Schematic & PCB Software

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by n9352527, May 5, 2007.

  1. n9352527

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
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    I was working with PADS yesterday for a client project, when it struck me that the standard symbols and footprints libraries for this package are pretty much pathetic. I usually rely on bought-for third party libraries support for this package.

    I'm curious on others' experiences on different software packages, especially relating to the standard libraries supplied with the packages. What schematic entry and PCB layout packages are you using, either as a hobby at home or professionally at work? Do you find the supplied libraries (schematic symbols and PCB footprints) adequate? Do you rely on bought-for third party libraries services or do you create them on your own (even when it is time consuming for a large project)? Would you even consider paying for symbols and footprints libraries?


    Thanks.
     
  2. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
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    I'm a hobbyist. I'm fond of Cadsoft's Eagle Light, which is a "watered down" version of Eagle. The standard libraries have been adequate for my needs. I've created only a handfull of new components, most of which were either obscure or obsolete. The downside of the libraries is non-intuitive organisation, which makes some parts hard to locate.

    As a hobbyist, I would never pay someone else to develop libraries. It would be like paying someone to play video games on my behalf. People who do this for a living have to pay attention to the bottom line, of course. Outsourcing "menial" tasks is financially wise - if the tasks are done correctly by the subcontractor.

    Have you considered using an intern for this kind of work?
     
  3. n9352527

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
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    It is cheaper to buy the libraries, that's why we went that way. The quality is probably going to be better as well. If we have trusted interns, that's a possibility, otherwise we'd be spending time checking their work as well.

    Thingmaker3 are you mostly using through-hole or SMD? For SMD footprints we also have to consider the pad sizes for optimum reflow and placements. Mostly along the lines of IPC standards. The company that supplies us with the libraries already complies with this standard.
     
  4. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
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    I'm mostly thru-hole. As a hobbyist I'm getting mostly surplus parts, so not a lot of SMD. If you like, I can check on some of the SMD footprints in Eagle Light. (Or you could, for that matter, if you feel the time would be well spent.)
     
  5. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Given I have never used PADS I ask this as a curiosity: Is this because PADS doesn't have the required standard components or the internal libraries are just not suitable for client work?

    Dave
     
  6. n9352527

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
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    Thanks thingmaker, could you just check whether there were IPC7351 libraries included? It'd be useful to know, although I'm not exactly looking to change software packages. Mostly just want to gauge opinions of others on this matter.
     
  7. n9352527

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
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    Well, they are not exactly generous with their libraries. Common footprints are there, but some of our clients use the IPC standard and I still have no idea whether PADS footprints, or PCB decal as they are called in PADS (anyone have any idea why they are called decals?), libraries conform to this standard or not.

    Component symbols are very minimal, but they are pretty easy to create. No manufacturing related standard to follow, just aesthetic. Needs a lot of time though, especially if the component has hundreds of pins, which have to be named and checked and mapped to decal pins.
     
  8. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Thanks for the information. I have briefly used Cadsoft's Eagle (as mentioned by thingmaker3) and found it to be suitable for the small amounts of PCB layout I was doing at the time. The UI layout was uncluttered, and given I had previous experience with EM Solver packages, the UI was fairly intuitive to navigate around (this may not be the case for someone without previous experience of such applications). I didn't have a need to look beyond the standard packages installed, so cannot comment in this regard.

    I think "decal" may be an abbreviation for Decalcomania. Perhaps?

    Dave
     
  9. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    It probably makes more sense if you read th article on Decal, in the context of the above link.

    Dave
     
  10. John Luciani

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 3, 2007
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    I have been using gEDA/PCB for about 2 years (apx 20 boards two and
    four layer SMT) and have found the productivity to be similar to Eagle.
    Examples of some of my boards are at
    http://www.luciani.org/works-in-progress/works-in-progress-index.html

    One of the things I find the most useful about gEDA/PCB is the open
    ASCII file formats for symbols and layouts.

    Using scripting tools I am able to quickly create schematic symbols
    and PCB footprints for entire families of parts versus pointing and
    clicking my way through one part at a time.

    Using scripting tools I can replicate schematics and matching PCB
    layouts. For example --- I needed a current sink consisting of four
    identical cells. I created a single cell schematic and a matching PCB
    layout. I then ran my script which created a current sink schematic
    (four cells with updated refdes's) and a matching current sink PCB
    layout. I parallel the cells in the final schematic and layout and I
    am done. I have a short writeup about my "matrix" utility
    http://www.luciani.org/geda/util/matrix.html

    I have some footprint creation scripts at
    http://www.luciani.org/geda/geda-index.html

    I also have a large library of footprints for gEDA/PCB. The footprints
    are at http://www.luciani.org/geda/pcb/pcb-footprint-list.html
    The footprint names (most of them) follow a convention that is based on
    IPC7351. The naming convention is documented at
    http://www.luciani.org/geda/pcb/footprint-name-spec.pdf

    gEDA is at http://www.geda.seul.org/

    (* jcl *)
     
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