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I like Express PCB -- which includes Express Schematic. The schematic portion is a quick and easy tool for drawing circuits, and the library is easy to customize. The PCB portion will link to schematics from Express Schematic, and allows for the layout of two trace surfaces (upper and lower) and the silkscreen layer. It also allows for groundplanes and customized footprints.
I found myself asking the same question about a month ago, and settled on using TinyCad and IrfanView to create schematics for posts. I looked over several of the free schematic packages, and most only save schematics in proprietary formats. So does TinyCad, but you can easily copy the schematic onto the Windows clipboard, then paste into the IrfanView file viewer. The other problem I ran into with some of the free packages was that they required a large amount of disk space overhead. ex: Xcircuit is a nice open-source schematic package, but is really meant for Linux/Unix (The cygwin libraries take up a lot of hard disk space under Windows).
I'm using a plain vanilla Win98SE system. TinyCad is a simple open-sourced schematic entry system that's straightforward to learn, and the library is easy to extend.
Thanks from me too ChrisP! I used to use MS paint. :shock: Then I tryed circuit maker 2000 a while back, love it, trial expired, cried, can't afford it. :lol: So, then I tryed Tinicad, and, well, let's just put it this way, I still use MS Paint. :lol: And now, I'm downloading ExpressPCB. From what you've said, I think it will work well. I hope it does and thanks. :wink:
P.S. I'll let you know what I think once I try it a bit.
I'm not completely satisfied with TinyCad either. It's a bit clunky in some areas, but it was free. Some packages are more "intuitive" to use than others, a lot depends on personal preference (I used to like the old SCHEMA package in the 80's). May be time to try out Express schematic, I see it allows you to paste a bitmap of your schematic onto the Windows clipboard. - CAL
I think Express PCB's schematic capture and board layout software is perfect for those looking for something thats easy to learn and use, I use it most of the time. But if you decide later you want to learn something alittle more advanced you might want to consider Eagle layout editor. I use it ocassionaly. It takes some getting use to, but once you learn how to use all its features i doubt you'd want anything else.
If you want to give it a go, you can download it at the link below and it too is free.