Schematic capture software

Thread Starter

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
9,185
For the next few weeks I will be without my beloved ViewDRAW. I'm looking for experience-based recommendations for a schematic drafting package Requirements:

1. Local operation. No cloud-based libraries, website GUI, etc. Download and install; Cut internet cable; Use.

2. Prepackaged libraries always are a plus, but I'd like to be able to create my own as well.

3. No netlist export required at this time. This is for quickie-drafting an idea, such as such as a timer circuit to post on AAC.

4. Direct PDF and JPG or GIF output a plus.

5. Free is nice.

Thanks.

ak
 

Mark Hughes

Joined Jun 14, 2016
409
For the next few weeks I will be without my beloved ViewDRAW. I'm looking for experience-based recommendations for a schematic drafting package Requirements:

1. Local operation. No cloud-based libraries, website GUI, etc. Download and install; Cut internet cable; Use.

2. Prepackaged libraries always are a plus, but I'd like to be able to create my own as well.

3. No netlist export required at this time. This is for quickie-drafting an idea, such as such as a timer circuit to post on AAC.

4. Direct PDF and JPG or GIF output a plus.

5. Free is nice.

Thanks.

ak
Fritzing is a possibility. And if you only need it for a short time, consider using NI Multisim or Altium during the free trials.
 

OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,566
I've been using Eagle for years, and like it very much. The only downside, in my opinion, is it has a fairly hefty learning curve. The Express version, for non-commercial use, is free.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
+1 on the Eagle recommendation. Been using it since the early 1990's. Once you are used the interfaces (both GUI and Command Line), it is hard to beat. I am not sure Fritzing offers schematic capture as an inherent part. I have heard a lot of good about KiCad, but I have also heard that those with LHC who have been involved in KiCad development really use Eagle for their work.

John
 

Veracohr

Joined Jan 3, 2011
750
I'm trying to move to Kicad from Eagle so I'm not limited in size, and so far I feel like it's one of the least user-friendly & most unintuitive pieces of software I've ever used. But I suppose I probably felt that way about Eagle to at first.

It's been a while since I used it but I remember ExpressPCB being very easy. If you're not looking to do board layout (it's proprietary to their service) it may be good. ExpressSch I think is the schematic part of their software.
 

hp1729

Joined Nov 23, 2015
2,304
For the next few weeks I will be without my beloved ViewDRAW. I'm looking for experience-based recommendations for a schematic drafting package Requirements:

1. Local operation. No cloud-based libraries, website GUI, etc. Download and install; Cut internet cable; Use.

2. Prepackaged libraries always are a plus, but I'd like to be able to create my own as well.

3. No netlist export required at this time. This is for quickie-drafting an idea, such as such as a timer circuit to post on AAC.

4. Direct PDF and JPG or GIF output a plus.

5. Free is nice.

Thanks.

ak
http://www.orcad.com/products/orcad-lite-overview?gclid=CNefz-a9g88CFRaSfgodK28FIQ
I like ORCAD. Loads of libraries. Easy to create your own ICs. Free demo version is good for a few pages of a schematic. No meaningful restrictions I have found on number of schematics. I've been using the free versions for decades it seems. For PDFs I just specify acrobat as my printer (free). From the PDF I use Snipping tool built into Windows to make PNGs (free).
See my posts for examples of the results. It has Spice support but I just never got very good with it. It does PCBs too but I like others better.
It does multi-page schematics and can keep track of connections between pages.

Complaints ...

Some of the ICs look like they were made by drafters not engineers who knew how the chips work, but it is easy to modify the images. If you are interested I can give you some examples.

The newer version, 16.6, uses tiny arrow lines for Inputs. Great for microprocessors but a hassle on simple gates and op amps. But easy to change.

I have created schematics that stretch over four pages but there is a limit of about 60 components to a schematic. Every once in a while I hit that limit.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
22,858
I'm trying to move to Kicad from Eagle so I'm not limited in size, and so far I feel like it's one of the least user-friendly & most unintuitive pieces of software I've ever used.
I moved from the professional Orcad (older version) and found Kicad just as powerful, there is not only many Kicad tutorials on the site, but also many 3rd party examples etc.
Max.
 

Thread Starter

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
9,185
What do you want, just to push a schematic to AAC to offer a design to OPs or do you want to create a PCB and/or simulate a circuit?
That is the question, isn't it. I know I'll lose my work licenses someday, but for now I'm clinging to them. OTOH, I'm still disconnected (FMLA leave, stoopid MIL security), and I really don't like LT Spice as a general purpose schematic editor. So at this time I'll say schematic-only for forum designs.
I am not familiar with ViewDraw.
It now is part of Mentor Graphics. They bought ViewDRAW and PADS as their entry-level system.

ak
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
22,858
Great, except for secret requirement #6 - Windows XP and Windows 7.

ak
The earlier Kicad build version works for XP the latest build is OK for 7/10.
For just publishing a schematic on AAC etc, I don't bother with any other simple schematic capture pgm, I don't want to bother with another learning curve when I already have the ability in Kicad for schematic capture which also gives the ability for PCCT board if and when necessary.
Max.
 

eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,318
So your looking for a schematic "drawing" program, not a schematic "capture" program.
You want a program that will let you quickly create a schematic, but generating a net list
for simulation or PCB design is not a requirement. RIght?
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
That is the question, isn't it. I know I'll lose my work licenses someday, but for now I'm clinging to them. OTOH, I'm still disconnected (FMLA leave, stoopid MIL security), and I really don't like LT Spice as a general purpose schematic editor. So at this time I'll say schematic-only for forum designs.

It now is part of Mentor Graphics. They bought ViewDRAW and PADS as their entry-level system.

ak
If you have access to an iPad, iCircuit app is ok. Only o-scope output (no bode plot) but a good range of digital and analog parts. Interestingly, it can also simulate live audio from the mic and accelerometer.

image.png
 

Thread Starter

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
9,185
So your looking for a schematic "drawing" program, not a schematic "capture" program.
You want a program that will let you quickly create a schematic, but generating a net list
for simulation or PCB design is not a requirement. RIght?
Correct, but something that "thinks" in schematic, as opposed to a general purpose drafting program.

ak
 
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