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'[PICLIST] [EE] good share/freeware PCB software'
2002\06\27@160828 by Erik Jacobs

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So my project is very small... and I've found a long list of free PCB
software... but a list of software does you nothing without opinions...
so... here's the list:

http://www.epanorama.net/links/software.html (under PCB CAD)

Have any of you used these freeware programs?  Which do you find is the
easiest to use?  I've never done PCB layout before so one that offers the
most help to a newbie (read: complete PCB idiot) would be best =)

Also, any reading material on PCB design would be greatly appreciated!

-Erik

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2002\06\27@171825 by rusque (Listas)

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Hello Erik,

> So my project is very small... and I've found a long list of free PCB
> software... but a list of software does you nothing without opinions...
> so... here's the list:

   I can only recommend Eagle: http://www.cadsoftusa.com/

   It's great and with the freeware version can design and autorounte small
boards.

   Best regards,

   Brusque

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2002\06\28@130452 by David Minkler

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Erik,

Many people on the list like Eagle.  I've never used it (or even looked
at it) but I do have some recommendations based on the experience of
learning to use several of these packages.  Think long term.  Is this
the only electronics project you ever expect to do or are you taking it
up as a career?  If it's a short term one-off go with what's easy to
learn.  If it's a career, go with something that offers a real upgrade
path without requiring  you to learn a new package (Easy or not, they
all have a learning curve).  Get something that offers professional
level capabilities and professional level support.  I use Cadint
http://www.cadint.com .  They offer a free version that is upgradeable
in steps to a full unlimited professional version.  There isn't a
keystrokes difference between the packages except support and pin
count.  Integration between schematic capture and pcb layout is the best
in the industry.  It's not particularly easy to learn but most of these
systems are harder to learn than they claim (or, those who have already
learned them claim).  They do have an excellent manual and an excellent
tutorial.

On the issue of reading material, I'd recommend the technical tips
section of the online board vendor's websites.  Olimex has a great tech
tips file and I know that several people on the list have used their
service.

Hope this hasn't been too patronizing.

Best regards,
Dave

Erik Jacobs wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\06\28@132218 by Erik Jacobs

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> Many people on the list like Eagle.  I've never used it (or even looked
> at it) but I do have some recommendations based on the experience of
> learning to use several of these packages.  Think long term.  Is this
> the only electronics project you ever expect to do or are you taking it
> up as a career?

Well, for those of you wondering who the new idiot on the list is, maybe an
intro is in order :)

I just graduated this year from Columbia University as an EE.  I studied
mostly microelectronic circuits / high performance VLSI design... so my
basic analog and stuff are pretty pathetic/miserable.  I'm doing a little
project for my car (I'm also into autos) that I'm going to try and sell a
few of.  I'm mostly playing with the PCB thing just to get a hand at it.  I
could easily make the thing all by myself using proto board and like my
toaster oven and through-hole.  I'd like to get experience with a PCB
program, yes, but do I see myself using it very often?  Probably not.  I
don't mind using a program if it's difficult, as long as it's GOOD.  I
played around a bit with Eagle's free thing yesterday and it's pretty darn
good.  It has a LARGE inventory of parts and packages, and if I figured out
how to use it worth a darn, it would probably work very well.


{Quote hidden}

Yeah the eagle tutorial in the help is pretty bad.  I didn't look hard for
something online, though.  I'll check out the cadint stuff, though.  Again,
at this stage, at least, it's mostly play.  I have a job lined up for
September working for the third largest oscilloscope manufacturer doing VLSI
and VHDL and etc., but it'd be nice to know this stuff.

> On the issue of reading material, I'd recommend the technical tips
> section of the online board vendor's websites.  Olimex has a great tech
> tips file and I know that several people on the list have used their
> service.

OK I'll take a peek.  Maybe I'll printout a bunch of stuff and take it on my
flight to Japan.  I'll need some reading material :)

> Hope this hasn't been too patronizing.

Not at all.  Any advice is always appreciated and always useful.

-Erik

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2002\06\28@144918 by uter van ooijen & floortje hanneman

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> http://www.cadint.com .

As far as I can make out the lowest grade commercial version is $1995, and
there is talk of an annual subscription which gives me a bad feeling. From
the website I can't make out what the limits of the free version are. So I
will stick to Eagle. And another argument for Eagle: I can send plain Eagle
files to Olimex.

Wouter van Ooijen
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