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Alternate Part Does Not Have Footprint

LaneySupergroup , 04-03-2023, 07:00 AM

This is my first post on here. I am trying to create a variant with an alternate part. I want the "base" part to be an on-board (through-hole) piezo, and the alternate part to be a 2-pin male connector. When I click on the piezo under the base variant, I can see the footprint - all is good there. When I switch over to the alternate part, I do not see a footprint - Altium says it is missing. I originally tried with a typical 2-pin connector schematic symbol, but I thought that maybe Altium did not like that. So I went ahead and made the variant symbol for the 2-pin connector the same as the symbol for the original speaker.

I prove that the alternate part has an associated footprint by going to its symbol in the schematic library and I see that it is there. So then I tried going into the footprint manager and adding the footprint there. I can see that the base component has its footprint in the footprint manager, but the alternate part (2-pin connector) does not... even though I just went into the schematic symbols library and validated that it does have a footprint.

So I click the "Add" button and select the footprint in the footprint manager. The Engineering Change Order gives an error showing that changing the footprint can not be done for some reason.

I have followed the steps very closely in these two videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OCnX8C5LAQ, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arR4QA6xwT8

When I go into Variant Management and select the component, in the "Component Parameters," I can see that the footprint is " <empty> ". I can change the fields for other values, such as MFG PN, or Description... but when I try to change footprint from <empty> to what footprint it should have, I get an error saying "List index out of bounds (0) at 0000000000000001."

How can I get the alternate part to have a footprint? I feel like I have tried many different things but to no avail. Thank you!
robertferanec , 04-03-2023, 08:48 AM
Do you have all the recent updates installed for your Altium? Variant features do not work well in some specific Altium versions.
LaneySupergroup, 04-03-2023, 08:59 AM
No - I am using 22.5.1, as this version seemed to be the most stable on my system. I was running into a lot of bugs/freezing/crashing in newer versions. I will try to update to the most recent version and I will see if that fixes this particular issue. Thanks!
qdrives , 04-03-2023, 02:29 PM
1) Can you place that component on the PCB directly?
2) If you add one additional to the schematic, does it work?
If both of these questions are Yes, then there is a problem (bug) in Altium.
LaneySupergroup, 04-04-2023, 07:59 PM
1) I'm not sure what you mean by this2) If I add the variant part (2-pin connector) to the original "base" variant, I can see the 2-pin connector appear in the PCB. So it only seems to be an issue with the variants. Maybe instead of doing an alternate part, I can just add everything on the schematic and in the variants do fitted/not fitted.
WhoKnewKnows , 04-03-2023, 09:08 PM
There's a setting in the variants manager where you can tell Altium that it's OK to vary PCB features. I believe, if you don't enable this, only BOM level changes will be expected. EG if your alternate components require two different foot prints, you're going to need to enable PCB feature changes.

Here's what I'm talking about: Allow variation of fabrication features Perhaps see if enabling this will get it going?
LaneySupergroup, 04-04-2023, 08:02 PM
I just enabled it by clicking "Allow variation of fabrication features" and that still didn't work.As I mentioned to qdrives, I think the best way would be to simply plop the variable component in the schematic and do fitted/not fitted for the different variations. I just find it interesting how the alternate component does not work if the footprints are different.
qdrives , 04-04-2023, 02:13 PM
@WhoKnewKnows that only seems to be something for the output. Although what should be different in the output is not clear to me.
I enabled the feature and made some PDF's of a board - all footprints are still there of not fitted components.
qdrives , 04-05-2023, 02:36 PM
Just did some tests.
I did not have any problem with footprints. However, it does seem that if the anchor points of the symbol pins are not at the same location, Altium does not add the connections.
You get the following warning:

Fitted/not fitted is easier and I think better when you have a completely different component.
Varying a single component to me is more like changing a resistance value or a different memory size.
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