PCB Layout Software...

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ElectroMan
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PCB Layout Software...

Post by ElectroMan » Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:33 pm

How do the various free PCB Layout software packages compare?

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Steve Halstaff Koci
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by Steve Halstaff Koci » Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:38 pm

I am anxious to hear everyone's responses to this.
I was taught on Eagle and have never left. It works for me but I know there are lots of other options out there.
May the passion to build be with you!

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Lenp
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by Lenp » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:43 pm

I've been using Easy-PC, several versions, by Number One Systems, a UK firm. It does everything I ever have needed, and more.
Here's their link.... http://www.numberone.com/

There are a lot of free programs out there but no real hands-on with them. I'm probably too old to go up that steep learning curve with something else now.
I have my hands pretty full trying to get moved into CNC routing right now.
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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ElectroMan
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by ElectroMan » Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:47 am

Lenp wrote:I've been using Easy-PC, several versions, by Number One Systems, a UK firm. It does everything I ever have needed, and more.
Here's their link.... http://www.numberone.com/

There are a lot of free programs out there but no real hands-on with them. I'm probably too old to go up that steep learning curve with something else now.
I have my hands pretty full trying to get moved into CNC routing right now.
Do they offer a free (limited) software package?
Does it work on Win XP ?

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Lenp
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by Lenp » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:48 am

Yes, you can download the latest version but it will not allow you to save your work. I am running a few versions behind and it ran well on XP and now on Windows 7. Like most software, more memory enhances it.
When I started with Easy PC, there were very few other systems available but now there many that are free and full featured.
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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ElectroMan
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by ElectroMan » Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:48 am

Lenp wrote:Yes, you can download the latest version but it will not allow you to save your work. I am running a few versions behind and it ran well on XP and now on Windows 7. Like most software, more memory enhances it.
When I started with Easy PC, there were very few other systems available but now there many that are free and full featured.
Do you manually route or auto-route?

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haklesup
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by haklesup » Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:59 pm

Eagle is great if you don't want to pay any money and does almost everything most hobbyist level users would ever need.

However if you are up to spending a little, there are a few good choices.

If you know one layout tool, you pretty much have a leg up on all of them. Editor Differences are mainly limited to where things are on menus, keyboard shortcuts and especially Library management. Library management is where you find the most differences but its essential to all CAD. Learning curve for a new users is about a week, to switch CAD programs, about 2 days not counting library migration (assuming you understand layout)

The differences you pay for are to remove limitations in layer count, board size, enable auto routers (or increase layer count) and better Design rule checks or enable multiple projects to be loaded together (for cut and paste primarily). Also programs that cross link Schematic to Layout are also useful but start to get into paid versions. Other pro features may include back annotation and more efficient GUI (I like ones where I can see a spreadsheet view of properties and the graphical content together) and better auto routers (which we rarely ever use).

A low cost auto router has few adjustable features whereas a pro version lets you adjust a bewildering array of parameters to optimize things like Vias, layer confinement, spacing and keep out zones. If you autoroute, you will want a powerful PC, if not any PC will do.

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Lenp
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by Lenp » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:11 pm

Aside from the basic program, you can add increased pin count, auto router, component libraries and much more for a fee. Originally the router was included as a bonus and as I moved through upgrades each was more difficult to get them activate the router for free. I succeeded up to now but I'm not sure for how much longer I can get it free.

On that subject I use General Cadd, a spin off from the very old DOS Generic Cad. The newer versions uses a dongle for security. Their policy is, one dongle per paid user, and if you lose the dongle, you pay for the software again. I hate that concept, and am hanging on to an older, and unsupported, version until Microsoft breaks it with a new operation system. Win 7 botched up the printing feature but I found a couple of work-arounds! Now, starting into CAM, I am pleased that this software will output a DXF file, which is pretty well accepted in the cad drawing arena.
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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ElectroMan
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by ElectroMan » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:39 am

Lenp wrote:Yes, you can download the latest version but it will not allow you to save your work. I am running a few versions behind and it ran well on XP and now on Windows 7. Like most software, more memory enhances it.
When I started with Easy PC, there were very few other systems available but now there many that are free and full featured.
I took a look and saw this program is pretty powerful.

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aretallack
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Re: PCB Layout Software...

Post by aretallack » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:58 pm

I'm about 4 weeks behind the rest of the world on this forum! I've really enjoyed using KiCad over Eagle - at first it may not seem as intuitive, but it is completely free and open source, is actively being developed by passionate people and even has developers from CERN (yes, that CERN) working on it.

I went into some detail on how I got to choosing KiCad over other tools in this post: http://www.crash-bang.com/how-to-choose ... sign-tool/
----------------------------------------------------
Andrew Retallack
Crash-Banger, Prototyper, Designer, Developer, Author

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