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Gerber Files

Honored Contributor I

Would somebody please direct me to a forum that  

knows about Gerber files... 

BAK Backup file for PCB layout 

BMK Bottom mask gerber file 

BOT Bottom layer gerber file 

BPS Bottom paste gerber file 

BSK Bottom silk gerber file 

drl N/C drill format file 

gnd Ground plane gerber file 

Accel PCB layout file from ACCEL software 

pcb Layout file from the ACCEL layout tool 

TMK Top mask gerber file 

TOP Top layer gerber file 

TPS Top paste gerber file 

TSK Top silk gerber file 

VCCINT VCCINT plane gerber file 

VCCIO VCCIO plane gerber file.... 

I am trying to run the Quartus software.... With this  

as input?????
0 Kudos
12 Replies
Honored Contributor I

Quartus does not take gerber files for input.  

Start with Wikipedia. Then 

Honored Contributor I

why not ????

Honored Contributor I

Why would you want to feed Quartus with gerber files? Is it for the pin mapping?

Honored Contributor I

Gerber files are generated by software tools that were used to design a pcb. 

these files are sent to the pcb manufacture to produce the pcb. 


quartus is used as a tool to generate files that decrive the behavioral of an altera device that is mounted on such a pcb. 


the only point where both worlds, the gerber and altera, are getting in contact via a schematic entry as a top level or pcb direct entry (but who would do that with up to 1000 pads?). to define the connection between signals on the pcb and the altera device. 


pcb design tools, like altium designer, handle such an interface automatically with pinswapping and fpga device or manufacture swapping automatically.
Honored Contributor I

Wow you do know your stuff... I am amazed at the size and scope of 

Altera/Quartus... Can you answer me one question....I have reviewed the  

file types within the Quartus II software: and they are the following: 

.vhd, .ddb, .dxf, .dqs, .ref, .hpp, .cpp, .cdb, .rdb, .cbl, .sci, .options, 

.tcl, .tmf, .ipx, .hsd, .pkg, .lmf, .itk, .oaw, .xsd, .ttf, .rbf, .jbc, .svf, 

.jam, .hexout, .maxplus2, .logic, .tpl, .dacr, .pll, ..etc..etc... 

A project file in Quartus has these file extensions: 

.fsf, .tdf, .cmp, .rpt, .ssf, .qws, .psf, .pin, .eqn, .csf, etc..etc.. 

and the Gerber file extensions: 

.tsk, .bmk, .bot, .bps, .bsk, .drl, .gnd, .pcb, .tmk, .top, .tps....etc... 

I realize that the file extensions above are for a lot of different  

processes... I am sure you would recognize a lot of them... .tcl, 

.cpp, .dxf ...some linux extensions, some scripting languages (perl)...  

I am not an electrical engineer... I have a computer science degree 

and math degree... I want to understand the logic behind Altera/Quartus... 

In simple terms: a standard motherboard... has power supply, electronic 

components, I/O devices, chips, memory, intel, amd, placements, etc... 

It would seem the Gerber extensions has the electronic structure for the motherboards....I don't see how Altera has a totally different structure... Is this the Bill Gates syndrome... All over again... An electronic structure built around Altera/Quartus???? Where does Gerber fit in ???? Please forgive my 

stupidy on this... I want to understand how they have integrated the 

design process in creating/making the motherboards ???? From concept 

to final product...
Honored Contributor I

this is a complex question you have. 

but this forum is about the altera tools and design needed just for the devices mounted on the pcb not a complete system. 


maybe a different comparision. 

you are using a pen to write something down on a paper, the pen is your tool like altera quartus, but it is not used to plant the trees and make paper out of it. thats a different process (and forum) 

as you have a computer science degree then you know compilers, altera quartus is a compiler that makes out of some files describing the behavioral of a functionality some files that can be used to be downloaded into altera devices mounted on pcbs. or from a compiler point of view, same as like for example microsoft visual studio does it takes some source files and generates an executable file that runs on your pc. same for altera tools. 


hope you understood and it has answered your questions.
Honored Contributor I

Thanks for your reply... Why do they have to compile this PCB ...  

don't understand that one... Does Gerber have a PCB file??? I should 

look into the makeup of a PCB... How long have you been using  

Quartus by the way ???? Does it do the job ??? Would a motherboard 

designer even use this software ??? What documents do they send 

to the guy who makes the board???? Output from what software.... 

I thought the guy who makes the boards only gets Gerber... So, 

Altera is only one small piece of the puzzle... The company who etches 

the electronic circuity in copper, what documents does he use ????  

Have you ever had a board designed and made ??? thanks for your time... 

I just need toknow what I have to send to the final guy who puts all the 

components together... Getting confused in the process...
Honored Contributor I

No a board designer would rather use a schematic/layout software. Quartus is only used to configure programmable devices, not to design a board.

Honored Contributor I

what would be a programmable device... 

dvd, cd, usb, printer ???? cell phone ??? 

This Quartus package seems to be very complex 

for a programmable device... don't u think... 

It is kind of overkill... Who is Altera's competitors... 

Have u used this software to develop something for 

your company ????? Would be interested in 

knowing that.... If you have time ????
Honored Contributor I

Quartus is specifically designed for Altera's fpga ('s and cpld ('s. It isn't too complex for that application, but using it to do a cd player is probably overkill, yes.

Honored Contributor I

i just wonder that somebody with a computer science degree and math degree asks if a printer or cell phone would be a programmable device ...  

theoreticaly, interesting and fascinating train of thoughts comes into my mind ...  

but off topic
Honored Contributor I

does anyone know where i can get quartus ?