CurtZHP

Your favorite schematic software
« on: December 16, 2020, 04:37:42 PM »
My editor at Radio World magazine is suggesting I research a possible article on schematic/pcb software that's available.

I've always been partial to ExpressPCB myself, but I'm sure there are others out there.  The other ones I've come across so far are EasyEDA, Design Spark, and Circuit Diagram.  I also know Microsoft Visio has the ability to do schematics.  What do you guys like to use?

I did a series of articles several years ago outlining various free and shareware audio programs, so in keeping with that general idea, I'd like to concentrate on free or shareware.

Thanks!
Electrons don't read schematics.


Matador

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2020, 05:08:09 PM »
KiCad?

ruffrecords

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2020, 05:33:59 PM »
Kicad is the obvious up and coming free and fully fledged EDA. Also Micro-Cap 12 is now completely free and very capable. Both of these are cross platform.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

buildafriend

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2020, 06:30:20 PM »
Design Spark is free and I find it very easy to use. It does not have fancy features like push and shoved traces like PADs or Altium but those are also a little CPU hungry. My decent desktop PC struggles with Altium. KiCAD is probably the best bang for your buck IMHO

bjoneson

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2020, 10:31:28 PM »
+1 For kicad. A little bit of a learning curve, but super well featured for free / open source.

rackmonkey

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2020, 11:44:28 PM »
+1 for Micro Cap 12. I’ve also used Eagle and KiCad. All are very capable.
Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right.

Spencerleehorton

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2020, 01:02:09 AM »
I still use eagle but must try some of the  new ones, will give kicad a look.
website: www.mohawkstudios.co.uk
email: [email protected]

If it hisses its probably the wrong impedance!!!
Or a snake!!!

gyraf

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2020, 02:44:33 AM »
..I'm still on EasyPC for DOS..  ;D
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..

abbey road d enfer

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2020, 04:21:48 AM »
Before adopting KiCad, I would suggest subscribing to their forum.
That was the deal-breaker for me.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

ruffrecords

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2020, 04:26:32 AM »
Before adopting KiCad, I would suggest subscribing to their forum.
That was the deal-breaker for me.
There is more than one Kicad forum. Which one did you subscribe to?

Kicad itself does not have a forum. It merely provides links to independent ones.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'


Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2020, 07:13:07 AM »
I use the NI suite, it includes a simulator and a PCB designer, you can simulate on Multisim and then export to Ultiboard to design the PCB.

Newmarket

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2020, 08:56:05 AM »
Between the free/low cost options and the megamoney options - Altium Designer is class leading but expensive if not justified for professional use. Pulsonix (from the same WestDev development house as EasyPC is pretty good and I bought it into where I work now having used EasyPC for the previous 8 years or so.

CurtZHP

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2020, 01:09:05 PM »
Lots of great suggestions, guys.  Thanks!  Gives me plenty to work with.
Electrons don't read schematics.

abbey road d enfer

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2020, 03:19:22 PM »
There is more than one Kicad forum. Which one did you subscribe to?

Kicad itself does not have a forum. It merely provides links to independent ones.

Cheers

Ian
This one.
https://forum.kicad.info/
It looked "official" enough to me... ???
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

ruffrecords

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2020, 05:16:09 PM »
This one.
https://forum.kicad.info/
It looked "official" enough to me... ???

It certainly looks official but I believe it is run by a commercial company that creates footprints and 3D models.

There really is no official one. The oldest is probably the one I started at yahoo.groups about 10 years ago. Unfortunately yahoo has shut down that group but we were able to transfer 10 years of posts, members and information to a new host a groups.io.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

buildafriend

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2020, 05:34:54 PM »
My only gripe with Eagle is what feels like a sort of forced work flow. The result felt good though. KiCAD felt like a little bit of work to get started with but I found it to be better than Eagle. There are probably a bunch of great open source projects that open right up into each one, maybe that could help someone compare

CurtZHP

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2020, 10:47:18 AM »
Tried out Kicad last night.  Basically just took a print of a schematic for a power supply I had handy and saw if I could duplicate it in Kicad.  As buildafriend said, it took some work to get started, but I did manage to finish a circuit.  It's PCB section is a little clunky to me, but I managed to get something going.  It's got a pretty good parts library, though.

What I liked most was the fact that I got as far as I did without reading any instructions.
Electrons don't read schematics.

Rochey

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2020, 12:45:54 PM »

Eagle is a little like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.
I'm a Jedi by now. Not willing to give up the last version I had!

However, I'm becoming tempted by the cad tools that JLC PCB is offering, for simple boards at least.
Their ability to do the PCB, Kitting and Assembly and delivery boards already built is pretty impressive.

You can even export gerbers from their tools, so you aren't held ransom.
Expat Audio Home: http://www.expataudio.com

Rocinante

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2020, 11:46:27 PM »
While I learned on eagle and easypcb, kiCad kind of kills it because it can import eagle and easy files. There is a small issues with footprints that have obscure (or made by me) issues but overall its solid. I only keep my eagle subscription for fusion and my kid's engineering 101 classes. He is 16 and killing it.
If there's a harder way to do this, I haven't found it yet.

abbey road d enfer

Re: Your favorite schematic software
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2020, 06:42:04 AM »
My only gripe with Eagle is what feels like a sort of forced work flow.
Isn't it the case with any software?
Some softwares are designed with standardized work processes in mind. That's the case for Autocad, that is just natural for someone who's been trained as a professional draftsman. And IMO, also the case with Eagle. For someone who started doing PCB's starting with a pencil drawn schematic, it's just natural.
Somehow, people who didn't have a formal drafting training have less difficulties with Sketchup or Freecad.
I believe that's the reason why people who start designing PCB's with a computer find using Kicad adequate. I'm not speaking of Ian!  ;)
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.


 

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