PCB Design

Hi all. I am having problems with eagle software for pcb design. After much head scratching i found out the work area of eagle is only 100/80mm. This is to small for me and the cost of paying for eagle seems a lot considering you don't get that much extra work space. 160/100mm. Anyway i cant afford to pay that much. So my question. What are the alternatives to eagle. I am making single layer boards etched at home and ideally up to 250/2500mm would be good.

KiCad is an alternative. It seems a bit more clunky in some ways, but if you don't have an option it shouldn't be too hard to get to grips with.

I use http://www.abacom-online.de/uk/html/sprint-layout.html and love it.

Price is not so bad either.

expresspcb is nice also. have to manually assign pads to parts, no autorouting.

These guys also http://www.sunstone.com/

This site has free PCB layout software:- [http://www.freepcb.com/]=http://www.freepcb.com/]http://www.freepcb.com/](http://=http://www.freepcb.com/)

and this one has some good links to other layout stuff:- http://www.p-m-services.co.uk/web_links.htm

Thanks for the links guys will look through all of them.

RS have a freebie as well called DesignSpark

i think seeedstudio has very nice PCB service http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/fusion-pcb-service-p-835.html?cPath=185

holp that helps

RichardL: i think seeedstudio has very nice PCB service http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/fusion-pcb-service-p-835.html?cPath=185

holp that helps

That's totally and completely off topic. Did they pay you for this post?

Let us know which PCB design program you pick, and how it works out for you.

Well, there's nothing like the challenge of squeezing everything into a 80x100m board and an 11x17 1-page schematic 8)

Another example - here are two 328 type designs with some to-be-determined parts and some unused holes on a 80x100mm board, just a test to see what could fit with thru hole parts. Might have hit the limit of how many holes were allowed on this one.

I might revisit this & put some parts under the DIP, requires users to use socket/socket pins that raise the DIP up a little.

expresspcb is nice also.

This software sucks. I would use an etch resist pen and a ruler to do board layout before i used expresspcb's software again.

-j

kg4wsv:

expresspcb is nice also.

This software sucks. I would use an etch resist pen and a ruler to do board layout before i used expresspcb's software again.

-j

I guess people have different opinions on expresspcb. I haven't touched it for a few years and didn't consider it when I started seriously learning PCB because they used proprietary file formats when I used it. Their PCB service was also too expensive. I don't know how they compare right now to EAGLE.

weapon of choice for me is EAGLE I tried expressPCB but found it very klunky by comparison the killer was a couple of PCB fab shops that refuse to accepy expressPCB output

that'l be £0.02 please (or $0.02 if your'e on the wrong side of the puddle)

Well, I found expresspcb to be very easy to use for the pairs of thruhole LED boards that I have a promini drive. Each board half has 24 LEDs, 4 transistors, 7805, couple of caps and some resistors, anda 10-pin header, went very smooth. We went on to hand build up 24 of them, all installed at my fencing club & working nicely. I ordered I think 12 cards, sawed in half myself to make the 24 boards above, plus a couple of spares. Very fast delivery using the standard service. Futurlec will also accept expresspcb designs.

Yes, you have to tie the footprint symbol to the electrical by hand - but so what? Makes it easy to attach whatever footprint you want to a generic SMD resistor for example. Or pick one to use with a leaded part that you want to install it surface mount style. Its also very easy to manipulate a symbol into something else, something I am still struggling with in Eagle.

Eagle is nice for other things - like having it pull in symbols for you if the part exists in a library and you have the patience or the luck or manage to come up with the right search term to find it. And meeting new people for discussions when you find something that is close enough, but shows as the wrong logic family type on a schematic because it wasn't worth fighting with the library over when you just wanted to use a particular footprint. The autorouter is nice, sometimes. It does not always make the obvious connections tho. I've undone some horrendous routings! The netlist creater for checking the actual connections made is nice, as is the parts list creater. There are nice free aftermarket programs for viewing the gerbers that eagle creates also, sparkfun references them.

For putting a quick schematic together for talking points in the forum, exresspcb is really nice.

Each can have it purposes. I wouldn't bash any of them needlessly.

A friend of mine swears by this stuff:

http://www.gpleda.org/index.html

I bash ExpressPCB needfully because it's not a good program to use for PCB design, and actually makes you worse at PCB design when you try to use a better program later on. KiCad has the part-then-package system if that's what you need. I prefer Eagle due to the smooth integration of the schematic and the PCB. A program that doesn't have ratsnest is severely crippled. You can't see what pins are interconnected in ExpressPCB until you click on a pin, and it highlights the other pins. Makes it very difficult to position parts optimally.

If the limits of free Eagle are too constricting, and you really don't want to pay their insanely low license prices, then try to use KiCad or gEDA.

ok caveat I've never actually made a PCB. But Fritzing is awesome and has a PCB view so I guess thats close... http://fritzing.org/download/

Fritzing is the work of the devil. It leads people on and delays the time when they can actually read a schematic and translate it into a layout. It is a barrier to learning. In fact a lot of beginners on this forum think that a physical output from Fritzing IS a schematic.

don't you just hate it when people sit on the fence and don't just say what they mean! :)