Schematic 'CAD' software

Thread Starter

Tengil

Joined Mar 11, 2007
3
I've been searching for some good software to make schematics with. I haven't found many, but I've tried SmartDraw and Tina 7 - TI. Tina is really good, except I can't draw MCU and IC chips with it (afaik), and I can't afford to buy the super expensive full version license. I've seen a lot of good looking schematics on the web, what software is people using to draw them?
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
TinyCAD (open-source) often gets a mention for basic schematic layout. However I don't think its suitable for MCU and IC packages. Another common one is circuitmaker, but I am not sure about its availability, i.e. it may be a paid for software so may depend on your budget constraints.

Some further suggestions are available through the Similar thread feature at the both of the page or through the forum search feature.

Dave
 

wireaddict

Joined Nov 1, 2006
133
I like AutoCAD LT98 even though it's been replaced with newer versions. It's not freeware; it cost between $350 & $500 in 1999 which was about 1/4 of the cost of the full version [R14]. It don't know what today's prices are.

LT98 had a symbols library which was definately light on electronic & electrical controls symbols. Fortunately, you can create "blocks" with your own custom symbols or you can purchase a more elaborate symbols library. I think it's still like that today.

I also tried TinyCAD & removed it after about 2 weeks. I didn't like it because it wasn't as stable as AutoCAD was. I found that lines & symbols would move occasionally, like there was some interaction between what had just been drawn & what was actively being drawn. This was 2 or 3 years ago; maybe that's been corrected by now.
 

rybo

Joined Mar 13, 2007
9
I've seen a lot of good looking schematics on the web, what software is people using to draw them?
De facto, a lot of people like to post schematics drawn in Protel. Correct me if I wrong, but as far as I know, latest version is 99SE and at this moment the newer version is integrated into latest Altium products Altium Designer and Altium DXP and has a lot of new features. Unfortunately price is high enough if you gonna buy it.
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
De facto, a lot of people like to post schematics drawn in Protel. Correct me if I wrong, but as far as I know, latest version is 99SE and at this moment the newer version is integrated into latest Altium products Altium Designer and Altium DXP and has a lot of new features. Unfortunately price is high enough if you gonna buy it.
What sort of price are you looking at?

Dave
 

rybo

Joined Mar 13, 2007
9
What sort of price are you looking at?
Licensing Option Price
CircuitStudio (for the Design Engineer) 1,995 Euro
CAMtastic (for the CAM Specialist) 2,995 Euro
Protel (for the PCB-Level System Designer) 9,995 Euro
Nexar (for the FPGA-Level System Designer) 9,995 Euro
Unified Nexar-Protel (for the Master System Designer) 11,995 Euro
Altium Designer Viewer Edition No charge
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
Licensing Option Price
CircuitStudio (for the Design Engineer) 1,995 Euro
CAMtastic (for the CAM Specialist) 2,995 Euro
Protel (for the PCB-Level System Designer) 9,995 Euro
Nexar (for the FPGA-Level System Designer) 9,995 Euro
Unified Nexar-Protel (for the Master System Designer) 11,995 Euro
Altium Designer Viewer Edition No charge
Wow, a bit out the price range of your average electronics hobbyist. Some may be able to get access through work or via academic licenses at Universities, but for most its looking at the open-source alternatives.

I may cause outrage, but I have in the past used MS Visio for circuit-level and logic-level layouts.

Dave
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
Another free option is Kicad. Or gEDA if you have Linux.
An old friend from University recommended gEDA on several occasions (he was a bit of a GNU/Linux fanatic), however I never got round to trying it. From looking at the above site it looks like a commendable package. Has a very AutoCAD feel if I may say so.

Dave
 

antseezee

Joined Sep 16, 2006
45
Orcad Pspice

-or-

Multisim

- Pspice use to be the standard for schematic software but it lost some standardization in the industry. I hear lots of companies use Multisim now because of its interface. I'm assuming you're talking about general schematic programs and not specifically a CAD-type.
 

kender

Joined Jan 17, 2007
264
I would add to the list ExpressPCB (the schematic branch of the software is called ExpressSCH). It's a commercial software, and as a result it doesn't have bugs. ExpressPCB company makes money on manufactiring the boards made with ExpressPCB, but they distribute the software for free.
http://www.expresspcb.com/ExpressPCBHtm/Download.htm

The component library of the ExpressPCB is fairly large, and it has most microcontroller families. But there also is a public exchange group for the libraies here
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/expresspcb
 
Top