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POLL: What is your preferred PCB design software?

Posted: 28 Oct 2012, 00:12
by CodeMonk
Ok, stupid poll maybe, but I'm curious.
What is your preferred PCB design software.
Whether it be for etching your own PCB's or having the made for you.
Also, maybe include pros and cons of each.

Currently I use DIYLC and etch my own boards, but will be having them made in the very near future.
Eagle seems to have a steep learning curve.
I tried ExpressPCB and PCB123 awhile back. Can't recall how easy or useful they were.

Ok, so I'm also looking for suggestions on what to use for having them made for me (Gerber files or whatever)
(ok, so maybe this poll is a very thinly veiled post looking for suggestions).

Thanks

Edit:
Ok, if this has been done before, delete, tell me to fuck off, or send me some chocolate cheesecake.

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 28 Oct 2012, 07:07
by electrosonic
I used DIYLC in the past to male a few simple boards. I moved to the freeware version of EAGLE and have had a few boards made via BatchPCB.

After soldering on single sided boards where the traces easily lift if you need to rework anything, the through hole plated boards that are professionally fabricated are really nice. There are few Sparkfun tutorials which walk through translating a Eagle CAD file to a gerber file (which the fabrication houses require) . but the process is really simple after you have done it a couple of times. Learning to make your own part in the library takes a bit of head scratching too.

The gaussmarkov blog is pretty helpful when starting out also, (http://gaussmarkov.net/wordpress/tools/ ... eagle-cad/

Andrew.

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 28 Oct 2012, 09:35
by sinner
DIYLC v3x only - Eagle is for masochists

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 28 Oct 2012, 09:55
by rocklander
sinner wrote:Eagle is for masochists
:lol: :applause: :thumbsup

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 29 Oct 2012, 05:13
by bato001
I use Design Spark PCB. I like it because it is pretty intuitive and I have been able to figure out how to go in and make custom components when nothing matches what I need. Design Spark can export to PDF's or Gerber file. The PDF contains the trace file as well as silk screen layout. It also has a 3-D function which lets you see your finished, populated board on the screen.

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 29 Oct 2012, 07:58
by ~arph
KiCAD is prettig good too. Only thing i do not like about it is the extra step for package selection.

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 29 Oct 2012, 08:44
by Duckman
I found ExpressPCB in 2007 and since then, it's my favorite. Since I don't need Gerber files and nothing fancy, ExpressPCB gives me anything I need: quickness, is intuitive, got very clear graphics, is very easy to create custom components & symbols and used together with the ExpressSCH, it's almost foolproof. A real nice tool for DIYers and semi pro's.
From time to time, I use that Bancika marvel, too :lol:

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 08 Nov 2012, 16:36
by Bosini
Like the most people here i also prefer the EAGLE-Software of Cadsoft . The best PCB Design Software in my eyes.

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 08 Nov 2012, 19:52
by bajaman
I use Sprint Layout 5.0 for most of my work nowadays - it is very easy to use and has the ability to directly import bitmap images (on at least two sides of the PCB), which makes copying layouts a breeze :thumbsup
It will allow photoviews of the finished board and GERBER files which can be easily exported AND imported into more overblown programs such as Altium Designer etc.
The only drawback I have encountered using Sprint is a restriction on the board size (300mm x 300mm maximum) , but this is a VERY small problem and is far outweighed by the advantages :D
Try iy - I know you will like it - I've used them all, so I speak from some experience here :secret: Eagle ? FORGET IT!!! :slap: :slap: :slap:

cheers
bajaman

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 08 Nov 2012, 20:16
by sinner
52% of FSB members likes when it hurts :thumbsup

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 08 Nov 2012, 22:10
by azrael
Eagle's ability to show unconnected wires with airwires is pretty goddamn amazing. I use to get terrible layouts in DIYLC all the time.
Plus, ground pours? Ya'll are crazy.
I love Eagle for through hole layouts.

For surface mount, I prefer Altium Designer, that's what I use at work.

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 08 Nov 2012, 22:59
by mictester
I like the old school "Easy PC". The original version ran under DOS, and they made Windoze versions of it (which I never got on with) but a friend of mine hacked the DOS version about to make it work in a KDE environment (or Gnome if you really must) and it's easy to use. The only slightly unusual thing about it is the need for a keyboard template that fits over the Function Keys as each is crucially important to the operation of the programme. It took me a little time to learn to use it back in the 90s, but it's quick and easy when you've had a bit of practice!

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 09 Nov 2012, 02:31
by marshmellow
sinner wrote:52% of FSB members likes when it hurts :thumbsup
No hurt at all, I friggin' love Eagle, it's one of my favourite software tools. I found it easy and intuitive from the beginning. And for everyone complaining: there is a pdf manual and tutorial provided, work through the damn thing(s)! :wink: It will take max a few hours (if you're slow) and you'll know everything you need afterwards to start working immediately.

I did use bigger packages (Altium, Cadence, Pulsonix) which are great for bigger and more complex projects, which sometimes require specific features. But of course I can't buy these for my private use and secondly I'm just not that fast as I am with Eagle. Way too bulky and too many options I don't need for audio work and the lowlevel digital stuff, they just hold me back. Then again, more reduced software that might not even have have a link between schematic and pcb... Come on, I don't want to waste my time checking for every single connection. And in the end I will still have the risk of having made a mistake and need to build it in order to "verify". No, thanks. The only thing I really dislike about Eagle is their license policy.

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 09 Nov 2012, 04:49
by bajaman
Sprint layout 5.0 is so easy to use - you do not need a manual - it practically designs itself for you :secret:
bajaman

I simply cannot believe that no one here has commented, tried or even bothered to use it except for me :scratch: :scratch: :scratch: :hmmm:
bajaman

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 09 Nov 2012, 06:51
by rocklander
could be cos of the price? the other stuff is free innit? not sure.. I just googled it and the first site that came up with it (other than torrents for cracks) had a 30odd euro price tag... :(

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 09 Nov 2012, 11:40
by dread pierat
Kicad. Like Eagle, but it is better, free and open source.

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 09 Nov 2012, 13:21
by FiveseveN
dread pierat wrote:Like Eagle
Except in EAGLE it takes two clicks to go from a schematic to a realtime-updated layout. KiCad's behaviour in this regard is just ridiculous: http://store.curiousinventor.com/guides ... to_layout/

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 12 Nov 2012, 02:54
by J0K3RX
I use Sprint 5 and DIYLC but I just bought AutoTRAX Design Express DEX 2020... It does everything and I mean "everything" Also has tons of video tutorials!

It's on sale for $49 regular $199... Better it get while you can! :horsey:
http://www.kov.com/Purchase/FullVersion ... Offer.aspx

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 12 Nov 2012, 03:27
by bajaman
It does everything and I mean "everything"
So - it allows you to import a bitmap scanned image on to either or both sides of a double layer board - two completely different bitmaps :?:
Then you can simply place your component pads and tracks over the top of these images :?:
bajaman

Re: Preferred PCB design software

Posted: 12 Nov 2012, 17:37
by ndlm
azrael wrote:Eagle's ability to show unconnected wires with airwires is pretty goddamn amazing. I use to get terrible layouts in DIYLC all the time.
I really admire all the people that use DIYLC.. They must have nerves of steel, constantly worrying about connecting components. I draw my schematic, and the program takes care of my connections.

Here are my software explorations: :horsey:
I used Eagle, then switched to Altium. In my opinion, Altium is the best PCB design software in the universe. Downside: a little expensive :mrgreen:
Tried Kicad - controls were too user-unfriendly, tried Dreamspark, seemed okay, but not too great. Tried Autotrax, looks excellent, but it is a little slow on my laptop.
I finally tried Diptrace - and fell in love with it :)