Installation Overview

Parent article: SOLIDWORKS PCB Documentation

To collaborate between SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS® you need the following installed:

  • SOLIDWORKS PCB
    • SOLIDWORKS PCB
    • SOLIDWORKS Collaboration extension. This is a standard SOLIDWORKS PCB extension (DXP » Extensions and Updates), adding the SOLIDWORKS Collaboration panel into SOLIDWORKS PCB.
    • A valid SOLIDWORKS PCB license.
  • ECAD-MCAD Project Collaboration Server - validly licensed and installed on a computer accessible by both SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS installations.
If you already have an existing Altium Vault, this can be used, but you will need to upgrade it to Altium Vault 2.5 (or later).
For every instance of SOLIDWORKS signed into the Collaboration Server,  three simultaneous connections to that server are available to users of SOLIDWORKS PCB.
  • SOLIDWORKS
    • SOLIDWORKS from Dassault Systèmes. Both SOLIDWORKS 2014 and SOLIDWORKS 2015 are supported. NOTE: SOLIDWORKS 2015 service pack 3 has a critical bug fix that addresses a problem with intermittent crashes during initial import of board from Altium Designer to SOLIDWORKS.
    • SOLIDWORKS PCB-SOLIDWORKS Collaboration Add-in from Altium, installed on the same PC as SOLIDWORKS. This adds the collaboration capabilities and SOLIDWORKS PCB Collaboration panel into SOLIDWORKS.
When you purchase SOLIDWORKS PCB, you'll get a zip file with all of the required Altium installables. So as well as SOLIDWORKS PCB (plus license file), you'll also get the ECAD-MCAD Project Collaboration Server, and the SOLIDWORKS PCB-SOLIDWORKS Collaboration add-in. The Collaboration Server is powered by Altium Vault Technology and comes with two license files that essentially tailor its installation for collaboration purposes only. This licensing allows only those features and functionality required to collaborate between SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS. If you already have an Altium Vault, you can simply use this instead. The key point to make here is that you are not required to purchase a separate install of the Altium Vault.

This page provides a summary of the installations involved (with the exception of SOLIDWORKS itself), with links to more detailed information in each case.

It is important that you follow the order of installation and connection, outlined below.
Watch the Installation Video

Installation - SOLIDWORKS PCB

Main article: Installing SOLIDWORKS PCB

Initial installation of SOLIDWORKS PCB is performed using the SOLIDWORKS PCB Installer. This wizard-based installer is accessed by running a small (approx. 9MB) executable – SOLIDWORKS PCBSetup.exe. This executable is included in a zip file of requisite installables, acquired after purchase of SOLIDWORKS PCB, and can be saved anywhere on your hard disk.

Each version of the software, starting with SOLIDWORKS PCB 1.0, has its own dedicated installer.

Streamlined installation courtesy of the SOLIDWORKS PCB Installer.

There are two key elements to installation, definable across the various pages of the installation wizard, allowing you to control what gets installed, and where:

  • Design Functionality – allowing you to specify which features are installed initially. The PCB Design option provides the base software and core technologies required to perform PCB design. It is always installed and cannot be deselected. Use the remaining options to tailor the install to suit your needs. This will also have an impact on the initial installation time too!
  • Install Location – allowing you to specify the destination folders for the install, in terms of both the Program Files and Shared Documents install locations. These locations become especially important when installing multiple instances of SOLIDWORKS PCB.

The installation itself is streamlined and fast. This allows you to get installed, and up-and-running in the quickest time possible. Once installed, you can further refine your installation, in terms of available features and functionality.

Once SOLIDWORKS PCB is installed, do not run it at this stage.

Installation - ECAD-MCAD Project Collaboration Server

Main article: Installing the ECAD-MCAD Project Collaboration Server

Installation of the ECAD-MCAD Project Collaboration Server is performed using the Altium Vault Setup wizard. This installer is accessed by running an executable – Altium Vault <VersionNumber>.exe. This executable is included in a zip file of requisite installables, acquired after purchase of SOLIDWORKS PCB, and can be saved anywhere on your hard disk.

For every instance of SOLIDWORKS signed into the Collaboration Server,  three simultaneous connections to that server are available to users of SOLIDWORKS PCB.

Streamlined installation courtesy of the Altium Vault Setup wizard.

Installation - SOLIDWORKS PCB-SOLIDWORKS Collaboration Add-in

Main article: Installing the SOLIDWORKS PCB-SOLIDWORKS Collaboration Add-in

Installation of the collaboration functionality into SOLIDWORKS is performed using the SOLIDWORKS PCB - SOLIDWORKS Collaboration Setup wizard. This installer is accessed by running an executable – SOLIDWORKS PCB - SOLIDWORKS Collaboration <VersionNumber>.exe. This executable is included in a zip file of requisite installables, acquired after purchase of SOLIDWORKS PCB, and can be saved anywhere on your hard disk.

Streamlined installation courtesy of the SOLIDWORKS PCB - SOLIDWORKS Collaboration Setup wizard.

The wizard also provides the ability - post installation - to optionally initialize your Collaboration Server/Altium Vault for collaboration purposes. This involves:

  • Creating ecad and mcad users in the Collaboration Server/Altium Vault, to cater for server/vault access (to 'get at' the collaborative projects) by the two sides.
  • Adding example designs (managed design projects), to a default Examples repository, created for the server/vault.

Connect to the Collaboration Server

With all the requisite elements installed, both SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS must now sign into the ECAD-MCAD Project Collaboration Server (or Altium Vault). This is the last step before collaboration between the two parties can begin in earnest.

SOLIDWORKS must connect to the Collaboration Server/Vault first, BEFORE SOLIDWORKS PCB connects.

Sign into the Collaboration Server/Altium Vault as follows, ensuring that you connect SOLIDWORKS to the server/vault first, followed by SOLIDWORKS PCB:

  1. In SOLIDWORKS, if you are not logged in then you will be prompted to log into the Server/Vault whenever you perform an action that affects data being collaborated on, such as when you click one of the New Board Assembly or Pull Board From Vault buttons in the SOLIDWORKS PCB Collaboration panel. The Altium Vault Login dialog will appear, enter the Vault address in the form <ServerName>:<PortNumber>, then enter a valid user name into Login, and the associated Password. If you need to log into a different Server/Vault, click the  button on the top right of the SOLIDWORKS PCB Collaboration panel and select Log Out, then click one of the New Board Assembly or Pull Board From Vault buttons to log into the other Server/Vault.
If the SOLIDWORKS PCB Collaboration add-in doesn't appear, you will need to access the Add-Ins dialog within SOLIDWORKS and make it active (enabling it at Start Up too). Then restart SOLIDWORKS to see the add-in appear in the toolbar, distinguished by the  button. It is this button you need to click to access the SOLIDWORKS PCB Collaboration panel.
  1. In SOLIDWORKS PCB select Sign in Altium Vault from the File menu. In the Connecting to Altium Vault dialog enter the Server address in the form <ServerName>:<PortNumber>, and a valid Vault User name and Password.
To provide access to the ECDA-MCAD Project Collaboration Server/Altium Vault, suitable user accounts must be created. If you ran the initialization stage (with appropriately-checked options) after installing the SOLIDWORKS PCB - SOLIDWORKS Collaboration add-in, these users will already be created (ecad and mcad, both with default passwords of 123). If not, you will need to log into the Server/Vault in a web browser, using the URL http://<ComputerName>:<PortNumber> . The port number is defined during installation, the default is 9780. If you are logging into the Server/Vault on the PC that the Server/Vault is installed on, then the localhost identifier can be used instead, in the form http://localhost:<PortNumber>
When a SOLIDWORKS PCB project is created in the Server/Vault, the only User with permissions to edit that project will be the User that created it. You can share the project with other users on the Projects page of the Server/Vault.

Start Collaborating

That's it. Everything is now installed, and the two sides - SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS - can now start collaborating. For more information on how this is done, see Collaborating between SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS.

 

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