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Old 9th February 2010, 01:19 PM   #1
Ivey is offline Ivey  United States
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Default The Best PCB Package for Zero Dollars

What is the best PCB Software for zero Dollars?

My God, that was and still is the hardest question to answer.

Why?

Because..., there are so many out there. And we got to start saving our money for the "big depression" that is on its way.

So we must eliminate the ones that do not fit.

Remember, zero dollars, means, zero dollars. And we want as much as we can get for "zero dollars".

Trial, demo, limited features, and non-profit PCB software packages are excluded. Because they restrict you as to what you can and can not do.

What we want is a PCB Software Package that can take us from the drawing board to the finish product. And we can sell it commercially, having a gerber file for manufacture. Plus it must be free.

I have found the following PCB Software Packages, using Windows OS.

a> Free PCB-Unlimited

b> Tiny Cad-Unlimited

c> ZenitPCB (only 800 pins, but free and export gerber files and you can use it commercially)

d> KiCad-Unlimited

e> Autotrax-Unlimited

f> Easytrax-Unlimited

g> QuickRoute 3.6Pro/ using QuickRoute 4.0 Pro libraries. Unlimted!!!!!!

h> Vutrax (the makers of Vutrax does have a package that is limited to only 256 pins. But you can use it to make gerber files and use it commercially as well) for free. Great bunch of guys, they are!

i> Ranger 2-Unlimited

That leaves just one, that I have a question mark against. PC Elegance.
It is limited to 200 pins, and it makes gerber files. I saw no restrictions on its commercial use. So I need the assistance of someone who uses it. In telling me if it can be used commercially, for free.

I included PCB Elecgance and Vutrax, for a reason.

When electrical CAD's first appearred, it was in the mid and late 1970's and early 1980's. Some of us will still remember the computers we used by then. The Timex/Sinclaire, the early Zenith computers, and Osborn's.

They were 3.2k, 16k, and 32k memory computers. Their pin loads were 200 to 256 pin max. We use to design our aircraft electronics boards with them.Those computers used OS/360 and CP/M operating systems.

In those days, we used only transistors, and very few IC's. We limited our IC's pieces to 8 and 14 pins. No more than 4 pieces. Besides, most of the IC's were special units. They were TO-10 cans.

So if this old man miss some "free" PCB Software Package, let me know.

Take Care


Ivey

Last edited by Ivey; 9th February 2010 at 01:32 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 10th February 2010, 11:29 AM   #2
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Can you still get the old Vutrax posters! or digital versions of them, the cartoon ones?
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Old 10th February 2010, 09:06 PM   #3
Ivey is offline Ivey  United States
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Default Marce

I really do not know. If you contact them, maybe.


Take Care


Ivey
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Old 11th February 2010, 04:31 PM   #4
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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I will do, they has some humorous posters late 80s, probably by the same artist that did the origion Tom Sharpe books.
It was a surprise to find they are still going, I use to help a friend of mine out in his photoplotting bussiness just for Vutrax designs around 89/90, sat around a Gerber photoplotter with a few beers waiting to change the apperture disk, life seemed less hectic then.
Cheers
Marc
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Old 19th February 2010, 02:15 AM   #5
soongsc is offline soongsc  Taiwan
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Eagle PCB?

Tiny CAD, isn't that a schematic capture only?
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Old 20th February 2010, 11:20 AM   #6
jcx is online now jcx  United States
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Eagle is limited to 2 layers, small board area and non-profit use for the free version

but I have paid for the "Standard" level upgrade because I did quickly "get" the UI and even my hobby time is worth some money to avoid project killing frustration with dead ends, gotchas, and hand making every part needed as with some "free" software
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Old 20th February 2010, 11:29 AM   #7
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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If you are using the software commercially and for gain then surely it is reasonable to expect to pay for it ?

For non commercial use I use Diptrace which is excellent, 250 pin, multilayer etc etc... but it doesn't meet your requirement of being able to make financial gain from using it.
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Old 20th February 2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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for linux, there's the gEDA suite found here:
gEDA Project's Homepage
or you can run your favorite windows CAD programs:
WineHQ - Run Windows applications on Linux, BSD, Solaris and Mac OS X

not only is the software free, but so is the OS, here's a couple of links:
The Slackware Linux Project
Ubuntu Home Page | Ubuntu

links to other distributions can be found here:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...istributions-5
Linux Online - List of distributions
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Old 23rd February 2010, 07:34 PM   #9
Ivey is offline Ivey  United States
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Default To: Soongsc, JCX, and Mooly

Soongsc, Tiny Cad is a schematic capture software, that most FreePCB users use. I included it because it helps in providing the user with a complete PCB package for those PCB layout packages that do not have a schematic capture section included with it.


JCX and Mooly:

Sometimes, we all want something for nothing. Mainly because, at the moment, we just don't have the money, to buy it.

Mooly.., here in America, we all get something for nothing. And it is deal that every car owner in America loves, and would hate to see it go.

At Auto Zone, we can borrow tools that cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, and all we have to do is leave a driver's license. Does not cost a thing.

Eagle and Diptrace are great PCB packages. Their intro packages cost less than a hundred dollars. They give you their non-profit packages so that you can become comfortable and good at using it. Then, when you design something that you can sell commercially, you will be required to buy their product. Unless you use a completely free one to begin with.

Vutrax, is a true PCB package software producer. The actually gives away their first 256 pin package. You can even use it commercially. Their idea is that if you can make money with it, sooner or later you will out grow that 256 pins and purchase a larger package. And they are correct.

Because you can only 256 pin so many modules, until you will have to have more pins, so you will buy a larger package, so that you can hit the ground
running; with your new design.

What most software producers do not think about, is their customers. They think profit. They must realize that first the customer must first make money using their free limited package. In order to purchase the more costlier packages. PC Elegence and Vutrax understands that.

Mooly..., regardless as to what you may think or tell yourself. You want more bang for your dollar or pound.

Diptrace in $75.00, for commercial usage of 250 pins. Target 3001 59.00 euros, and will gladly give you a 20% discount for their 400 pin commercial package.

Just a little "wall street" trading, to think about.


Take Care


Ivey
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Old 23rd February 2010, 07:47 PM   #10
Ivey is offline Ivey  United States
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Default Unclejed613

First things first

What does the 613 stands for?

You got my cat ears tinkering.

Yes MAN!!!

Linux is great, yet we have gotten lazy and are using windows. We no longer want to study or know "DOS" or commands; in any language.

We all went through "DOS" and command language in the 60's, 70's, 80's, and part of the 90's. No one wants to do it again.

But those are great PCB packages and they have a lot to be proud of.

But "Windows" brother. It is Windows.

Take Care

Ivey
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