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Eagle or Proteus?

Discussion in 'Circuit Simulation & PCB Design' started by Wilksey, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Wilksey

    Wilksey Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I have been doing a fair bit of PCB design work of late, and I always used to use Proteus for schematic drawing, sometimes simulating and PCB design.

    I had a requirement to allow other users to see the schematic in raw format and Gerber format, so I naturally suggested GCPrevue under Windows, but then I had an issue with the raw format, as Proteus is of course an expensive licensed application, so I started using Eagle 6, had a panic about a CADCAM error then 6.1 came out and all was fluffy again, and I really liked Eagle, wasn't as "easy" to use as Proteus but once you get back in to the basics and I read the tutorial and watched some videos it was fairly straight forward, I haven't attempted to create a part yet.

    What really surprised me was the amount of footprints available for Eagle, Proteus has a good selection but Eagle, WOW!

    So my question to all of you veteran PCB designers is:

    Had you the choice which package would you favour between Proteus or Eagle and why? The first obvious thing going for Eagle is there is a free version! I did try Easy-PC but went back to Eagle.

    Secondly if you know of any other PCB design package that is free (albeit limited such as Eagle 6 in pins and components and board sizes etc), or not too expensive (for trialling), but has such as vast and extensive library / community (for parts / footprints) as Eagle I would like to hear what your suggestions / thoughts are!

    Regards

    Wilksey
     
  2. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    Proteus is an all in one product from schematics to board layout through to simulation on a high level. Eagle is schematics and board layout design software only, no practical simulation . They're very different products. Proteus is used in schools because somehow they've managed to sweetheart a deal for extremely low cost to free licensing on that level in hopes to net students into depending on it for their professional carers. Eagle is used because it uses industry standards, and although not as newbie friendly it is technically full featured, even the free version.

    For it's function features and price, Eagle is the only real 'solution' out there. There are many other choices, all which will require a learning curve and design of new libraries for components.
     
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  3. DerStrom8

    DerStrom8 Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    I agree with Scead. Eagle (besides being free) is my favorite for board design simply because of how user-friendly it is. Also, if you do not need the simulator, that is just an extra feature in Proteus that would not make the price worth it. Another thing I have noticed with Proteus is that most of their work went into the simulation, not the board design aspect. It is more difficult to use than EAGLE, and does not seem to work as well. That is my personal preference, anyway. Perhaps someone here who has used Proteus for PCB design can point out some pros for it, but for the time being, my vote goes to EAGLE.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. ronsimpson

    ronsimpson Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I work for many companies. Each has a different, expensive, system that I don't have time to learn and I can't afford.
    I down load Eagle and get the board made and working before anyone discovers I did not use the $100,000 software.

    Eagle is really good for the price. It will never do a $10,000 job or a $30,000 job. For (free/500 or 1000) it does a $5000 job.
    Yes thousands of users combine their libraries which is very important to me.
    I use LtSpice for sim so I don't need that piece.
     
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  6. Wilksey

    Wilksey Member

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    Thank you all very much for your comments, I have used Proteus for PCB design, but only simple designs, and no I do not use the simulation features of it particularly, I use it for a quick sanity check on PIC I/O but nothing that MPLAB Sim cant do I expect.

    I am really getting into Eagle to do designs and just wanted to check I was on the right path!

    Again, thank you for your comments!

    Wilksey
     
  7. Boncuk

    Boncuk New Member

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    Hi Wilksey,

    Proteus "ARES" is pretty poor concerning components.

    You'll find that out when simulating a circuit with the message that there is no package available for that specific part.

    I normally do the simulation using Proteus "ISIS", then print the circuit schematic and redesign the schematic with the proper Eagle parts.

    I don't know of any bettery way to go when it comes to design work.

    Boncuk
     
  8. RichTheDude

    RichTheDude Active Member

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    I much prefer Proteus. When I move on from where I am working, I am going to have to buy it for my own projects.

    I have tried Eagle (free) and the lack of simulator and the totally baffling interface (for a Protel/Proteus user) really gave me headaches. If something is not intuitive enough for me to pick up without a manual I generally cannot be bothered :p. I pretty much always make my own footprints and I love how intuitive it is to make multi part symbols linked up to a single footprint in Proteus ISIS and ARES (FPGAs etc). KiCAD is not too bad for me (at least the UI makes more sense for my tired brain!) but the libraries are really poor.

    In regard to Scead, I have never seen Eagle used in Industry (I have consulted a few times now), most companies seem to use Protel (or it’s derivatives).
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  9. Wilksey

    Wilksey Member

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    Boncuk,
    Thanks for your comments, interesting concept about redesigning for both.

    My main issue is designing the footprints, I never seem to get them correct, maybe I am just rubbish at reading the datasheets for measurements! lol

    Rich,
    Again, thanks for the comments, I get on alright with the eagle interface, it is true Proteus is very easy to use! Eagle is a bit more of a either love it or not, I use the "command line" rather than the point and click, I find it a bit easier, I am OK at making the schematic parts (symbols), but I am not very good at doing components, I have read all of the "tutorials" which I must say are not *that* intuitive I find, I can do the ones they provide, but I admit I struggle to make footprints from datasheets.

    If anybody has any really good tutorials for interpreting the datasheet measurements into footprints then please share! I'm sure I'm just being thick, but I cant seem to get my head around it, I think part of it is a lot of SMT stuff and BGA/LGA components etc are not very easy to gain confidence in until the prototype is made.

    Wilksey
     
  10. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    I didn't say Eagle was used in industry, only that it uses industry standards, which it does. There are no standards for schematic layout, simulation layout standards are all spice based, specific implementations are often not compatible with each other.

    If you're comfortable with Proteus and have the money to purchase it you are entitled to do so, those with limited means are forced to pursue other avenues that don't require money, or pirate it.

    I chose to use the free alternative software that is available out there as I don't like using something I didn't pay for.

    You are in a production oriented professional environment vs a hobbyist or small scale user which may be willing to spend more time on learning something new over spending a large amount of money. The VAST majority of users that come to this site are in the hobbyist or one off category, there are only a tiny handful of professionals.
     
  11. DerStrom8

    DerStrom8 Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    Another reason I prefer Eagle is that from my experience, more PCB manufacturers accept Eagle Files than accept ARES files. If you plan to get your boards made professionally, I think Eagle is the way to go. However, if you plan to make your own boards, I suppose ARES is okay for the job. At that point it comes right down to personal reference.
     
  12. RichTheDude

    RichTheDude Active Member

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    Oops my bad Scead :). Most PCB houses accept Gerber files, but Proteus only exports geber files correctly in Imperial - the metric output is always a mess and requires fixing of the Excellon drill file (correcting the tool sizes from the readme file if anyone is reading this and facing such a dilemma).

    I also dislike Pirate software - I will either have to buy Proteus or redraw all my footprints and symbols for odd parts I use in KiCAD or Eagle when I leave where I am, something I am not looking forward too. I wish there was an open standard for symbols and footprints that all software adhered too.

    There is also design spark these days which I heard can import the eagle libraries. Is it any good ?
     
  13. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    We all do, this is why standards are so powerful. But if you were a software maker that did what Proteus does, the last thing you would ever do is make it compatible with all other standards, their methods are the only one's that make them money, why would they share them openly? They want to make money not help design.

    I've only heard about design spark recently and know nothing about it, outside of ideals and aims.
     
  14. RichTheDude

    RichTheDude Active Member

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    Well I wish GEDA and KiCAD would pull their proverbial fingers out then and start providing such standards and a viable set of truely open and free libraries...

    Plus I doubt such libraries would be the only thing which sells such software. There is the UI, simulators (pSPICE and VSM for micros, CPLD simulation etc), autorouters, autoplacers, PCB level simulation (i.e. signal intergreity, check cross talk etc) that could differentiate products.
     
  15. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    Too much money to be made.
     
  16. kubeek

    kubeek Well-Known Member

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    Have you seen this tutorial? http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/110
    For the standard smt stuff I use the ref-packages library which has almost anything. For other things, I just stare at the dimensions drawing until I can imagine how to draw it in eagle, it sometimes takes two or three complete redraws to do it right. Some manufacturers´ datasheets are awful and will make your head spin because of how badly are the dimensions specified.
    Can you post some example of what footprint you have trouble with?
     
  17. Gayan Soyza

    Gayan Soyza Active Member

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    I cannot depend on one software. No software gave me full of the facilities that I’m expecting.
    So I keep five to six software shortcuts on my desktop.

    For microcontroller simulations I use Proteus.
    I use a dedicated PCB software for PCB stuff that is Eagle.
    For analog & waveform analysis stuff I use dedicated software that is LT spice.
    I don't like proteus much.Its PCB designing & waveform analysis worse.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  18. Wilksey

    Wilksey Member

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    Hi Kubeek,

    Thanks for the link and info, yes I have read that and many others, I can do the ones supplied, just sometimes as you say, the datasheets are not exactly what you would call "clear"!

    I find LGA and other odd packages difficult to draw, especially when they have obscure packages like some wifi, bluetooth and gsm/3g modules have.

    Most of the time you can find or modify other packages to suit, but not always.

    I really wish there was a standard for PCB footprints, symbols are easy! Footprints are not, they are really what matter the most as well to get the board correct!

    Regards

    Wilksey
     
  19. TAREQ_BELAL

    TAREQ_BELAL New Member

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    Thanking message

    Hi All

    I want to thank you all for your feedback about the two programs

    i was confused but now I knew that Eagle is better to me

    I've been using circuit&trax maker for long time and i'm using eagle now but sometimes I go back to traxmaker it is easy to me to finish my board but it has no support and no wide library of components and foot print so i have to make my own parts manually to put it on the board

    the real problem that facing me is

    i can't open all files with one program so i have to install (eagle, Proteus, Rimu pcb, pcbexpress, circuitmaker, KI cad ) and more

    my question is can we deal with all pcb files on one software and how?

    what is the file format that we can open with all pcb softwares?
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  20. eTech

    eTech Active Member

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    I recommend DesignSpark PCB. Unlimited board size And its free.
    I didn't like Eagle and expected an more intuitive interface in a
    Commercial product.

    For me...it was about how fast I could understand and use the interface to produce a maintainable schematic ,board fab documentation, and mfg output. I'm an experienced board designer and used a few pcb design tools in the past so I already had an idea of what to look for in a design tool. I struggled with Eagle and gave up after a couple of days. Design spark is free, you are not locked into specific resources, and board size is unlimited.

    eT
     
  21. meowth08

    meowth08 Member

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