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Old 4th May 2002, 02:39 PM   #11
paulb is offline paulb  Canada
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Location: Calgary
Default Cheap PCB software

I didn't want to spend $750, much less $8000, so we had this discussion a few months back. Suggest you look through here:

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Old 4th May 2002, 04:49 PM   #12
Apogee is offline Apogee  United States
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Location: Tacoma, WA
PCB Layout Software
Hi Paul,

Thanks for the link... I had actually searched and read that thread prior to starting this one...

I started this thread anyway because my criteria was not focused on free (or very cheap) software but rather a package that I can stick with over the long haul through upgrades. I'm willing to spend the $$$ to buy a copy that I know works and is well supported... I simply wanted other's opinions about their firsthand experiences...

Thanks to all who have answered so far... Please keep the info coming, it's very useful!!!

Thanks again,

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Old 4th May 2002, 08:53 PM   #13
dice45 is offline dice45  Germany
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Location: Munich, Bavaria
Default DIY ECAD (AutoCAD plug-in)

jackinnj and all,

me too owns Ultiboard, me too paid for it.
But do you believe this forces me to stick with it? No. It drove me crazy, artwork hardly came out as i liked it, interface between schematic and PCB was weird and way from being directionally associative/annotating, so i aboandoned to use it. I would sell it for few $$ anytime.

Eagle was fine and mostly copperative, the only thing that drove me crazy as with other ECADS i tried out was that they changed their library format from version to version and partially incompatible to the preceding version. I put incredibe work in having libraries with consistent naming for GND, Vcc, etc. and when i upgraded, this work was mostly lost.

At the time i made that decision, my programming abilities had reached a certain level and i had grown to prefer p2p wiring if possible. I needed an ECAD not limited to PCBs and so i started to to program my own ECAD plug-in for AutoCAD which has a mighty built-in LISP. Schematic module is running fine already and has preparation for all the annotation features i wanted to have. It even can store component order codes, supplier, whatever, in the component.
And library modules also work fine, they generate the logic content for a new component with a few keystrokes. I only have to place this content where i want to read it. No problem to just create a new component when i need it, no point in careating libraries in advance.

Before you all start to call me insane i did not plan to have any rubber bands or routing progress fancies, autorouter fancies or interfaces to stuff like SPICE (latter would not be a big problem however, i can generate netlists and partlist in any format provided i know how the format works; i even could fake Eagle SCH and BRD files)

Basic idea was to get the logical info independent of the graphics so that it does not matter if a schematic corresponds with a p2p wiring or a PCB or a micture of both or another schematic.
Even a pneumatic schematic or a water hose noding plan for lawn-watering .
And a tube symbol in the schematic is logically equivalent to the socket pattern or 3d model of that very corresonding tube in the artwork. Schematic symbol and artwork component can update each other to new status, no matter which one is the newer.

Currently I am not sending SCH files to PCB board makers, i am happy with a proper scale 1 inkjet print-out and i etch the board myself. Or i send a postscript file to the PCB maker.

But the printout looks like i want it to look and i have all the freedom a mechanical CAD provides, i am not limited to 45░chamfered routes, i can have varying route widths and teardrops in my routes where i wish. On my more insane days i can have it in 3D just to check if the caps fit into the housing and do not crash thru another part.

Processing speed is slow due to LISP being an interpreter and i would not dare to handle a bunch of 256-pin components. But i don't need such complexity in my circuits, i am basically a tube person. I get exactly what i need, what i wish. All wish i would have more time to get it ready and running

Oops, before i forget it, the housing drawing is the same file format, most probably the same file as the schematic and the artwork.
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Old 4th May 2002, 08:58 PM   #14
raul_77 is offline raul_77  Europe
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Location: Spain
Please visit www.ibfriedrich.com.

The program are Target 3001!, and have a version 'Light' that allow a maximun of 400 pin, but maintain all the funcionallyty:
contour autorouter, shape autorouter, autoplace, etc.

The price are around 50$.

If you suffix with 250 pin, please, visit www.csieda.com.

The free version allow up 250 pin, and include Spice simulator.

About Spice simulator, please, visit www.anasoft.co.uk.

The trial version allow big size circuits.

Happy days,

Ra˙l Couto
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Old 5th May 2002, 12:04 AM   #15
BrianL is offline BrianL  United States
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Location: USA
PCB Layout Software
Try this:

This is a very nice and intuitive package. People I know have
used it and been very happy. It isn't part of a fully integrated
system, though it will import netlists. No autorouters or
other unnecessary foo foo. Just plain intuitive layout.
Price is right at only $55.

This is about the cheapest program that I know of which will
create Gerbers.

This is probably not the PCB CAD package to use for laying
out a PC motheroard, but probably just right for audio
applications with not really that many parts/pins and where
hand placing and routing is necessary to obtain best results.

It's a 16-bit application, but considering that they just
released a schematic drawing program that's a "modern"
application, I would think a revamped PCB program wouldn't
be far behind. But, as long as you don't want to run on an
"NT" style O/S, this should work fine.

BTW, are there any decent (/free) PCB CAD programs that run
under Linux?
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Old 5th May 2002, 03:02 AM   #16
AudioFreak is offline AudioFreak  Australia
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PCB Layout Software
Well if you are willing to spend the $$$$$ then i would suggest either Electronics Workbench or Protel.
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Old 5th May 2002, 04:58 AM   #17
Aud_Mot is offline Aud_Mot
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: California
Here are some candidates that fit your price range.

I have heard good things about eagle, but never used it.

Don't know anything about it. The price point is in your neighborhood.

Have tried to use the previous version. They have an NC (non-comercial use) product. Price point is to your liking. Warning the documantaion supplied is very poor. For another $120.00 you can get a set of books. They are not much help. They are running a sale, 80% off!?!? (last I looked) Others have called it an amaturish product. Can be bought direct.
US distributor: www.jameco.com

Currently only $1,000 product available. They are notorious for lousy (as in absolutely none) tech support. Their web site will lie to you and say they do - they don't. Comes with a good SPICE integration.

There is a budget version of IVEX (I think it is IVEX) that is a schematic capture (about $29.00) and PCB layout (about $29.00) that is distributed by NTE, (I beleiveit is NTE) the cross reference transistors in a little bag people. Has some pin limitaions. I have seen it on the check out counters, in 3.5 floppy sized blister packs.

Try as a resource:


They have a download section.

If SPICE simulation is in your feild of interst:
They make a SPICE simulator that will export to several PCB layout packages.
I believe they have a relationship/conection to Eagle so it isn't as kludgey as it might sound.

Always check to limitations, usually number of pins and/or board size. Electronics Workbench burned many hobbiests a few years ago by putting the limitations in fine print. Made it look like it was a SALE.

Good Luck,

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Old 5th May 2002, 12:23 PM   #18
mlloyd1 is offline mlloyd1  United States
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PCB Layout Software
Default CAD and SPICE?

Circad from Holophase.com and SwitcherCad from LinearTechnologies (linear.com) works for me.
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Old 5th May 2002, 03:17 PM   #19
jackinnj is offline jackinnj  United States
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PCB Layout Software
Default Ultiboard - another nit

Older versions of Ultiboard won't work properly with Win2K or WinME. Last I checked the copy wasn't offering a "patch". The advice from ELECTRONICSWORKBENCH was to contact their sales department. Now that's some tech-support. In NJ, we call it BOHICA. (Before posting this rant, I went to their site -- as typical - it's down. I don't like to throw bricks in anyone's window if they aren't warranted.) As far as Multisim is concerned, I use it for looking at how component tolerances affect active filters, etc. The proof is in the breadboarding, however. It's nice to have a virtual instrument like a bode plotter.
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Old 5th May 2002, 05:01 PM   #20
Jocko Homo is offline Jocko Homo  United States
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: As far from the NOSsers as possible
Default UNIX software

Last ad I saw for Eagle shows that there is Linux version. But you want free...........

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