Which Schematic Capture Software?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Fran3, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Fran3

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 28, 2019
    I've been out of the business for a long time but now have a project I'll be working on.

    I will be mainly doing two types of circuit design...
    a - Mostly common analog and digital discrete components
    b - With or without an embedded processor.

    I just don't want to invest a lot of time in learning some proprietary software that may not be commonly used or is at end-of-life... so any help appreciated.

    Basically I'm looking for a little help to get me setup with some current tools commonly used today by circuit design engineers.

    Here is a list of software that I'm trying to select. Open Source preferred, of course but others will be considered.

    1 - Schematic Capture Software.
    2 - PCB layout Software
    3 - Circuit Simulation Software... Discrete analog and/or common digital components?
    4 - Simple Sheet Metal Chassis Design Software
    5 - Front Panel Design Software

    Any suggestions appreciated.

  2. ericgibbs


    Jan 29, 2010
  3. Wolframore

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2019
    There are many answers to this and no one is correct until you decide what you like:

    1. Editor - EasyEDA - free (Eagle, TinyCAD, Allegro, WG, ORCAD, PADS, Altium... to name a few)
    2. PCB layout - EasyEDA - free
    3. Simulation - I use Proteus ($) but many use LTSpice (free)
    4. Chassis - Solidworks ($)
    5. Panel Design - Solidworks ($)

    It takes a while to figure out what works for you. Good luck!
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  4. MaxHeadRoom


    Jul 18, 2013
    Free open source Kicad has a very large following with its own forum and many tutorials out there.
    Helps being sponsored by Cern!.
  5. BobaMosfet

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 1, 2009
    Be aware that the current version of ExpressPCB, while offering many new features, no longer supports 'show net connections' between PCB and Schematic so that you can identify what links to what and that the PCB matches schematic. The 'Classic' version still supports the net connection linking.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  6. Uilnaydar

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 30, 2008
    Happy with KiCad for schematic and layout. I actually own PADS but find myself using KiCad since I like how they decouple the schematic parts from the footprints. Toss a diode in, figure out what footprint later.

    LTspice for simulation.

    Every company I've worked with/for has Solidworks so I use it for all mechanical work.

    I don't really do sheet metal any longer for enclosures. Once you 3d print an enclosure, you'll never go back to Hoffman boxes, sheet metal, or hobby boxes. If I do need a metal enclosure, it's back to Solidworks.

    Have fun!
  7. Audioguru


    Dec 20, 2007
    I capture a schematic by pressing the Prt Scr button on my keyboard then I paste it into Microsoft Paint program where I can add, delete or change things. I add to a schematic in a Paint image by copying something (or any parts symbol) from datasheets or other schematics.

    I simulate circuits with LTspice but the active parts have only "typical" spec's and not minimums or maximum so a circuit will simulate fine but maybe not work (or even smoke and burn) when built.

    I design circuits using worst case minimum and maximum spec's from datasheets so that any circuit I build with name brand parts works perfectly.
  8. MaxHeadRoom


    Jul 18, 2013
    Have you checked out 'GreenShot' offers a few nice options over Prt Scr.;)
  9. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
    I noticed that recently when I looked at "upgrading" ExperssPCB. Sort of useless without that link. I wonder what they were thinking.