EDA softwares review

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Yuseph

Joined Jun 8, 2020
45
Yo whats up

I came across the wiki article "comparison of EDA software" while searching for an accessible schematic making tool. after I finished reading the article I decided to give autodesk Eagle a try. I went to the official website where they convey people to download the latest eagle free software that includes fusion 360. I was totally unfamiliar with those two names. but anyway I still installed the software and man what a shock even adobe illustrator seemed easy in comparison. I felt like I just entered a cockpit.
since im generally too lazy to linger on stuff like that I decided id download the only two other softwares that were both simultaneously open license, in french and linux compatible. you know them for sure. those are fritzing and kicad. wow it s day and night. they re so easy and intuitive to use. ill never put anything else on my desktop
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,553
I tried Fritzing on Win10 and it sucked big time. I was trying to redraw something some other member had posted and it kept crashing. I could have optimized the breadboard layout a bit more, but it wasn't worth the bother. Haven't invoked the program since then. Apparently it's a dead end now because no one is doing maintenance or development.

I didn't find Eagle overly difficult to learn. I tried a couple other freeware programs before that (not Kicad).
 

OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,551
Eagle is not terribly difficult to learn, especially if you RTFM. The user interface is not quite as intuitive as it could be but after a few hours of use it's pretty natural. I haven't used Kicad so I can't comment on it.

Fritzing is a toy, not a tool. It was designed as a way for utter noobs to create pictorial wiring diagrams for their Arduinos and isn't much good for anything else.
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
1,018
KiCAD is my goto package, far easier to learn and teach with and the bonus is its free (and supported by CERN).

Fritzing is OK, I use it for illustrating breadboards for tutorial documentation, but its not on a par with Eagle or KiCAD
 

ZCochran98

Joined Jul 24, 2018
92
I agree on KiCAD - it's pretty good and sits as my favorite layout/PCB tool. The huge library (which you can expand yourself by creating components or downloading the appropriate files) is a major plus. I also agree with @OBW0549 on Fritzing - I had it, but disliked it's "simplicity." Also, its instability (at least when I used it) was frustrating. If you want to use it to show how to lay out components on a breadboard, then it's not bad for that purpose. I've also used Eagle - it's pretty good, and is of professional quality, as the "full" version of Eagle is an industry standard, I think. Though I would agree: installing it was a pain in the rear. It's probably easier to assemble an Ikea desk without instructions than to do a first-time install of any of Autodesk's products....

Other tools I've used (though if they're available in French or for Linux I don't know):
  • PCB Artist is halfway decent, though is occasionally crash-prone (save frequently!). Like KiCAD, it comes with schematic layout and a PCB layout tool as well (unlike KiCAD, it also has an autorouter, which yields medium-quality results - like any autorouter, you can typically do better by hand). One "benefit" of PCB artist is, if you want to, you can send your design files directly to a manufacturer who will charge you an exorbitant price to do even a simple 2-layer board.
  • ExpressSCH and ExpressPCB are a couple of "ok" tools - not great, but not awful either. They're both kind of lightweight, with a bland (and old-looking UI that looks like it was designed for Windows XP). They, combined with PCB Artist were my first EDA tools.
  • DipTrace is another tool, while I have it I haven't really used it. It looks ok, though - maybe a little light on the available components?
  • If you have an account with Mouser, you can get (or used to - I don't know if they still have it) a "lite" version of Multisim called "Multisim Blue," which has both schematic layout and simulation capabilities. It may or may not have PCB layout - I don't remember (I never used it for that purpose - just to be a far superior simulator to LTSpice). It also comes with the SPICE files of a bunch of components available at Mouser in its library.
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
1,018
Good review

I'd add, but won't recommend, DesignSpark Electrical, available through RS Components. It can produce 3D views of PCB and it links natively to DesignSpark Mechanical so you can integrate PCB design with enclosures, etc and make sure boards & connectors line up.

You can do same with KiCAD, which requires FreeCAD installed, and work in FreeCAD (average & simplistic) or export the STEP file. I use SolidWorks (extensive but complex, sometimes clunky, UI) and/or OnShape (extensive and similar to SW but much more intuitive) as CAD packages and linking the STEP file of the PCB to physical hardware works fine.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,252
The one complaint that I have seen about KiCad is that it is not as user modifiable at Eagle is (at least versions prior to 8.0). Of course, there is a learning curve for each, but can you set function keys to do various macros (like setting the grid to specific settings or centering an imported DXF file on the origin)?

I have been an Eagle licensed used since 3.x. I am only licensed on version 7.x. If I were to begin today, I would certainly balance KiCad versus the current free version of Eagle.

1) KiCad is free; Eagle is free for the time being.
2) Support for KiCad is limited to a few champions/developers; Eagle has a large corporation behind it.
 

ZCochran98

Joined Jul 24, 2018
92
The one complaint that I have seen about KiCad is that it is not as user modifiable at Eagle is (at least versions prior to 8.0). Of course, there is a learning curve for each, but can you set function keys to do various macros (like setting the grid to specific settings or centering an imported DXF file on the origin)?

I have been an Eagle licensed used since 3.x. I am only licensed on version 7.x. If I were to begin today, I would certainly balance KiCad versus the current free version of Eagle.

1) KiCad is free; Eagle is free for the time being.
2) Support for KiCad is limited to a few champions/developers; Eagle has a large corporation behind it.
Technically, KiCAD has a large organization behind it - it's sponsored/hosted by CERN.
But indeed: KiCAD and Eagle both have their benefits, compared to each other.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
6,834
I agree on KiCAD - it's pretty good and sits as my favorite layout/PCB tool. The huge library (which you can expand yourself by creating components or downloading the appropriate files) is a major plus. I also agree with @OBW0549 on Fritzing - I had it, but disliked it's "simplicity." Also, its instability (at least when I used it) was frustrating. If you want to use it to show how to lay out components on a breadboard, then it's not bad for that purpose. I've also used Eagle - it's pretty good, and is of professional quality, as the "full" version of Eagle is an industry standard, I think. Though I would agree: installing it was a pain in the rear. It's probably easier to assemble an Ikea desk without instructions than to do a first-time install of any of Autodesk's products....

Other tools I've used (though if they're available in French or for Linux I don't know):
  • PCB Artist is halfway decent, though is occasionally crash-prone (save frequently!). Like KiCAD, it comes with schematic layout and a PCB layout tool as well (unlike KiCAD, it also has an autorouter, which yields medium-quality results - like any autorouter, you can typically do better by hand). One "benefit" of PCB artist is, if you want to, you can send your design files directly to a manufacturer who will charge you an exorbitant price to do even a simple 2-layer board.
  • ExpressSCH and ExpressPCB are a couple of "ok" tools - not great, but not awful either. They're both kind of lightweight, with a bland (and old-looking UI that looks like it was designed for Windows XP). They, combined with PCB Artist were my first EDA tools.
  • DipTrace is another tool, while I have it I haven't really used it. It looks ok, though - maybe a little light on the available components?
  • If you have an account with Mouser, you can get (or used to - I don't know if they still have it) a "lite" version of Multisim called "Multisim Blue," which has both schematic layout and simulation capabilities. It may or may not have PCB layout - I don't remember (I never used it for that purpose - just to be a far superior simulator to LTSpice). It also comes with the SPICE files of a bunch of components available at Mouser in its library.
Diptrace is my current tool. I started with ExpressPCB, but grew out of it. I tried KiCAD and Eagle, but found them difficult to use.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,252
This thread elsewhere: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/eagle/new-ulp-to-measure-distance-between-contacts-from-boardlibrary-editor/msg3135438/#msg3135438

Started out as something entirely different. It evolved to the post by "westfw" (#23 ) that shows the power of Eagle script. Can KiCad do that? The problem with Eagle is documentation, but I have found its structure quite forgiving. For example, in the Assign menu, "Grid Metric" does exactly what I wanted (i.e., switch to my saved "metric" grid). I don't have a clue as to what the "proper" command would be.
 
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