Author Topic: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?  (Read 687 times)

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Offline engineheat

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Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« on: July 21, 2017, 02:38:01 AM »
I'm about to learn Eagle for a project of mine. I've never done PCB design before. Where can I learn some basics?

I will have a PhD check my design and make modifications if necessary. Problem is, he works with Cadence a lot. Are Eagle files easily convertible to Cadence?

thanks
 

Offline bgm

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 09:20:55 AM »
I'm about to learn Eagle for a project of mine. I've never done PCB design before. Where can I learn some basics?

I will have a PhD check my design and make modifications if necessary. Problem is, he works with Cadence a lot. Are Eagle files easily convertible to Cadence?

thanks

Lets start with the basics of PCB layout. 

Dave actually published a very good article more than 12 years ago. 

Here is a link to it (http://www.alternatezone.com/electronics/files/PCBDesignTutorialRevA.pdf).  Most of it is still relevant even today and that is a good start. 

In regard to choosing Eagle ... yeah ... I will have to say as a "Professional Eagle User" (and when I say that, I say that with a huge amount of sarcasm as my little company was one of those that was stupid enough to pay top dollar for the premium product) ... I can't in good conscience recommend the product as the vendor (Autodesk) is pretty much not to trusted in any way, shape or form. 

In regard to package ...  I really would start with KiCad.  To put that recommendation into perspective, I've been using Eagle since v4 ... and that has been a long time so for us to ditch the product (which is what we are *still* in the process of doing) is a huge undertaking - both in terms of time and cost. 

For low cost commercial, Diptrace isn't half bad. 

Full blown Altium if you have the cash to burn (CircuitStudio is "ok" but I'm definitely not a fan). 

This of course is all my own opinion so take it with a very large grain of salt.  Others opinions will definitely differ on what package to use though I think most will generally agree that Eagle is now *not* the way to go - for all intents and purposes, Autodesk has killed it and have screwed over quite a number of their existing user base in doing it, which is a bit of a shame as up till (and including v7), Eagle was actually reasonably good for what it did (though it does have its fair share of quirks). 


/BGM
« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 09:25:36 AM by bgm »
/BGM
"Forward to the past!"
 

Offline NivagSwerdna

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2017, 09:25:04 AM »
For low cost commercial, Diptrace isn't half bad.
For zero cost non-commercial DipTrace is really good (but be prepared to create your own components/patterns)
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2017, 09:28:09 AM »
For free, KiCad is ok and you can learn a bit at this YT Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/contextualelectronic/videos

As far as Cadence, IDK what, if anything will transfer.
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Online tautech

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2017, 09:44:50 AM »
I've never done PCB design before. Where can I learn some basics?
First in the link bgm provided from Dave's Wiki.  :-+

Then start a thread asking for us to critique your work and there'll be plenty of good advice to help you clean things up. The schematic layout is important too, signal path from left to right, power above, ground below etc.
Be sure to provide this too.  ;)

For each component be sure to assign the footprint you'll need before you move onto the PCB.

When it comes to the PCB layout SS is harder to route but in some ways more satisfying as component layout is very important to providing paths for the routing of traces. This is where you will spend the most time.
But do take some time to get it right and it becomes much faster after you've done a couple.
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Offline engineheat

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 11:18:58 AM »
I'm about to learn Eagle for a project of mine. I've never done PCB design before. Where can I learn some basics?

I will have a PhD check my design and make modifications if necessary. Problem is, he works with Cadence a lot. Are Eagle files easily convertible to Cadence?

thanks

Lets start with the basics of PCB layout. 

Dave actually published a very good article more than 12 years ago. 

Here is a link to it (http://www.alternatezone.com/electronics/files/PCBDesignTutorialRevA.pdf).  Most of it is still relevant even today and that is a good start. 

In regard to choosing Eagle ... yeah ... I will have to say as a "Professional Eagle User" (and when I say that, I say that with a huge amount of sarcasm as my little company was one of those that was stupid enough to pay top dollar for the premium product) ... I can't in good conscience recommend the product as the vendor (Autodesk) is pretty much not to trusted in any way, shape or form. 

In regard to package ...  I really would start with KiCad.  To put that recommendation into perspective, I've been using Eagle since v4 ... and that has been a long time so for us to ditch the product (which is what we are *still* in the process of doing) is a huge undertaking - both in terms of time and cost. 

For low cost commercial, Diptrace isn't half bad. 

Full blown Altium if you have the cash to burn (CircuitStudio is "ok" but I'm definitely not a fan). 

This of course is all my own opinion so take it with a very large grain of salt.  Others opinions will definitely differ on what package to use though I think most will generally agree that Eagle is now *not* the way to go - for all intents and purposes, Autodesk has killed it and have screwed over quite a number of their existing user base in doing it, which is a bit of a shame as up till (and including v7), Eagle was actually reasonably good for what it did (though it does have its fair share of quirks). 


/BGM

Thanks, I will go over that link you posted.

I'm actually a grad student so through my school I can use pretty much all those software for free. I'm more of a CS guy though. I plan to get a rough layout done before school starts and I will have a PhD friend help me fine tune it.

Is Kicad a "package' under Eagle? And Diptrace is completely separate software from Eagle right?
 

Online tautech

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2017, 11:25:33 AM »
I'm more of a CS guy though.
:-+
Good, stick with it then.
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Online tautech

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2017, 11:41:27 AM »
If you want to follow a PCB project from start to finish I recommend watching Dave's vids in this thread:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-948-nixie-tube-display-project-part-1/
There's a few vids so dig them all out.

He uses Altium so the UI for CS is similar.
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Offline bgm

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2017, 10:00:27 PM »

Thanks, I will go over that link you posted.

I'm actually a grad student so through my school I can use pretty much all those software for free. I'm more of a CS guy though. I plan to get a rough layout done before school starts and I will have a PhD friend help me fine tune it.

Is Kicad a "package' under Eagle? And Diptrace is completely separate software from Eagle right?

KiCad is a completely separate EDA package (as is Altium Designer and Diptrace). 

* If you are ever looking at doing any design work in the future, Altium is a good choice. 
* If you are looking at small stuff, Diptrace appears to be pretty reasonable. 
* KiCad is good for both the hobbyist as well as small(ish) projects (though, I have to admit ... like my thoughts on Circuit Studio ... I am just *not* a fan). 

There are a ton of other EDA packages out there.  I *should* be able to rattle of a stack of them off the top of my head as I recently went through an eval process of the better part of about 15 of them a few months ago but alas ... my memory has gone ... probably due to therapy. 


/BGM
/BGM
"Forward to the past!"
 

Online ebastler

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2017, 06:52:12 AM »
I'm more of a CS guy though.
:-+
Good, stick with it then.

That might be CS as in "Computer Science", not as in Altium's "CircuitStudio"?
In which case the advice to stick with computer science is still a valid one, but it can't hurt to learn about circuit design on the side!  ;)
 

Online tautech

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Re: Where can a newbie learn about PCB layout?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2017, 12:00:07 PM »
I'm more of a CS guy though.
:-+
Good, stick with it then.

That might be CS as in "Computer Science", not as in Altium's "CircuitStudio"?
In which case the advice to stick with computer science is still a valid one, but it can't hurt to learn about circuit design on the side!  ;)
Oh, didn't think about that, good point as I did mean Circuit Studio.
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