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Which is the best circuit design program?

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

  1. Cicero

    Cicero Active Member

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    I would say the best and most professional is Altium, although not free, far from free.

    But... look into https://circuitmaker.com/About , its community based/kinda open source development. So its great if you're not paranoid about people stealing your stuff, although the chances of anyone being even remotely interested in random PCB designs is pretty slim.

    Designspark is ok, I use (currently) the paid big brother EasyPC version http://www.numberone.com/. Designspark is a dumb-down version of it, I'm not sure how "dumbed down" though to be honest.
     
  2. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi C,
    I'll let my friend know, thanks for the comparison.

    (Just beefed up the tracks and added a programming connection to my circuit Kicad)
    C.
     

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  3. Daniel Wood

    Daniel Wood Member

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    Just a quick note with Eagle. Although it is free to use, if you plan on using it in a commercial sense (i.e sell your PCB's) then you would need to buy a subscription. About £10 to £60/month.
    I think CircuitMaker by Altium does allow you to have 1 private project before releasing others into opensource oblivion.
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi D,
    Nothing commercial, only fun.
    C
     
  6. MaxHeadRoom78

    MaxHeadRoom78 Active Member

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    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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  8. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    I think he summed it up nicely with this statement.
    Quoted again to emphasize. If you have never really used a good Cad tool, then you really would have no idea if a bad tool was bad. I use to use Mentor Graphics and this tool was lightyears ahead of Eagle in terms of features, but then again there is a big price difference as well.
     
  9. picbits

    picbits Well-Known Member

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    I've been on an exercise evaluating packages for work. Some higher end packages won't even let you evaluate their product without going on a training course !

    So far Kicad is in the lead for schematic software. We already use Sprint Layout for PCB work although sPlan is also in the running for schematic. Still got to spend some days wtih the other packages but at a cost of many £k per year per user, they aren't a favourite.
     
  10. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    Which tool requires a training course in order to evaluate? I will be sure to avoid that one.
     
  11. picbits

    picbits Well-Known Member

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    Can't say but the quote for a single user came in at around £20k :eek:
     
  12. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    Have you tested ORCAD? They offer a fully functional version to download for evaluation purposes, it is only limited by size and parts count. I do believe the cost is considerably cheaper than the price you mentioned.
    http://www.orcad.com/resources/orcad-downloads
     
  13. picbits

    picbits Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the head up - I'll add this to the list to evaluate.
     
  14. KeepItSimpleStupid

    KeepItSimpleStupid Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I purchased a varient of Target 3001 www.ibfriedrich.com/en/index.html, but don't currently have a Windows system. I did get it to run under Wine.

    One of the reasons I liked it was because of some support for reverse engineering PCB's.

    I also liked PADS for creating footprints.

    KiCAD made me seasick.
     
  15. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi K,
    When Kicad made you seasick, was it before the newer system? I also didn't find it easy, but once you remember how the files are used, it becomes easier.
    If you equate it to spending the hours to learn Kicad, instead of the money to pay for a paid system, does this add up?
    C.
     
  16. KeepItSimpleStupid

    KeepItSimpleStupid Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I think the biggest issue was everything was keyboard driven with not an easy way, for me, to equate the commands.

    I'd say I have a learning disability, of sorts, because I learn most stuff Kinestecically whic is described as how you might learn to ride a bike or repitition.
    Icons (visual) and verbal methods fail by themselves. Memorizing that the "R-key" does this would depend on associations, like R is Rotate, but ti Z was rotate all bets would be off. CTRL-C and CTRL-V have been learned by repetition.

    When I tried Ki-Cad it was an older interface. Making the footprints seemed to be the stumbling block. I actually tried Easytrax (DOS), Diptrace, KiCAD, Eagle (missing vital stuff like outline. EasyEDA *web-based - free, schematic schematic generation only, the pitiful Digikey Skeme-it (schematic only) and Target3001 briefly. I also tried Altium (evaluation trial) and that was messy.

    The same is true for CAD programs. Claris CAD (Mac) was very easy. Vecttorworks (Mac/PC), the successor to MiniCAD (Mac) was easy. The layer concept introduced later was harder to grasp, but I loved the package (can't afford it now) AUTOCAD was a nut case too. BricksCAD looks like a promising CAD package. I didn't know of the tutorial when I did the evaluation

    I ned the ability to import DWG files from an "embedded" drawing e.g. www.polycase.com/vm-boot-series where the manufacturer provides the PCB dimensions. In this case the sides are curves.

    And the ability to do reverse engineering starting from a PCB photo and stuffing diagram. In most cases only generating of the schematic. At present I only need single sided surface mouny and thru hole capability.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017 at 7:50 AM
  17. RadioRon

    RadioRon Well-Known Member

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  18. camerart

    camerart Active Member

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    Hi K,
    I have a similar problem. Words mean something else the next time you look at them! It takes a lot of effort doesn't it. I need to write key words in CAPITOLS, which helps me scan the text. some on the forums, don't have much patience for this, so I try to avoid it, and I am getting better. E,G, In Kicad, I now know the 'R' button, and now use it all of the time. I sometimes use CTRL_C and V too. Keep trying.
    Cheers, C.
     

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