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Old 17th January 2015, 07:24 PM   #1
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Default Simple but complete pcb program

I'm having some trouble adapting myself to modern pcb programs.

Now it's been some time since I don't design a pcb, about 15 years ago, but when I did I used Traxedit, which was a DOS program which at the time run under Windows 98 with no problem.

Unfortunately there's no way I can run it under Windows 7 or even XP.

Even if apparently simple, the program was very complete and easy to use. You just pressed the pre-programmed keys or used you mouse, and you could do anything in any size.

I have tried Eagle and KiCad, and their learning curves is quite steep, mostly because the tutorials are not very good.

Is there any simple pcb programs around?

BTW: I want to design the pcb, so I'm not interested in feeding the schematic into the program, which is what most programs make you too.
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Old 17th January 2015, 07:45 PM   #2
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Maybe this?

Making Printed Circuit Boards - Robot Room Copper connection software link down the page a little.

The basic version is freeware, but if you want Gerbers you need to pay for it. Works great for toner transfer method as is.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Bean; 17th January 2015 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 17th January 2015, 07:50 PM   #3
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I also used Traxedit years ago, but now I recommend you to use Sprint Layout.
Great software, cheap, complete, easy to use and easy to learn.
ABACOM Ingenieurgesellschaft
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Old 20th January 2015, 11:36 AM   #4
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Has anyone used Eagle 7.1 in "manual" mode?

That is entering pads, components and lines manually, not starting with a pre-loaded schematic?

That is the way I would like to work right now with it.
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Old 20th January 2015, 06:52 PM   #5
djupdal is offline djupdal  Norway
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My advise would be to spend some time learning schematic capture also. It really helps to avoid mistakes in your pcb design. I would never consider designing even the simplest pcb without doing schematic capture first.
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Old 20th January 2015, 07:13 PM   #6
kouiky is offline kouiky  United States
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I really don't understand why newer CAD programs are made to be so difficult in the first place. It would stand to reason that while newer ones offer more features they should also improve the interface and logical modern interpretations of different functions. Instead, many programs seem to have a real problem getting to the point.
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Old 20th January 2015, 07:31 PM   #7
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Hi I feel exactly the same about this and dislike forced schematic capture (in fact you need to draw the schematic first before any board can be designed) and autorouting "features" too. Must be that I used to draw PCBs by hand (with ink on paper) long ago. I cannot and will not stop thinking and acting the analog way despite various reasons to adapt to the workflow recent software offers. To me drawing the PCB is in fact drawing the schematic/circuit with care for current loops, proper power supply decoupling etc. The supposedly better efficiency of most PCB programs is not what I want, I want quality. Efficiency is debatable as one needs to spend many hours to get used to this CAD software. Nowadays I use pad2pad and I like it a lot as it is free and simple, no steep learning curve etc. One point is that you can not export boards, you will have to have the PCBs made at their facility.

Pad2Pad - Custom Printed Circuit Board Manufacturer, Mahwah NJ | General | Main

BTW I think I used the same DOS software in the past but I recall it being called Easytrax ?!?!
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Last edited by jean-paul; 20th January 2015 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 20th January 2015, 07:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djupdal View Post
My advise would be to spend some time learning schematic capture also. It really helps to avoid mistakes in your pcb design. I would never consider designing even the simplest pcb without doing schematic capture first.
Interesting that it's called schematic capture, when there's no capture at all. You have to design the schematic with the program and then convert that to pcb parts, that you then arrange.

AS I come from the time when you designed the schematic with a drawing program and then placed the parts with the pcb program, I really don't see the need for it if you're not going to do simulations and all.

And they are complicated to learn indeed: I went through Altium, KiCAD and Eagle, and except for the Altium, the other two tutorials were very poor and they said things would happen that did not.

Problem with the Altium is that you have to load too many variables before you get things going. I've been told that things get easier later, but I got impatient.

But seeing the learning problems the others had, I might go back to the Altium.

This is an analog circuit I'm building and not too sophisticated. Also it is not the first I design, double-sided and all.

Once again, I don't see why they don't make things easier. For instance, if the same technique that was used on the DOS pcb program I used before was applied on the schematic design, such a program would be much easier than the ones I mentioned. Just put a mistake protection for short-circuiting the supply and that's all.
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Old 20th January 2015, 07:50 PM   #9
gfiandy is offline gfiandy  United Kingdom
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RS nw offer a free package based on the easy PC platform call design spark.

DesignSpark PCB Home Page DesignSpark

I also recommend learning to use the schematic capture function. As you can check at the schematic level and then using the net list be sure that the layou matches the schematic.

The up front time is longer but for more complex boards is saves days.

Andrew
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Old 20th January 2015, 07:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jean-paul View Post
One point is that you can not export boards, you will have to have the PCBs made at their facility.


BTW I think I used the same DOS software in the past but I recall it being called Easytrax ?!?!
Yes, the program was Easytrax. Protel allowed me to import the pcb files and print them in Windows.

And no, not interested in programs designed by the place the makes the boards. I need a file type anyone can use, or allow me to print it and send it to be made wherever I want.
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