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  • EEVblog #255 – DIPtrace PCB CAD – First Impressions

    Posted on March 9th, 2012 EEVblog 30 comments


    http://www.diptrace.com?source=eevblog
    A 1 hour non-edited video of Dave playing with the DIPtrace PCB package for the first time.
    This is a not a tutorial, it’s just a random first impression of using the program.

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    30 responses to “EEVblog #255 – DIPtrace PCB CAD – First Impressions” RSS icon

    • Hi Dave,

      I think that problem with gerber export that you had is due to number of pins. It seams that DipTrace allow you to see and edit bigger design then one defined by licence but will not allow you to export… Opposite logic of one that Eagle has…

      BR

    • And, how do you think it is compared to Eagle and KiCAD?

    • “I think that problem with gerber export that you had is due to number of pins.”

      And the fact that it’s a four layer board. Works fine for smaller

      For the 3D view trying switching to opengl or windgdi and then see what it does. That’s in View –> Graphics Mode.

      • For the 3D view trying switching to opengl or windgdi and then see what it does. That’s in View –> Graphics Mode.

        Yes, apparently that’s the problem (not the 3D library download). DIPtrace emailed me and told me I need to use OpenGL.

    • Hello Dave,
      Thanks for another informative video.
      DIPtrace looked OK but I think that I will continue with KiCAD. I quite like being able to draw a schematic first without worrying about footprints but I do come from a background of pencil and black crepe tape. I have had to use for work Mental Graphics and Altium schematic entry and PCB viewers and have used Vutrax to produce PCBs but haven’t found any them particularly intuitive.

    • The resemblance to PCAD is evident. :) Yeahhhhh!!!!!

    • Dave,

      I have been using DipTrace several years. Here are some of my projects and adventures with DipTrace.

      http://wa0uwh.blogspot.com/search/label/DipTrace

      Eldon

    • Regarding the 3D view, that did not work during your tests. This is since you need to download separately the 3D views and install them.

      Now it works for me and the 3D view looks quite nice.

      BTW, this is a really nice piece of software… Up to now I was using eagle and DesignSpark PCB, but I think I will switch to DipTrace soon.

      Regards,
      Mircea.

    • If you contact them as on http://www.diptrace.com/nonprofit.php they will upgrade for nonprofit use as follows:

      Lite (500 pins, 2L) – Free
      Standard (1000 pins, 4L) – $125
      Extended (2000 pins, 6L) – $248
      Full (unlimited) – $348

      I like DipTrace. I tried them all and it worked the best for my needs.

    • I forget to add their tutorial is great.

      http://www.diptrace.com/books/tutorial.pdf

    • Hello Dave,
      You can export to gerber in free version. The board what you tried to export has too mani pins (more than 300).

    • When you first do “Convert to PCB” it isn’t a random placement–it lays out the components roughly where they are on the schematic. If you’ve put components near their related components in the schematic they end up that way in the PCB initially, which is really nice.

      And the reason you couldn’t find the libraries is that they live in the Program Files directory for DipTrace, and it defaults to My Documents.

    • I’ve used DipTrace for several years and found it easy to learn and use. Started with the free version and then bought a 1000 pin license.

      DipTrace has an active Yahoo group with support from the DipTrace team.

    • Would be awesome… if there was a linux version :(

      • :) Why are you sad? It is working perfect under Wine. It is well made. Give it a try.

        • Wine is not a viable solution.

          • I’m successfuly working with DipTrace under Wine. I just converted an Eagle project and for some parts, I borrowed 3D components from KiCAD (at Florin’s suggestion, a friend of mine). It is working ok if you don’t have other programs opened same time. Otherwise, you can sometime experience a crash if you use 3D viewer extensively.
            It is not the first time for me working on Linux with DipTrace… happy enough not being forced to temporarly switch to Windows.
            Save often :) .

          • The Mac version they’re selling is in fact using Wine. Seems to work OK after you get over the shock of seeing the Windows 95 UI on your desktop.

    • This package seems really polished and straight-forward to use. I’ll definitely be checking out their hobbyist licensing.

      I’m all for open source and all (being a software developer) but based on what I’ve seen/heard, KiCAD seems pretty rough in terms of usability. Especially if you’re coming from EAGLE.

      Great videos Dave, keep it up. Any updates on the power supply stuff?

    • A little bit ‘rough’ is OK, if you don’t have to fork out 1000$ just to make a board that is a wee bit wider than 10cm.

    • Just did my first (ever) PCB project with Diptrace and found it entirely fun and easy. I ended up buying the standard version to get a pin count high enough to support my project.

      I also made custom 3D parts in order to render encoders, backup batteries, bluetooth modem, and a switching power supply board.

      I found everything worked great. I sent the files off to the board house on Feb 20 so they should be close to here by now. I feel fortunate to have stumbled onto DipTrace, having tried and then ditched Eagle earlier.

    • Thanks Dave!

      I looked at a lot of packages and was still going to buy EAGLE until I saw your blog entry. After downloading the freeware to evaluate, I just purchased the DipTrace Standard edition.

      I LOVE IT! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

      Your reviews are highly useful and after seeing your Rigol upgrade posts I purchased a DS1052E from Saelig to support your advertisers.

    • Signal Port – I want to build a symbol that has property that applies to the net it is connected to. Another words a simple way to change the underlying net name it’s connected to. That way I can connect it to another part of the schematic on the other side of the drawing but not have to draw a long wire. Maybe there is a one in the libraries…if so I haven’t been able to find it.

    • Some things about the library. I’ve never used this program, but I think you might’ve skipped or not noticed some steps that I’ve seen you had to do in the video.

      1) The reason you can’t see the default libraries is because you’re in the wrong path. The library editor is using My Documents, while the default libraries are in Program Files. You have to go to Program Files to see the other libraries.

      2) You added your test library to the list, but you need to include it on the left list. I assume you hlghlight test on the right pane, then click a button to transfer it to the library bar (left pane) of the library window. You can then modify the order of the button bar that way.

      3) 3D View didn’t work because you never installed the libraries (you even said it in the video). The clue should be the list of items without a 3D model that popped up.

      4) Does the Gerber export work with simpler PCBs? The one you’re doing exceeded the capacity of the edition you have, so maybe that’s why it refused to export Gerbers.

      I’m just making these guesses based on experience using computers, not actually using these packages… something about computer geeks vs. the users, I’m guessing. Dave uses the computer as a tool to help him draw up a mean schematic and PCB and simulation, but not as a means to an end. Not a bad thing, by the way

      As for why it allows opening schematics and PCBs that are larger than what the edition allows – perhaps it’s because it allows usage as a viewer. So if you have someone who uses this package and has the full version, you can still open their files and look around without having to ante up money.

      • Worf,

        I have used DipTrace quite a bit, and you are correct on all counts. Diptrace’s 300 pin limit is much friendlier than Eagle’s PCB size limit. Dave couldn’t export because his chosen board was 777 pins which is beyond the 300 pin freeware limit. I have exported many files using the freeware version and had them made perfectly by SeeedStudio’s PCB service. I have even manually tiled several designs using GerbMerg.

    • I used Diptrace to do a schematic design. Way quicker and more intuitive than AutocadE. I could jump right in and it only took me a few minutes to figure out how to place and create new components, change attributes, etc. Is it perfect? No. But it’s plenty good enough as a hobbyist product especially given the cost.

    • Dave_from_SoCal

      Dip trace did great importing an Eagle Schematic and PCB. Any ideas on free VRML 3D simple model creator to supplement the downloaded models?

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