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What is the best Program to Design PCB

Discussion in 'PCB Layout, Design and Manufacture' started by Yousef Musawa, Sep 15, 2016.

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  1. Yousef Musawa

    Yousef Musawa

    2
    0
    Sep 15, 2016
    Hi Engineers

    I used to use workbench Program to design simple Parallel and Series circuits during collages days.

    Now I want to build a new production line in the factory where I work in.
    In this production line I want to manufacture some simple light drivers ( Converter from AC 220v to DC 6-8-12-15-20v ) on PCBs

    So My Question : what is the best and simple Program for design PCB ?

    thank you
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2016
  2. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    4,383
    2,047
    Jun 21, 2012
    They ALL require climbing a steep learning curve. The more expensive programs do a lot of housekeeping for you and may have better "automatic" wire routers. It is best to purchase a program with integrated schematic capture that is backwards-linked to the PCB layout function. All of them are forward-linked: change the schematic, change the board traces. But if you make a production-floor change, substitute a part for example, it is nice to have that propagate backwards to the schematic and to the Bill of Materials.

    That said, I have only owned three PCB circuit design tools: PADS (Mentor Graphics), Ivex (now defunct), and now EAGLE. I may obtain KiCAD in the near future because (1) its free and (2) my free trial of EAGLE expired before I could do anything with it. The PADS program was purchased in the 1990s and delivered on 3.5" floppy disks with a dongle. Yuck! I hate dongles. I used it just once, for an entrepreneurial product, and billed the cost to the customer. I didn't like PADS because it replaced the Windows OS with its own OS when it ran. A maintenance subscription was out of the question. Ivex was okay, but the company went out of business and offered a "last chance" purchase of WinDraft, WinBoard, SPICE, etc. with not limits on pins or traces or layers. But no source code, so not a chance of fixing bugs now that Ivex is no longer in business. EAGLE seems to be popular and widely used, but the full-blown version is expensive.

    The answer to your question is there is NO best and simple program for PCB design. But I would look at KiCAD and DipTrace before spending any money on commercial software. Check out this forum link to see what others have to say about KiCAD versus EAGLE. I also downloaded DipTrace last year but haven't used it yet for PCB design. Here is a link to the EEVblog forum for a discussion of EAGLE versus Dip Trace.
     
    Arouse1973, (*steve*) and Harald Kapp like this.
  3. pgib8

    pgib8

    99
    23
    Jul 26, 2015
    I used Altium in the past and yes PCB software is complicated but I thought that Altium was too difficult to learn. I have used gEDA PCB which is free. It's a total pain in the butt, I have to edit some files manually to get things done but it does work and it is free. Now for my all-time favorite is Cadence OrCAD PCB.
     
  4. Minder

    Minder

    2,922
    615
    Apr 24, 2015
    I use (free) Kicad and found it very good, there are many tutorials and manuals out there for it.
    Previously I was using an older version of Orcad and found Kicad pretty comparable.
    If you are running XP still, you will need the older build version.
    M.
     
  5. BobK

    BobK

    7,676
    1,685
    Jan 5, 2010
    Do you want this to make your our PCBs or to have them manufactured? This matters.

    The easiest software I have seen and I use for my own PCBs is the free proprietory program from ExpressPCB. You can learn to use this in an hour or so and print your PCB patterns on a laser printer for toner transfer (which I used to use) or on transparencies for photo processes (which I use now). But, if you want your PCBs manufactured, this software will only allow you a choice of one manufacturer because it cannot (will not) produce standard output files.

    Bob
     
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