Beware of Design Spark from RS

Thread Starter


Joined Feb 17, 2011
Please Note: This not a call for help rather this message is warning for all

Design Spark PCB is a software offered by RS components

1) They say that it is free but its is not. There is a very lengthy procedure to activate it (there is never an activation required for free things) and they use email to send you the activation code. It takes forever for the activation message to reach your email address. when you start the application it downloads some fancy stuff from the internet before it can get going so it does not work on computer without internet.

2) The Package has multiple Viruses :eek: in it which cause buffer overflow and unwanted internet access. My antivirus spotted at least two different attacks and my workplace computer is now infected so DO NOT DOWNLOAD it as it will try its best to harm you.

There is no uninstall link :mad: in my workplace computer and it does not give me access to the installation location to delete it manually. I guess its going to be an interesting battle between me and design spark to save my current windows installation.

3) I still gave it a try (Yes risking my computer) but it is not very user friendly either

SO my opinion about Design Spark PCB is that it is a useless piece of Junk


Joined Sep 7, 2009
This all sounds highly unlikely. RS components is a huge company with a good reputation.
Why would they spoil that by trying to infect people with viruses and advertising something as free that isn't?


Joined Mar 24, 2008
It does not appear to be Radio Shack, there their may be a tenuous connection.

Looking at this web page, we see a link that goes here...

The tenuous link I referred to is Allied Electronics, which answers to the parent company Tandy, which in turn was a sub company of Texas Instruments. The headquarters for Tandy (who owns Radio Shack) is in Fort Worth.

Their contact email address for Pakistan is

They have regional headquarters all over the world, Pakistan has its own.
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Joined Dec 20, 2007
RS Components used to be called Radio Spares in England since 1937.
They sold parts to repair radios, then later added parts to fix TVs.

I remember that Allied Radio made Knight Kits that competed with Heathkits. There was a store in Toronto where I bought my first speaker and the biggest TV antenna ever made (ChannelMaster). With a rotor I received 2 or 3 stations in different directions on the same channel (but no TV guide for them in the local newspaper because they were far away).

Now on cable TV I time-shift across the country. The same show might be on at 3:00 in the Atlantic time zone, at 4:00 in the Eastern time zone, at 5:00 in the Central time zone, at 6:00 in the Mountain time zone and at 7:00 in the Pacific time zone.


Joined Oct 11, 2011
Sorry you had problems. I've been using designspark for about 6 months now and haven't had any problems. To me the interface falls somewhere between eagle and expresspcb in the user friendly department.


Joined Feb 2, 2012
If DesignSparkPCB is downloaded from we guarantee there are no viruses present. We cannot guarantee this to be the case if you download from a site beyond the control of RS.

The software does connect to the web upon start up to look for updates, this feature can be turned off if preferred.

The parent company of Allied Electronics (based in Fort Worth) is Electrocomponents Plc (headquartered in Oxford, UK and is also parent company to RS). Allied was acquired by Electrocomponents from Avnet in 1999.

Mark Cundle - Electrocomponents