PCB design software

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by Johndon2000, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    What are the best (free) PCB design packages for beginners (or someone who hasn't used PCB software for 10+ years!)?

    Also, what are the most common PCB design packages used in industry (and in particular in the UK)? Which free versions are most similar to those used in the workplace?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    IMO for "freeware"
    most common = Eagle
    Best = Diptrace
    Most used in "industry" = not freeware.. PADS/ALTIUM,etc...

    But I use Diptrace professionally and LOVE it.

    I tried Eagle before deciding on Diptrace and HATED eagle.. Its not nearly as "easy" to use IMO and tons of other reasons why I hate it.

    I will always recommend Diptrace as #1
     
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  3. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Thanks for that... I guess they're all similar though and if you learn one you can easily learn all the others?

    I may start on IMO and Eagle then, and Diptrace once I know what I'm doing!... thanks :)
     
  4. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    As always in these threads (and we get one every few weeks) I recommend FreePCB.

    People also say KiCAD is good, but I haven't used it myself. How any of these relate to what's used professionally, I don't know. What I do strongly believe is that Eagle gets far more use than it deserves!
     
  5. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
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    I recently did a cut-and-dry switch to KiCAD from EAGLE, and haven't looked back.

    I tried KiCAD a while back, but found it way too confusing, perhaps it was the experience from EAGLE that made me prefer it now, but tutorials for any software is available, so none should be too hard...
     
  6. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    Eagle in the free version has a board size limitation. Something around 10x10 cm if I remember correct
     
  7. tshuck

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    Oct 18, 2012
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    ...and only two layers....that was the deal-breaker for me...
     
  8. nigelwright7557

    Senior Member

    May 10, 2008
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    If you are using Windows 8 there is a free app called pcbcad
     
  9. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    This question always ends up like, whats the best ice cream flavor. :)
     
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  10. tshuck

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    Oct 18, 2012
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    Well, Mocha Almond Fudge, hands down! ;)


    Luckily, there are plenty of free options to try without any financial gamble, which would be nice if applied to ice cream also....
     
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  11. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    Now we're getting into the difference between "free speech" and "free beer"...
     
  12. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Vanilla is the best flavor of Ice Cream (FYI it's also the top seller).

    Kicad is an excellent package, I actually prefer it's method to Orcad.
     
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  13. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Thanks guys, a good list of free versions there to try out :) ... is there a list of most common/ best packages used professionally (not free)?
     
  14. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Hi, I can find all of these on google except the IMO one... is it a typo?!
     
  15. absf

    Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2010
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    IMO = "In My Opinion"

    Allen
     
  16. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
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    I'd probably say either ORCAD or Altium are are the most common professional, from what I've seen anyway...
     
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  17. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    Most of the pro electronic CAD systems. Offer trail versions. A full version that works in 30 or 60 days. Perhaps not much help in that, just saying it ;)
     
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  18. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Hows the autorouter in Kicad? anyone know?
     
  19. panic mode

    Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2011
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    i use kicad for few years now (after giving up on Eagle).

    built in router was too limited and for a while now it has been depreciated. for example it would ignore net classes and regardless of settings, keep on routing using default class. it was not particularly smart router either but it would finish the board after key things are done by hand. today autorouting in KiCad is done using freeroute which requires java and internet access, export and import of board in Spectra format which is easy enough (menu or tool bar icon). freeroute is much smarter and it is very capable. that is not to say that built in router will never be improved but this requires lots of work and focus was to improve many other areas. manual routing in KiCad is very nice. unless I have really massive board, i usually route the entire job manually.
     
  20. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Thanks everyone... that answers all my questions :)
     
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