PCB DEsign Layout

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by abhirampisharody, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. abhirampisharody

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 12, 2012
    Which is the best PCB Design Software. I am a little inexperienced in this area so how can i start with designing the PCB
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    That really is open ended. PCB Express is free and easy to use, while Eagle is deeper and harder. Both have free versions available for download. There are others besides, which I am sure other people will be glad to point out.
  3. Mussawar


    Oct 17, 2011
    I use Multisim8 and Ultiboard8. It also include Ultirout for autorouting. Major advantage is that these software are fully compatable to each other. Design a circuit in Multisim and directly export it to Ultiboard and easily rout it.
  4. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    I am using Eagle and find it superb and easy to use.
  5. CVMichael

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 3, 2007
    I use DipTrace, and I love it because it has everything! Schematic design, parts design, PCB design. All of them come in one package, and they are all interconnected.
    The best part is that you can "connect" your schematic design to the PCB design, and when you change the schematic, you can refresh the PCB design.
    Sparky49 likes this.
  6. JohnInTX


    Jun 26, 2012
    Agreed! I've used Eagle Pro for about 10yrs. now. It's feature-rich and takes some effort to learn but the payoff is well worth it. I've never gotten a bad board from it.

    Importantly, it's reasonably priced and looks like it will be available for the foreseeable future. I occasionally get tasked to update somebody's old project that's been done with no-longer-available software (or its still available but at insane cost). Unless I can find someone with that particular software that will/can do the job, its re-layout time.
  7. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    Another vote for DipTrace. Quicker for me to learn than Eagle and does a great job. Creates Gerbers (which PCB Express won't do) that work without changing the default settings. Has a free version and several $tep-up versions which differ only in the number of pins and layers.

  8. justtrying

    Senior Member

    Mar 9, 2011
    another vote for Eagle - it is great for someone just starting out.
  9. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    From what I have been reading the votes are evenly split between DipTrace and Eagle.
  10. nerdegutta


    Dec 15, 2009
    I work with Eagle. Why?

    1. I find it easy to use
    2. ERC and DRC
    3. Easy to make custome components/libraries
    4. Comes in different editions (free, hobbyist, profesional)
    5. It's free and run under Linux (and Windows ...and Mac, I think...)

    But I guess all of the above goes for Diptrace too, but I don't think Diptrace has a Linux version.
  11. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
    Many people are burdened with the desire to live with limitations or pay money. Eagle exists to serve these people.

    On the other hand, if you want a free unlimited PCB layout package, use FreePCB.
  12. JohnInTX


    Jun 26, 2012
    Some of us actually base our businesses on having good tools. While I haven't heard of FreePCB (and thanks for the link) I note that it seems to be Mr. Wright's hobby project last updated in 2007. The forum, none too active, is mainly bug reports about things that really matter if you are serious.

    While I have no idea how it works for its users (and you seem to be pretty satisfied so what do I know), I've had negative experiences with other 'free' layout systems which are 'iffy'. After blowing about 3 weeks with one of these I purchased Eagle Professional (about 1200.00 at the time) and used that tool to do my job. I never recovered the (way more than Eagle's cost) that I lost dicking around with the 'free' deal.

    So while I applaud Mr. Wright's efforts and your enthusiasm for his product, I don't think I'd agree that Eagle exists just for those who just like to pay money. Some of us consider it an investment.
  13. nerdegutta


    Dec 15, 2009
    So true. I've bought the Hobby Licence, and I am violent happy. :D
  14. Robin Mitchell

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 25, 2009
  15. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
    Yes, I like FreePCB. I think it works well, it's easy to use, and it's free for any size board. Here's a panel of assorted boards which I made up to send to Gold Phoenix, to fit their deal of 155sqin for $110:

    Finished boards (more than twice as many as I paid for!)

    Edited because I remembered that I have an excellent example right here. I'm doing a free-lance design job which involves a processor, keypad and a display with large LED digits. Look at the size of the boards:

    To do that in Eagle, I'd need the Professional grade system, for $625, and with an autorouter, it would be $1145. Or I could get the equivalent from FreePCB, free (yes, it has autorouting).

    Restrictions, paying money--who needs it?
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  16. Rleo6965

    New Member

    Jan 23, 2012
    I use DesignSpark PCB. Its free software for schematic and PCB.
  17. panic mode

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 10, 2011
    the good thing is there is plenty of choices nowdays. it was not always like that. currently i use KiCad and i am quite happy with it... i can't think of using some cut down or demo version nor paying big $$$ for this.
  18. Sparky49

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    I fiddled around with a few, not paying any money. Here are my thoughts.

    Eagle - quite hard to get into, I still find it confusing how to create a new component, you have to switch between screens to copy this, paste that, draw this, write this, search for this, etc. However, it does feel like a real, top quality piece of software. I'm nowhere near as advanced in electronics to push it to the limits, but it can do just about anything I want it to.

    Designspark - much easier than Eagle to just get started, the interface seems much more user-friendly and drawing neat schematics is no problem, because things seem to be in a much more logical system than Eagle. However, it is really confusing when it comes to creating new components and the user-base is much smaller, so if you need another component, chances are someone hasn't made it already.

    Diptrace - I believe to be a happy medium between the two. It has a very nice interface, with really logical menus and drag and drop schematic and tracing editors. By having the whole thing in one window, I find it much easier to browse for a component and place it, compared to Eagle and DesignSpark which require you to open new windows and do searches and things like that. New components are really easy to make, just drag what package and symbol you want, tell which pins do what and use it. Downside is you have to pay for it. However, they have a good system where if you want to upgrade to use more pins (eg 300 to 500 pins) you only pay the difference in price, so you don't have to buy the same program twice.

    So overall, if you're willing to spend a little, go for Diptrace, however, if you want something free go for Eagle.

  19. fila


    Feb 14, 2011
    I've worked in Kicad. It's free and fun to work with.

    1. Wikipedia
    2. Kicad page

    A lots of tutorials on YouTube also.
  20. kubeek


    Sep 20, 2005
    I was using Eagle for my own stuff for about 7 years. Now I got a new job and where we work in Orcad, and the difference in the overall productivity is staggering. The biggest difference is in the manual routing, in Eagle you need to carefully decide where you can put the trace so that you don´t break the DRC rules. Also editing an already placed trace is a PITA, because you can only move segments and not the trace as a whole. (as of v. 6.1)
    Orcad has a really cool feature that when you route a trace, you can allow the program to move the adjacent bunch of traces out of the way, move them past vias and even automatically snake them around stuff if needed, all while keeping the DRC intact. The second thing is that orcad has online drc, so you can see the errors right away and not after hours when you click the drc button. Also neatening the design once it is layed out takes much less clicks to do.

    And then there is the other stuff like integration with pspice simulator and possibility to analyze signal integrity in the acutal board layout.