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Free License Software

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crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
You might try TinyCad.
 

Torben

Well-Known Member
What free license software i could use to draw circuits like that contained on page 8 of the attached document?
Eagle is a good package with a decent free version available. The only real restriction on the free version is that the size of the boards you can create is limited, but it's good enough for many to use.

CadSoft Online: Download


Torben

[Edit: The interface is powerful but unfortunately is mired in the 1980's and is a pain in the butt to use. That said, once you get used to it, you can eventually do what you need to do--it just takes a few more steps than should be necessary.]
 
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Hero999

Banned
It depends on what you mean by free?

Are you talking about open source of as in free as in cost nothing?

I use Inkscape to draw my schematics: I use a selection of pre-drawn symbols and connect them up.

I also use LTSpice which is more convenient.


As far as I'm concerned I try to use open source software where possible. I use some closed source but avoid cripple ware which in my view isn't free at all: there are too many restrictions on how you use it.
 

RadioRon

Well-Known Member
Eagle is very good, much more comprehensive than ExpressPCB. But I recommend ExpressPCB to beginners, simply because it is simpler and faster to learn. Eagle Lite is free for hobbiests and students, but they request commercial users pay a $49 license fee.
 

i_build_stuff

New Member
I've been using FreePCB professionally for several months now, and have been really happy with it. I originally went with it for a few reasons:

-Is not a crippleware or an "educational" version (no restrictions on commercial use)
-Produces Gerber files, which every board place accepts
-Is under active development (it's improved a lot in just the last couple months)
-Has a user interface that is easy to get used to and lets me work *fast* (important when everything your company sells is custom made)

As for schematic entry and simulation, I'd vote for LTSpice. It's closed-source but free and unrestricted. Probably the only weakness it has is that its part library is heavily biased toward LTI's products, so you'll spend some time adding new part models...
 

Roff

Well-Known Member
I've been using FreePCB professionally for several months now, and have been really happy with it. I originally went with it for a few reasons:


-Is under active development (it's improved a lot in just the last couple months)
I'm looking for a free PCB CAD program that doesn't have the limitations of Eagle Light. I searched this forum and another one. As of a few months ago, FreePCB was somewhat buggy. You say it has improved a lot. Have you run into any major bugs?
 

i_build_stuff

New Member
Up until recently, it had a really annoying bug where it would sometimes bomb out when you did stuff in the footprint editor. There was another bug where you'd get screwy behavior if you hit F4 (to route a ratline) when none was selected. It would grab a random one and draw a trace to your mouse cursor...

There was also a bug where a new pin added to a footprint wouldn't have its solder mask cutout. It's trivial to work around if you know about it (go into the "edit pin" dialog and re-select "default" in the box for solder mask cutouts), but we did end up getting one batch of boards where somebody had to sand the solder mask off a row of pins, before I noticed it.

All of these appear to be fixed now, though.

The only annoying thing it does to me is that if you have more than two selectable objects in one place, it's difficult to select the third one. For example, if you have some reference text inside the boundary for a part, and then a trace running through there, you have to get creative to get that trace selected. This hasn't caused me any real problems, but it does give me a few seconds of frustration every once in a while.

If you last looked at it a couple months ago, there are some new features that I really like:

-select any pin or segment and hit "n" to highlight the whole net (great for double checking your work)
-after running DRC, you can hold down "d" to make all the little brown circles huge
-the manual routing is smarter in a few ways
-more capability with copper areas
-more things that can be checked automatically
-a warning pops up when you use headers with those 28 mil holes (most headers won't fit those)
-fpcroute / freeroute are integrated now (I've only used it for two boards so far, but it's a huge time saver and the results so far have been decent)

Personally, I'd say the best thing is to just check your Gerber files afterward and make sure they're right. I've never seen a bug do anything really horrible (like leave off a trace or something), but the software is being developed pretty fast so you never know what you'll run into. Checking is always good though, because it's very easy to make a mistake when so many things have to go right at the same time...
 
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