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'[EE]: Anyone know of a review of PCB CAD packages?'
2002\02\16@101749 by Chris Eddy

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The time has come to sh_t can my PCB cad. It will not do small fine
pitch features, it has flaws in the copper fill, and other issues that I
don't want to live with anymore. I would like to get a new package, but
I do not want to base my decision on glossy literature and a commission
driven sales wonk. I would love to find either in print or on line a
comprehensive point by point comparison of features.  Any hints?

Thanks
Chris Eddy~

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2002\02\16@105610 by Chris Loiacono

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I'll be watching whatever thread may develop for this, as I have some
sililar issues, and have decided to spend some money to resolve them ASAP.
It seems that several on this list have spoken highly of the Eagle tool,
likewise it has received high praise on other lists also. I am concerned
that it may be a dressed-up hobby package.
One thing in it's favor is that there seem to be a good number of friendly
users who reply to help postings here.

But, overall, I am a doubter and would love to see some real reviews also.

Perhaps a non-commercial review page covering many related tools, etc. would
be a good thing to add to PIClist.com???

Who herein would be willing to starrt with a review of ECAD tools?
I'm sure we could get it added to the site....

Chris

{Original Message removed}

2002\02\16@114055 by Chris Eddy

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We are both standing on the same iceberg. I am concerned that eagle is
hobby too.
My super duper wish list;

Design rule checking
copper fill
advanced editting of library symbols
back/forward anotate
very fine pitch (getting into TSSOP)
ease of mixing metric and imperial
multi-page project grouping
bill of material generation

Of course, add the word 'better' in front of each item, as my current
system, ProCAD, has these but they are flawed to one degree or another.

Chris Loiacono wrote:
> I'll be watching whatever thread may develop for this, as I have some
> sililar issues, and have decided to spend some money to resolve them ASAP.
> It seems that several on this list have spoken highly of the Eagle tool,
> likewise it has received high praise on other lists also. I am concerned
> that it may be a dressed-up hobby package.

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2002\02\16@134730 by dpharris

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Hi-
I am using the Eagle package.  The free version is limited to 3.2x4 inch board
with only two layers.  It includes a schematic capture with board layout
integrated.  There are a large number of parts libraries, and you can define
your own parts easily.
From my, albiet naive, viewpoint, it does not have any weaknesses, although I am
having trouble cramming my board into 3.2x4!
David

Chris Loiacono wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2002\02\16@145208 by Chris Loiacono

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Your list sounds like an Ivex ad, with the exception of mixing units of
measurement. It is one that I use, and while I can do almost inifinitely
fine pitch with it, the DRC function works OK, Editing library files works
to the point of generating them from scratch if desired, etc...
it is a 16 bit application that likes to crash frequently on newer than Win
3.1 platforms.
Now that I have invested in lots of pin capacity and have finally (after >5
yrs) learned how most settings should be, it should be smooth sailing,
right? Wrong.
Every time I do a new board (I only do 10 to 12 per yr) I find some new
setting that isn't documented anywhere that causes me to bactrack and double
or triple my effort. The problems always turn up when generating Gerbers.

That's why I like the idea of a list of real reviews from real users. All
these packages are sold according to the old expression "buyer beware". It's
sort of like buying a car - if you don't inquire about possible limitations,
nobody will tell you. If you do, nobody will know. To me that's a big clue
that collective research would be helpful. We need a "Consumer's Reports"
for tech tools.

Eagle Pro may be great, but I get nervous because of the lack of visible
documentation, and the frequency of requests for help with on this list.
What's the deal, it's not supported otherwise?

How sorry will I be if I adjust my budget for something like the big Cadence
or OrCAD packages?
The price tags sure are painful....but if they really do what they are
supposed to - always.....the cost just might be justifiable. It's a big jump
(of faith) between the cost of Ivex and Eagle up to the real pro aps, made
even bigger by the current economy....

I think I'll check the USF bookstore to see what the Eng. dep't has on the
list there. EDU copies are usually fully loaded at a great cost...


Does anyone recall the recent posting from someone who was gloating about a
'new' CAD tool they were using?

CL

We are both standing on the same iceberg. I am concerned that eagle is
hobby too.
My super duper wish list;

Design rule checking
copper fill
advanced editting of library symbols
back/forward anotate
very fine pitch (getting into TSSOP)
ease of mixing metric and imperial
multi-page project grouping
bill of material generation

Of course, add the word 'better' in front of each item, as my current
system, ProCAD, has these but they are flawed to one degree or another.

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2002\02\16@154354 by Jim

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Greetings.

Below are my comments.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Chris Eddy" <spam_OUTceddyTakeThisOuTspamNB.NET>
To: <.....PICLISTKILLspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 9:05 AM
Subject: [EE]: Anyone know of a review of PCB CAD packages?


> The time has come to sh_t can my PCB cad. It will not do small
> fine pitch features, it has flaws in the copper fill, and other

How fine is fine?

I have just finished using my Eagle 3.55 version to do
some .5 mm pitch (approx .02 inch spacing) connectors on a
board without any trouble.

I converted the .5 mm dimensions to 'English' units
then rounded these off - doing all the conversion in a
spreadsheet. An offset of a mil (.001) or two (.002)
does not/will not materially affect your layout.

The spacing worked out like this:
0.000  (1st pin)
0.020  (2nd pin)
0.039  (3rd pin)
0.059  (etc.)
0.079
0.098
0.118
0.138
0.157
...


The next step was to create a part in Eagle using an
existing library - I usually always 'write' an existing
library out as a script file, make the changes then then
'run' that script file within Eagle to create a new *version*
of a particular library with my new part in it.

I also used the copper fill feature in Eagle in this last
project- very painless! Simply define the area where
the fill is to occur as a ploygon in the proper layer.

This is the third project I've used Eagle for - using
APCircuits.com as the 'board house' and previewing using
GCPrevue each time - no errors or hickups so far!


> issues that I don't want to live with anymore. I would like to
> get a new package, but I do not want to base my decision on
> glossy literature and a commission driven sales wonk. I would
> love to find either in print or on line a comprehensive point
> by point comparison of features.  Any hints?


I would try the Eagle eval copy - get a feel for it (perhaps?)
before deciding to shell out the bucks for something else.

I found the tutorials very handy - as some of the commands at
first seemed counter-intuitive.

Jim


>
> Thanks
> Chris Eddy~
>
>

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2002\02\16@155402 by Jim

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Greetings again.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Chris Eddy" <ceddyspamKILLspamNB.NET>
To: <.....PICLISTKILLspamspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 10:28 AM
Subject: Re: [EE]: Anyone know of a review of PCB CAD packages?


> We are both standing on the same iceberg. I am concerned that eagle is
> hobby too.
> My super duper wish list;
>
> Design rule checking

I use DRC on the board to check min. drill sizes,
pad sizes, spacing after auto-routing and after
manual rotuing.

> copper fill

Define, in the proper layer, a polygon of width x.

The area so defined will avoid other non-associated
pads, *will* properly do associated pads using a
neat thermal isolation trick and will 'fill' the
area 'painting' with the Gerber area defined (wire
width).


> advanced editting of library symbols

What would 'advanced' editing be?

I usually 'dump' the Eagle library being
edited as a script file - then edit that
since that seems to be quicker.

> back/forward anotate

They offer some capability here ...

> very fine pitch (getting into TSSOP)

I did some 15 mil pitch (.015) 100 Pin QFP
layout - but haven't had that board built
yet.

> ease of mixing metric and imperial

I usually convert the metric device to English
and 'round' off the unit to +-.001 inch

It *may* allow real-time selection of one or the
other - can someone conform this?

> multi-page project grouping

Multi-page schematics same board - is this the same thing?

> bill of material generation

There is a ULP that does this.

>
> Of course, add the word 'better' in front of each item, as my current
> system, ProCAD, has these but they are flawed to one degree or another.
>
> Chris Loiacono wrote:
> > I'll be watching whatever thread may develop for this, as I have some
> > sililar issues, and have decided to spend some money to resolve them > >
ASAP.
> > It seems that several on this list have spoken highly of the Eagle
> > tool,
> > likewise it has received high praise on other lists also. I am
> > concerned
> > that it may be a dressed-up hobby package.

Hmmmm ... Eagle seems a little better than just that.

It has been around for awhile now - it has what we
call 'legacy' in the biz ... I began using it on
a 33MHz 386 back in the mid 90's when it was still
DOS based.

Jim

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2002\02\16@182342 by Tim McDonough

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> The price tags sure are painful....but if they really do what they
are
> supposed to - always.....the cost just might be justifiable. It's a
big jump
> (of faith) between the cost of Ivex and Eagle up to the real pro
aps, made
> even bigger by the current economy....

I was not the one who did the design work but we used VeriBest at one
place I worked. It seemed to suffer from a lot of the same quirks as
the under $500 group and it cost thousands.

Tim

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2002\02\16@185709 by Rick Sherman

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Printed Circuit Design Magazine sometimes has reviews and comparisons.
They tend to lean towards the high end stuff though.
http://www.pcdmag.com


Rick



{Original Message removed}

2002\02\16@190849 by Tim McDonough

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After several positive comments I decided to download EAGLE and see
what it was like. I've experimented only briefly but where are the
plain old resistors found in the library? I see lots of different
resistor packs but where to get simple individual resistors is not
apparent. (I shouldn't try these things late in the day!)

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2002\02\16@191355 by Dwayne Reid

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I think very highly of CADINT.  They now have a free version which is good
for up to 250 pins.  In fact, you are using the paid for version with a
license good for 250 pins.  That license is free.

You can download the most current version from both http://www.cadint.com and
http://www.cadint.se .  You will have to fill out a little form to get it but they
don't spam you or sell your email address.  Be sure to also download the
manual and tutorial - these are not included in the main download.

If you decide you like the package enough to upgrade to the pay version,
they have several options available.  The high end is fairly pricey but I
feel it is serious bang for the buck.  Note that the only thing that
changes when you upgrade is the license file and passwords.  You still keep
the same program you were using with the free license.

In a nutshell:
250 pins - downloaded:          free
250 pins - shipped on CD:       $10
non-commercial - 500 pins:      $90
Other variants are available.

dwayne


Dwayne Reid   <EraseMEdwaynerspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax

Celebrating 18 years of Engineering Innovation (1984 - 2002)
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Do NOT send unsolicited commercial email to this email address.
This message neither grants consent to receive unsolicited
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2002\02\16@204643 by Chris Loiacono

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That's a bargain even if it's only a simple tool. DO they have an
autorouter?

-----Original Message-----
From: pic microcontroller discussion list
[PICLISTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU]On Behalf Of Dwayne Reid
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 4:06 PM
To: @spam@PICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: [EE]: Anyone know of a review of PCB CAD packages?


I think very highly of CADINT.  They now have a free version which is good
for up to 250 pins.  In fact, you are using the paid for version with a
license good for 250 pins.  That license is free.

You can download the most current version from both http://www.cadint.com and
http://www.cadint.se .  You will have to fill out a little form to get it but they
don't spam you or sell your email address.  Be sure to also download the
manual and tutorial - these are not included in the main download.

If you decide you like the package enough to upgrade to the pay version,
they have several options available.  The high end is fairly pricey but I
feel it is serious bang for the buck.  Note that the only thing that
changes when you upgrade is the license file and passwords.  You still keep
the same program you were using with the free license.

In a nutshell:
250 pins - downloaded:          free
250 pins - shipped on CD:       $10
non-commercial - 500 pins:      $90
Other variants are available.

dwayne


Dwayne Reid   <KILLspamdwaynerKILLspamspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax

Celebrating 18 years of Engineering Innovation (1984 - 2002)
 .-.   .-.   .-.   .-.   .-.   .-.   .-.   .-.   .-.   .-
    `-'   `-'   `-'   `-'   `-'   `-'   `-'   `-'   `-'
Do NOT send unsolicited commercial email to this email address.
This message neither grants consent to receive unsolicited
commercial email nor is intended to solicit commercial email.

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2002\02\17@050430 by Tomas Hansson

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As a comment to this I can say that we have earlier been using Ultiboard
that recently was bought by Electronics Workbench. We originally looked for
an easy to use program that we could use to get a PCB drawn fast and
accurate.

A few years ago this was true with Ultiboard (the DOS version) but since the
switch to Windows they have lost track of what is important. We got the
impression that most of the development where spent on making nice little
gadgets and all sort of special features that you very seldom use. Instead
the functionality for serious work got worse and the bugs where increasing.

Things got to a stage where we decided to switch to another program and we
tried Eagle since it is very cheap.

Eagle doesn't contain a lot of special functions like 3D view etc and it
looks a bit simple. But all the important features like,

> Design rule checking
> copper fill
> advanced editing of library symbols
> back/forward annotate (real time)
> very fine pitch (getting into TSSOP)
> ease of mixing metric and imperial
> multi-page project grouping
> bill of material generation

are there and so far we haven't found any big problems whit it.

We have only been using it for 6 moths so far so I am no expert yet.

If you are looking for a program that you can draw a PCB with fast &
accurate I can recommend Eagle, if you on the other hand require
simulation,#D and more advance features you should choose something else.

/Tomas




{Quote hidden}

ASAP.
> > It seems that several on this list have spoken highly of the Eagle tool,
> > likewise it has received high praise on other lists also. I am concerned
> > that it may be a dressed-up hobby package.
>
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2002\02\18@021412 by x

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>
> How sorry will I be if I adjust my budget for something like the big
Cadence
> or OrCAD packages?
> The price tags sure are painful....but if they really do what they are
> supposed to - always.....the cost just might be justifiable. It's a
big jump
> (of faith) between the cost of Ivex and Eagle up to the real pro aps,
made
> even bigger by the current economy....
>

Before spending a lot of money on Orcad, try to use it !
There's an evaluation copy free of charge.
I tried, and decided not to invest even a cent into that "product". It
is not freandly, and it has bugs (Orcad 9.1) with printing.

Since that, I also evaluated Pcad 2001.
I found it freandly, I can use my existing Tango for Dos PCB-s, and
within a week from installing the trial, I could make a useful board.
I understand it's philosophy, so it is funny, if You have enough budget
....

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2002\02\18@103721 by Andy Jancura

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Hi,

try to get the PCad 2000 Lite version. It's easy and has everything you
need. Works with 400 components and 4 signal and 2 power layers, what may be
what you want.

A.


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2002\02\18@124649 by Cristian C.

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Andi, let me know the link to PCad2000Lite, please.
Thanks,
Cristian

>try to get the PCad 2000 Lite version.
>
>A.

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2002\02\19@022457 by Andy Jancura

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Hi Christian,

you can find it under http://www.pcad.com. Under price the second variant 6L400C.
May be the price is little bit to high, but in the package you have Spice,
Signal Integrity and Cam.

A.

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