Protel Users FAQ
CadsoftUSA Eagle CAD new user notes
Software and Services
http://kicad-pcb.org/ is simply unbelievable
open source electronics CAD software. Many users report that it is better
than Eagle. It runs on Windows and Linux.
Linux and DOS and Windows PDB Cad software including a freeware version called
Eagle Light CAD with the following Limitations
The usable board area is limited to 100 x 80 mm (4 x 3.2 inches).
Only two signal layers can be used (Top and Bottom).
The schematic editor can only create one sheet.
Support is only available via email or through our forum (no fax or phone
Use is limited to non-profit applications or evaluation purposes.
Apart from these limitations the freeware EAGLE Light Edition can do anything
the Professional Edition can do. You can even load, view and print drawings
that exceed these limits! Registration is $49. Seems to jump up in price
pretty fast if you wanted to make a little bigger board. The user interface
is... less than intuitive and the parts librarys are hell to find anything
in. Windows users should read some notes
from a new user which are sort of a quick start.
The librarys provided with the program are less than stellar. Probably the
biggest problem is the lack of standardization of which layer the legend
(aka silk screen) symbols go into. Not to mention the messed up legends for
SMDs. You can find a number of user posted libraries in the forums at cadsoft.com
but beware, many are sloppy and some are just wrong! Wrong pin outs, wrong
part names and wrong land patterns. And there is no standard in how to draw
the schematic symbols so some may look quite odd. Also, there is
considerable duplication of effort.
At least one library that you can be confident in is the
(pic.scr) created by Olin
Lathrop of EmbedInc.com. Mr. Lathrop
is a highly paid, professional consultant, who, from time to time, shares
his valuable work in the hopes that it will be a good advertizement for his
business. It contains device definitions for 16C773, 16F876-?, 16F877-?,
16C622A-?, 16*F628-?, 12F629-?, 12F675-?, 18F452-?, 18*F1320-?, 18*F252-?,
16F630-?, 30F2010, 18*F6520-?, 30F6010-?, 16*F648A-?, 10F206-*/?, 30F4011-?,
10F204-*/?, 10F200-*/?, 10F202-*/?, 30F4012-*/?.
http://www.expresspcb.com The ExpressPCB
Windows layout software makes designing PC boards simple for the beginner
and efficient for the professional. Its standard Windows user interface uses
all the familiar commands such as copy, cut, paste & dragging. PC board
manufacturing service delivers boards in 3 business days or less. Often orders
for two boards cost under $100. They keep changeing the program and old files
may not work (due to increased limitations on the placement of objects) in
the new versions without some rework. See TCI which
is just about the same and prints or outputs to Gerber / Excellon files.
Simple, basic and clear... and free. Print or generates Gerbers directly.
VERY NICE! Here is a local translation to
( http://www.altium.com/ ) sells the
Protel CAD system (schematic design, PWB layout, circuit simulation, FPGA
design, autorouter, etc.) for US$ 7 995.00
Circad's DOS layout Demo
is free for non-commercial use.
http://www.geda.seul.org/ xNIX Electronic
Design Automation project has Schematic capture with PCB CAD on the way.
CadStar for Windows
Vutrax for Windows - free for under 256 component pins
- free for under 100 component pins, CAM service. Some find it buggy.
- Workbench * ( Interactive Image Technologies Ltd.) $ 400 for 500 pins.
Includes schematic capture and simulation, virtual instruments , and PCB
layout. Said to be stable.
absolutely free (GPL'ed) PCB program which can work under any POSIX compliant
operating system (eg. Linux) and can produce Gerber or PostScript files.
WinCircuit98 and WinSchema 98 very pretty Win98 GUI PCB and Circuit drawing
software. Not a serious solution. Manual and (simple) Auto Route.
have a lite version "pic bundle" aprx. $149.00 includes schematic/simulation/pcb
layout. You can write pic code for your pic schematic design and simulate.
Even multi-pic,keypad,lcd display (really cool). Right now it can only simulate
PIC1683/1684 (lite version limited to 1k program code), but it really works.
They are working on more pic modules now. Will not produce Gerber/Excellion
drill files only dxf, bmp, hpgl, tiff.
http://circuitmaker.com Seems to be
a very fully featured package. Good price. Cool macro package for creating
your own sim modules including sub circuit modules. Direct import of spice
modules too. Downloaded demo, interface seemed clunky.
http://www.ivex.com/ Winboard PCB Layout;
http://b.urbani.free.fr/ a very nice
set of free software in French.
Or if you like the minimal approach: A 'Sharpie' permanent marker works great
as a etch-resistant pen
EasyEDA is a free, cloud-based EDA suite, integrating Schematic Capture, Circuit Simulation using ngspice and PCB layout in a web browser GUI. Work can be kept private, shared or made public. Schematics and libraries can be imported from Altium, Eagle, KiCad and LTspice. Files can be exported in a number of formats including JSON. Low cost PCB fabrication is also offered as an option.+
ZofzPCB is a 3D PCB Viewer: Grebers, Drills, IPC356, BOM+
online drill file to G code converter
http://www.sunstone.com/pcb123.aspx Intuitive CAD interface
lets you create new PCB designs quickly, then edit layout and
http://www.onboardcircuits.com/ Accurate, Fast PCB Quotes.
OnBoardCircuits.com is the easiest Printed Circuit Board PCB quote site on
the internet. We strive to make your purchasing process simple. From quick-turn
prototype and ramp-to-volume production boards to full-scale production printed
circuit boards, every phase is monitored and managed by highly qualified
http://www.freepcb.com Link points to a free pcb tool that
is multi-layer, easy to use and very good.+
Drafting and printed Circuit Design by James M. Kirkpatrick
nice list of PCB cad software with notes on getting them to work correctly
with AP Circuits service.
http://www.geda.seul.org/ GPL Electronic Design Automation
runs under Linux.
Pure Tcl/Tk EDA Package. Schematic capture through to PCB layout. Has Part
editor as well as editor for Schematic and PCB Decals.
christakis_johnTakeThisOuT at ~NOSPAM~hotmail.com
I have used Protel DOS version forever and wanted to upgrade to a windows
version. I tried Protel 99SE and didn't like it at all, it was so bad as
to be unusable. I also tried DipTrace and it's fantastic. I was surprised
and dissapointed as I have always considered Protel the best. Now I am finding
that PCB makers are going to have more support for Protel and wondering about
converting my DipTrace files to a Protel readable format - does anyone know
of any converters?
http://www.cadstarworld.com/ You may be interested in adding
CadStar to your list of PCB software. The company I used to work for used
their older revisions exclusively for the last 10 years at a cost of thousands
of dollars. And now they are offering a free version up to 50 components
or 300 pins, more than adaquate for most PICmicro hobbiest
http://www.freestyleteam.com/en/products/topor/ TopoR is
a unique and powerful topological autorouter. Comparing to other autorouters,
typically it delivers 100% routing completion, 10% less track length and
50% less via. In many cases it can make layout using lesser number of layers
than any other autorouter. TopoR does not use scripts, instead it is controlled
interactively via a GUI equipped with a powerful PCB editor. To achieve better
layout TopoR can move components automatically. Routed PCBs look unusial
because TopoR lays tracks in any direction (as short as possible) and always
makes curved bends; this reduce EMC and crosstalk.
Newton replies: That looks COOL!+
might wanna put a warning sighn at winqcad software that they sometimes couynt
connections for IC's in their own way
i mailed them about the config for the lm3914, they said
and i quote
"Counting leds upward or downward is unimportant. I prefer counting from
top to bottom"
meaning, 1=10, 9=2 etc
try making something work by trusting the software!
I think your caveat about ExpressPCB on www.piclist.com/techref/pcbcads.htm
is unfair. I've been using the software for several years and I've never
had a file that didn't run on a newer version. The fact that the software
changes is a big benefit, not a liability. It means they're active in developing
it. For example, it now includes a schematic program that can be linked to
To convert a standard board image to an outline for isolation etch or
mill using Photoshop:
1.) Load the board image
2.) select magic wand - make sure anti-alias & contigous is disabled.
3.) click/select the black color (non copper area) this will select all the
black color since contigous option is disabled.
4.) contract the selection/marque to 5 pixels. From Menu:
Select->Modify->Contract, then choose 5.
5.) Hit del key, to delete the selection/marque.
6.) Now etch the PCB with your favorite solution.
One users opinion:
|You will not be able to move to another package later and they may upgrade
the program and invalidate your files. Other than that, it is the easyist,
quickest, cheapest way.
||Hire out the work
||Pay someone to design it for you. Concentrate on what you know.
||Most of the features of ExpressPCB, all that you need. Makes Gerbers
directly so can be used with just about any board
||There are lots of options here...
|The very strange user interface and
quirks will waste a lot of your time at first, but eventually, you will
be able to make really nice boards and do just about anything the pro's can
||All in all, over all, and in general, this is the one...
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