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'[EE] Yet another free PCB layout package'
2011\01\21@165246 by Dwayne Reid

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From today's issue of Elektor email newsletter:

<http://www.elektor.com/news/test-driving-the-designspark-pcb-design-tool.1681650.lynkx?utm_source=UK&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=news>

"As an Elektor reader you're probably aware that we design a lot of PCBs and we know you're doing the same. So there's a good reason to try RS Components' new PCB software to see what it's worth. Is it powerful enough to adopt it? We installed the latest version of the software on a computer and took out DesignSpark for a test drive. Our findings may be found on the Elektor Embedded Blogspot."

<http://elektorembedded.blogspot.com/>
<http://www.designspark.com/pcb>

Bottom line: the reviewer thought that it compared favorably with Eagle but without any of Eagle's restrictions as to board size or number of components or nets.

dwayne

-- Dwayne Reid   <spam_OUTdwaynerTakeThisOuTspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

2011\01\21@194907 by Chris McSweeny

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Interesting - given I buy almost all my electronic bits at RS I wonder
if they'll have the components in the libraries? More pertinently,
given I have plans to make pin money from some of my projects it seems
I can use this to make my PCBs without any worries about licensing
(the cost to make Eagle legit is probably more than I'd make from my
projects).

Chris

On Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 9:52 PM, Dwayne Reid <.....dwaynerKILLspamspam@spam@planet.eon.net> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2011\01\21@201257 by IVP

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> (the cost to make Eagle legit is probably more than I'd make
> from my projects)

That's true only if you want more than the freeware version. On a
couple of occassions my boards have gone over the limits (which
I think are still two-layer, 150mm x 100mm) but my board house
has been able to stitch my part-boards together to make one
bigger board as they know how to use Eagle and manipulate the
panelisation data

And whenever possible, I would not stock up via RS without
shopping around and considering future useage. Many times I've
gone somewhere else and paid only twice as much to get ten times
as many

Yes, they are convenient and carry a vast range of items that are
sometimes not available elsewhere locally or on-line without a lot
of fuss. Plus their freight might be reasonable compared with getting
a small number of items from elsewhere, which can make those
items more expensive than if you bought from RS as part of an order
you were paying RS freight on anyway

Jo

2011\01\21@204817 by Chris McSweeny

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On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 1:12 AM, IVP <.....joecolquittKILLspamspam.....clear.net.nz> wrote:
>> (the cost to make Eagle legit is probably more than I'd make
>> from my projects)
>
> That's true only if you want more than the freeware version.

You miss the point - I did say making it legit rather than buying the
full version (my boards are typically tiny) - the licence for the free
version doesn't allow you to make any money from using it. If you sell
boards you've made using Eagle, even for pin money, you're obliged to
buy a licence.

> And whenever possible, I would not stock up via RS without
> shopping around and considering future useage. Many times I've
> gone somewhere else and paid only twice as much to get ten times
> as many

I don't know how things are where you're based (NZ?), but here in the
UK, I've rarely found a significantly cheaper source for any
electronic bits than RS, even if buying mutliples. That becomes even
more the case given I get a significant discount and free next-day
delivery (even for a single £1 chip!) through my employer's account.
I've also learnt not to stock up too much anticipating future usage!

Chris

2011\01\21@212504 by IVP

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> I don't know how things are where you're based (NZ?), but here
> in the UK, I've rarely found a significantly cheaper source for any
> electronic bits than RS, even if buying mutliples

My experience is that RS are almost always the most expensive

For example, I would never buy PICs from RS. They are much
cheaper from Microchip Direct

Some items I've recently bought from Mouser via Active, in NZ$
pre-tax, similar freight, same quantities

10k motorised pot $19  (RS $56.60)
20k trimpot $0.38 (RS $2.77)
IRF540 $5.41 (RS $10.10)
4MHz low-profile crystal $0.55 (RS $1.69)
LP2950CZ-3.3 $1.20 (RS $5.11)

and so on

Perhaps you'd like to compare UK and NZ RS prices

http://newzealand.rs-online.com/

I use RS and Element 14 waaaaaay less than I used to now that
my other suppliers have access to Mouser and Digikey. Also the
few parts I do find cheaper at RS are uneconomic because of
freight ($8 I think for across town) for the small quantity of them
I need. If possible I will wait until I can add them to another order

Joe

2011\01\21@215059 by Oli Glaser

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On 22/01/2011 02:24, IVP wrote:
> My experience is that RS are almost always the most expensive
>
> For example, I would never buy PICs from RS. They are much
> cheaper from Microchip Direct
>
> Some items I've recently bought from Mouser via Active, in NZ$
> pre-tax, similar freight, same quantities
>
> 10k motorised pot $19  (RS $56.60)
> 20k trimpot $0.38 (RS $2.77)
> IRF540 $5.41 (RS $10.10)
> 4MHz low-profile crystal $0.55 (RS $1.69)
> LP2950CZ-3.3 $1.20 (RS $5.11)
>
> and so on
>
> Perhaps you'd like to compare UK and NZ RS prices

Interesting - just out of curiosity (as I use RS quite a lot) I checked the LP2950CZ-3.3 and it came up as £0.58 Quantity 1, which converting to NZD gave $1.20. Also I tried the IRF540 and I got a few versions back, ranging from $0.59 ($1.20 NZD) Qty 25 from Vishay, to £0.88 ($1.90 NZD) Qty 1 from IR (Also £1.45 ($3.10 NZD) for each in pack of 5 from Fairchild)
From my experience RS prices (in the UK) are not too bad (especially for the service, never let me down on a next day even when ordered after 6pm sometimes), seems things are very different over there though...

2011\01\21@220722 by IVP

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> From my experience RS prices (in the UK) are not too bad
> (especially for the service, never let me down on a next day
> even when ordered after 6pm sometimes), seems things are
> very different over there though...

It would appear so. If your results are typical then what we now
have in NZ from Mouser et al is what you have been enjoying
from RS

In fairness, because of the smaller customer base than the EU,
companies like RS do not hold stocks of everything and parts
have to be fetched from off-shore. Most usually Australia, UK,
US or SE Asia (eg Thailand, Singapore), and that would have
to be reflected in the eventual cost

That is also been the case with trade companies like Arrow or
Avnet. Won't be on the shelf and you'll have to get an MOQ in
the hundreds/thousands of parts/dollars

When prototyping I don't generally baulk at the cost, especially
if I can recoup it later or re-use the parts. When it comes to
quantity for any sort of production of course you need to shop
around. Better in my pocket than someone else's ;-))

Jo

2011\01\22@040741 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Bottom line: the reviewer thought that it compared favorably with
> Eagle but without any of Eagle's restrictions as to board size or
> number of components or nets.

Praise from the magazine that is famous for its strict independence from suppliers! That is all I need to convince me not to try it.

--
Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2011\01\22@053953 by Ruben Jönsson

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> Interesting - given I buy almost all my electronic bits at RS I wonder
> if they'll have the components in the libraries? More pertinently,
> given I have plans to make pin money from some of my projects it seems
> I can use this to make my PCBs without any worries about licensing
> (the cost to make Eagle legit is probably more than I'd make from my
> projects).
>
Unfortunately not. I think the libraries are a mess and you probably need to remake a lot of the symbols if you want to use it seriously. Make sure you don't change the symbols in their original library though since an upgrade may undo the changes. Instead copy them to a private library and change them there instead.

There is an option to import libraries from eagle (have not tried it though).

I have only used the schematic part yet but I think it works quite good. It still feels a bit unmature and will probably work even better after a few upgrades, though.

I would like to be able to save a project in one single file and just include the used library symbols, for backup and distribution. I havn't found any way to do that except to have separate libraries for each project. This may not be a bad idea since changes in newer designs won't affect (and break) older designs.

/Ruben

==============================
Ruben Jönsson
AB Liros Electronic
Box 9124, 200 39 Malmö, Sweden
TEL INT +46 40142078
FAX INT +46 40947388
EraseMErubenspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTpp.sbbs.se
==============================

2011\01\22@061442 by Philip Pemberton

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On 22/01/11 09:07, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> Praise from the magazine that is famous for its strict independence from
> suppliers! That is all I need to convince me not to try it.

Do I detect a note of sarcasm there, Wouter? :)

-- Phil.
piclistspamspam_OUTphilpem.me.uk
http://www.philpem.me.uk

2011\01\22@084205 by Chris McSweeny

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2011/1/22 Ruben Jönsson <@spam@rubenKILLspamspampp.sbbs.se>:
> Unfortunately not. I think the libraries are a mess

Indeed - have had a quick play and the component I'm using isn't there
- and nor is there any way to search for a package and component type
to find something equivalent - which is at least vaguely possible in
Eagle. I'll persist for a little while simply because I don't have the
licensing problem if I want to sell my designs.

Chris

2011\01\22@085023 by cdb

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RS in countries other than the UK do two things that make them far more expensive than on home soil - Farnell/Element14 also.

1. They fix an exchange rate that is more than generous to the GBP versus the AU/NZ/SG $ so they are covered if the pound drops for the life of the catalogue.

2. It appears there are some items they don't want to export/import. Back in 2000 the AU copy of the RS catalogue charged over $300 (yes that is correct) for BC108,9 in singles, which in the UK were only 8p each.

In Australia neither of them stock the whole range that they do in Europe and the UK, and Newark stock different items again.

Colin

--
cdb, KILLspamcolinKILLspamspambtech-online.co.uk on 22/01/2011
Web presence: http://www.btech-online.co.uk   Hosted by:  http://www.justhost.com.au
 

2011\01\23@031151 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Jan 21, 2011, at 5:48 PM, Chris McSweeny wrote:

>> That's true only if you want more than the freeware version.
>
> You miss the point - I did say making it legit rather than buying the
> full version (my boards are typically tiny) - the licence for the free
> version doesn't allow you to make any money from using it.

You'd have to go up to the $49 version, eh?  Awful!
(The $49 "lite" version has the same size/layers/etc limitations as  the freeware, but drops the "non commercial" pieces of the license.   Last time I looked, anyway.)

I'm not excited about yet another windows-only "mediocre" PCB layout  package.  If you start getting to the packages that cost more than the  hardware they run on, I'm a strong believer in just biting your tongue  and buying whatever hardware is appropriate.  But my use is more  casual...

BillW

2011\01\24@050654 by alan.b.pearce

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> > Bottom line: the reviewer thought that it compared favorably with
> > Eagle but without any of Eagle's restrictions as to board size or
> > number of components or nets.
>
> Praise from the magazine that is famous for its strict independence from
> suppliers! That is all I need to convince me not to try it.
>
> --
>
> Wouter van Ooijen

Considering Eagle is currently owned by the major competitor to RS, i.e. Farnell, these days, one does wonder who is in whose pocket ...

As for parts prices, I believe one of the cheapest in the UK is Rapid. http://www.rapidonline.com/

I don't deal with them as, like Philip, I can access RS and Farnell through my employers academic discount and free next day delivery no matter how small the order.
-- Scanned by iCritical.

2011\01\24@060758 by Michael Watterson

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On 24/01/2011 10:06, RemoveMEalan.b.pearceTakeThisOuTspamstfc.ac.uk wrote:
> Considering Eagle is currently owned by the major competitor to RS, i.e. Farnell, these days, one does wonder who is in whose pocket ...

Farnell owns Cadsoft

2011\01\24@073449 by Wayne Allen

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"As for parts prices, I believe one of the cheapest in the UK is Rapid. http://www.rapidonline.com/"

Rapid is good on price, but when they are out of stock, it can be for several months.

Wayne

2011\01\24@175957 by peter green

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>
> Considering Eagle is currently owned by the major competitor to RS, i.e. Farnell, these days, one does wonder who is in whose pocket ...
>
> As for parts prices, I believe one of the cheapest in the UK is Rapid. http://www.rapidonline.com/
>   Rapid are cheap on some stuff, notablly they have good (0.6w in a 1/4w size body) through hole resistors much cheaper than i've found them at farnell. IIRC they also have through hole caps pretty cheap. On things like ICs and SMT stuf though they don't seem too different from farnell.

They also seem like a good source for bench PSUs, lego mindstorms, heatshrink (they have some nice 4:1 clear stuff in big sizes they I use when I CBA sourcing an enclosure).
> I don't deal with them as, like Philip, I can access RS and Farnell through my employers academic discount and free next day delivery no matter how small the order.
>   Rapid also have an academic discount though they structure it rather differently. They give universities what is known as "right column pricing", that is we always get the price from the rightmost column of the pricing table regardless of the quantity we order

2011\01\24@203229 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Jan 24, 2011, at 3:07 AM, Michael Watterson wrote:

> Farnell owns Cadsoft?

Yes.  As of Sep 2009:

http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2009/09/24/47028/premier-farnell-buys-design-software-firm-cadsoft.htm

(so far so good, I guess...)

BillW

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