Best Program for Schematics and PCBs

Hi everybody,

In your opinion, which is the best program for design, print,... schematics and PCBs for Mac?

I'm using Fritzing and tested the Circuits.IO but I didn't like too much of it. Fritzing is a good app, but there is somethings on it that is annoying...

Search the forum as this has been covered many many times.

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Eagle is a common favourite.

I use Designspark from rswww which is free and very capable.
Does not seem to be a popular choice though.
Avoid fritzing if you can

Search here does not work well.
Better to use google search and include “arduino forum” in the search term.

EDIT

Just realised you are using MAC.

You might like to look at kicad

Eagle is where it's at. So many libraries. It's got a learning curve, but any CAD program does, and it's real commercial software that's usable in business/career if you're in that industry.

Expensive if you want to be able to use it commercially though (but - I was able to talk them into giving me a non-trivial discount. It was still my single biggest buisiness expense )

Many RF pro companies I've worked with used PADS.

Expensive but versatile.

Alan

I've been using PCB Creator from Bay City . I've downloaded and tried Eagle, but didn't have time to learn the curve. PCB won't allow export in anything other than proprietary files, but it's fine when brewing your own boards at home, but I cannot say how much Bay City costs to make boards if you go that route. The libraries are pretty decent, and it isn't too complicated to make your own component footprints if needed.

If you can't get Gerber files out, it's not much good.

CrossRoads: If you can't get Gerber files out, it's not much good.

It can be upgraded to DipTrace for a cost to allow gerber files, but for the free download, you are limited to ordering through them. It will exchange files, libraries, etc with Eagle and others.

If you were using it for making homemade boards, it is actually a pretty decent program IMO. The pin-count limit is 100 and 4 signal layers. Differential pair routing, and of course the auto-router and probably most of the features available in Eagle.

I was testing Eagle just now... It is very hard to use, confusing,... Maybe I need to learn more (much more) but I don't like it...

Maybe I need to study and search more about Eagle, but for a home user I found it to hard to use. In a short future it will be necessary, but as I see, for using Eagle you need to know it very well and study a lot. For now I'm gonna try the others...

Thank you very much for the tips.

Every PCB layout package has a steep learning curve, it has to in order for it to be flexible enough to do the job. I run a Mac and use KirCad, I did not cair much for Eagle.

The problem with asking people with experience of using these packages is that everyone is going to be biased toward whatever package they use most commonly.

Many many years ago someone once told me that the best word processor package was 'the one you know how to use'.

I cut my teeth on Eagle and then moved on to Altium in its various incarnations i.e. Circuit Maker, Circuit Studio and Altium Designer. I've tried to move to KiCAD but just found it too hard to adjust i.e. 'why is it so hard to do x, I can do it in two clicks with Altium'. The answer is obviously because I know how to do X in Altium but need to learn it in KiCAD.

However, if I was in the position of just starting, I'd definitely focus my attention on KiCAD unless you're ready to spend a LOT of money. Eagle seems to be disappearing down a hole thanks to the new licensing model and the cut-down versions of Altium are just annoying given that they're deliberately hobbled.

KiCAD is fully open source and has serious backing in the form of CERN so it's only going to keep getting better. I think I'll make another concerted effort to covert over to it in a version or two.

Just my opinion obviously.

I am used to Eagle, and after three days of trying Kicad (really hard), I abandoned it. Various reasons. The parts library being a big one. Programs like this are currently ok for a few resistors/capacitors/7805 etc. Cumbersome/useless if you want to go further. If Eagle would do a hobby/small production licence for <= U$100.00, I think many of us would not hesitate to get one. Leo..

I used Easy PC which cost about 100. Later the designer(s) i think moved on to design Designspark which has a very similar feel. Good parts library provided it is something RS stocks which is quite comprehensive.

Parts libraries and the way of designing new parts i find to be the biggest hurdle to learning a new package.

hawkbraz: I was testing Eagle just now... It is very hard to use, confusing,... Maybe I need to learn more (much more) but I don't like it...

Maybe I need to study and search more about Eagle, but for a home user I found it to hard to use. In a short future it will be necessary, but as I see, for using Eagle you need to know it very well and study a lot. For now I'm gonna try the others...

In my experience its a mistake to expect any of the PCB packages to be 'easy' to learn and use.

I ve used OrCad back at the University and some time later at work. Also had to learn Proteus at some stage..

For hobby I ve been using Eagle for a few years now but since the licensing scheme changed I am now trying to convince my self to lean KiCAD.

Having already had to learn a few packages I decided that, if I had to learn one more, this time it would be an open source one. It looks like with open source packages the future is more... predictable compared to the commercial ones. (eg look at linux !)

Exactly. The open source community is like a flock of sheep without a shepherd. They get a lot right, but not everything. I have tried Linux every year for the past 10 years, and only this year I haven't deleted it yet. Kicad could be great, but not yet for me. Leo..

Have used PADS professionally. Whilst it is not easy to use, it is versatile. At home I use EASYPC which as the name suggests is easy to use and is relatively inexpensive and has a large parts library. It can also be purchased with a simulator though I have never used it.