Alternative to ExpressPCB

So I use ExpressPCB for my designs (see image), but I find that it's kind of basic (note the red box labeled "ARD" on the right side). I'm looking for an alternative that might be a bit more robust (and has an Arduino part built in!). Having multiple trace colors (besides the three layers in ExpressPCB) would be a definite plus. So far, I'm looking at Fritzing and KiCad. Any suggestions? Cheers.


Hi, What is ARD supposed to be, you can make your own component outlines.

Tom..... :)

What is ARD supposed to be, you can make your own component outlines.

Tom… :slight_smile:

ARD is my Arduino. And yeah, I know you can make outlines, but I’m looking for an alternative.

Eagle is the gold standard.

Tons of libraries available for lots of stuff, including Arduino boards - it's pricy if you need a version fancier than the free/standard/hobby ones, but even the free version is pretty useful.

Eagle is the gold standard.

I downloaded the freeware version and couldn't figure out how to do anything. I downloaded ExpressPCB (actually ExpressSCH and was able to locate the component manager with one right mouse click and was able to pull up a scroll menu of components with little or no effort. I used Orcad student version in school. I think I had a full version once long ago but now I have only used it occasionally at work. If I could figure out how to use Eagle I would but I don't want to have to struggle with it. At least with ExpressSCH I can do whatever I want painlessly.

Yes, Eagle has a learning curve. One way to dive in is to open the eagle files for Uno or another board. Sparkfun also has a set of tutorials.

ExpressSCH is nice for creating schematics. I use a lot it a lot to create something for posting in the forum.

CrossRoads: Yes, Eagle has a learning curve. One way to dive in is to open the eagle files for Uno or another board.

:) Lots of things gone wrong there. Those files were made by a toddler, or by someone who did not want you to make your own boards. Perfect place to experiment. Leo..


Use the force… google

Tom… :slight_smile:

I have ExpressSCH but I can't find a way to set the colors like that shield schematic.

Did you try View:Options:Colors?

See attached screenshot.
I can change any of those colors but I can’t make the pins red and the chip borders yellow and the wires green.

Try View:Options:Colors in expressPCB then.

Ok, I downloaded ExpressPCB but I can't open any of the .SCH files that I created with ExpressSCH because ExpressPCB uses .PCB files. I can change the colors but since I can't find any of the ICs that I was able to find easily in ExpressSCH, I can't do anything with ExpressPCB. What am I doing wrong ?

Are you looking in ExpressSCH or ExpressPCB The screen shot you showed was in ExpressSCH not Express PCB.

Tom... :)

Both. Originally I THOUGHT I was using ExpressPCB and then when I went to the download page I noticed that both of them are there and since I have no intention of making PCBs, I only downloaded ExpressSCH , for making schematics, which is all I want to do. I mistakenly thought the arduino shield you linked was a SCHEMATIC but after thinking about it I realized there were no schematic symbols and it was really a PCB file. (duh, I know) So my original complaint that I couldn't get schematic colors with chip outlines in yellow, wires in green , pins in red and a black background remains a mystery. I know I saw a schematic with those colors but you can't do it with ExpressSCH and I don't think you can make schematics with ExpressPCB because I think that is for making PCBS.

The picture in the original post was from expressPCB. You make electrical symbols in .sch. You make mechanical symbols in .pcb. In .pcb you Link the schematic to the pcb, then the rubberbanding (such as it is) can be used to help with routing.

Hi, Sorry the screen shot that rashemmel posted, was SCH not PCB.

Tom... :)

Ok, never mind. I can’t use ExpressPCB because I am not making PCBs. I’ll have to get by with the colors I have in ExpressSCH.

Hi. Black on White is the perfect combination. I find that those with Eagle and using different colour wires get lazy with how they lay them out, relying on the colours to fix poor wiring layout practice.

Tom.... :) PS Red,Green and Blue on a black background??????

That's what I'll tell myself so I don't feel like I'm missing anyghing...