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'[EE]: Schematic capture/board layout software nee'
2001\01\27@120730 by Mark S.

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Hi all,

Any suggestions on good, hopefully inexpensive schematic capture/board
layout software? I would like the library to have US (not international)
symbols, and I need gerber output if at all possible.

Thanks,
Mark

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2001\01\27@121944 by Randy A.

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Mark:

It might be a bit difficult to find a low cost capture/layout software with
all of the features you indicated.  It also might be difficult to find one
that doesn't use the international symbols since a lot of the
shareware/freeware packages out there are from Europe, Australia etc.  I
quess also, it would depend on what is defined as low cost.

Personally, I use the CircutMaker, TraxMaker Pro Suite and am very happy with
it.  However the Software Suite is around $1,600.00 U.S.D., or was when I
purchased it.

Eagle is a shareware/freeware type package but is not all that powerful.
However it is a good one for the price, which is free.  Go to http://www.cadsoft.de
for the software.

Hope this helps,

Randy

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2001\01\27@122813 by Mark S.

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Thanks Randy, I should clarify "low cost". I'm thinking about $500-$700...

I would love CircuitMaker, but I bet my boss wouldn't go for it!

At 12:19 PM 1/27/01 -0500, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2001\01\27@130357 by Mark S.

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Great news - I DL'ed the demo. I take the standard version ($400) does
gerber output, you just can't edit it - correct?

Thanks,
Mark

{Quote hidden}

>- {Original Message removed}

2001\01\27@130603 by Bob Blick

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>CircuitMaker 2000 Standard is $400 - includes PCB
>Professional is $1000

And I would avoid it at all costs. It's geared toward the educational
market. Think "Electronic Workbench" and shudder.

My recommendation in the price range would be Eagle. They also support Linux.

Oh dear I hope this doesn't start a holy war.

-Bob

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2001\01\27@141102 by Mark S.

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Hmm, interesting. I have Eagle, but it doesn't give Gerber output and the
symbols are International.

Thanks,
Mark

At 10:05 AM 1/27/01 -0800, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2001\01\27@144707 by Randy A.

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Mark:

That I can understand.  However, you can get the regular versions of
CircuitMaker and Traxmaker for about half of the price I mentioned, or at
least you used to be able to.  I believe they go for under $300.00 each in
the regular versions.  There are some limitations but not all that many,
mainly the device library etc.

Hope this may help some too.

Randy A.

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2001\01\27@144717 by Bob Ammerman

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> Hmm, interesting. I have Eagle, but it doesn't give Gerber output and the
> symbols are International.

My copy of eagle certainly does Gerber!

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems
(contract development of high performance, high function, low-level
software)

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2001\01\27@145122 by Randy A.

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Bob:

You mean the CircuitMaker 2000 is geared toward the educational market?  How
about the professional versions.  I have the Version 6.0 of Circuitmaker and
I think it is V3.0 Traxmaker but they are the pro versions and they
definately are for professionals although not the Cadillac software that some
others are.

Randy

P.S.  I don't think a holy war will result :-)

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2001\01\27@153128 by Bob Blick

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>You mean the CircuitMaker 2000 is geared toward the educational market?  How
>about the professional versions.  I have the Version 6.0 of Circuitmaker and
>I think it is V3.0 Traxmaker but they are the pro versions and they
>definately are for professionals although not the Cadillac software that some
>others are.

Their web site front page says in the second paragraph:
"CircuitMaker is one of the only electronics software products to focus
specifically on the needs of educational users, and is fast becoming the
standard across institutions worldwide"

Also it's made by Protel, so they have to keep the two products separate,
else why would you pay thousands of dollars for Protel if Circuitmaker did
the same things for 400 or 1000 dollars. Something smells fishy to me.

I'm ready to be convinced that it's great software, but I'm skeptical. Does
it autoroute reasonably well? They get $600 extra for the version that does
"rip up 'n retry". Autorouters are two stages beyond "rip up 'n retry"
these days, so that sounds pretty dismal. Does it redraw intelligently? Can
you verify your designs for connectivity and clearance?

Not that I think the autorouter in Eagle compares well to the 4 figure
autorouters. Specctra is pretty awesome, although ugly as hell and 30% more
evil.

Cheerful regards,

Bob

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2001\01\27@170414 by Mark S.

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I DL'ed the demo, not real impressed.

>I'm ready to be convinced that it's great software, but I'm skeptical. Does
>it autoroute reasonably well? They get $600 extra for the version that does
>"rip up 'n retry". Autorouters are two stages beyond "rip up 'n retry"
>these days, so that sounds pretty dismal.

No, the auto route didn't work well for me at all.

>Does it redraw intelligently?

Nope.

>Can you verify your designs for connectivity and clearance?

Connectivity, yes, I believe, don't know about clearance.

Also, the PCB program quit several times with "Demo time up!".

I think I'll get the Eagle upgrade (now that I know it does Gerber)

Thanks,
Mark

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2001\01\27@174427 by ken

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Mark,
I'll make a short story long.
I've just spent serveral hours/days hunting down and testing, looking for
inexpensive schematic software. The price vs limited functionality can make
you dizzy. Not to mention overall pricing.
First I've been using a software package that I think is really cool
"Proteus"  They have a lite version "pic bundle" aprx. $149.00
includes schematic/simulation/pcb layout.
You can write pic code for your pic schematic design and simulate. Even
multi-pic,keypad,lcd display (really cool). Right now it can only simulate
PIC1683/1684 (lite version limited to 1k program code), but it really works.
They are working on more pic modules now. I could go on for quite a while
about this program, they have free trial download at....

http://www.labcenter.co.uk/

The problem I ran into after I completed my first design with the lite pic
bundle, is the lite version will not produce Gerber/Excellion drill files only
dxf, bmp, hpgl, tiff. You have to upgrade atleast to thier
ARES PCB Design starter package aprx. $200.00.

So that sent me out looking; Here's a couple of packages to look at;

I see you all ready found Circuit Maker 2000;
http://circuitmaker.com
Seems to be a very fully featured package at the BEST PRICE
I could find. Cool macro package for creating your own sim modules
including sub circuit modules. Direct import of spice modules too.
Downloaded demo, interface seemed clunky.

Cadsoft Eagle;
http://www.cadsoft.de/
Seemed to jump up in price pretty fast if you wanted to make alittle bigger
board.

Express PCB;
http://www.expresspcb.com/
Cool idea, but very limited. You download thier software for free.
They are a board house. You use thier software, download your saved file
and they produce the board (doesn't get any easier). Also includes one
click cost to produce your board from within the program. They have the
"Mini Board" service, if your working on a small board, 3.8"x2.5"
You download your design, they'll ship 3 boards
next business day, 2-3 delivery for $59.00, shipping included.
I found there software to limited for my project.

The Proteus line I decided to stay with and spend the extra money
The program is a must see/try, if you work with pic's even more the reason
to take a look.

Here's a few more links to low cost? software

Winboard PCB Layout;
http://www.ivex.com/

Circad
http://www.holophase.com/

Draftcad
http://www.illuminated.com.au/

SuperPCB
http://www.mentala.com/

MicroCad
http://www.winqcad.com/

McCad
http://www.mccad.com/





> Any suggestions on good, hopefully inexpensive schematic capture/board
> layout software? I would like the library to have US (not international)
> symbols, and I need gerber output if at all possible.
>
> Thanks,
> Mark
>

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2001\01\27@195358 by Randy A.

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Bob:

You hit on the reasons that I did not upgrade to the 2000 CircuitMaker.  As a
matter of fact my Pro versions do work quite well but you are correct about
Protel needing to keep the two separate since the company they bought was
turning out software that did an awful lot of what the greatly more expensive
Protel did.  I have also heard that the customer support has gone way down
hill since Protel aquired them.  I think the versions I have were written
before Protel got involved.

Anyway the software I have is good but I did pay the premium price for it.

More cheerful regards,
Randy

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2001\01\29@133442 by Harold M Hallikainen

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I've been using the predecessor to Circuit Creator by Advanced
Microcomputer Systems <http://www.advancedmsinc.com/> for many years. It
does a good job for me! Circuit Creator is a move of EZ Route over to
Windoze. Something kinda neat they're working on is user contributed
libraries. I've had an ongoing correspondence with them. Looks pretty
neat!

Harold


On Sat, 27 Jan 2001 10:05:11 -0700 "Mark S." <spam_OUTmarkslTakeThisOuTspamUSWEST.NET> writes:
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FCC Rules Online at http://hallikainen.com/FccRules
Lighting control for theatre and television at http://www.dovesystems.com

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