Which Schematic Programs?

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by snarf, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. snarf

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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    Hi,

    I always have problems when it comes to schematics as I don’t have a schematics program. I was looking at WinDraft and at first glance it seems very easy to use but I’ve seen a very negative comment at ‘All About Circuits - Newsgroup Archive’ http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/newsgroups/viewtopic.php?t=1045.

    What are your comments about WinDraft?

    Any recommendations on easy to use schematics programs?

    Thanks
     
  2. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    www.cadsoftusa.com

    One page limitation on free version but still a good deal at half the price.

    hgmjr
     
  3. masteropie

    Member

    May 17, 2008
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    I like autocad. I have been using it for years so i am quick with it. I always make flow charts and stuff in it too which helps me. I am just getting into newer age electronics now so i don't know how autocad is going to fair with such circuits yet.

    I have tried a few other specialty schematic programs. I find myself taking all day trying to get nonstandard parts into the schematic.

    I have heard protel is really good, i have never tried it.
     
  4. nanovate

    Distinguished Member

    May 7, 2007
    665
    1
    LTSPICE is pretty good
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Are you wanting to simulate a circuit or just draw a schematic? I have something on my blog called PaintCAD, which is crude but can draw decent schematics. It is definately not a schematic capture program however, so it will never be usable for circuit simulations or laying out printed circuit boards, which are both nice features.

    You need to decide, besides drawing a schematic, what else it will do. LTSPICE is a good simulator, and Eaglesoft will draw schematics which it will turn into a PCB. Don't know about the other stuff.
     
  6. roddefig

    Active Member

    Apr 29, 2008
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    I'll put in a plug for gEDA. It's free and pretty powerful. The schematic editor is very well done.
     
  7. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
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    Check the date on that Newsgroup Archive entry - 2003 - 5 years has passed so if there were issues with that particular version of WinDraft it has no bearing on what a current version would be like.

    Dave
     
  8. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Oh yes, and add TINA-TI to the list.

    Dave
     
  9. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    ExpressPCB has a free schematic editor program...as well as a PCB layout program. I found it very intuitive, produces clean schamatics, has a large component library, and allows you to easily create new components. You can also export schematics to .bmp and .emf (metafile) formats.

    http://www.expresspcb.com/

    Ken
     
  10. snarf

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    56
    0
    Hi,

    First I would like to thank you all for the advice given, also I would like to add that I am looking for a Windows program. Something I forgot to mention in my first post.

    I have also tried Circuit Maker and I find it difficult to understand and use. Advice and comments welcome.

    I will now reply (giving my opinion) to all your posts in there respective order.

    ‘hgmjr’ The Cadsoft Eagle has many features available which will definitely be useful but from what I understand to have these features the cost of the package is a bit high. Yes I can try the freeware version, which I will but at first glance to me it looks hard to use. What are your comments please?

    ‘masteropie’ Apart that I’m finding it hard to understand how to properly use these schematic programs I must also agree with you that it’s also hard to add new or non-standard parts to these programs. I would say more insight on this would be welcome to many, so anyone with more advice please.

    I had a good look at Altium Protel but it looks like a high-end professional product, which would be beyond me.

    ‘nanovate’ I have spent a lot of time going through the Linear Technology site and to me it looks like LTSPICE will require additional packages for different applications. Am I right? More information please.

    ‘Bill Marsden’ Currently an easy way to draw a schematic easily and quickly is what I’m needing (will help me post a circuit if the need arises) but simulation, capture, PCB laying, debugging and other features might and will come in handy in the future. Regarding LTSPICE and Cadsoft Eagle please see above.

    How do I get to your blog please?

    ‘roddefig’ At first glance gEDA looks good, easy to use and understand but unfortunately they don’t have a Windows version so I will not be able to try it out. Sorry I forgot to mention a Windows platform in my first post.

    ‘Dave’ Yes you are right the date on the Newsgroup Archive entry is 2003. I did notice that when I read it but the latest version I have managed to find is the same version “Windraft 3.12”. All links to IVEX I found give a ‘Page can’t be displayed’. So I have been unable to find the Windraft site. More comments and advice please?

    TINA-IT might be a good option but to get more benefits an upgrade is required, it would be a bit too expensive. Still I will have a good look at it.

    ‘KMoffett’ From what I see on their site ExpressPCB seems like a good option and might be very user-friendly although it lacks simulation and other features. I must have a better look at it.



    I will have and will be trying all the proposed programs. It will take me some time to get round to all of them. Meanwhile please comment on my observations and if possible reply to my questions. Obviously other options will be always welcome.

    When using any of the programs how would one add components to the component library? Are there sites where one can find these libraries or will one have to depend on that particular library?
     
  11. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    When ever you see a post you will see a line that says "Blog entries" on the header of the post, followed by the number. Just click on the number. Several folks around here have good input on various issues, the blogs are a way of posting it in such a way as it doesn't get buried.
     
  12. n9352527

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
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  13. S_lannan

    Active Member

    Jun 20, 2007
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    how about EAGLE?
     
  14. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Other than what is mentioned in our newsgroup archive about WinDraft, I know nothing about it, so would not be able to advise further.

    You should review what your requirements are against the TINA and TINA-TI comparison: http://focus.ti.com/analog/docs/gencontent.tsp?familyId=02&genContentId=33361#g1

    Dave
     
  15. snarf

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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    OK thanks Bill I found your Blog and I must say found it most interesting.
     
  16. snarf

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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  17. snarf

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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    0
    Thanks. From what I understand Cadsoft Eagle has many features available which will definitely be useful but to have these features the cost of the package is a bit high. Yes I can try the freeware version, which I will but at first glance to me it looks hard to use. What are your comments please?
     
  18. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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  19. snarf

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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    0

    Thanks Dave that's what I'm trying to do but finding it hard to choose and understand the programs. Any step by step help anywhere?
     
  20. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
    3,373
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    You must define your requirements.

    Once the list of programs meet your requirements, then you consider the future requirements.

    If you require circuit simulations, that should eliminate those that just do schematic capture.

    You need to make your list. Keep in mind, as your experience grows ... and it will ... you don't want to be purchasing a new program (defeating your learning curve for the program) every year.

    Most of the demo's have a limitation, typically it's the node size. TINA-TI has some limitations compared to the commercial versions of TINA. I have the educational development version of TINA. I started with Electronics Workbench and when they shifted to Multisim ... I tried that and didn't like it. That's when I moved to TINA.
     
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