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Good freeware circuit drawing program

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by sert, Oct 20, 2008.

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  1. sert

    sert Guest

    Any suggestions?
  2. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    Kicad is an integrated suite with both MS Windows and Linux versions.

    The gEDA project is a more loosely connected family of Linux

    Each approach has some advantages and disadvantages. Give them a try.
  3. mpm

    mpm Guest

  4. Boy, are there any that just let you DRAW circuits, without having to
    enter detailed parts and footprints in a library, and aren't packaged
    around creating a layout? I've been looking for a good tool like that to
    help with creating slides FOR YEARS
  5. LTSpice, perhaps.
  6. DJ Delorie

    DJ Delorie Guest

    You can use gschem (gEDA) stand-alone, without entering any of the
    extra information you'd need for simulation or layout. Heck, most of
    the user questions are about how to add that info! You're saving a
    step by not doing the layout ;-)

  7. Picture teaching a course in circuits. Modifying a circuit in your lecture
    notes should not have to turn into a design project. Plenty of times,
    graphics are enough.
  8. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    Frankly, the apps others have mentioned are less of a dead end
    should the OP decide to produce actual hardware.

    It would be nice if those who advocate for CRIPPLEWARE
    would include instructions for how to print from it (disabled in the
    --or at least a link which describes the hoops you have to jump thru.
    It would be nice if those who advocate for this CRIPPLEWARE
    would mention that Gerbers must be PURCHASED
    from the fab houses which distribute this lock-in-ware.

    Having to learn yet another app/interface
    when you *do* want to produce PCBs
    (using a general-purpose **non-locked** ECAD)
    makes learning/using these CRIPPLEWARE apps look silly.
  9. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    Those who advocate for EAGLE (properly written in all caps),
    should also mention its DRM, implemented in recent versions,
    which CAN LOCK YOU OUT OF YOUR WORK PRODUCT.*-*-*-projects-could-no-longer-be-opened

    It would be good if those advocates
    would include a link on how to circumvent this.
    This is where Joerg usually mentions *no hierarchacal structure*.

    What Cadsoft's app *does* have is forward- and backward-annotation,
    which is handy if you want to make PCBs.
  10. Gary Peek

    Gary Peek Guest

    I think you might use a schematic capture program that lets you
    draw components easily by drawing their "primitives", meaning
    their lines, circles, arcs, etc., without having to create
    components and using those components as a complete entity.

    In other words, use it like a "draw" program (that happens to have
    have a set of primitives useful for drawing schematics.)

    I have found that TinyCad lets you create components and draw
    things at least as easy as many of the others, and has a rather
    intuitive GUI too.
  11. mpm

    mpm Guest

    One man's "Free" is another man's "Crippleware".
    The OP said he wanted it for drawings, not for Gerbers.
    Get a life.
  12. Baron

    Baron Guest

    Yes ! Try Open Office. It has a drawing feature.
  13. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Once I got a schematic from a client that was scanned in and they needed
    change recommendations pit stop style, right now, no time to re-draw
    it in CAD. So I used, <gasp>, MS-Paint. Worked! Once you get the hang of
    fast copy&paste in there it's a breeze.
  14. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    Once you use a vector-based app with rubberbanding,
    using bitmapped paint apps without it is such a chore. 8-(

    ....and to the OOo Draw recomendation I say: Yeah--
    because having to generate a library from zero is such a good idea
  15. If you've got an older Mac and you just want drawings without any of the
    extras, try Claris Works 4. I can let you have a library of symbols I
    have built up over the years, or you can easily make your own.
  16. Ben Bradley

    Ben Bradley Guest

    I first used a student version of that 12+ years ago, then later a
    "real" version (but with only analog sim, not with digital sim like
    the manager SAID he had ordered... ahem ...). A year or two ago there
    was still a student version available on some college website, it may
    still be there.

    It's still my favorite schematic entry tool. I've used LTSPice for
    simulation but I still dislike the schematic entry/editor.
  17. TinyCad

  18. Guest

    If you dont like EAGLE or pspice, you could get cadstandard,
    and make your own symbol set.

    Steve Roberts
  19. Plain diode (you can always put a coloured circle behind it to represent
    a LED).
    Bridge rectifier
    Electrolytic capacitors: polarised, non-polarised
    Logic gates
    Crossover or gap
    Crossover or gap for earth rail (which I draw thicker, to make it show
    Chassis connection
    Fragment of power rail (again, slightly thicker)
    Switches: changeover, rotary, push-button
    Iron core
    Ferrite core
    Filament lamp
    Terminal posts
    Sockets & plugs: jack, DIN, XLR, mains
    Relay contact sets
    Valves: diode, double diode, triode, double-triode, beam tetrode,
  20. You could try Tina (, which is also available as a freeware
    version from Texas Instruments ( It is mostly for simulation,
    but they have a PCB layout package that integrates with it (at a fairly
    reasonable cost). I bought a low end version of their simulator software,
    and I tried their demo version for PCBs, but I do my serious work with

    Another option is to use IMSI TurboCAD (, which has a
    fairly complete set of schematic symbols. They have a 30 day free demo that
    (I think) just comes up with a nag screen after the trial period, but you
    can also purchase earlier versions on eBay for about $20 or so. It is also
    very useful for any mechanical drawings you might want to make, and it has
    amazing 3-D capabilities. It can save drawings in various formats, such as
    JPG, that are useful for slides and PowerPoint presentations, and you can
    make extensive use of color and line widths and styles which are useful for
    showing multiple signal paths and other things that a full graphical
    display can greatly enhance.

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