CAD software

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Sparky49, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Hi everyone.

    I'm on a downer right now.

    I'm trying to design several products which I can sell for a small profit, to give me a bit more 'pocket money'. I've drawn out some plans by hand, and I think that they are well designed and able to sell.

    So I try to transfer my drawings onto the computer using CAD, so that I have a digital copy of my circuit schematics, and I can design some PCBs to make. However, this is where I'm having problems. Every time I try to use these programs, they either have problems with libraries not loading, component searches not working, a lack of components, or a difficult and confusing component creator. It has really driven me up the wall. I've been trying for about 2 weeks, but have not got a single finished design. I get mad, switch of the computer, and try again a day or two later, but I keep coming up against the same problems. Really driving me mad.:mad:

    Can anyone suggest good software to use? I've tried Eagle, but that's messed up and DesignSpark lacks basic components (Ever heard of a transformer, RS?).

    Preferrably free, but I'm willing to pay to get something that works. That's all I want. I just want to get a schematic and PCB designed, but it's giving me hell right now.

    Many thanks for all your time,

    Sparky
     
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Easy question.. No need to look any further.
    http://www.diptrace.com/
    I use it professionally (we actually pay for it) and LOVE it.
     
    PackratKing and Sparky49 like this.
  3. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Thanks Mcgyvr.

    If I could give you more than 1 thumbs up I would.

    In fact I'm creating some more accounts to do that right now. jj
     
  4. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
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    If you need more components/footprints, just ask/send datasheets. :)
     
  5. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Its so easy to add components/footprints in Diptrace that by the time you ask you could have already done it.
     
  6. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I'll have to try out diptrace, never used it. I have used Eagle, and I know what you are talking about, it's not very intuitive. Should you decide to give Eagle another shot, I would suggest you focus your efforts on learning how to search the libraries and how to create your own components. There are actually a great deal of parts in the libraries but you just have to know how to find them. For the parts that aren't there, you can make them and use them, often using packages that are already made from other libraries. There are step-by-step pictographical tutorials available for this.
     
  7. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    So far most of the components for my latest design are not in the Eagle libraries, so I have to create my own. It is not exactly intuitive but I am getting the hang of it. Sure it takes time but I just chalk it up to the learning curve. I know it will pay off in the long run.
     
  8. osx-addict

    Member

    Feb 9, 2012
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    That's what I've been doing lately -- late at night.. Creating library parts in Eagle.. I'm getting better at it and hope that I've got my layering correct and all that. I've toyed around with dipTrace as well but don't like it because I use a Mac and it still thinks it's a PC.. I tried a bunch of others too and seem to return to Eagle in the end..
     
  9. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    The last component I made in eagle, I made from dimensions in the datasheet (wacky shaped part, with nonstandard, asymmetrical layout). I didn't have the part in hand, so no sanity check. Turns out I made it mirror image; didn't realize until after I'd already etched the PCB and drilled it. DOH!
     
  10. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    I've been using Kicad for a few months now, after using Cadence & Allegro, and I think it is really a good package. There is also an online autorouter you can use.

    It's slow, but it's cheap and good.
     
  11. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Took me awhile to notice that there was a search box at the bottom of the Add window that allows you to search for your component.

    It doesn't always find the part you are looking for even though it is there.
    Make sure you type in the wildcard before the number, e.g. *7805
     
  12. BSomer

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
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    I generally put the wildcard before and after. I think it helps, not sure though.


    I have hardly ever used the autorouter feature in any of the cad packages I have tried. Maybe it is something I am doing wrong like the set up portion or something, but I always have more vias than what I think is necessary. Then there are the traces that have almost made a complete circle around the board to get where it needs to go. :confused:
     
  13. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
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    I've had my KiCad period, and I liked the programs instant 3D view. However, at that time I couldn't make the printout to look nice, it looked like 8-bit graphic. So I switched to Eagle. I don't think I will go back.

    To search for parts/components, I use asterix, like *78, or *supply or *1x2.

    It took a while to get the logic, on how to make the components, but when you get it, it's easy.

    I've seen this : http://www.beigebag.com/eagle_bb_sim.htm, but I've never seen it in action or tried it. And it would be really nice to have a simulator for the Eagle schematics.

    Anyone tried it?
     
  14. tpny

    Member

    May 6, 2012
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    Does anyone use tinycad? You basically have to create all your components because the library is anemic. But it's free and the UI is so simple.
     
  15. mcgyvr

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    Oct 15, 2009
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    Its schematic capture only.. Whats the point when Diptrace is schematic capture AND pcb layout software in one (and its free and simple)
     
  16. osx-addict

    Member

    Feb 9, 2012
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    I used DipTrace for a while on a Mac but didn't really like the way the UI & keystrokes worked as it is effectively running under Wine (windows emulation) and not native.. So, it has some odd behaviors that bothered me quite a bit.. Eagle is much better behaved as a native app IMHO but is obviously not without its own quirks.. Now, if DipTrace came out with a true native Mac App (not likely), then I'd probably switch in a heart beat as their tools seemed more intuitive..
     
  17. tpny

    Member

    May 6, 2012
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    I C. I use freepcb for layout and quite like it. Be interested in trying diptrace for comparison. Is it really free? Thought I saw a priced version on their website..
     
  18. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    They have a free version as well as several paid versions with pricing based primarily on pin count. I have the 500 pin version and like it a lot. I couldn't learn Eagle.
     
  19. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    There is no more useful check then the sanity test! I tend to make a lot of SMD boards and I try to collect all the parts before I design the PCB. This isn't hard as I'll build the prototype out of the same parts so I have extras on hand.

    As part of the PCB check I'll print out the board 1:1 and then place all the parts where they should be. That gives great confidence that at least the pads are correctly placed spaced and the parts will fit.

    Any decent PCB layout program will confirm the point to point connections match the schematic, but I always (well, mostly, still make mistakes here) confirm the pin numbers match. IC's and such usually go well (did mess up a SOT-23-5 once) but I've found 3 pin transistors (or fets) to be a nuisance needing close scrutiny and another pair of eyes to confirm.

    Transistors are just so simple they tend to get overlooked, and even knowing I mess them up all the time I still mess them up all the time.
     
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