Best layout software?

Thread Starter

JMD

Joined Dec 9, 2009
94
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!
 

beenthere

Joined Apr 20, 2004
15,819
they lack components - and i dont want to hand-make components
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.
 
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.
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,210
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.
 

Thread Starter

JMD

Joined Dec 9, 2009
94
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.
Ive been making quite a few components myself, its just booooring ;)
But yea, it needs to be something that gets updated frequently.



Are you asking about free software, or will your wallet support $12,000.00/seat commercial programs?
I have access to most programs (im a student).



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.
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.
 

ftsolutions

Joined Nov 21, 2009
48
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..
 

Thread Starter

JMD

Joined Dec 9, 2009
94
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.
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,210
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.
 

hgmjr

Joined Jan 28, 2005
9,029
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
 

beenthere

Joined Apr 20, 2004
15,819
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.
 
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Thread Starter

JMD

Joined Dec 9, 2009
94
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.
 

Mike13

Joined Oct 29, 2008
4
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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