Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by mik3, May 11, 2008.
do you know which is the best software for designing PCB's ?
EaglePCB lite is what I use.
It's really a matter of personal preference. I still use a DOS CAD program because I find the Windows apps feel awkward and look bad at the schematic level.
I use Eagle 4.14 (non-profit license). Sprint Layout is also quite popular.
Once you get used to Eagle, there is a lot you can do. It still has its quirks, but I find it is kind of fun finding workarounds -- like the old TI-99/4 BASIC. John
The one i like is an old version of the Easy-pc software. But this has problems with printing with windows xp.
Well it debends what you mean about "the best". If you mean the "best free" layout tool - I do not know.
But if you mean the best tool for professional use then I can recommend a "PADS system". There is included a schematic capture as well as a very powerfull layout tool... Espesially i have had like a dynamic route editor, which will push (on the fly) allready routed traces away from new one. Only minus is costs... The license is quite expencive.
I want a freeware one that will accept my hand-drawn schematic, correct any errors automatically, and spit out a low-noise multi-layer through-hole-plated etched PCB from my DVD slot.
Is it feasible to run it on a supported OS, perhaps inside a virtual machine? This is what I do with both OrCAD and AutoCAD.
i use DipTrace. you can get a free version of it (limited in pins and layers). it takes schematics and does auto-routing to pcb layout. it has lots of features i am still learning about.
One trick that I've found that works when you can't get printing to work with old software is to print to pdf. Get cutepdf from cutepdf.com. It acts like a printer to windows, but it prints to a pdf file instead of a printer. Then you print that out to paper using Adobe, which has more updated print drivers.
If it works, you won't have to change your cad software.
I tried and hated DipTrace. It was so hard to see 4 layer boards because of the limited ability to control layer visibility. But to be fair, for two-layer boards it works great. I just need more.
I use gEDA. I used to use Eagle but the free version will only do two layers, and I needed to make a four layer board. gSchem (the schematic editor...) is really well done and I liked it a lot. PCB (the layout software...) is powerful, but the UI is a little awkward. I didn't try the auto-router. Overall, documentation is lacking for the whole project, but with a little persistence you can accomplish quite a bit.
I guess in conclusion, if you're willing to put in the time, it's great software, and I would recommend it.
Have a look through the electronic mags for something second hand or try ebay.
Some of the "best" packages cost hundreds or thousands of pounds !
I switched from Eagle to gEDA/PCB. The autorouter and the project manager
are being worked on as GSoC projects. Hopefully these improvements will be
released sometime in the fall.
My gEDA page is at
My footprint library is at
Some of my PCB board layouts are at
(* jcl *)
I use Cadstar myself. I find that it is easy to use and very professional.
What are you considering?