Schematic drawing and PCB design software

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iLLuSioN

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Nov 3, 2003, 6:01:04 PM11/3/03
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Hello all,

I'm looking for some recommendations on schematic drawing and pcb
design software... So far I have looked at:

o CircuitMaker 2000 (includes TraxMaker)
o Electronics Workbench

Out of those two, I prefer CircuitMaker 2000...

However, even it is overkill for me... I don't need any of the
simulation features really, since most of my work is done with PIC
microcontrollers and CircuitMaker cant model them anyway...

What I really need is just a nice basic schematic drawing and pcb
creation software package... Preferrably one that I draw the schematic,
and it automatically figures out the PCB layout and routes the wires
(like CircuitMaker does)

I wanted to see if anyone had any better recommendations? What else
is out there? Yeah, I know Protel is out there, but I will barely be
able to afford CircuitMaker 2000, let alone Protel. I also know that
AutoCAD has a schematic module as well, but once again the price tag on
it i'm sure is very high.

Thanks in advance!

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Nov 4, 2003, 8:57:53 AM11/4/03
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On Mon, 3 Nov 2003 18:01:04 -0500, iLLuSioN <bitb...@greenepa.net>
wrote:

Check out something called pcb123 it is free. The idea is you design
your circuit using their software then make a pcb with the same
software and send it in to them and they produce boards in small
quantities.

I just got a copy in the mail CDROM and haven't seen what the
limitations are. The schematic capture seems easy and intuitive
enough to use without a learning curve. Haven't figure out how to get
it to print "landscape," but then I haven't spent any time with it
either.

G. van Amerongen

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Nov 4, 2003, 12:09:08 PM11/4/03
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I have experience with Circuitmaker and I'm not satisfied with it. Even if
it would come for free I would not use it (anymore).
Simple things like printing a schematic with border seems not to be possible
under windows 2000, although it is possible under windows NT. And if you
want any support, then you won't find it.

The layout software traxmaker which comes with circuitmaker is simple but to
limited. Rotating parts other than 90 degrees is not possible, circle shape
PCB's aren't possible.

The simulation engine in Circuitmaker also has some sneaky behaviour for
instance if a resistor has a value 4k7 then simulation is done with 4000.
But this is something you can keep in mind and work around accordingly.

I would suggest to buy some Orcad lite version, excelent support plenty
possibilities but it costs more.

"iLLuSioN" <bitb...@greenepa.net> schreef in bericht
news:MPG.1a10a8333...@news.greenepa.net...

iLLuSioN

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Nov 4, 2003, 1:56:43 PM11/4/03
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Ok, then I will steer clear of CircuitMaker...

I found CadSoft EAGLE last night... I downloaded the trial and started
playing with it... Seems like a good package, although it is more
expensive than CircuitMaker (and doesnt have the simulation ability --
which i didnt need anyway)...

I've thrown together a few basic schematics and then took a look at its
routing abilities. Seems ok to me (of course then again, I am a total
beginner at PCB design)...

Have you ever had any experience with EAGLE?

Thanks!

In article <bo8mdn$3m2$1...@news.hccnet.nl>, fam.van....@hccnet.nl
says...

> I have experience with Circuitmaker and I'm not satisfied with it. Even if
> it would come for free I would not use it (anymore).
> Simple things like printing a schematic with border seems not to be possible
> under windows 2000, although it is possible under windows NT. And if you
> want any support, then you won't find it.
>
> The layout software traxmaker which comes with circuitmaker is simple but to
> limited. Rotating parts other than 90 degrees is not possible, circle shape
> PCB's aren't possible.
>
> The simulation engine in Circuitmaker also has some sneaky behaviour for
> instance if a resistor has a value 4k7 then simulation is done with 4000.
> But this is something you can keep in mind and work around accordingly.
>
> I would suggest to buy some Orcad lite version, excelent support plenty
> possibilities but it costs more.

iLLuSioN

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Nov 4, 2003, 2:01:04 PM11/4/03
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Interesting. i will take a look at it right now. Thanks for the heads
up!

In article <kpbfqvg07jn334q2f...@4ax.com>, R75/5
@defaulter.net says...

JeffM

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Nov 4, 2003, 2:27:37 PM11/4/03
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>need...a nice basic schematic drawing and pcb creation software
package
>iLLuSioN

Free lite version:
http://groups.google.com/groups?q=g:thl2655669863d&dq=&hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&selm=3F5CC364.1B0F27BE%40azglobal.com
http://groups.google.com/groups?dq=&hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&selm=f8b945bc.0310072126.1aaeca93%40posting.google.com

For simulation (100% free):
SwitcherCAD (LTSPICE) from Mike Engelhardt and Linear Technology.

Geoff Hackett

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Nov 7, 2003, 4:38:26 AM11/7/03
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I have used Eagle for a few years now. It's not the best but the price is
good for what it can do, (it's always able to cope with our designs) There
is a great user group for it to, loads of people use it and are always
helpful. Every PCB house I have used can always read the files or you can
make boards yourself.

eagle.suggest.eng
eagle.userchat.eng
eagle.support.de

The auto router is not that great, it does not ripup and retry and leaves
tracks at odd angles as do many low cost routers. (I never the AR in
production designs).

You can spend a lot of money on this type of software but I think Eagle is a
good starting point.

It depends a lot on the work you want to do? I think you can use a limited
copy free. No gerber generation.

Geoff.....


"JeffM" <jef...@email.com> wrote in message
news:f8b945bc.03110...@posting.google.com...

iLLuSioN

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Nov 7, 2003, 8:58:49 PM11/7/03
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It looks as though I am looking at the Professional version of Eagle due
to the size of some of the boards I have in mind (mostly filled with
copious amounts of large items such as relays -- no I am not going to
become the next x86 motherboard designer ;) )...

So, the price is fairly high for my uses if I get all three modules... I
mean, high for a hobbyist... The list price of all three modules at the
full retail is about $1,200.00. I did send an email to their sales staff
and they were able to bring the price down a bit for me, so now I am
seriously considering their product. Not only does it seem to do what I
need, but they seem to care about making a sale -- they were able to
drop the price a bit...

It may not be 'the best', but for a hobbyist who doesnt produce tons of
complicated circuits, it will probably suit me just fine... I cannot
seem to come up with the $8,000.00 that Protel costs, so when I do get
some traces at weird angles with the auto-routing, I will just put up
with them. lol.

To be honest, I wouldnt know a lower quality router from a higher
quality one if it hit me in the head... This is my first delve into this
type of software... (Err, I guess I did use CircuitMaker when I was in
college, but never did any PCB layout stuff with it.)

I have been playing around with Eagle over the past few days... Drawing
some basic schematics, trying out the autorouter (since I dont have a
clue as to where to begin with manually routing traces), etc... Just
getting used to the software to make sure it does what I expect... So
far so good...

Do any of the other low cost packages have any better routing
capability, or are they all sort of in the same class?

Thanks!

In article <bofpo0$rtf$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>, gihackett@
1michaels.freeserve.co.uk says...

> I have used Eagle for a few years now. It's not the best but the price is
> good for what it can do, (it's always able to cope with our designs) There
> is a great user group for it to, loads of people use it and are always
> helpful. Every PCB house I have used can always read the files or you can
> make boards yourself.
>
> eagle.suggest.eng
> eagle.userchat.eng
> eagle.support.de
>
> The auto router is not that great, it does not ripup and retry and leaves
> tracks at odd angles as do many low cost routers. (I never the AR in
> production designs).
>
> You can spend a lot of money on this type of software but I think Eagle is a
> good starting point.
>
> It depends a lot on the work you want to do? I think you can use a limited
> copy free. No gerber generation.
>
> Geoff.....

JeffM

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Nov 7, 2003, 11:42:02 PM11/7/03
to
>Eagle...No gerber generation
>Geoff Hackett

Look again. CAM Processor.

Dennis McMillan

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Nov 19, 2003, 5:08:47 PM11/19/03
to
Go try "Autotrax EDA" it,s free for home use! nice program!

Dennis

"iLLuSioN" <bitb...@greenepa.net> wrote in message
news:MPG.1a10a8333...@news.greenepa.net...

Thierry C. (NOOS)

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Nov 19, 2003, 6:24:32 PM11/19/03
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Hello...

> Go try "Autotrax EDA" it,s free for home use! nice program!

Even if it has got a Windows-compliant user interface and an integrated
simulation module, I really don't like that product I have bought a few
months ago (discount on the full version for $95) to get rid of the pad
number limitation :
- it's still in development, with many features not yet implemented and
frequent crashes blocking the OS
- it relies on graphical API functions not supported on W98, preventing
reuse of components downloaded from the Internet sharing system and saved
into your database, and preventing the mirror printing feature
- when trying to select with the mouse a graphical object covered by other
ones, there is no advanced mechanism to select one of your choice (even the
"send to back" feature doesn't change the priority for object selection)
- The most horrible is the router because the copper lines or their vertices
are not treated as real objects and cannot be manipulated as easily as
components can (for example you can't select a block of vertices or full
lines and move them as a whole), you have sometimes to draw many times over
already routed copper lines to reach the pad where the electrical link ends,
the default trace width resets to an unwanted value, the vector optimization
merges two aligned copper lines even if they aren't on the same side etc...

To conclude this, I really prefer EAGLE even if the user interface isn't
Windows-compliant (especially the non obvious copy/paste manipulations)
because it's really efficient where I found lacks in AutoTRAX. And the only
limits for the free version of it is to place all your component pads in a
10cm*8cm board area (and one-sheet schematics, but of unlimited size). For
bigger boards (10cm*16cm) in non-commercial projects, the non-profit license
costs $125.

> Dennis
>


--

Thierry C.
Pour m'écrire, enlever les mots "spam" et "sucks" de mon adresse E-Mail

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