http://www.ozvalveamps.org/software/easytrax.html | Created: 20/08/08 | Last update:
New: 13:44 19/08/08Contains:
EasyTrax is an early PCB layout programme from Protel in Tasmania. It is now officially abandonware, and continues as a user-community-supported system.
As somebody with a professional background creating many Bishop Graphics peel-stick PCB artworks, now that I have come to grips with EasyTrax I think it's a great tool; just enough, and not too much.
It started life purely as a PCB layout programme, and for a programme that is now freely available as officially “abandonware” it is very real-world functional and has some really serious output formats such as Gerber drilling file. And it produces precise size printouts from every printer I've tried, (in itself something of a miracle).
It now has additional user-generated libraries of components suited to circuit drafting, rather than just PCB layouts, and makes a reasonable all-round drafting tool for speaker boxes to house construction.
I have “built” several folded horns in EasyTrax, to great benefit, before cutting wood. It is also a good tool for moving things along.
I'm not going to explain the mechanics, only to say that when you get going EasyTrax is like an arcade video game.
While the mouse is useful for rapid slewing, it is not vital and in fact often useless; for just about everything else keyboarding logical two-letter commands like P-lace T-rack, and the cursor and number pad having different sensitivities, it has the user-interface MS Flight Simulator should have been born with. I use about 80% keyboard/20% mouse.
You use the esc key a lot to get back to the main level, but frequently used functions such as zoom in and out (pgUp and PgDn), and switching layers (numeric + and -) provide very intimate control over what is a demanding process.
Unlike most of the simpler CAD/Drafting programmes, EasyTrax has simple and effective means to move stuff around. This is particularly needed when doing PCB layouts, but is also bloody handy when planning a speaker box or building.
EasyTrax is more CAD than most, while a lot less than AutoCAD. But if you're not actually building a Stadium, Jumbo jet, or CPU silicon, you are unlikely to exceed its CAD capabilities.
Sample demo artwork supplied with some packages. As far as I can tell this is an actual Z-80 based SBC.
The first thing it's good for is what it was intended to do, be a much better way of preparing PCB artworks. It's the tool I dreamed of while spending many hours at the drawingboard struggling with yet another custom PCB.
The wordprocessor/text editor brought to typewriting the ability to go back to correct errors and move text about in a more flexable way.
PCB layout programmes similarly brought the ability to pick up a component, or a whole layout, and move it, when previously it would mean ripping off hours of work laying sticky graphic symbols and starting again.
The big horror with a complex layout is getting to an edge and finding yourself half the width of an IC short of space. Tools like EasyTrax make it almost trivial “snugging up” a layout to fit it all in. In fact I now have to be careful of old habits when applied with EasyTrax results in layouts so “efficient” they are hard to physically build.
Even before the circuit symbol libraries appeared I was using EasyTrax for all sorts of other general non-PCB drafting applications such as complex W-bin speaker boxes, frontpanel artworks, and building plans.
But why would you do a PCB layout for a circuit if you didn't intend to actually etch a PCB?
Most of my constructions are one-off's and not worth the trouble of trying to transfer an artwork to copper laminate for etching, but the various plots available from EasyTrax have also been very effective applied to dab and strip-board construction.
Now I'll confess that when it comes to projects I have a couple of problems. The first I think is very common; making that initial step between design and the first cut.
The second may just be me, but I tend to glaze over at the sight of stripboard - it seems so featureless that I simply get lost.
So I tried cutting out the layouts and gluing them to the component side of the target board, and with stripboard sometimes the copper side as well.
This has had several effects; once the layouts are finialised and printed out it is easy to shift to the actual construction, sure you won't have to undo anything due to poor layout on-the-fly; builds become almost literally a “no-brainer” in that you simply assemble the kit you have composed; and my “hit rate” of wiring errors and go-first-time have improved considerably.
Long think - short do.
So the two aspects are; if you are going to build anything at all it is worthwhile drawing it first.
Of all the CAD packages I've seen and used EasyTrax is the most effective and practical. Few projects need all the bells and whistles of AutoCAD, and most other PCB/CAD software is poor to shocking. And unlike AutoCAD it's very quick on old iron.
Here is a snapshot of what is available on the Web related to EasyTrax (Google).
One stands out from the crowd (but for details, see listing below first);
The RCS enhanced fileset from;
The “RCS distribution” is discussed below.
Protel EasyTrax -- Lupine Systems---
[Plain-Jane distribution, (original?) May 1990 files]
Altium Limited > Community > Support > DownloadsAltium Designer 6 Viewer Edition license is now available for download. ... Please note: we do not provide technical support for this Easytrax Freeware ... http://www.altium.com/Community/Support/Downloads/---
[stalled on page]
SourceForge.net: Autotrax/Easytrax Advanced PCB PlottingDownload Autotrax/Easytrax Advanced PCB Plotting. Project Admins: crun Operating System: All 32-bit MS Windows (95/98/NT/2000/XP), ...---
[laserplot but not main pkg]
Operating System: All 32-bit MS Windows (95/98/NT/2000/XP), All POSIX (Linux/BSD/UNIX-like OSes), Linux License: BSD License Category: Electronic Design Automation (EDA)
Protel dos video driversProtel video drivers, suitable for Dos easytrax, autotrax, ... you may just have to download the updated VESA DRIVER from your video card manufacturer. ...---
PROTEL Autotrax/Easytrax video drivers Version 1.12 Date 7 June 2002 Features Suitable for Autotrax, Easytrax, Dos schematic, lib Operates under xp, win95/98/2k, dos, 0S2, NT4 Screen resolutions 640x480 to 1600x1200 Compatible with most video cards (needs VESA) Colour 0 is Black background (missing from original) Arc redraw speed improved (protel original was slow)
Download easyvido.zip 103,221 bytes (complete package)
The only original protel video driver that will otherwise work reliably on modern hardware is VGA640.DRV (from airborn.com)---
David L Jones very good How-to guide to PCB layout ...personally I like this manual very much, and recommend it to anyone doing layout - it has been a long time since I have seen such good common sense advice all in one place---
Up-to-date Autotrax Libraries---
Open Collector lots of open source electronic design tools.---
Files Library - Free Download Autotrax/Easytrax Advanced PCB PlottingFiles Library - Free Download Autotrax/Easytrax Advanced PCB Plotting. ... Advanced postscript plotting software for Autotrax/EasyTrax PCB files. ... www.files-library.com/files/ Autotrax-Easytrax-Advanced-PCB-Plotting.html - 13k---
Download TraxLaserPlot Exe package
Download TraxLaserPlot Source package
Download x BOM Processor package
RCS Radio Pty. Ltd. EASYTRAX, PROTEL
Special Notice : A genuine copy of the EASYTRAX “How To manual” will be available ... RCSEZLIB.exe (182k) Download this file from every 6 months or so and ...
PCB maker RCS Radio in Sydney have long been major users and boosters for EasyTrax, and one of the main distribution packages was assembled by them.
In ibmezcad.htm there is a file that lists what all the others do - easyread.rcs.---
In your primary EASYTRAX directory you place these files.....
These files when auto-uncrunched will produce all the necessary files to operate the EASYEDIT.EXE and EASYPLOT.EXE programs. These files have been zipped up from an operational sub-directory C:\CAD\ET. The colours have been pre-configured - change if you wish. These 2 programs when run (exploded) will result in a zillion files, drivers, etc. - do not be alarmed - just panic.
EDA Software Center Elektroda.plDownload elektroda.pl :: Tworzenie schematów i plytek | Schematics and PCB creators ... Easytrax is the introductory-level member of the Protel family elektroda.net/download/file708.html - 12k
http://www.rfglobalnet.com/download.mvc/easytraxzip-0001 [Requires sign-in to download]---
Re: [PEDA] Converting Very Old Protel V3 PCB Files13 May 2006 ... Easytrax, fresh download from Altium, opens > with Protel Eastytrax 2.06 and copyrights are 1988,1989,1990. > > Apparently there was a ...---
[forum, ETrax history]
Autotrax ! EasyTrax PCB SoftwareDownload (ZIP 821 KB) | View Readme EasyTrax DOS Freeware version 2.06 - Complete PCB layout package with output support for printers, pen plotters and ...---
Free, old DOS Version EasyTrax available for download. Format supported by PCB-POOL®.52. easyover.com 33k Easytrax/Autotrax User Guide 53. easypadz.exe 43k EASYTRAX GLOBAL pad type/size converter 54. EasyTrac v2.06 Powerful package for producing printed circuit artwork. Has Component library support and full plotting capabilities. 55. easytrak.exe 45k EASYTRAX GLOBAL Track Width Converter. http://www.pcb-pool.com/download/shareware/easytr.exe 69. ezschem1.exe 8k Doc file for EZYSCHEM.LIB - self executing http://www.pcb-pool.com/download/shareware/ezschem1.exe 70. ezschem1.lib 77k Draw schematics with Easytrax! - component library http://www.pcb-pool.com/download/shareware/ezschem1.lib 71. ezschem1.pcb 131k Reminder chart for EZSCHEM1.LIB http://www.pcb-pool.com/download/shareware/ezschem1.pcb 72. ezschem1.zip 59k All three EZSCHEM1 files (PCB,EXE,LIB) compressed http://www.pcb-pool.com/download/shareware/ezschem1.zip 112. PC-ECAP AC Circuit Analysis http://www.pcb-pool.com/download/shareware/circanal.exe 133. rcsezy.inf 2k Readme file for RCSEZYx and 3993S files 134. rcsezy1.zip 60k RCS improved Easy/Autotrax library -see RCSEZY.INF 135. rcsezy2.zip 87k Another Easy/Autotrax lib from RCS -see RCSEZY.INF 136. rcstoolf.zip 10k Drill tool table for Easy/Autotrax from RCS + docs
EA File Downloads (Technical software)easyfree.zip, 460k, Protel's Easytrax PCB design software - PD version http://www.electronicsaustralia.com.au/cgi-bin/downloads.pl?area=7
- easyfree.zip 460k Protel's Easytrax PCB design software - PD version
- easyover.com 33k Easytrax/Autotrax User Guide (RCS Radio)
- easypadz.exe 43k EASYTRAX GLOBAL pad type/size converter
- easytrak.exe 45k EASYTRAX GLOBAL Track Width Converter.
- ezschem1.exe 8k Doc file for EZYSCHEM.LIB - self executing
- ezschem1.lib 77k Draw schematics with Easytrax! - component library
- ezschem1.pcb 131k Reminder chart for EZSCHEM1.LIB
- ezschem1.zip 59k All three EZSCHEM1 files (PCB,EXE,LIB) compressed
Note: ezschem1.lib is the library containing schematic/circuit symbols, the PCB physical symbols are contained in standard libraries already in the easyfree.zip distribution.---
Acetronics PCB WWW Site - Links - Software---
This allows you to convert Easytrax's .PCB files to Autotrax .PCB format.
Download EasyAuto v1.10 (6KB zipped file) ...
http://www.acetronics.com.au/linksoftware.html - 5k
Freeware. File Size: 459.7 KB Estimated Download Time: < 1 min. T1 (1.5M), DSL/Cable (768K), DSL/Cable (256K), Dial-up (56K).