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OrCAD is a proprietary software tool suite used primarily for Electronic Design Automation (EDA) developed by Cadence Design Systems, Inc. The name OrCAD is a portmanteau, reflection of the software's origin and the company's focus: Oregon (Oregon, United States) + CAD (Computer-Aided Design). OrCAD is part of the Allegro platform.
In addition to this knowledge article, please review this documentation:
Altium Designer supports the import of binary (*.brd) and ASCII (*.alg) files from Allegro (up to version 17.2). To import the files, Altium Designer ultimately needs the ASCII versions. Binary versions need to go through a conversion process that requires a local installation of extracta.exe that is installed as part of Allegro to convert the *.brd file to the Allegro ASCII *.alg file that Altium can import. As this utility is part of the Allegro tools, Altium is unable to redistribute this file, or the DLLs required to run it. Therefore, the conversion requires a machine with Allegro installed.
If both programs are installed and licensed on the same machine, then Altium Designer can automatically use Allegro's utilities to convert the *.brd file into *.alg and then into an Altium Designer file. You can skip ahead to the import instructions below (look for the dark screen shots from the import Wizard.)
If an ASCII version is not available, you can download a free demo version of OrCAD which has extracta.exe, as part of the Cadence Allegro distribution. https://www.orcad.com/free-trial
Note that extracta.exe is tied to a valid Allegro license so when the trial expires you will no longer be able to import the *.brd file. Altium can import the Allegro ASCII *.alg file without having an installation of Allegro on your machine.
Installing the OrCAD Trial version will install Allegro along with other included programs.
Installation takes around 30 minutes and it’s installed in the C drive as shown in below:
In order to import Allegro17 files you need to install the latest version of OrCAD and adjust your environment 'System Variables' as shown:
After Installation configure the Path System Environment Variable by following steps below:
In a Windows File Explorer right-click on This PC and select Properties
In the Control Panel ► System and Security ► System dialog, select ‘Advanced system settings’
In the System Properties dialog select ‘Environment Variables…’ in the lower right corner
Select the ‘Path’ variable in the System Variables section and then select ‘Edit’
Select ‘New’ in the Edit environment variable dialog and add the paths indicated in this image:
Add 'CDSROOT' System Variable with a Value of C:\Cadence\SPB_17.2 (or whatever version you have)
Click the New button, then fill in the dialog like this:
Select OK on each dialog to close and then Restart your PC
If Allegro is installed on a different computer, or you get a message that:
"Cadence Allegro extracta.exe has timed out, unable to continue translation"
You may be able to convert a *.brd file (native Allegro binary) into a *.alg file (ASCII file used by AD Allegro importer) to avoid the timeout converting from *.brd to *.alg. You can also run extracta.exe from the command prompt and examine the log file that is created using the following steps. This method of manually converting to the ASCII file first has been successful even when the wizard has failed on a machine with Allegro installed. It can be performed a single machine if Allegro is installed and the system variables have been set.
1. Copy the Allegro binary PCB design file (PCBName.brd) and these two Altium Designer utility files from the computer that has Altium installed, into a working folder of a computer that has Extracta.exe installed as described above.
Note: There was an issue with the version of Allegro2Altium.bat that came with AD20 that was fixed with the release of AD20.1.7 and newer.
2. Open a command prompt (start button ► cmd) and use the change directory command to get into your working folder. Example: cd C:\Documents\Files\Test
3. Once in the right directory, type in the command: Allegro2Altium PCBName.brd
4. The batch file invokes the Cadence-installed Allegro extracta.exe utility, using the AllegroExportViews.txt to direct the ASCII data extraction.
This produces an ASCII "PCBName.brd.alg" file. Now in Altium Designer, you should be able to import the "PCBName.brd.alg" file with no problem.
Note: At the time, an extract.log file will also appear in the directory. This may be useful if any errors occur when using the Cadence Allegro/OrCAD utilities.
5. Copy the new *.alg file(s) to the computer running Altium Designer.
6. Follow the steps below to use the import wizard. If it still times out, the file might be too large for the conversion to ASCII.
Import Allegro file using the Altium Import Wizard
Reference of this project:
Allegro Design Files -
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