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Which design package has the best libraries

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kjennejohn

New Member
Hello, design gurus.
I am in search of the best electronics design package, where "best" means ease of use and the largest, most comprehensive parts libraries. Free is a big plus, but a couple hundred bucks for a single-user version that does 3"x4", four-layer boards is OK. I have downloaded Eagle and the like, but the libraries always seem to lack for parts I need to design in. Connectors are the usual stumbling block, like Phoenix and most terminal blocks. It's rather a pain to specify, say, a DB9 in the schematic, only to have the layout portion fail for lack of a footprint. Barring a huge library selection, it would have to have the world's simplest parts editor.

Any suggestions or tips will be appreciated.
kenjj
 

BeeBop

Active Member
Hello, design gurus.
I am in search of the best electronics design package, where "best" means ease of use and the largest, most comprehensive parts libraries. Free is a big plus, but a couple hundred bucks for a single-user version that does 3"x4", four-layer boards is OK. I have downloaded Eagle and the like, but the libraries always seem to lack for parts I need to design in. Connectors are the usual stumbling block, like Phoenix and most terminal blocks. It's rather a pain to specify, say, a DB9 in the schematic, only to have the layout portion fail for lack of a footprint. Barring a huge library selection, it would have to have the world's simplest parts editor.

Any suggestions or tips will be appreciated.
kenjj

I don't know, EAGLE has lots of libraries. I cuss because I have way too many connector libs, and have to search through all of them before I find what I was looking for. :D Have you checked their web site? You can download many more libs from there, and then there is always this cool site:
Eagle Links - Open Circuits
 

kjennejohn

New Member
Thanks, BeeBop. I had a quick look at the link you supplied. Looks like a good starting point for further study of the Eagle package.

I downloaded DipTrace some months ago. It seemed like a decent package, so I started to experiment with it. I laid out a small PIC development board. I eventually wanted to redo the silkscreen for a diode, only to discover the drawing tools were not AT ALL intuitive, and gave up in disgust. Perhaps too soon, too easilly. But I wasn't as serious then as I am now. I just don't want to find myself hung on something serious like a key missing part, and then find learning the package's parts design is a monumental task.

Any more suggestions/links?
Happy Holidays!
kenjj
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
Time you spend learning tools is an investment.

Some people jump around looking for the easy way out. Some programs are easier then others but to a large extent you get what you pay for (in terms of time).

One would hope that as programs evolve the UI's are improved to where they are both powerful and easy to use. But to some degree richness equates to complexity.

The easy to use program is not always the best investment.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I find OrCAD has an for capture, layout and footprint-making intuitive interface...far more than Eagle in my opinion.
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
I find OrCAD has an for capture, layout and footprint-making intuitive interface...far more than Eagle in my opinion.
I have no clue regarding OrCAD as I do not own a copy.
The last time I checked they did not offer a free, student, or hobby level product.

The last few versions of Eagle have made it somewhat easier to use.
 

BeeBop

Active Member
Well I had to check that one out. You can get a demo, but you have to request a CD, and it sounds like snail mail...
I also could not find pricing on their site, so googling got me this:

EMA Design Automation Product Detail Page

Total price includes List Price ($4796) and Maintenance ($1199)

Price: $5,995.00
and this:
Cadence Updates Orcad Family of Products Enhancing PCB Engineers' Productivity; 9.2 Improves Stability And Provides Windows 2000 Readiness - Product Announcement | Edge: Work-Group Computing Report | Find Articles at BNET

Price and Availability Pricing begins at a U.S. list price $1,495 for Orcad Capture 9.2 software and extends to a U.S. list price $12,995 for Orcad Layout Plus 9.2 product.
Good for someone who is doing high volume production, or someone who has stolen a copy. :p
 

kjennejohn

New Member
Yeah, we have OrCAD 7.2 (sorta ancient) schematic at work. It's serviceable. But, it came out around the time Win95 came out, and has some quirky limitations. But, no layout capability of any kind. Our layout is done on a 18 year old ProCAD package. I'm looking for something more modern, inexpensive but capable of small, simple boards.

Eagle is OK, but aren't they locked in to their own file protocol? I'd like to have the freedom to take the design to anyone for fab.

Thanks for the input so far. Keep them cards and letters coming in.
kenjj
 

RadioRon

Well-Known Member
I've been using a very old version of Prologic and Powerpcb from Pads and the library tools in that are driving me nuts. Very poor, and too old. Plus the package crashes fairly often, but thats probably because it is too old for my OS. I've looked recently at Pulsonix but found the library interface and maintenance tools disappointing. Can't comment on the range of components in their library. Then I looked at Eagle for the first time and found the library browse and search windows to be refreshingly good by comparison to what I'm used to. Plus the sheer number of parts is quite impressive. I haven't tried to create a a part in Eagle yet, but so far it is my favorite.
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
I have not used a board house but I have heard some take the Eagle files directly. For others you run Eagle CAM jobs to generate the required files. The sparkfun site has a tutorial on how to do this for batchPCB.

Eagle users have written a lot of ULP (user language program) scripts for it. If Eagle does not directly do what you want or need there is a good chance that there is a ULP someone wrote that will.

I drill my boards prior to home etching on a "run of the mill" desktop milling machine. A ULP called pcb-gcode runs from the layout command line. It generates a GCODE command file specific to my mill.

Neat stuff.

3v0
 
Last edited:

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
I have always been a fan of Mentor Graphics and Viewlogic. Of course those are not free.
 
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