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Topic: Best PCB degign for beginner. (Read 15228 times) previous topic - next topic

CrossRoads

Parts placement - can be very specific. View:Grid, change to "mil"
Right click a part, select properties, change the position to wherever you want it.
You want to snap it to a grid, then set the grid to whatever you want.
In the schematics, 0.05" works great as most symbols use that.
In the board, 0.05" also for getting headers on 0.1" spacing to be breadboard friendly.
Much finer when trying to scooch parts around a little when things are tight for spacing.
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

yeah, i was more thinking to the "outside world"

eg, 2 motors are exactly 60mm apart, you can get real fine with the grid, but its a bit annoying when larger... although, i was to change the grid to 60mm it would instantly solve it...

think I've solved my own issues. :)

dave-in-nj


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.


this is one place this forum would benefit from thumbs up.

the OP asked 'best for a beginner'  and then went on to add something about incorporating chassis.

Eagle has been around for a long-long time.   DOS era ?   

HUGE base of users.  That means two things.  first is there is a source for answers, second, there is a lot of shared files for people.   the outline and pinout for the Arduino UNO footprint allows one a starting point.  Also, Eagle is used professionally.   so, if you are going to be a design engineer, knowing Eagle is a huge plus on the resumé.

the learning curve is often called a sheer cliff or a block wall.  This thread has a fellow who said weeks at 3-4 hours a day and I can assume that at that rate, he is only  becoming  proficient. 

I think I have only seen one other person say they use WinQCad.
good start, but it is unfinished and the writer abandoned it.  I had an unlimited license, but a computer crash has left me with the free version.     based on support and users, it is NOT recommended.  Has come VERY klunky parts.   And is really multiple individual programs.  Seems to have been started in DOS and truly has not become a windows program.

as you probably know, almost all the free stuff has limitations.  either number of pins allowed, board size or some other arbitrary wall.   you can buy your way into a larger version, but that commitment locks you into a path that may not be the best in the long term.

try each of the versions out there.  some are free to try, others have limitations.
if you are a hobbyist, find the one you like best and using my experience, burn a copy to CD for posterity

I love the autoroute feature.  not sure if all the freeware has autoroute.    as a note WinQCad autoroute is klunky.  you lay out  locations, then autoroute and then move your traces as you want, but cannot autoroute a second time.

I see fritzrig as an upstart that has a lot of followers of the students.   this means a growing users base that will be a force in the future.   In my mind that makes it more mainstream.

google results

Eagle PCB  over 3 million hits
kicad 520,000
friting over 300,000
winQCad 27,600





JoeN

#18
Aug 10, 2014, 09:05 pm Last Edit: Aug 10, 2014, 09:07 pm by JoeN Reason: 1

google results

Eagle PCB  over 3 million hits
kicad 520,000
fritzing over 300,000
winQCad 27,600


And the often forgotten but obviously superior  ;) DipTrace:

About 425,000 results (0.16 seconds)

Altium, which Dave Jones likes: About 929,000 results (0.26 seconds)
I will never ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.

polymorph

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


Numbers don't say it all.


And yet numbers can often be important.

What a confusing dichotomy.  I am glad we got this out of the way and can return to the subject now.
I will never ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.

westfw

I'm an EAGLE user.  I like it a lot.  I'm prepared to buy a full-priced copy of it, should I ever actually do a commercial design (and one of the nice things is that I could afford to do so, even for a relatively small commercial design.)

But, If you're looking for a free program, download several, find appropriate tutorials, and try them out.
The "best for a beginner" one is probably the one whose tutorial you can manage to get working the best.
I've seen lots of people claim that Eagle is non-intuitive and has a "very old" GUI style (action/object based rather than object/action.)  It didn't bother me at all (but then. I'm rather old myself.)
EVERY cad program I've ever heard of has had someone say "it has a steep learning curve."  That may simply be because PCB/circuit design is HARD; there's a lot more to it than just a drawing program (or at least, there SHOULD be.)
(Well, perhaps not fritzing.  Fritzing has a shallow learning curve, but a steep capability CLIFF.  You can start off really easy, and then you get to a point where  you say "ok, now how do I do X", and you discover that you just CAN'T, because there is no X in fritzing.)

Quote
Clearly the best free software for a beginner is Kicad.

The OP didn't mention what kind of computer they are using.  I downloaded several copies of KiCAD for my mac, over a period of a couple years, and never could get it to work right at the most basic levels, so I gave up :-(  (maybe it's time to try again?)

iamruff

I started using DipTrace.. Very nice program and is easy to figure out.. I still use it occasionally, but now I am making myself use and learn Eagle.. Seeing pretty much everyone is using it or has files available for it, makes it a no brainier.. As others have said when using the free version your locked into a pcb size.. That is fine, its amazing what you can do in such a small size.. For larger projects I still use DipTrace seeing they don't have a maximum size, but maximum pin count.. Download a few and find out what you like the most, but you might want to learn the basics of Eagle just in case..

coliban

May i join the discussion because i have nearly the same requirement. I would like to make some prototype boards, they can be small, not bigger than about 6x10cm. Today i installed Fritzing (on Linux) and while the User Interface is very compelling, it has the charm, as i understood, to order directly from this Application.

But then i wanted to add a part which was not in the database, an arduino328, and i was for me impossible to manage to create a new part, even with the docu.

I want to do small prototype boards from scratch and i would like to spend not much time on it (i would pay for an easy to use UI), as in understood, KiCad, but i would be also in the "mainstream" because man knowledge is around for product which are widely spread. Should i go for Eagle? Is it really  so complicated?Is there a PCB designer where i can create own parts?

regards

CrossRoads

With Eagle, you can download the design of the Uno or Duemilanove, and use that as the starting point for your design. Remove what you don't need, add what your design calls for. No need to start from scratch.
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.

mgcss

you can in both - KiCad as well as Eagle - create your own parts or you simply import libraries with that parts from others ... But especially in KiCad it can make sense to create your own library from scratch and add all parts you want to have available.

The effort to get familiar with the tool is for both more or less the same.  I started originally also with Eagle but moved now to KiCad. As I already wrote: the approach is a little bit different between both. But that's only a problem if you move from one to the other like I did. If you start learning both are OK.

The greatest advantage of KiCad: it's real open software. Especially we as open hardware users should be aware of that point ;-)  The tool will become better and better the more users work with it and give feetback.

coliban

#26
Aug 12, 2014, 04:06 pm Last Edit: Aug 12, 2014, 04:48 pm by coliban Reason: 1
@mgcss:

Yes, open source is a very valuable aim, but i learned that "open source" is no end in itself. In the past, there were some occasions where it was no help in all circumstances and sometimes,  when time is a factor, professional software has as well advantages, especially when the "closed source" software has a broad base of users. As CrossRoads mentioned, it is a help when this software is used widely, the community is big and there will be help around the corner (and some colleagues here are using eagle already for many years).

I am still not really sure, but i think, eagle is an serious alternative.

regards


p.s.:

hmm, no software is perfect. I downloaded a eagle version (eagle-lin-6.6.0) for linux, but i have already problems because the eagle version depends on 32-bit-compatibility libraries and it cumbersome searching the libraries, if it is possible at all.

mgcss

#27
Aug 12, 2014, 04:51 pm Last Edit: Aug 12, 2014, 04:53 pm by mgcss Reason: 1
yeah sure ... I also was unsure for a longer period if I really should move from Eagle to KiCad. And of course there are also good reasons to choose Eagle. At the end of the day everybody has to decide for himself which tool he wants to use - depending on the personal preferences.

One point against Eagle: I think the licence model of the new version is really a pain. CADSOFT now requests the ID of the computer you want to install Eagle in the new 7.0.0 version ... and you can install it only on two machines (PC + Laptop for example). This can cause problems if you move to a new PC for example.

CrossRoads

Eagle 7.1 just out too. I'm still using 6.5.
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


yeah sure ... I also was unsure for a longer period if I really should move from Eagle to KiCad. And of course there are also good reasons to choose Eagle. At the end of the day everybody has to decide for himself which tool he wants to use - depending on the personal preferences.

One point against Eagle: I think the licence model of the new version is really a pain. CADSOFT now requests the ID of the computer you want to install Eagle in the new 7.0.0 version ... and you can install it only on two machines (PC + Laptop for example). This can cause problems if you move to a new PC for example.


7.1.0 has changed the licence thing, but tbh, if you're a free user, you only have to register an email address. if you have 2 computers, just register twice?

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