• Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

New Year's Resolution: Learn PCB Design Software

BobW

Active Member
Over the past few years, I've made several halfhearted attempts to learn to use PCB design software. I've been at a bit of a disadvantage for some time, because I use a Macintosh computer, and many of the more popular PCBCAD packages aren't available for this platform. That's changing now. Eagle and KiCAD have native Mac versions. I've downloaded both Eagle and KiCAD, fired them both up to have a look, and made initial attempts at following some tutorials. From various comments I've read here and on other forums, it seems that KiCAD is easier to use. So, that's probably what I'll go with. However, before I take the plunge, I thought I should get some input from other members here, for tips and recommendations.
 

Visitor

Active Member
Take a look at EasyEDA offered by JLCPCB. I am a recent convert from an old version of Eagle.

  • It's free and relatively easy to use
  • It's cloud based, so it can be used by PC, MAC, etc. Files are private and can be downloaded. There is no limit to the number of projects you can have.
  • It has a huge parts library. Even more parts are available from user contributions. Any footprints you create are shared, but this may change.
  • It can import parts data (footprints and schematic symbols) from Eagle and other packages, making the parts files offered by Mouser and Digikey easy to import.
  • No limitations on board size.
  • Standard Gerber files may be generated at no charge. Ordering from JLC is one button press.
  • Many tutorials are available.
  • There's an active forum to get additional help if needed.
  • "Photo" and 3D views are avallable.
 

Visitor

Active Member
It's a bit different than Eagle but I haven't found much that I miss. Various features are easier to access than with Eagle which can requiring going to different menus.
 

BobW

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have a look at easyEDA.

I just remembered that I'd also downloaded Diptrace, and I've been tinkering with it tonight. I've made far more progress with Diptrace in one hour than I did with KiCAD in about six hours. I may decide to stay with Diptrace, even though it runs under Wine on Mac. The graphics/user interface are reminiscent of Win95. I assume that's the fault of Wine. The native Windows version that I've seen in the tutorial videos looks pretty nice.
 

Latest threads

EE World Online Articles

Loading

 
Top