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Topic: Software for diagrams and schematics? (Read 15464 times) previous topic - next topic


New to arduino, and to electronics.  I see people posting nice diagrams with arduinos, breadboards, circuits...etc.  what program/software are they using?

I'm on a Mac if that matters.


Fritzing is an online service that makes very nice-looking pictures of breadboards. Don't use it. It doesn't have the exact components that you have and a picture of a breadboard is a bad way to draw a schematic.

Don't use Fritzing.

I use Eagle, because I make a lot of circuit boards. The schematics it produces look very good. The free version of Eagle will last you a long time and upgrading to the paid version is not expensive for a hobbyist.

Even Microsoft Visio makes pretty good schematics.
"The problem is in the code you didn't post."


Feb 07, 2016, 04:58 pm Last Edit: Feb 07, 2016, 05:00 pm by jremington
SchemeIt is a free on line tool that makes very clear, professional diagrams.

I agree with MorganS, don't use Fritzing. It is only for complete beginners, and is really terrible for anything more than the very simplest of circuits.

If you want to succeed in this hobby, learn to read and produce standard schematic diagrams.


Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of. (D.Adams)


Circuit Maker does not run on a Mac :-(
Fritzing may be a beginner's tool, but this is what OP was asking for. You should give it a try IMHO. I also tried KiCad, but found it difficult to master although it has many capabilities.


Feb 07, 2016, 10:11 pm Last Edit: Feb 07, 2016, 10:15 pm by Grumpy_Mike
You should give it a try IMHO.
If you do try Fritzing then never ever post it here because you will be severely told off.
If you are over the age of 14 then you are too old to use it.
If you have an IQ over 70 then you are too smart to use it.

I am on a Mac and I just use a generic 2D vector drawing package. The one I am current using is called MacDraft. It allow me to draw the diagrams exactly how I want to draw them not in a way that someone else thinks is right, which unless you have $25K a year to spend on a license, is a poor compromise.

Don't use Fritzing.
Count the posts of the people who said that and compare them to the posts made by the people advocating you try it.


A photo of a bad pencil drawing is much better than Fritzing.

Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.


I second the choice of Eagle.  Its free and there are hundreds of tutorials for starting out.


SchemeIt is a free on line tool that makes very clear, professional diagrams.

I agree with MorganS, don't use Fritzing. It is only for complete beginners, and is really terrible for anything more than the very simplest of circuits.
I don't use Fritzing, but I don't think it's that bad, after all, most Arduino circuits ARE the very simplest of circuits.

But that schemeit has to be just about the greatest - once you understand that "link" means draw a straight line. I use a proper full-bottle CAD and I have used it for circuits, but probably never again. Thanks.

(I guess nothing would beat a proper CAD for making up proto shields, though)


New to arduino, and to electronics.  I see people posting nice diagrams with arduinos, breadboards, circuits...etc.  what program/software are they using?

I'm on a Mac if that matters.
not eagle.
if there is one thing this hobby is lacking is a good schematic program.
eagle has a ton of followers, and every one will tell you they spent a good 100 hours to just figure out the basics and that there is no easy way to learn it.  once you spend that kind of time, you are hard pressed to go to any other program.
even the guru's on here will tell you they are good with it, but not masters.  
but. if you plan on doing this for years, and possibly be employed in this industry, then Eagle has such a large following, it is like Microsoft Word.  hard to get a job if you do not know how to use it.
I suspect that eagle has such a huge following for two reasons, 10 years ago, it was one of the only free packages.  and tons of people learned with it.  the other reason is that so many people use it, there are a ton who tell you it is something you should check out.
if you are just a hobbyiest, then get a Ticonderoga #2 and some paper and a scanner or smart phone.  
that will get you productive far faster than any schematic software.
what you really do want, is a program that will allow you to produce a set of gerbers so you can send to a board  house to make your boards.
search this forum for software, schematic software and read as much as you can.
what you want is about 3 or 4 generations newer of eagle.  an eagle Fritzing hybrid.  
alas, eagle has such a huge following, there has not been a new version that is easy to use.
I think that if Fritzing  fixed it's really stupid wiring layout, or offered a more true schematic layout, that it would blow the doors of eagle in short order.

I know some people with scoff at me, but eagle is that that old scatter gun my highschool girlfriends dad had. it worked alright.  even was used in battles with indians, beavers and bears.

alas some things just stay entrenched because there is no driving force to change them.


Every program will take time to learn, why not make that time shorter with so many tutorials to help.


In a pinch, I've successfully used Powerpoint and its free replacement Open Office Draw to do simple schematics.
  ... with a transistor and a large sum of money to spend ...
Please don't PM me with technical questions. Post them in the forum.


if you do try fritzrig, and you need help, post THESE schematics

and not this crap :


I use www.expresspcb.com for schematics to post here in the forum for discussion.
Eagle hands down for creating PCBs tho.  It's not that hard to learn, the difficult part is selecting components from all the libraries out there. Sparkfun has a good tutorial to go thru. If you start from an existing Arduino design and tweak from there and use similar packages you'll have a good starting point.
No matter what program you use:
1) the hard part is coming up with a design - as an electrical engineer I have no problem with that. 
2) the 2nd hardest part is coming up with a parts layout that is routable - experience and practice are key there, and that's true for any program you decide to use.
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.


Crossroads reminded me of another good point, in any program you choose, please do not use the auto-router unless you know how to set it up correctly. 

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