Rv Gerber and Protel 99SE gerber files

Started by WillReeve, February 22, 2015, 03:49:57 PM

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Hi all,
I've been baptised in the way of the RVxS! Picked up a RV4S last week. Couple of issues which are a pain.
1/ Can't seem to import Gerber files from Protel99SE. I've uploaded an example at




The PCB house is fine with these and made the boards perfectly. Rv Gerber doesn't import them correctly. I suspect apertures. Any pointers would be much appreciated.

My other niggle is feeder related. Will post in the hardware section.

Otherwise a truly desktop pick and place machine which looks like it will be perfect for prototype runs!


RV Gerber is quite fussy about some Gerber settings. All our own products made on the RV4 were designed in Protel (98 possibly) and imported into RVGerber without issue. RS274X should have included aperture data although you can enter all that stuff manually.
The issue I always had was with other peoples Gerbers who defaulted to a resolution? RVGerber does not like. Specifically I think it pretty much requires you configure the units to be imperial and in 3.2 format (leading zeros etc), one of our clients used to send files in 4.3 and then you end up with a pcb 10 times too large so it looks like all your apertures & pad sizes are wrong. As soon as you bring in a component all becomes clear...
I'm afraid all the correct jargon has escaped me so I hope you can comprehend my waffling.

Long term I can recommend you look at adjusting Mikes tool for generating the TFR file from a pick and place file as that can speed things up, however you could also argue that the semi-automatic method of using RVGerber is a bit like the NPI tools found on other machines (provided your component definitions are correct in the first place).

If you have not done so I would strongly recommend creating & importing your paste layer, I know you can leave that task to your stencil/pcb maker but it's much better to do it yourself. Importing the top layer can look pretty but if its complex can take a while to redraw. Silkscreen and paste layer are the simplest combination.



may have overstated quite how fussy it is this is the offending line in gerber %FSLAX42Y42*% by contrast %FSLAX24Y24*% is an example of one that would work just fine, possibly it just can't cope withanythying that starts 4.


Thanks Gopher. Indeed. Output Gerber as 2:3 imperial and perfection, with embedded apertures. I've always used 4:2 metric (mainly because clients usually specify board outlines in mm!). Thanks again; don't think I would have tried that option. I was rooting around with apertures!


I've now got python code that takes Eagle, Altium (And, I assume, Protel99) pick & place files (and a control file to convert from BOM names to something the RV can cope with), and spits out .tfr files, based on Mike's VB. No need to wrestle with gerbers...
(It also spits out control files for the dotmaster solder paste printer, if anyone else has gone down that route).

If anyone fancies a copy, shout. It seems to work, but no guarantees! I haven't tried it out on double-sided boards yet.