people with various forks to participate. One guy announced his fork here but wasn’t really committed to development it seems.

Keep in mind that most effort goes into the manual routing tools and they seem to help people forget about auto routing so support for it can be slim here.


#3

I had try auto-route in the pass with KiCad. None are giving me acceptable result, and took a long time wait for routing complete. I still think they are not worthy if you do seriously design. Auto-route just simply don’t understand analog, digital, noise coupling, current return path etc…

Auto-route under a human guided would be much better. I’m consider shovel, push routing feature are a part of this type of auto-route.


#4

Yes, an mostly I came here cause i was more interested in what KiCAD folk use (mildly surprised that there weren’t any replies as its probably the only realistic auto router for KiCAD that im aware of).


#5

I find that manually routing works up until a certain size, once I get past about 50 nets or so thats when I start reaching for the autorouter… Though generally I find that i’ll route the nets i care about (typically diff pairs or something that has specific requirements), let the auto-router do its job, then come back and clean up some of them.

What I would really like in an auto-router though is to be able to define as many constraints as possible that the autorouter has to abide by - realistically, as long as tracks are laid down in a way that lets you define what should and shouldn’t be done, it really doesn’t matter too much how ugly or inefficient it is and its very scalable in that you can concentrate on your goal, continuously re-architect your board and not have to care too much about the layout of the tracks (i.e. rip-and-re-route everytime you want to change your board). From an electronics point of view its also pretty easy to define what those rules might be (though writing such an auto-router would be no small achievement and sadly well beyond my own abilities).

On a side note, KiCAD’s given me alot of enjoyment over the years and kudos to all those involved!


#6

I tried to like gEDA but the learning curve was just too much. That said, they have auto routing and I think you can import and export between gEDA and Kicad though I’m not 100% certain on that.


#7

Hi there,

I am the maintainer of https://freerouting.mihosoft.eu/ fork. If you have trouble with the HiDPI settings feel free to open an issue in the corresponding github repository. I mainly created the fork because I need a version of freerouting for some hobby projects that works with modern Java. For me, it is not really high priority. But I am certainly willing to add improvements to it. Opening issues is the best way to show your interest in freerouting.


#8

More than 15 years ago our worker used autorouter (Protel) to make one PCB. He got 100% routed so was happy and ordered that PCB and it didn’t worked. One digital signal line had 1cm and the clock for it more thean 25cm (around the whole PCB). It was the first and the last time we used autorouter.


#9

Smart Ratsnest using as auto route running parallel with user during layout work using “simulated annealing” may be a great improvement for quicker/better component placement + manual routing.