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Old 2nd November 2014, 03:23 AM   #1
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Default DipTrace, Circuit Wizard, McCad or PCBCAD50 ?

Trying to decide whether to purchase DipTrace, Circuit Wizard, McCad or PCBCAD50 for DIY'ing PCB's.

any experience with any of these, and whether any of these have decent libraries for tube sockets?
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Old 3rd November 2014, 02:08 PM   #2
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Which ever one you get, the first and most important lesson of PCB designs learning how to create footprints and manage libraries.
You could try the free ones first or get a months trial, play with the software yourself. All you'll get on these sort of threads is personal opinion regarding what someone thinks is the best software and you will get opinions for all the different packages, so my advice is try before you buy.....
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Old 3rd November 2014, 03:21 PM   #3
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marce, thanks very much.

"create footprints and manage libraries" great advice, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

With something like this, I always feel overwhelmed at the steepness of the learning curve. It is very helpful indeed to find out what to concentrate on first, so I get a foot-hold.

But, I simply HAVE TO become proficient at making my own PCB's, or I'm never going to get to where I want to go.

All in all, I'm leaning toward Circuit Wizard. Partly because it is both "PCB fab for dummies" on one level, but rises to the expert level as one becomes more proficient. Partly because it has spice built-in....a really nice feature. As much as I like using LTSpice, cobbling different softwares together is not my idea of fun. In Circuit Wizard, I can draw schematics, simulate them, and then convert to PCB design with one click.

It looks to me like diptrace is a great program, but it's more for people who are more expert and who are not afraid of "cobbling together" what they need.

Very Best, Synchro27
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Old 3rd November 2014, 03:58 PM   #4
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Here is a list of eclectic PCB design related links that I threw together a couple of years ago, mainly as a stock answer for the "PCB design related links" based questions that were forever coming up on EDA Forum.

Any footprint or library based question just ask...I have done numerous libraries for companies in the past and still do library work (but only if I cant avoid it or pass it on to someone else....)
I use Cadstar at work, the full suite including signal integrity and power integrity addons, so I can only really comment on that and Allegro from Cadence, and even then I tend not to as again it would be my opinion and is biased toward me.
Attached Files
File Type: txt PCB related links.txt (5.1 KB, 27 views)
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Old 3rd November 2014, 04:07 PM   #5
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Nice list!

Thanks.

Very Best, Synchro27
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Old 12th November 2014, 07:37 PM   #6
blmn is offline blmn  Brazil
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I have Diptrace.

Easy to use and cheap.

Powerful.

I have no complains.

Best regards,
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Old 12th November 2014, 08:46 PM   #7
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thanks, blmn, appreciate the recommendation.

For better or worse, I bought circuitwizard.

Why? I'm a dummy. I have a hole in my brain where spacial orientation is supposed to be, which somehow extends to how to hook one program into another, and I get stumped really easily with trying to hook programs together.

diptrace may well turn out to be the better choice - its probably ideal for most members here who more experience and especially SMARTS - but I wanted something integrated that goes direct from simulation to layout, and that includes simulation - and that appears to NOT include me attempting to kludge together various programs to get a whole that works - that way leads, for me, into blind alleys and pathetic pleas for help on forums, most embarrassing. "A man's gotta know his limitations", as some famous Clint Eastwood character once said.

(Famous last words: Helpful Member: "all you have to do is port x into q, then abstract the zip files, then make a sub-folder of subtchaaazzzyyy.xizzle, update your cabzer.net, and it's a piece of cake" Me: "Sure. Sounds easy!" (Two weeks later): Me: "guhhh moo hezarttle? (mental break-down-speak-pigeon for HALP!!" Members: "Just read HELP!" and yet another easy DIY workaround bites the dust while I ignominiously drool and babble....)

Report to come on using circuitwizard.

Very Best, Synchro27
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Old 25th November 2014, 08:35 PM   #8
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Update NUMBER ONE on Circuit Wizard:

sad to say, I emailed a question to the makers of Circuit Wizard several weeks ago, and got no reply.

I am making a several thousand LED array that I will convert to PCB; rather than put in the several thousand LED's one at a time - a somewhat more arduous process in Circuit Wizard than it is in LTspice - I wanted to see if I could copy a string of LED's and build the array more quickly that way by pasting repeatedly. I don't see any provision for that in the tools for Circuit Wizard, so I asked them if there was a way to do it.

I think the (probably) obvious tactic would be to create a new object that IS a string of LED's, but I haven't tackled how to do that yet.

I still like the program, although it is a bit on the simple side - or perhaps because it IS on the simple side, which suits me better (simple joys for simple folk but there doesn't appear to be the slightest bit of support. Perhaps it's because I bought the "hobbyist" version, but actually if a company has integrity that should not matter. It either does matter in their case or there simply is no support at all.

Onward LOL!!

Very Best, Synchro27
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Old 26th November 2014, 12:40 PM   #9
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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several thousand leds...that should be interesting, done boards for traffic lights and street lights with several hundred, but several thousand!!!! What is it?
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Old 26th November 2014, 05:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marce View Post
several thousand leds...that should be interesting, done boards for traffic lights and street lights with several hundred, but several thousand!!!! What is it?
Red light planar source for applying therapeutic red light, 650 nm, to large amounts of skin, using 3 mm high intensity LED's, close-packed but with ventilation holes in between. I use a driver method that consists of multiple LM317 CCS's driving multiple strings in parallel, each string headed up by a current-balancing resistor with a low voltage drop: 20 mA x 62 ohms = 1.24 volts. 24 to 25 DCV supply driving 9 LED's with an average drop for each of 2.1 volts = 18.9 volts; drop another 1.2 volts with resistor for each string, total = 20.1 volts; this leaves 3.9+ v for CCS to work with. Yeah, I could probably squeeze one more LED in there, but the CCS would be right at the edge of what it can work with - it might oscillate - and if the string happened to have a number of LED's that were on the high side for voltage drop then that string won't light at all, so then I'd have to check each LED for voltage drop while stuffing.

So far I've found I can drive 4 strings in parallel this way reliably with the LM317 CCS - 20 mA x 4 = 80 mA, without having to heat-sink each LM317 - and I'm going to try the surface mount LM317's - and I'll bread-board going up in number of strings per CCS until I hit the heat dissipation non-heat-sinked limit for the LM317's....meaning when I have to add heat-sinks; I prefer to use more LM317's without heat-sinks than less LM317's with heat-sinks...heat-sinks are expensive, a pain to stuff and mount unless they just hang in the breeze - not something I like - and they take up lots of high-rise real estate on the PCB.

What a lot of bother for something so simple as an LED board, eh wot?

Very Best, Synchro27
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