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'[EE]: layout software recommendations'
2005\07\06@132227 by Rob Robson

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I'm hoping someone can recommend a fairly intuitive schematic entry / board layout package in the US$1000-or-under range.  It needs to be able to create production quality gerber output for double-sided boards with silkscreen and soldermask layers, as well as drilling guides.  Components are mostly surface mount, but none smaller than 1206 at present.  Does anyone have a favorite package that fits these specs?

Many thanks in advance,
Rob

2005\07\06@133127 by Dave VanHorn

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At 12:19 PM 7/6/2005, Rob Robson wrote:
>I'm hoping someone can recommend a fairly intuitive schematic entry
>/ board layout package in the US$1000-or-under range.  It needs to
>be able to create production quality gerber output for double-sided
>boards with silkscreen and soldermask layers, as well as drilling
>guides.  Components are mostly surface mount, but none smaller than
>1206 at present.  Does anyone have a favorite package that fits these specs?

You'll get recommendations for Eagle, which I personally find hard to
use,  Old Dos Orcad will do it, if you can scare up a copy, SDT
and  PCB386+ are still in use by a number of folks, and we hang out
in the old dos orcad group on Yahoo.. We even have new video drivers
written in the last 6 months or so.

2005\07\06@133127 by Dave VanHorn

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At 12:19 PM 7/6/2005, Rob Robson wrote:
>I'm hoping someone can recommend a fairly intuitive schematic entry
>/ board layout package in the US$1000-or-under range.  It needs to
>be able to create production quality gerber output for double-sided
>boards with silkscreen and soldermask layers, as well as drilling
>guides.  Components are mostly surface mount, but none smaller than
>1206 at present.  Does anyone have a favorite package that fits these specs?

You'll get recommendations for Eagle, which I personally find hard to
use,  Old Dos Orcad will do it, if you can scare up a copy, SDT
and  PCB386+ are still in use by a number of folks, and we hang out
in the old dos orcad group on Yahoo.. We even have new video drivers
written in the last 6 months or so.

2005\07\06@133637 by Robert Young

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> I'm hoping someone can recommend a fairly intuitive schematic
> entry / board layout package in the US$1000-or-under range.  
> It needs to be able to create production quality gerber
> output for double-sided boards with silkscreen and soldermask
> layers, as well as drilling guides.  Components are mostly
> surface mount, but none smaller than 1206 at present.  Does
> anyone have a favorite package that fits these specs?
>
> Many thanks in advance,
> Rob
> --

Eagle
http://www.cadsoftusa.com

2005\07\06@134309 by Mark Rages

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On 7/6/05, Rob Robson <spam_OUTrobTakeThisOuTspamsilk.net> wrote:
> I'm hoping someone can recommend a fairly intuitive schematic entry / board layout package in the US$1000-or-under range.  It needs to be able to create production quality gerber output for double-sided boards with silkscreen and soldermask layers, as well as drilling guides.  Components are mostly surface mount, but none smaller than 1206 at present.  Does anyone have a favorite package that fits these specs?
>

Your specs are easy: *any* PCB package worth its salt will do what you
want!  So prepare for everyone recommending their favorite tool...

Mine is gEDA/pcb.  http://geda.seul.org

Meets all your requirements except, perhaps, intuitiveness.  File
formats are open and well documented, and there's an enthusiastic
community of users and developers for support.

Regards,
Mark
markrages@gmail
--
You think that it is a secret, but it never has been one.
 - fortune cookie

2005\07\06@140007 by Mike Hord

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> I'm hoping someone can recommend a fairly intuitive
> schematic entry / board layout package in the US
> $1000-or-under range.  It needs to be able to create
> production quality gerber output for double-sided
> boards with silkscreen and soldermask layers, as
> well as drilling guides.  Components are mostly
> surface mount, but none smaller than 1206 at
>present.  Does anyone have a favorite package that
>fits these specs?

My choice is Proteus by Labcenter Electronics.
Contact R4Systems (http://www.r4systems.com) for
North American purchasing.

Does schematic entry, PIC, AVR and 8051 system
simulation, and multilayer board layout.  For $1k US,
you will probably get automatic component placement
and upgraded autorouting capability.

I find it to be VERY easy to work with, as opposed to
Eagle, which I've never gotten over the initial hurdles of
operation.  Bonuses include 1 year of free upgrades,
as well as full purchase price credit toward future
new version/enhanced feature set purchases.

Mike H.

2005\07\06@141548 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Rages" <.....markragesKILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [EE]: layout software recommendations


> Your specs are easy: *any* PCB package worth its salt will do what you
> want!  So prepare for everyone recommending their favorite tool...
>
> Mine is gEDA/pcb.  http://geda.seul.org
>
> Meets all your requirements except, perhaps, intuitiveness.  File
> formats are open and well documented, and there's an enthusiastic
> community of users and developers for support.

hehe - I'll vote for gEDA, too.  And I'll agree with Mark that it is a
little shy on the intuitiveness side.  On the other hand, there is a really
good tutorial that I found to be a huge help.  And the price is right!

I would suggest that you mosey on over to

 http://geda.seul.org/docs/current/tutorials/gsch2pcb/tutorial.html

and give it a careful read. Of course, it's a lot better if you have a PC
with gEDA installed as you go through the tutorial.  But it is pretty open
about the weaknesses, so even if you just do a close reading you'll learn a
lot.

--McD

2005\07\06@144315 by Herbert Graf

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On Wed, 2005-07-06 at 14:16 -0400, John J. McDonough wrote:
> hehe - I'll vote for gEDA, too.  And I'll agree with Mark that it is a
> little shy on the intuitiveness side.  On the other hand, there is a really
> good tutorial that I found to be a huge help.  And the price is right!
>
> I would suggest that you mosey on over to
>
>   geda.seul.org/docs/current/tutorials/gsch2pcb/tutorial.html
>
> and give it a careful read. Of course, it's a lot better if you have a PC
> with gEDA installed as you go through the tutorial.  But it is pretty open
> about the weaknesses, so even if you just do a close reading you'll learn a
> lot.

I'll give the tutorial a look. I've installed gEDA but haven't had a
change to play with it yet.

How easy is it to get gEDA to generate something Olimex will be able to
handle (with their odd drill sizes)? Thanks, TTYL

-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

2005\07\06@155202 by Mark Rages

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On 7/6/05, Herbert Graf <mailinglist2spamKILLspamfarcite.net> wrote:
>
> I'll give the tutorial a look. I've installed gEDA but haven't had a
> change to play with it yet.
>
> How easy is it to get gEDA to generate something Olimex will be able to
> handle (with their odd drill sizes)? Thanks, TTYL
>

Read this message and the following thread:

http://archives.seul.org/geda/user/Dec-2004/msg00005.html

Regards,
Mark
markrages@gmail
--
You think that it is a secret, but it never has been one.
 - fortune cookie

2005\07\06@155353 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Herbert Graf" <.....mailinglist2KILLspamspam.....farcite.net>
Subject: Re: [EE]: layout software recommendations


> How easy is it to get gEDA to generate something Olimex will be able to
> handle (with their odd drill sizes)? Thanks, TTYL

I have no experience with Olimex, but if the standard array of drill sizes
isn't sufficient, it's pretty easy to specify your own.

--McD

2005\07\06@175053 by Tobias Wieler

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Rob Robson schrieb:

>I'm hoping someone can recommend a fairly intuitive schematic entry / board layout package in the US$1000-or-under range.  It needs to be able to create production quality gerber output for double-sided boards with silkscreen and soldermask layers, as well as drilling guides.  Components are mostly surface mount, but none smaller than 1206 at present.  Does anyone have a favorite package that fits these specs?
>
>Many thanks in advance,
>Rob
>  
>
I use a software called 'Target' which is popular in Germany (English version available of course as well).
There is a free trial version limited to 100 pins - but good enough if it is intuitive to you. Look at http://www.ibfriedrich.com/ if you are interested.
One more thing - the support is absolutely great! With all my questions so far I got good answers the same day - sometimes within minutes.
My projects usually don't get very big so the 700 pin Version @ 128€ works great for me.

Greetings,
Tobias

2005\07\06@185217 by Simon Dyer

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I believe EagleCad does all that.

Regards,
--------------------------------------
Simon Dyer, ph +64 3 963 5522
--------------------------------------


{Original Message removed}

2005\07\06@185217 by Simon Dyer

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I believe EagleCad does all that.

Regards,
--------------------------------------
Simon Dyer, ph +64 3 963 5522
--------------------------------------


{Original Message removed}

2005\07\06@194227 by Alexandre Guimaraes

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   You should take a look at Circad at http://www.holophase.com . The software is
really very fast and has a auto panning function even in Windows that makes
it great to use. The only 2 big problems that I see at it is the total lack
of any auto router and the component library that is awfully small. Taking
that out, it is the best thing I have ever seen to make boards... And you
almost can use it all with just the keyboard !!

Best regards,
Alexandre Guimaraes

2005\07\08@124926 by alan smith

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I used to run that.  But I found that the gerber files were becoming an issue with some places.  Are there new gerber drivers?

Dave VanHorn <EraseMEdvanhornspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTdvanhorn.org> wrote:At 12:19 PM 7/6/2005, Rob Robson wrote:
>I'm hoping someone can recommend a fairly intuitive schematic entry
>/ board layout package in the US$1000-or-under range. It needs to
>be able to create production quality gerber output for double-sided
>boards with silkscreen and soldermask layers, as well as drilling
>guides. Components are mostly surface mount, but none smaller than
>1206 at present. Does anyone have a favorite package that fits these specs?

You'll get recommendations for Eagle, which I personally find hard to
use, Old Dos Orcad will do it, if you can scare up a copy, SDT
and PCB386+ are still in use by a number of folks, and we hang out
in the old dos orcad group on Yahoo.. We even have new video drivers
written in the last 6 months or so.

2005\07\08@131302 by Dave VanHorn

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At 11:49 AM 7/8/2005, alan smith wrote:
>I used to run that.  But I found that the gerber files were becoming
>an issue with some places.  Are there new gerber drivers?

In what way?  I always use the 274X output, and everyone likes it.

2005\07\08@144250 by Mike Hord

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> >I used to run that.  But I found that the gerber files were becoming
> >an issue with some places.  Are there new gerber drivers?
>
> In what way?  I always use the 274X output, and everyone likes it.

I think some people just can't figure some of that stuff out.  I sent
a "standard" 274X output to a company several times, trying many
different ways to get the point across, and never managed to.
Eventually, I gave up on them and started using Advanced Circuits,
whose freedfm.com service can save many headaches and which
worked flawlessly with the very same files the other company
couldn't make heads or tails out of.

Who knows?

Mike H.

2005\07\08@161703 by Harold Hallikainen

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I'm also using Advanced Circuits http://www.freedfm.com . My CAD program
puts identifying text on all photoplots, so freedfm complains that I have
a lack of clearance between the dot and the base of the letter 'i'. So, I
largely have to ignore the freedfm results.

On CAD, I'm using the package from Advanced Microcomputer Systems
(http://www.advancedmsinc.com/creator/index.htm). I've been using this for
20 years or so, starting with a DOS based system. It does the job! My only
complaints are the lack of thermal relief on pads when you do a copper
pour (it does do them on ground and power planes, but not on signal
layers). The other complaint is that the part libraries are "binary
blobs." Ideally, I'd like to see each part be a separate ASCII file.
Different libraries (whether logic families or manufacturers) would just
be different directories. Each pad definition would be an ASCII file. Each
footprint would be an ASCII file that refers to the pad files. Each
schematic symbol would be an ASCII file. Each part definition would
reference the symbol and footprint files. Having separate files would make
it easier for users to share part definitions (I don't think it's even
possible right now). Use of ASCII would make debugging easier when
something really strange happens.

But, the package is cheap, does the job, and I'm used to it. I've probably
done a few hundred boards with it. One program is used to capture the
schematic. It outputs an "update" file that includes a list of parts, the
footprints for those parts, and the netnames on each pin. If you tell the
board layout program to create a board from the update file, it throws the
parts at the board creating an unplaced board. You then tell the system to
"schedule" the board, which creates a ratsnest drawing. As you drag parts
around, the ratsnest follows so you have an idea of what needs to go where
to achieve short routing. I then run the traces by hand. There's an
autorouter, but I've never had good experience with autorouters. I
generally keep both the schematic and the board programs open. When I want
to do a pin swap, I modify the schematic, generate a new update file, read
the update file into the board program, then continue the routing. It's
all pretty quick.

Harold


--
FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com

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