Best layout software?

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by JMD, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. JMD

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 9, 2009
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    Basicly: Whats the best circuit layout software there is?

    I need to layout some SMD-circuits, and i therefore need a good program for this. Ive used Eagle and CadInt alot before, but they lack components - and i dont want to hand-make components (not if its avoidable).

    The program doesnt have to be free - but it doesnt hurt if it is ;)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Then the best might be the one with the largest component libraries, but only if they get frequently updated.

    Electronics presents several cliff-climbing experiences: Basic electricity/electronics, Digital, analog, programming, and CAD.

    As with programming, whatever you learned first tends to look best, as the effort was greatest. I have to admit that assembler does look better than punching in machine codes, but I can do everything with an old DOS CAD program.

    But I am pretty good at making new library components.
     
  3. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Are you asking about free software, or will your wallet support $12,000.00/seat commercial programs?
     
  4. StayatHomeElectronics

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2008
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    Making new components is almost inevitable with any package that you use.

    If another part has a similar decal/footprint you can copy it to the new part that you are making.

    One easy check that we always did for new footprints was to print out the footprint and physically place your desired part on it to make sure it fits. It is not a perfect process but it can let you feel a little more at ease that the footprints are correct.
     
  5. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    Blindly trusting libraries that were made by others is an invitation to get burned. You can wind up with quite a large collection of expensive coasters that way.
     
  6. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Our useless boards are a bit smaller. We call 'em "Chicklets"
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  7. JMD

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 9, 2009
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    Ive been making quite a few components myself, its just booooring ;)
    But yea, it needs to be something that gets updated frequently.



    I have access to most programs (im a student).



    If i can avoid it, i would prefer that! Spending time looking up dimensions in various datasheets, drawing new components and checking they fit - aint that funny.

    Id rather just step right to the "let see if it fits"-part :D Like solving a puzzle, without first having to make the pieces.
     
  8. ftsolutions

    Active Member

    Nov 21, 2009
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    This question is way too open-ended to be relevant - provide us with how much $$ your budget is, whether or not you are expert in *NIX workstations, and how long you plan to use the software/number of PCB designs you plan to do, and maybe we can offer reasonable suggestions.

    If you are looking for something along the same price as Eagle or under $1K, there are a few options. If you're willing & able to spend up to $5K, there are some more good options with much more built in ability. If you go to the $10K+ per seat on a Unix workstation type system, there are still more. Some people are perfectly happy with a car like a Volkswagon Beatle, while others consider an Aston Martin DB5 a cheap runabout..
     
  9. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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  10. JMD

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 9, 2009
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    I plan to make a few PCBs - not a larger production. Gonna use about 10-15 components, where only a few arent standard size resistors etc.

    There's no need to over-complicate it. I just want to know if some of you have some personal experience with some good layout software - thats all.


    Gonna give it a look after some sleep (04:08 AM here (GMT +1)) - thanks.
     
  11. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    Gee, you could've made ALL the library models for those few components in Eagle in the timespan this thread's been alive. ;)

    Then there's that learning curve ... if you go to another product, you'll basically have to start from scratch again. Every tool has it's own quirks. It takes a while to get used to Eagle, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty good. If you haven't used it for awhile, you wind up with that learning curve again.
     
  12. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    I agree with those who recommend you build your own mechanical package symbols. Relying on the symbols in the library is an expensive gamble.

    hgmjr
     
  13. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Yep. If you are going to use a device, then you have to get the data sheet. The data sheet has the pad layout with proper dimensions. Simple to make the new component layout.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  14. JMD

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 9, 2009
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    Okay then :)

    Any preferred software? I dont like CadInt (only got an OLD version from 1992), and adding new components is this, is just too much work.

    Gonna give eagle a try - it got a fairly good UI.
     
  15. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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  16. JMD

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 9, 2009
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  17. JMD

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 9, 2009
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  18. JMD

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 9, 2009
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    Finally got some time to test it out - and now i could use a 2nd pair of eyes on my created part !

    Ive made the LM3407: http://www.national.com/ds.cgi/LM/LM3407.pdf
    Here's the library: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=XO6KT1KA
    (I hope its enough just to upload the library, else let me know)


    I think its correct - checked it quite some times. Still, i would like a fresh set of eyes on it :)

    Thanks in advance.
     
  19. nickw1881

    Member

    Dec 25, 2009
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    Altium Designer for sure.
     
  20. Mike13

    New Member

    Oct 29, 2008
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    There are student version of National Instruments Ultiboard/Multisim.

    Multisim is circuit layout and Ultiboard is where you generate your PCB board..make gerber files to be sent to some PCB manufacturer to get your board made.

    Another one I've used is Pspice..that one is very common among students.
     
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