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Topic: Best PCB degign for beginner. (Read 15230 times) previous topic - next topic

david97

Hi everyone. I'm new to designing PCB's and want to know what is best free design software for a beginner to use. Looking at designing some arduino based boards. I haven't had much experience in designing boards before.
What would be the software that you would recommend a noob like me to get?

Thanks David.

larryd

I believe most would suggest "Eagle"
Search these forums, as others have ask this same question.
No technical PMs.
If you are asked a question, please respond with an answer.
If you are asked for more information, please supply it.
If you need clarification, ask for help.

polymorph

I found DipTrace -much- easier to learn than Eagle. Eagle is not simple to learn.

There is also the open source KiCAD, and ExpressPCB which is free but intended to be tied to one manufacturer of PCBs.
Steve Greenfield AE7HD
Drawing Schematics: tinyurl.com/23mo9pf - tinyurl.com/o97ysyx - https://tinyurl.com/Technote8
Multitasking: forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=223286.0
gammon.com.au/blink - gammon.com.au/serial - gammon.com.au/interrupts

JoeN


I found DipTrace -much- easier to learn than Eagle. Eagle is not simple to learn.


+1

Download the free version, watch their videos.  You can send a design straight to PCB manufacturing from it too.
I will never ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.

mgcss

I used Eagle in the past ... but moved now to KiCad. It's real freeware without the limitations of the free version from Eagle. Aproach is a little bit different but not really more complicate then Eagle.

MarkT

"Best" meaning what exactly?  Easy to use?  Capable?  Free?  Rock-solid reliable?
Portable to multiple OS's? Recognised by many PCB fabs?  Has many parts libraries
available?

Many people support Eagle by providing libraries, for instance Sparkfun, but the free
version is limited to 8x10cm 2-layer.
[ I DO NOT respond to personal messages, I WILL delete them unread, use the forum please ]

CrossRoads

You can cram a lot of stuff into 8cm x 10cm. Keeping board sizes under 10cm x 10cm also keeps board costs down. I try to design to fit into 10x10cm whenever  I can. With SMD, you can get a ton! of stuff on a board.
Thruhole, 15 to 18 DIPs, varies with # of pins (14 to 20).
I enjoyed designing for 8x10cm because that was the size of Velleman ESC 1/2 Island of Hole protoboard. I figured if I could build it with wire wrap on that I could fit it on a PCB of the same size.

http://www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17/
15 DIPs, 9 transistors, 10 screw terminals:

13 with other parts:

Large DIP and SMD parts:

4 DIPS, 32 high current transistors and screw terminals with space for wires and wide power traces:

Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

JoeN

You can cram even more into an 8x10cm board if you use modern parts...  :smiley-zipper:  :)
I will never ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.

CrossRoads

Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

david97

#9
Aug 09, 2014, 10:43 am Last Edit: Aug 09, 2014, 11:25 am by david97 Reason: 1
Thanks for the great replys

I should have said this eairley, it didnt occur to me I'm building a project where I'm going to incorporate the chassis of the robot into a pcb design. The board that I would need to build is about 16x6cm. I could make it smaller, but this makes it alot easier and lightweight. So I'm happy using eagle for projects that do not need a large board, but what about when I need to do larger boards like this for example?

I guess I could add chassis rails and then have separate modules, but it would add cost and be more difficult to build.  As well as not looking as neat.

CrossRoads

Or you could work with someone who has a license for larger boards, like me.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

bobcousins

Eagle is horrible to use, and not really free, it's free in the sense of "free advertising" for CadSoft :)

Clearly the best free software for a beginner is Kicad. It still has some rough edges, but is capable of professional quality production. With support from CERN, it can only get better.
Please ask questions in the forum so everyone can benefit. PM me for paid work.

polymorph

I've played with Eagle (with a book) and with DipTrace (no book), and Eagle has a horrible learning curve.

Eagle free limitation is on size, DipTrace free limitation is on number of leads. Both free licenses are for noncommercial use.

Kicad is 100% free. But then there is the commercial, but free for any use, Designspark PCB CAD.

http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/eng/page/designspark-pcb-home-page

Their concept is that they hope you'll come to them to have boards made and order parts, but they don't prevent you from going elsewhere.
Steve Greenfield AE7HD
Drawing Schematics: tinyurl.com/23mo9pf - tinyurl.com/o97ysyx - https://tinyurl.com/Technote8
Multitasking: forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=223286.0
gammon.com.au/blink - gammon.com.au/serial - gammon.com.au/interrupts

CrossRoads

Eagle is very good.I've been using it since early 2011, have designed quite a few cards with.
Lots of libraries, can get many parts at newark or from sparkfun or adafruit. And if all else fails, make your own.
Can do quite a lot with 80x100mm pcbs.
I've not used kicad, but I'm not gonna bash it just because 3 other succesful companies decided not to use it.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

kelvinmead

as a start out, you can't beat the ease of fritzing if your developing basic boards, and you don't want to worry too much about custom parts. the custom parts are a bit of a nightmare.

i played with eagle, and found it horrendous. not intuitive, almost like the development stopped at windows 98...

...but i stuck with it, and once you get used to its niggles and follow the instructables / guides to the letter it all kinda pieces together.

i have been using eagle light for about a week now, about 3-4 hours a day, and I have managed to piece my pcb together.

i would like some better cad related stuff, like an easier way to place parts in very specific locations, but it can be done.

i think the industry uses eagle, so if you can get your head around it to a proficient amount, its CV worthy!

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