a little something for the new year

2013 rings in a new Fritzing autorouter. Here are the before-and-after pictures:

The upper image is the Timer example using the old autorouter (version 0.7.10) followed by a Design Rules Check (DRC). The lower image is the same example using the new autorouter (version 0.7.11) again followed by a DRC. The old autorouter was unable to fully route the board, and the DRC found overlaps around the jumpers the autorouter placed. The new autorouter completely routed the board and the DRC found no overlaps.

For the cognoscenti out there, the new version is an A* maze router with rip-up-and-reroute. In practice (and compared with the old autorouter) this means:

  • The new router does not have trouble with diagonals.
  • The new router does not limit the search in the same way as the old router, so it finds routes that the old router missed.
  • After running the new autorouter, the DRC will usually not complain--or at least will only complain a little.
  • In schematic view, traces from different nets no longer overlap lengthwise (well, much less frequently than before).
  • In schematic view, if a connection can't be routed directly, the autorouter will try to place net labels.
  • No more red dots (unconnected zero-length traces)
  • Routing is not optimal--there are lots of unnecessary zig-zags--so you will want to do some manual rerouting after the autorouter finishes. We'll be working on this going forward.
  • The new router is much slower than the old one (can't win 'em all...).

As an extra holiday bonus–and because the DRC and autorouter no longer depend on straight lines–curvy wires are now enabled in PCB and schematic view. Here is a hand-routed example (at least for now, the autorouter can only use straight lines):

Curvy Parking Assistant

Happy 2013,

– Your Fritzing Team.