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Which is the best circuit design program?

Discussion in 'Circuit Simulation & PCB Design' started by camerart, May 13, 2017.

  1. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi,
    I was showing a friend how to design a circuit on my favourite program (free) (No name, so no bias) and he told me he is having the same difficulties, that I had. Having got through those difficulties, I was going to show him again, but he told me that he was going to try a different program (free). It would be good if we both had the same one, but I'm sure our simple circuits, could be copied and re-drawn.
    Has anyone compared different packages, so they could report their choice and why, then we may be able to sift through each choice and choose the best. I'm sure each of us as their preference, but I would like comparisons please.
    Camerart.
     
  2. alec_t

    alec_t Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Are you referring to layout programs (e.g. Eagle) or simulation programs (i.e. the various flavours of Spice) ?
    How do you define "best"?
     
  3. Ian Rogers

    Ian Rogers Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    I use Proteus.. Always have since forever!! Neat and automatic.. Plus it has my micro's modelled so design to PCB is pretty easy!!
     
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  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi A,
    Im refering to a package that can lay out a schematic, then put in on a PCB, where the components can be moved around till the suit the pusrpose, then route the tracks.

    When I say best, I'm sure they are all good, as the one I have used for a long time is, but I mean a comparison someone has done and chosen the 'best' out of the two (or more programs) Of course, if they are good and free, then add some points.
    C.
     
  6. JonSea

    JonSea Well-Known Member

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    Which is best - Coke or Pepsi? That is the question you are asking, only 100 times more complicated to answer.

    All schematic capture / board layout programs have their quirks and none will easy to use without some time learning how to do so.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Willen

    Willen Well-Known Member

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    Just for hobby purpose, I use ExpressPCB. Quick, easy and pretty fast to draw schematic and PCB layout. While drwaing schematic, we need to define like R1, R2, R3 etc manually, so now a days I use LTspice to draw schematic, it automatically defines part series.

    Tried Eagle too, it has much more features than I need. And main thing is it's not as easy as previous.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  8. MrDEB

    MrDEB Active Member

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    the best is Eagle but a steep learning curve
    Look at Diptrace. Easy to learn and can output Gerber files for pcboard manufacture. And yes you can move components around on pcboard layout.
    It has schematic, pattern layout as well as pcboard.
    Just my 2 cents worth
     
  9. Pommie

    Pommie Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Eagle has just been bought out by AutoDesk the makers of AutoCad. They are constantly improving it and I wouldn't be surprised if it one of the best free options in a years time. As stated previously, Eagle is a bit quirky but I expect AutoDesk to make it much more usable and not such a steep learning curve.

    Mike.
     
  10. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi D,
    "and route the tracks?
    C.
     
  11. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi m,
    And have you compared it with any others, that may also have brought out new features?
    C.
     
  12. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi,
    Has anyone COMPARED Kicad or Design spark with any other programs? (both free)
    C.
     
  13. granddad

    granddad Active Member

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    DipTrace ... but I have only used the schematic part ... also Eagle, but you may loose some hair !
     
  14. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    Wow, AutoDesk is a big name to be sure, I wonder if with the buyout, the lower priced program will soon become another highend priced tool like Altium, Mentor Graphics, Orcad?
     
  15. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    I do not understand why so many say there is a big learning curve with Eagle, I figured it out with very little time at all. I dunno, to me one schematic capture tool is like most. Learn the F-key short-cuts and how to manage libraries and your all set.
     
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  16. Pommie

    Pommie Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Autodesk have kept the free version (for now!) but have changed it from 100x100 board to 10,000sqmm so you can have any shape. They've also improved the autorouter and, from what I've seen so far, it's much improved. They also have a student program where anyone with a .edu email (Me :)) can get free access.

    Mike.
     
  17. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    Autodesk also has a special price for military vets on their 3D program so I wonder if they will offer something similar for the Eagle. That would be pretty good deal :)
     
  18. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    I should mention, for the US, the proof of service is a DD-214, for the UK and AU, I am sure there is a similar form of paperwork. Considering we are all allies I am sure the Vet status applies to UK and AU vets as well:)
     
  19. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    I posted this link earlier but I think I was pretty much ignored or some such other, but I have been playing with Orcad Cloud and it really seems like a very nice tool with an enormous library. It is pretty much Orcad with only a limitation of 300 parts. You can purchase more options if needed but this tool offers professional tools for free and a step up from Eagle.
    https://www.arrow.com/en/research-and-events/videos/introducing-orcad-capture-cloud
     
  20. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi,
    Thanks for all of your input.
    I use Kicad, and find it really good. I did spend a day pulling my hair out, but as mentioned, others don't find these things difficult, and it was because it has been improved and I was using old techniques. I think the problem is that if 1x ' i ' isn't dotted or a ' t ' left uncrossed, then they don't work. After starting all over again, I found Kicad easy. There is plenty of online help to get you through. My friend is going to use Design spark, but so far no one has mentioned either Kicad or Design spark.
    Cheers, Camerart. Here's a circuit I've done since starting this thread.
     

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  21. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    Once you find a tool that you are comfortable with, it is hard to change to another. I too am this way. I have found myself as a Multisim user despite it being a total piece of garbage and hard to give up (because I am so accustomed to it). Yet, wisdom speaks to me, and tells me to be open to other options. I have found ORCAD, and have found it to be a wonderful tool and the cloud version is free.
    Free your mind and open it too better possibilities.
    https://www.arrow.com/en/research-and-events/videos/introducing-orcad-capture-cloud

    Before you ask, I have no vested interest with ORCAD, I just think it is a very nice tool, and it's under 300 parts count tool is great. I feel that the untapped makers market will greatly benefit from this fine tool and the more demand for this tool will only make the price go lower.
     
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