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PCB-Ideas?

Discussion in 'Circuit Simulation & PCB Design' started by John Murdock, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Yeh, that is my problem too, and you don't seem to be able to search the library for a part either. Also the library that gets installed with EAGLE is woefully out of date.
    Same here as a last resort but, so far, I have mainly managed to get a similar symbol off the net for any part that is not in the default library.

    spec
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  2. DerStrom8

    DerStrom8 Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    Or Protel's younger brother, Altium. Took me quite a while to figure out the library system, and that was one of my main projects at work for several months after I first started at my new job.
     
  3. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Oh dear, I had hoped that the later spin-offs of Protel would have been better. I was going to give Altium Designer (is that the correct name) a try, but perhaps not. I pity you starting a new job and having to get with a new CAD set up too.

    Protel was a really powerful and accurate tool though and handled complex/awkward jobs well. It is a lot slicker than EAGLE, but perhaps not so friendly. Protel documentation was simply awful- full of jargon and computer talk and repetitions. It seemed that the author had just learned the words 'client' and 'server' and had to include them in every sentence. :grumpy:

    The system we had at work was networked to N project users and the library had to be common and up to date at all times, or there was big problems. What a nightmare it was. Luckily one of the team seemed to know all the quirks and could sort it all out. It got to the stage where if we needed to mess with the library- add/ modify part- we would do it through him. He was a bit irritable though so you had to make sure you kept on the right side of him. :arghh:

    We did have a couple of instances where the library got out of sync and batches of PCBs were manufactured in error, but luckily they were only small batches and the wiremen could work their magic and get us out of a fix.

    We had a wonderful digital simulation package- not sure if it was add on. It was a godsend when doing large FPGAs. In fact, the work would have been impossible without it.

    spec
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. DerStrom8

    DerStrom8 Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    Well I never used Protel personally, I switched directly from Eagle to Altium when I started work. Creating Altium libraries isn't all that bad once you learn how to do it, it's just figuring out all the details for yourself that's tricky. I created a tutorial for creating Altium libraries and posted it on YouTube to help others who are in the same position I was in, trying to figure out how to do it on your own.
     
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  6. John Murdock

    John Murdock Member

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    Definitely finding them! The libraries are a complete and utter mess they are horrendous.
     
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  7. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Yes they are bad John. I am surprised no one has produced a rationalized core library- it would have been the sort of thing that I may have done at one time. :meh:

    Also, many of the circuit symbols are not optimal- either illogical like the 555 timer or too big. I got a comparator with voltage reference symbol from Farnell Element 14; it was the size of a Boeing 747 and bore no resemblance to the function. :arghh:

    Having said all this though, I do like EAGLE. It has a friendly feel and not too convoluted and opaque. Also it is a very light installation and doesn't take over your whole PC like some ECAD packages.

    spec
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
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  8. DerStrom8

    DerStrom8 Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    I agree, the existing Eagle libraries are useless. The same can be said of just about every other PCB CAD package out there. That's why I recommend ALWAYS creating your own libraries as the first thing, regardless of which package you use.
     
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  9. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I like Altium alot, the Libs are great once you have worked out how they are set up, the trick is setting the paths when you start a project or making a template project with the paths done and use that each time.

    Unless you use Altium at School or are getting paid to do a job or fell over a sack of Gold, Altium isnt worth the money IMHO. I got a copy on the school laptop as I was asked to try it along with 3 other people.
    We also tried Proteus, all 4 of us said Altium was better and we hated Proteus, so the school is going with..................Proteus :facepalm:.

    I might go back to pen and paper!! or photoshop
     
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  10. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    :arghh: I have seen that sort of thing many times. The experts at the drawing office spent about two years evaluating ECADs and meeting the vendor for meaningful lunches. They totally ignored what the coal-face guys advised. In the end they went for RACAL Redac- the most expensive, with each station incurring a yearly charge running into thousands. At the time of the choice, RR was being sued by a number of big companies for lack of performance and bugs. When it had been installed and paid for, RR folded and all the money went down the tubes.

    So another big survey started. Once again after two years, a really expensive package was selected. This time it was a top notch affair but it was so complex that no one understood it and it was so expensive that the company was reluctant to give anyone a station, especially as the hardware for each station had to be rented from the ECAD company and they also incurred colossal support costs. The documentation was fantastic- very glossy with plenty of BS and some of the best lunches from the sales guys too.

    In the meantime, all the jobs were done by the engineers on Protel. :banghead::banghead::banghead:

    spec
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  11. DerStrom8

    DerStrom8 Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    I absolutely agree. Altium is not for hobbyists. I would never buy a copy for myself -- It is FAR too expensive! I am very thankful I have access to it through my work though. They pay for the license, and I get paid to use it :D
     
  12. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Cost aside, would you go for Altium for home use, rather than EAGLE?

    spec
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  13. MaxHeadRoom78

    MaxHeadRoom78 Active Member

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    Have you tried Kicad? I found it equal to Orcad.
    And free!
    Max.
     
  14. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    No Max, I havent, but I have heard it is quite good. :)

    spec
     
  15. Tony Stewart

    Tony Stewart Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    The best tool is the one you can afford with IPC pads and mask and DFM tools for all parts and process you plan to use. Some have auto-routers with Rip&Retry , others have rubber band modes, which I liked. If the tools save a board spin or rework costs, it is worth it.
     
  16. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Did you find auto routers to be any good?

    In general I would always go for the industry standard/most widely used system, even if it were not absolutely the best. The reason is there is so much support. Rather like PCs- they might not be the best machines but they are the de facto standard because of the wide support. That is the main reason why I chose EAGLE when I lost my PROTEL license.

    And for knocking out the odd schematic it is better than Protel.

    When it comes to CAD I stick with AutoCAD because, although the interface is arcane, it is hellish powerful and accurate and is the industry standard with heaps of support.

    I tried Google Sketch up and while you could do a pretty 3D drawing quite quickly, it was not the greatest for doing accurate technical drawings. Mind you, it was about seven years ago that I tried Sketchup.

    spec
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  17. MaxHeadRoom78

    MaxHeadRoom78 Active Member

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    There are many tutorials out there, both from Kicad and 3rd party.
    Max.
     
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  18. Tony Stewart

    Tony Stewart Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Definitely a lot of bad routers, HP's was good in the old days but...$$
    KiCAD's is limited to simple boards. Not supported

    http://www.ibfriedrich.com/ Looks good, cost rises with pin count.

    Manchester U has an open source one
     
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  19. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    If cost wasnt an issue then yes, but for a hobbyist the extra benefit you get above eagle isnt worth the money. Its like this..... you need a car to get to work, you work 5 miles away, unless your job also comes with a rolls royce I wouldnt recommend buying one to get to work if you already have a skoda in the garage
     
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  20. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Never seen any package do decent auto route. To me its a wasted feature and often wrong but thats my own experience and a desire to control signal paths etc
     
  21. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Yes, that is my experience too.

    spec
     

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