Fritzing

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by jpanhalt, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,699
    905
    Does anyone here use Fritzing?

    I spent about an hour this morning messing with it. It is open source. The program is about 83 MB, but downloads quickly as a zip file. It seems a little crude, but I was attracted to its ability to convert a breadboard design to a schematic. That seems a bit backward to me, but there might be situations where it would be useful. It also includes schematic capture for PCB routing.

    Here is a YouTube demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxhd4HKrWpg&feature=player_embedded

    John
     
  2. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    2,358
    201
    Quite honestly I think you should try http://www.diptrace.com which is an integrated suite of programs.

    The Light version is free (500 pins, 2 layers max if you use the academic/student link) and I started with that years ago. Despite access to Orcad I upgraded my license on DIPTrace to full and continue to use it for most of my small - medium sized projects. Every single board I've sent out to be manufactured turned out perfect.

    Although there's a bit of a learning curve to it ther are several key features that make this a perfect suite for beginners and advanced alike. You've got the schemaic creation program, PC Board layout (manual or create from schematic), a large library file, a component creator where you can create and save unique components to the libraries and an autorouter that hasn't let me down yet.

    Although you can pretty well get going right out of the box it pays to read through the documentation and viisit their forums. Once I've autorouted a board I usually move or tweak a few of the traces - it doesn't always make the perfect decision but it's actually a cosmetic thing rather than functional.

    Small boards route pretty quickly but you should have something more than 1 GHz and 1G memory on the larger ones unless you don't mind letting it spend all night figuring out the best routes.

    This is not a trial, the 500 pin 2 layer version is 100% free and totally functional all the way to creating the gerber files to send off for manufacturing. Of course it will also create perfect exact-size .jpg images of the front, back, silkscreen etc layers so you can print and etch anyway you'd like. On small circuits I'm only building one of I'll usually use the toner transfer system (laser printer, glossy inkjet photo paper, hot iron) then etch with 1 part Muriatic acid ($5/gal) mixed into 2 parts of common drugstore hydrogen peroxide. A heck of a lot cheaper, faster and certainly less of a mess than ferric chloride.

    Oh, and the company I use to make my production runs of PC boards offers a free DFM service anyone can use. You simply upload your gerber files and it will spot those tiny errors that can become a headache. You then just go back and manually edit your routed design and run it through again until it says it's OK.

    https://www.freedfm.com/!freedfmstep1.asp
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  3. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,699
    905
    Let me clarify my question before this thread takes off in the direction of listing all of the available programs for PCB creation.

    I am not looking for suggested alternatives for PCB design. Diptrace has been discussed numerous times here and is a great program, as I understand it. I use a purchased copy of Eagle and am happy with it for my minimal needs.

    The question was specifically and only whether anyone has used Fritzing and what advantages (real or potential) it might have. I could not find any substantive reviews on the internet. There were 3 pages of hits, but all of them either just described it, listed its claims, or were links to the download page.

    I am asking for actual user experiences.

    John
     
  4. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    2,358
    201
    Gotcha' but I can't help out, I'm lucky to know enough to work in ORCAD or DIPTrace which is a long ways from a pad, pencil and vacuum tubes for me.

    I miss working with vacuum tubes and it's somehow a shame very few have had (or will ever have) the opportunity.
     
  5. sbombs

    Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    33
    0
    Avoid the old ORCAD like the plague. They threw it in the garbage a few years ago and bought Allegro (which they've renamed to ORCAD). Diptrace looks nice and I'va heard a few good things about it.

    Fritzing? I love it for simple minded two-sided or single-sided stuff, and stuff that will never make it off the breadboard.
     
  6. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    2,358
    201
    Orcad was a good excuse to spend a ton of money, then for updates, then for the engineer to explain why it took weeks to design a simple circuit.

    DIP Trace doesn't have the most complete libraries in the world but a lot of people have created extras you can add or you can chart out your own oddball components (or edit similar ones and rename them) then add them.

    Schematic has a few behaviors I'm not fond of but are easy enough to work around.

    Also, while I don't always agree with the output of the autorouter, it's extremely easy to edit the traces in about any way you like. On the very simple boards I often just use the program to route them manually.

    Never got a bad board out of it yet.
     
    sbombs likes this.
  7. sbombs

    Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    33
    0
    At your urging, I d/l'd DipTrace and gave it a try. I quite like it so far. There's some strange thing going on where sometimes it generates blank Gerbers, (probably doing it wrong) But I've already knocked out a few SMT to dip adapters that I've been wanting but haven't done out of dread of the task. Thanks.

    Oh, and it runs fine under Linux (WINE).
     
  8. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    2,358
    201
    Yea, it's just a matter of getting used to it. I can't say that I've ever even had to use the help part but a few times and I understand they now have a forum for it somewhere where people can discuss things and exchange ideas. It's pretty easy to learn "out of the box" so to speak, just takes practice.
     
  9. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    I have done some fritzing in my time.

    It is really good for schematic to breadboard or PCB conversion.

    You can input a schematic and it automatically updates the breadboard view and the PCB view. So, If you want to breadboard a circuit, you can do it quite quickly by bringing the schematic into frizing and then follow the breadboard layout. easy.