Frequently Asked Questions about the Deck Designer

Before You Begin

Using the Deck Designer

Troubleshooting

Before You Begin


What are the minimum system requirements to run the 3D deck designer?

  • Operating System: Currently, only the Windows operating system is supported.
  • Screen Resolution: 1024x768 minimum resolution.
  • Graphics Card: requires a 3D-capable graphics card with a minimum of 64MB of memory.
  • Java: The deck designer requires Java 1.6 or higher. If a suitable version is not already installed on your computer, launching the designer will install it for you.
  • Cookies: Must be enabled.(How do I do this?)
  • JavaScript: Must be enabled.(How do I do this?)
  • Mouse: A two-button mouse is required. We HIGHLY recommend the mouse have a scroll wheel as well.
  • ActiveX Control: If prompted, you must allow the ActiveX component to run.
  • Certificate acceptance: When prompted, "The application's digital signature has been verified. Do you want to run the application?", published by DIY Technologies, you must accept by clicking "Run".
  • Adobe Reader: Adobe Reader 5.0 or higher is required to be able to open and view the finished design. The latest version of Adobe Reader can be downloaded here.
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About launching the deck designer for the first time:

  • Because the deck designer is built with state of the art technology, it may take 1-2 minutes to load the first time you launch it. However, subsequent uses will load much faster, and the tool is well worth the wait.
  • The first time you launch the deck designer, you may get a popup asking if you want to run the application. Click "Run" to accept.
    First Popup Screenshot
  • You may also get a second popup asking if it is alright to disable DirectDraw. Select either Yes or No (based on your preference) to allow the tool to finish launching.
    Second Popup Screenshot
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Using the Deck Designer


How do I change my view in the preview window?
You can change the view in the preview window in three ways (all methods require your cursor to be IN the preview window):

  1. Perspective:
    • Perspective adjusts your viewing angle (for example, to a more top-down view, or to view underneath).
    • Click and hold the LEFT mouse button and then move your cursor.
    • Release when you have the desired view.
  2. Location:
    • Location adjusts where your deck appears in the preview window (much like a scroll-bar would).
    • Click and hold the RIGHT mouse button and then move your cursor.
    • Release when you have the desired view.
  3. Zoom:
    • Zoom allows you to control the scale of the view displayed in the preview window (zoom in for more detail, zoom out for overview).
    • Use your mouse's scroll wheel to zoom (rotating the wheel AWAY from you will zoom IN, rotating the wheel TOWARD you will zoom OUT).
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How do I advance (or go back) after making a selection?
The tool does not require that the sections be visited in order. You can visit, or revisit, any of the sections at any time and in any order using the header buttons on the navigation menu on the left. To advance, you would simply click the next header button in your current section.
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My mouse doesn't have a scroll wheel. How do I zoom?
To Zoom without a scroll wheel, simply press and hold ALT + LEFT mouse button, while moving the mouse. Move the mouse AWAY from you to zoom IN, and move the mouse TOWARD you to zoom OUT.
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How many different levels can I add to my deck design?
The 3D deck designer can accommodate two levels in a deck design.
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Can I save an unfinished design and finish it later?
No. The deck designer will not save an unfinished design. You will only be able to retrieve fully processed designs from you projects list when you return to the tool.
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How do I delete a project?
In the project list, simply click on the red "Delete" button to the right of the project name. A project can be deleted even if the red triangle to the left of the project name is still rotating. Please be aware, though, that a rotating triangle indicates that the report for that project is still being generated. If you delete the project, the report will not be generated and the design will be lost.
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I see a project in my project list that doesn't have a triangle to the left of it. When I try to access it by clicking on it, nothing happens (or the page says the project is "In Use")...
There are several possible reasons for this to occur:

  • The Deck Designer was exited prior to completing the project.
  • The project was completed and the reports viewed on the screen, but the "Print and Save Report" button was not selected and so the design was not processed and saved.
  • There was an error in processing your design and the project was not saved.

Unfortunately, the project can no longer be accessed. It is safe to delete it and begin a new project.
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Can I work on more than one design simultaneously?
No, the Deck Designer tool only operates properly with one instance of the application launched at a time. Trying launch more than one instance at a time in separate windows or tabs may cause your browser to freeze.
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Troubleshooting


It looks like part of the tool may be getting cut off on my screen. What is the correct screen resolution to run the tool at?
Your screen resolution should be set to 1024x768 or higher. To adjust your screen resolution in Windows:

  • Right-click anywhere on your desktop.
  • Select Properties.
  • Click on the Settings tab.
  • Under Screen resolution, set the slider to a setting that is "1024 by 768" or higher.
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The tool seems to be running slow (or is taking a long time to download). What's the problem?
There are several factors that can affect the performance of the Deck Designer tool. Limited internet access (such as a dialup connection), older computers and graphics cards, and insufficient amounts of system memory can all result in the deck designer loading slowly and feeling "sluggish", slow to respond, or it taking a long time to process.
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The Java applet window with the red progress bar seems to be locked up. How can I fix my Java plugin so I can use your Deck Designer?
See below.
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The Deck Designer will not run. I click on the Design Deck button and nothing happens. All I see is the "In Use" page. What's wrong?
See below.

The Deck Designer will not run, and I have installed Java. All I see is a grey screen with a little box with an "X" in the middle. What's wrong?
First, be certain that there are no other instances of Internet Explorer running and that if you are running IE7 all other tabs are closed. Also, be certain that your system meets the minimum requirements.

The three issues above are caused by something having gone wrong with your current installation of Java. The solution is to uninstall Java, download the latest version, and then reinstall it. Be sure to reboot your computer after installation.

To uninstall Java:

  • From the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  • Select Add/Remove programs.
  • Select Java Runtime Environment.
  • Click Add/Remove.
  • Answer Yes when asked if you really want to do this.

If you need help installing Java, please refer to Java's Help Center.

When I drag a drag-and-dropable item, such as a Planking Direction icon, onto the 3D preview, the item vanishes and so I can't add it to my design. What do I do?
This often is an issue with your graphics card. Please be certain that you have the most up-to-date driver for your graphics card. See the manufacturer's manual for updating your graphics card driver.

In the event installing the latest driver does not resolve this issue, drag the item onto the 2D preview area instead of onto the main 3D preview area. If it is a movable object, you should be able to manipulate it in the 3D area once the item has been dropped onto the 2D preview.
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The tool is not responding. For example, when I click on Process Design, nothing happens. Is there a way to fix this?
If you are having issues with the 3D Deck Designer becoming non-responsive while using it, it could be that you are creating a very complicated deck design and Java requires more memory than usual. This can be corrected on systems running Windows XP by doing the following:

  • Open the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  • Double-click on Java to open the Java Control Panel.
  • In the Java Control Panel, click the Java tab to open it.
  • In the top section, labeled "Java Applet Runtime Settings" click View.
  • Double-click in the "Java Runtime Parameters" field next to the JRE you are running (if there is more than one JRE listed, choose the one with the higher version number), and add the following text:
    -Xmx96m -Xms96m
  • Click OK.
  • Click Apply.
  • Click OK.
  • Close and restart all browser windows, and try the tool again.
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What is causing me to get a the "d3drr Not Available" error, and how can I fix it?
This is a compatibility issue between your video card and Java 3D. Java 3D requires a 3D-capable graphics card with a minimum of 64MB of memory. If you have a capable graphics card, the problem is often solved by updating your video card driver.

To test your video card for compatibility:

  • Open the Start menu and select Run.
  • In the Open field, type "dxdiag" and then click OK to launch the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.
  • Click on the Display tab in the tool.
  • Click on the Test Direct3D in the center-left portion of the tool to launch the diagnostic.
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