Author Topic: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions  (Read 61902 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« on: June 15, 2015, 10:48:54 pm »
Dave gives his first impression of Altium's new FREE PCB design tool for the maker community, Circuit Maker.
What are the limitations?
What do you get?
http://www.circuitmaker.com/

 

Offline 691175002

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 11:12:28 pm »
Cloud software is the worst.  Even if they literally released Altium Designer for free I don't think it would take over.  The community seems to be pretty resistant to tying itself to any closed source tools.
 

Offline pascal_sweden

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 11:25:35 pm »
How about custom component sharing?

If people create a public design, will all the custom components that they have designed in their design be shared with the public automatically?

Can other users easily search for the components, even components from users that they are not following?

Is there some kind of quality control in the public shared component libraries? I can imagine this would be useful otherwise the component library could grow very big with many duplicates, and could also include faulty components (e.g. wrongly mirrored footprints, pin ordering, etc.)

Would also be nice if they integrate it with Digikey or other supplier, so that users interested in a particular design, can get an approximate BOM cost to build the actual design, and place a direct order for all the parts in the BOM.

Same goes for the bare PCB board. That users can get estimated price and shipping time for unpopulated PCB board and place a direct order for it.

One-stop-shop button for end users that are interested in a particular open source design, which places an order for the unpopulated PCB board and the respective BOM parts.

Another nice idea would be that end users can get some royalty on their custom component every time it is used by another user. Similar concept as Android app store, but now Altium component store :) Maybe this already exists in the community today. Haven't been following up the latest versions of Altium Designer.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 11:32:06 pm by pascal_sweden »
 

Offline Vasi

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 12:05:08 am »
How many open-source projects are you willing to make? Well, I guess as long as you have something in return: satisfaction, or profit, or anything else. But, I prefer to do it in something which allows me to own the file and being able to work offline anytime. It doesn't matter how Altium is that thing, I'm not even curious to try it. I have enough PCB design tools around for free, offline and with good component libraries.

Do you realize that this tool is not even like Eagle despite his features? In terms of speed, availability, etc. Unlimited everything? There we have KiCAD.

Fail! And Dave will have to admit after a prolonged use of the tool. Speed will be the main concern, then the number of users will be too small and then will be useless to people from the third world, and so on. It will slowly die after a trial period. As Dave noticed, the so great unlimited program can be made completely useless by closing the server. And I guess this is how you block a specific user or how you close the bussiness without losing anything. It does not deserve our time, really.

P.S. Is not even like Blizzard's "Heroes of the storm". :P  And if it can't be cracked to be useful, then it really has no value and so no future.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2015, 12:18:38 am »
Can it produce quality Gerbers?
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Offline Bud

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 12:27:14 am »
Dear Mentor Graphics pricing  on Digikey is  a 1-year subscription. You buy the unlimited connection option and in two years you pay more than for Circuit Studio.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 12:46:30 am »
The community seems to be pretty resistant to tying itself to any closed source tools.

What planet are you living on? Eagle, Diptrace etc are all closed source.
99.99% of PCB designs on the planet are done with closed source tools.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 12:46:51 am »
Can it produce quality Gerbers?

Of course, it's Altium designer.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 12:52:11 am »
Fail! And Dave will have to admit after a prolonged use of the tool. Speed will be the main concern, then the number of users will be too small and then will be useless to people from the third world, and so on. It will slowly die after a trial period.

Perhaps, but Altium is a very popular tool, and those who can't afford it at home are very likely (like me) to use ti for those smaller projects.

Quote
As Dave noticed, the so great unlimited program can be made completely useless by closing the server. And I guess this is how you block a specific user or how you close the bussiness without losing anything.

That is one of my main concerns.
Altium will of course say "then go use Circuit Studio", but that have failed massively on the pricing of that. It is more expensive than that the full Altium Designer was 5 years ago!
 

Offline ARGLaser

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2015, 12:58:45 am »
This will be a hit at my college.

We learn how to use Altium in class, and since most people have no prior experience with PCB design software it is their go to choice. When they go to do a project outside of school majority of people just pirate Altium since it's easier than learning a new software package.

This software is what a lot of students here are after, it's close enough to Altium that they'll be able to use it without learning a completely different system and it's far more convenient than pirating Altium.

I think all of the limitations are fair, except for one: no keyboard shortcuts.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2015, 01:46:07 am »
CircuitMaker is completely free, with zero limitations to hold back your design
They forgot the disclaimer
"No limitations*"
*has limitations that may change at any time.

Wouldn't have been a problem except they applied this same limit to CircuitStudio too!
 

Offline jolshefsky

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2015, 02:05:36 am »
I feel the urge to opine but I want to be pertinent ...

After watching the whole first 35 minutes then skimming to see that Dave didn't do much about schematic capture, layout, and general workflow, I'm left with one question: why switch?

First, I'm assuming this is targeted at the hobbyist market. I include myself in that although I also design boards for work—all two of them, for our 30-year-old, sub-megahertz product. Also, I'm assuming that a potential user has a tool-of-choice already.

One common limitation is board size. I started with Eagle and almost bought an expensive (to me) upgrade for work but, bizarrely, couldn't get in touch with a U.S. distributor to sell it to me. So I found KiCAD and went through the painful process of learning its different workflow and bugs—but also its improvements over Eagle as well.

Knowing how painful the re-learning process is, I won't switch without a solid reason to do so.

The only thing I can see Circuit Maker having a substantial advantage is for collaborative projects. If the branching and merging work well, it will be the go-to tool for projects with multiple designers. That is, if the closed-system, Internet-mandatory cloud storage doesn't sour things too much.

The other thing is as an entry for electrical engineering students to learn a real professional tool (albeit without the—in my opinion necessary—keyboard shortcuts). But if you're in college, I would expect that you'd be designing on the professional tool anyway, so the point is kind of invalid.

Maybe it's for professionals who enter the hobbyist market and would love to have access to Altium's features that are financially out-of-reach. Dave Jones is the only person I can think of, and I think he has access to Altium tools anyway!
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Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2015, 02:12:08 am »
I haven't tried since a couple of weeks but my custom components when dragging them into the schematic are transparent and only show up when I let go, making the placement a bit hard.

It was a simple cap and I used their predefined capacitor symbol. Shows on the part preview but I can't seem to make it visible while dragging the part.

Then again I didn't go through all their tutorials and they also have some youtube videos as well:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbkzlBx4QBw51f-lVDUKewg/videos

I'll have to make time and try to learn it better if I really want to use this seriously.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 02:56:36 am »
You sure it is not because of a limitation in your graphics card?
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Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2015, 03:03:50 am »
You sure it is not because of a limitation in your graphics card?

Their parts drag just fine, but like I said I didn't put too much effort into it.

Other than using theirs, I did try to use an existing capacitor symbol that worked dragging and my version didn't work.

I'm probably doing something wrong but then again it might be a component builder limitation.


 

Offline hikariuk

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2015, 03:46:54 am »
Would also be nice if they integrate it with Digikey or other supplier, so that users interested in a particular design, can get an approximate BOM cost to build the actual design, and place a direct order for all the parts in the BOM.

If they integrated with anything I suspect it would be Element14/Farnell.
I write software.  I'd far rather be doing something else.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2015, 04:49:38 am »
I just launched it and I was two updates behind, getting the latest one now, maybe they did fix it :)

Edit: 400 MB update.

Edit: I was able to make it work using someone else's symbol. Must be some checkbox on the properties that I forgot to check not sure.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 05:41:38 am by miguelvp »
 

Online AndyC_772

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2015, 08:11:08 am »
Re: pricing...

The thing to bear in mind always, is that the only reason for companies to produce free tools is to ultimately drive sales of paid-for tools, and to do so without cannibalising sales of those tools in the process.

The whole cloud storage / public projects thing is, of course, an absolute show-stopper for any kind of professional use. A smart move, under the circumstances. No organisation that requires any sort of confidentiality can ever use it, so no sales lost.

For the same reason, lack of file compatibility with Altium is a non-issue. There are free, public projects, and there are confidential, professional projects. The overlap between the two is minimal, and the number of CAD tool sales lost because of the inability to migrate files from one package to the other is nil, for that reason.

At half the price of a full Altium Designer seat, Circuit Studio doesn't look nearly so expensive. It's a similar price to Cadence PCB Designer Standard, which for some reason I rarely see mentioned on the forum even though it's basically the same tool as Allegro, and the Cadence range is unquestionably one of the industry's 'big hitters' in terms of professional CAD software.

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2015, 08:48:27 am »
At half the price of a full Altium Designer seat, Circuit Studio doesn't look nearly so expensive.

But the thing is it's still too expensive for many people, and it's more expensive than Altium Designer was about 5 years ago.
IMO it is in a bit of a dead pricing zone, and it's a new product that many people may view as a "toy" for professional work, so they'll likely stick with the "real deal" Altium Designer.
At say $1000 though they would very likely have people lining up at the door with fist fulls of cash. But instead I suspect it won't sell at all, and their free tool will of course bring in zero revenue.
So a few years down the track they'll have three software products, and only one that brings in all the cash. Something will have to give at that point...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2015, 08:50:42 am »
The thing to bear in mind always, is that the only reason for companies to produce free tools is to ultimately drive sales of paid-for tools, and to do so without cannibalising sales of those tools in the process.

Sure, but:
a) There is no reason you can't make money from a "free" tool. In fact it can bee seen as a "free" money because it needed cost you anything to maintain, market, or support.
b) It is very possible to design a free tool with a paid option that doesn't calibalise your high end cash cow.

Altium have unfortunately failed to do either.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2015, 08:57:55 am »
Knowing how painful the re-learning process is, I won't switch without a solid reason to do so.

Sure, and only a fool would do so. Most people never switch unless forced to.
Don't forget, there are countless people coming through every year that don't have any existing tool baggage.

Let's say you are a beginner/student and want to pick a tool. You can:
a) Pick Eagle which has the dominate share these days, but it's limited, and actually quite horribly expensive to do even the simplest board beyond those restrictions. And also, Eagle is not really a popular professional industry tool, so not that great on theresume.

b) Pick KiCAD which is free and has no limits. But is not nearly as polished and has bugger-all industry base.

c) Pick another tool like DIPtrace or some other. Probably the same boat as Eagle, but a bit worse in terms of resume.

d) Pick CircuitMaker which is freeand unlimited. It is also pretty darn close to Altium Designer which is one of the most widely used industry tools, if not the most widely used. Looks great on the resume saying you use Altium.
 

Offline mexakin

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2015, 09:00:31 am »
Lets bring in another view:
I never did a PCB in Altium, since I could never use it, I am working with eagle, its always the user that makes the PCBs good or bad :)
I did commercial 4 layer boards with 25 MHz clocks on it and some 12 bit and nominal higher :) ADCs. Those work pretty fine.

But i am looking forward to at least finally test some more profesional gear so for me maybe it comes in handy and maybe our small company will do the switch, we are right now paying for cadsoft anyhow, so might as well switch ( probably wont happen) but at least now altium got a foot in my small door.

But of course as already mentioned I can only do private projects on there if its cloud based, but any engineer has quite something on their minds, so i might fool around with it.
 

Offline nitro2k01

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2015, 10:05:10 am »
The thing to bear in mind always, is that the only reason for companies to produce free tools is to ultimately drive sales of paid-for tools, and to do so without cannibalising sales of those tools in the process.
Sure, but:
a) There is no reason you can't make money from a "free" tool. In fact it can bee seen as a "free" money because it needed cost you anything to maintain, market, or support.
b) It is very possible to design a free tool with a paid option that doesn't calibalise your high end cash cow.

Altium have unfortunately failed to do either.
We don't know that yet. They will likely have deals to get a percentage for leads to components sales, PCB manufacturing or whatever else they might sell through the program. I don't see how they have "failed" to do this as the majority of the maintenance and new feature work toward CM is duplicated from Altium Designer which already makes money. So far, the outlook, imo, is that CM indeed will produce "free money".

Also, while Circuit Studio will probably fail as you say, I think there's a market for extensions, as hinted at one point in the video. if they have a scripting language, this could even include user-created scripts. While not as big of a market as Apple's app store, I think people would easily pay $10 for a script to automatically do something like import a bitmap into silkscreen, or place components in a circle or spiral just to make something up from the top of my head. If they take a 20% cut of that, they might be onto something.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2015, 10:14:41 am »
We don't know that yet. They will likely have deals to get a percentage for leads to components sales, PCB manufacturing or whatever else they might sell through the program.

Sure, but we can only fairly comment about what they are offering at this point.

Quote
I don't see how they have "failed" to do this as the majority of the maintenance and new feature work toward CM is duplicated from Altium Designer which already makes money. So far, the outlook, imo, is that CM indeed will produce "free money".

Yes, but likely bugger-all. If tey had a $1000 paid option it could generate a huge amount more for no additional work or expense on the part of the company.

Quote
Also, while Circuit Studio will probably fail as you say, I think there's a market for extensions, as hinted at one point in the video.

Herein lies the problem - Altium have promised to shareholders and the public a three level "pyramid" type product structure. Altium designer at the top covering the "high end" and pushing further up in capability. Circuit Studio in the middle. CircuitMaker at the bottom.
If Circuit Studio fails, or fails to bring in the expected income, that looks very embarrassing and they have to explain this shareholders and likely axe it. That could have (potentially bad) fall-out effects for CircuitMaker.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2015, 12:08:56 pm »
So I did create a board and committed my test project, but I did not release it:

http://workspace.circuitmaker.com/Projects/Details/108EE30E-F675-45FC-AF23-948DF386E56B

So in theory no one can see this right?

I can create gerbers since the only requirement to generate output files is to commit the project.

If you can see it, I didn't label power, ground and programming pins. It's nothing fancy, just a Cypress PSoC 4200 CY8C4245LQI-483 (40 pin QFN) Breakout Board.


 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2015, 12:23:30 pm »
So I did create a board and committed my test project, but I did not release it:
http://workspace.circuitmaker.com/Projects/Details/108EE30E-F675-45FC-AF23-948DF386E56B

So in theory no one can see this right?

Nope, I can see it. Schematic and PCB.
You made the mistake of Committing it, that makes it public. Releasing is a different process.

Quote
I can create gerbers since the only requirement to generate output files is to commit the project.

I generated a gerbers a few weeks back without committing. Have they changed this?
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2015, 12:29:45 pm »
Yeah, when I went to generate outputs it told me I needed to commit the project.

Maybe that updates the project to include the schematic and the layout. But can you open the project?

I still didn't release it, so I would think that it can't be opened.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2015, 12:30:37 pm »
Quote
I can create gerbers since the only requirement to generate output files is to commit the project.

I generated a gerbers a few weeks back without committing. Have they changed this?

Yes: http://blog.circuitmaker.com/#Blogs/CircuitMaker-Beta-2-Now-Available

So now you can't even do a prototype run of a public project before it goes into the wild.

Maybe that updates the project to include the schematic and the layout. But can you open the project?

Yes.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 12:32:12 pm by Monkeh »
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2015, 12:43:39 pm »
So there are two ways to generate outputs.

I did choose the:
Project->Generate Outputs

I guess I should have done:
Select PCB and then Outputs->Gerber

What I don't get is why there is a project "Release" which is the one that says that it would release the project to the cloud.

Oh well, I better clean it up and add the silk screen and use 20 pins male connectors ( I couldn't find them so I used two 16 pins ones and an extra 6 pins to make up the difference) but I rather have the two extra grounds.

 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2015, 12:58:30 pm »
I modified the PCB size and selected Outputs->Gerber and didn't ask me to commit the changes.

After that I did try Project->Generate Outputs and it did ask me to commit the changes.

So if you don't wan't the project public, stick with the PCB, Outputs menu.
 

Offline TheSebware

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2015, 01:06:40 pm »
What I have used in PCB design software:
  • Eagle:
    A load of Crap. Seriously. Bullshit. GO AWAY! So now to the reasons:
    • The search is almost unusable at all
    • There's no easy way of getting a Ratsnet out of Eagle that I understood
    But I have to admit, that they're at least running on all major platforms natively.
  • KiCAD:
    not really better than Eagle, so my complaints stay. Maybe I switch when I've done Chris Gammel's course of KiCAD.
  • CircuitMaker v 1.0.4 Build 44594 (now 2 revisions old):
    Whow, WHAT A LOAD OF BULLSHIT! Even for a beta.
    • Component search: not really parametric (show stopper #1) and slow as hell. I mean extremely slow.
    • Startup times are on the really slow side.
    • Nothing works without Internet access (show stopper #2). Seriously WHAT IS ALTIUM THINKING! I'm not paying for crappy overpriced celluar internet in Germany. But I was 2013/2014 working on a PCB for a school project in the train and bakery. In the school we also don't have an internet connection for our own laptops.

    I'm currently updating CM, so I may edit this post to include the newer version.
  • Diptrace
    Don't know anymore, have just used it to play around but didn't like that.
  • Target 3001! since v15 (2010)
    I think it's the most intuitive of all named.
    Features I like:
    • Their Search I like to call "Parts Google". Throw it "10kOhm 3d 1208 simulation 1%" and it interprets that as
      • Resistor (fixed)
      • Resistance: 10kOhms
      • Size: 1208
      • with 3D-model
      • simulatable
      • Tolerance: 1%
      Everything whithout that HAS TO impress with other features to be longer on my hard drive.
    • 3D-Visualisation with STEP, Wavefront OBJ and POV-Ray export.
    • Teacher-Impressing BOM integration with all major distributors in Germany. No, it doesn't show prices.
So I stay with Target.

A few comments to Altium (if they read that)
  • No, If I want a trial version of Altium Desinger, I'll NOT contact a sales rep. If you want me as a customer, put a frickin Download link for the trial in.
  • (I haven't tested the latest version yet, so if it's already done ignore this) FIX THAT COMPONENT SEARCH IN CM. Target has the best one to my knoledge.
  • Make CM's component selection faster. I wait about 1 minute for the footprint and symbol to appear, as I wait in Target only fractions of seconds, 2 seconds at max.
  • And BTW: make the program overall snappier and get rid of that stupid ribbon UI. Every CAD-Tool with that I've used was extreme slow and had a crap UI.
    I used MegaCAD 2012 in school for mechanical construction - it was a nightmare to use and fricking slow - now CM goes the same route.

So, enough shouting.

TheSebware
 

Offline madires

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2015, 01:41:08 pm »
My favourite show stoppers:
- internet connection: This is a absolutely no-go! Sorry, can't do the PCB because the internet connection is broken.  :palm:
- cloud based: I've seen cloud services being shut down too often.
- no Linux version: Buying a Windows licence is not free. Eagle Hobbyist costs about the same.
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2015, 01:42:23 pm »
Created an account, downloaded the software, logged in and nothing works. I can't open project from myself or other people. I click on the Open button and nothing opens. Click on the library tab and it say I have to log in first, but I am logged in.   :--

I might look at it again when it has all bugs fixed, but right now it is not working.
 

Offline pa3weg

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2015, 03:57:57 pm »
I would agree with madires about the obvious showstoppers.

The cloud would be an absolute no-go for me. for any product. ever. I want to know where my files are stored, how to back them up and who owns them (the US government might export restrict the files, if the cloud is hosted in the US).
Not being able to work with software without internet connection is a huge disadvantage when for instance debugging something "in the field".

And I use Linux and windows mixed (I have to use windows for other software unfortunately...) and so far altium has never, to my knowledge, generated any software for other platforms.

I have used Protel99 for some time, and the workflow is very nice once you get used to the shortcuts. But that was paid software, and after I moved jobs I did not have the rights to use it anymore.

EAGLE at least allows custom keyboard shortcuts, so you can work faster. Any tool that misses keyboard workflow is no good for me.

Using EAGLE was a huge step back in workflow, but after a while you understand some of the weird design choices in EAGLE. I have since created many PCBs in EAGLE and not having the "advanced" lay-out clutter around is quite nice. But don't go and design impedance matched differential traces for LVDS or something like that. It was never meant for that.

I am very impressed with the german customer support team (in english). but I get the impression that farnell / element14 is not helping in any way. They just want revenue out of it. No experience with the US support..

Price wise I think EAGLE is extremely fair, and I use it commercially as well. Altium is just too damn expensive for startup companies, smaller engineering teams and hobbyists.

I don't mind paying for good software, but the altium price?

Maybe I should give KiCad a try, but having a registered EAGLE version, what's the point....I can get stuff done in EAGLE.


First post on the EEVblog! Hello everyone  :)
 

Offline Sordran

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2015, 04:11:44 pm »
  • There's no easy way of getting a Ratsnet out of Eagle that I understood

Ripup @; ?
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2015, 05:59:44 pm »
Well, I always struggled with Eagle and had to lookup tutorials every single time I wanted to make a new project.

Even if I did start this project 3 weeks ago, I only did put a couple of hours total and found everything pretty intuitive with CM.
I only did put the effort after knowing it was visible to everyone so with no training whatsoever I was able to finish up the board:

http://workspace.circuitmaker.com/Projects/Details/108EE30E-F675-45FC-AF23-948DF386E56B

(The decoupling caps are on the bottom, and yeah they are huge 0805 because I have about 100 of each of 0.1uF and 1uF caps)


I guess I'll order some boards to test it before hitting the release, but since I'm committing it, others can see/collaborate/review/use it.

Anyways, it's the easiest program I've used, there is no way I would have ramp-up so fast on geda, kicad or eagle.

And if I was on a laptop I would make sure the program is already running while connected before I lost network connection. Have not tried that yet with my desktop (unplugging the network while CM is already running) but it should work. Also your favorite components should be cached for offline work.

So, it gets a big  :-+ from me.

Now to figure out if the gerbers have traps, like forgetting the drilling holes or something like that, I guess I'll use one of those online gerber viewers if I recall where they are at.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 06:01:55 pm by miguelvp »
 

Offline PinheadBE

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2015, 06:04:19 pm »
First info: it works only when connected on the net.

BIG FAIL! I'm an hobbyist and I spend every day one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening designing my projects (including PCB's) in the train when I'm commuting.
So, this is a total NO GO for me !

Dave,
when you mention the hardware supplier's solutions, you have omitted RS-online and the tool they are proposing: DesignSpark.
It is limitless, 100% free, works standalone with the ability to share ModelSource libraries online, import files from various competitors .....
And, if I am not mistaken, its router is partially or totally based on Altium's.
It also has a 3D rendering engine which is not that bas, IMHO.
It is very popular in Europe, designs and custom components MAY be shared on the community (as opposed to MUST be).
DesignSpark is already in its version 7 and deserves at least to be mentionned as a valid solution.
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Offline roli

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2015, 06:07:44 pm »
I am in a search for a new tool as well. Problem is that I really don't know where to go next.

I began my way with DipTrace. That was ok, but a free version was just too limited for me. I really made just a few single layer boards with a few components. Not complicated stuff at all.

Then I switched to Eagle. It was the hobbyist standard (and still probably is). Pretty easy to use, fast and had reasonable limitations for me. At least at that time. Of course those limitations became much more problematic over time. I needed 10x10cm boards for a Nixie clock project that I did (I posted about it here somewhere). I used a pirated version for that. I would pay those 150€ if they would give me unlimited board size and unlimited number of layers for that. But they don't. So screw them.

In the meantime I got a student license for Altium Designer - we used it at university. That license is actually still valid for a few months so I can still use it. Multiple sheets are nice, signal routing is just plain old awesome (pushing stuff out of the way for instance), 3D view is useful and component generator (for standard packages) that is to die for. On the other hand it's a bit slow and the user interface is just plain old shit. Too many menu options scattered all around the stuff and you end up searching for something basic in the darkest corners of the software. Even rotating a component is hard if you forget the shortcut. And of course I am a student/hobbyist so paying 8k isn't even a possibility.

Circuit maker really doesn't make any sense to me. First of all I won't use a cloud based software - even if my Internet connection is fine and most of my projects are open anyways. So that blows it out in the beginning. And second of all - they really haven't fixed the problem with Designer. Clunky user interface with too many options. Usually useless options that no hobbyist will need. Throw out the professional stuff, make the interface a bit easier to use and give me the local saving option. Then I'll start using it.

And then we are left with... what? Basically I want the user interface from Eagle with no limitations and the nice routing from Altium. And if it works on a Mac - even better. I have to try Kicad at some point but I have a feeling that I won't like it. User interface seems dodgy at best. And the most important aspect of an application is it's user interface.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2015, 06:10:54 pm »
A few comments to Altium (if they read that) ...

Of course they do, but they are not allowed to respond here.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2015, 06:32:54 pm »
I began my way with DipTrace. That was ok, but a free version was just too limited for me. I really made just a few single layer boards with a few components. Not complicated stuff at all.


The free version is exactly like the most expensive version except you're limited by the number of SIGNAL layers (you can have as many plane layers as you want) and 500 pins.  I use it for everything at the moment (Diptrace...not the free version, of course).

Anyhow, this is a big disappointment from Altium, IMHO.  I really like Diptrace, but if someone else came along with an equally simple interface/interaction, and approximately the same pricing, I would probably drop them in a heartbeat.  Diptrace is very slow to fix their antiquated interface, and they're very stubborn in insisting they know what we want, and know what we should and shouldn't be able to design.

Alas, I'll keep waiting I guess.


« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 06:38:32 pm by John Coloccia »
 

Offline arekm

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2015, 06:48:13 pm »
"UH-OH SOMETHING WENT WRONG!
It looks like we’re experiencing some technical difficulties

Please try registering again in an hour or so."

Uh, can't even register.
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Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2015, 06:52:49 pm »
It'll be fun when you're trying to work on something and "UH-OH......"
 

Offline RogerRowland

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2015, 07:20:30 pm »
Small point about the lack of real estate due to the ribbon - you can hide it by clicking the "up arrow" button that's hidden at the top right of the UI just under the close button and to the right of the Search box.

 

Offline Royce

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2015, 07:26:22 pm »
I'm really conflicted about this.

I'm pretty leery of the cloud-only restriction. As Dave notes, Altium sometimes takes inexplicable actions to the detriment of both themselves and their customers. The concern is that they decide to switch off this service suddenly.

On the other hand, the feature set I saw in Dave's video is just about everything I've wanted in a electronic CAD package. Semi-sane UI, advanced layout features, community leverage capabilities, and free for commercial use. It is really enticing.

If the Diptrace folks would add more community leverage capabilities, even if just on the libraries, I probably wouldn't consider investing the time in Circuit Maker. But, they don't seem too interested in that.

 

Offline Royce

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2015, 07:29:07 pm »
Small point about the lack of real estate due to the ribbon - you can hide it by clicking the "up arrow" button that's hidden at the top right of the UI just under the close button and to the right of the Search box.

Also, I'd guess that the three dots separating each section also lets you control the size of a section even as it is unfolded.
 

Offline MyCo

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2015, 07:36:26 pm »
I accept bets on which of the 3 Altium PCB Design products get dropped first... seriously, as a Software Developer I bet this is going to happen. There is no way they can keep their codebase split like that. Yeah, they seem to share some parts/libraries, but it really looks like they want to get rid of very old legacies in Altium Designer and Circuit Studio is going to replace it in the future. And that's why the price of it is so extreme at the moment.

Edit: That's basically the same thing Microsoft is doing right now...
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 07:38:44 pm by MyCo »
 

Offline nixfu

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #46 on: June 16, 2015, 08:11:57 pm »
I will point and laugh at everyone that loses all their work when Altium does what they have a history of doing to screw their customers and shuts the thing down.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #47 on: June 16, 2015, 08:25:34 pm »
No matter how good Maker is, it will end up a disaster in its current model.  No business with half a brain keeps a liability on the books for long, and that is all Maker can be now:  a financial sinkhole to be reviled by everyone in Altium who actually does work that brings in revenue.  If I worked at Altium, I would be livid about this project.  What client that can only afford free turns around and drops $3K or $9K on Designer?
 

Offline roli

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #48 on: June 16, 2015, 08:42:13 pm »
I began my way with DipTrace. That was ok, but a free version was just too limited for me. I really made just a few single layer boards with a few components. Not complicated stuff at all.

The free version is exactly like the most expensive version except you're limited by the number of SIGNAL layers (you can have as many plane layers as you want) and 500 pins.  I use it for everything at the moment (Diptrace...not the free version, of course).
Where did you get 500 pins?
From Diptrace site:
Quote
All features and libraries, 300 pins and 2 signal layers, non-profit use only
My new boards are usually around 200-400 pins. So 300 is a bit too limited. 500 would work fine for my projects up to this point.

But... I am planing on doing (in a near future) a board with some BGA parts and I need 4 signal layers and probably quite a bit more than just 300 pins. And I am really not sure what to use at this point.

Somebody mentioned DesignSpark PCB. I will check that out. Could be interesting. I've tried the DesignSpark Mechanical a wile back and I wasn't too impressed by it.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #49 on: June 16, 2015, 09:10:17 pm »
I began my way with DipTrace. That was ok, but a free version was just too limited for me. I really made just a few single layer boards with a few components. Not complicated stuff at all.

The free version is exactly like the most expensive version except you're limited by the number of SIGNAL layers (you can have as many plane layers as you want) and 500 pins.  I use it for everything at the moment (Diptrace...not the free version, of course).
Where did you get 500 pins?
From Diptrace site:
Quote
All features and libraries, 300 pins and 2 signal layers, non-profit use only
My new boards are usually around 200-400 pins. So 300 is a bit too limited. 500 would work fine for my projects up to this point.

But... I am planing on doing (in a near future) a board with some BGA parts and I need 4 signal layers and probably quite a bit more than just 300 pins. And I am really not sure what to use at this point.

Somebody mentioned DesignSpark PCB. I will check that out. Could be interesting. I've tried the DesignSpark Mechanical a wile back and I wasn't too impressed by it.

http://diptrace.com/buy/non-profit/

Tada.  :)  Just write them a note.  As long as you're not making money on it, their prices are really quite reasonable.  It's a very nice piece of software, and though it has some limitations, it's probably the easiest to use design tool I've seen.  It could be world class, but they can't seem to get their heads out of their butts and recognize just exactly what market they're in.
 

Offline BobC

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #50 on: June 16, 2015, 09:41:21 pm »
I design relatively few PCBs from scratch.  I mainly do two things:

1. Add tweaks to existing designs:
- BOM, schematic and layout updates due to component or package availability.
- Layout updates due to fab house design rules.
- Convert layouts from double-sided to single-sided (I enjoy the puzzle of simplifying layout topology).
- Convert layouts to smaller PCB size, and tiling boards for fab.
- Upgrade to faster processors with higher clocks.

2. One-off Fritzing-style breadboard/perfboard single-sided prototyping (but I find Fritzing itself to be unsuited for my needs).
- In general, I find perfboard makes best sense for my fabrication needs (mainly capes/shields).  I'd love it if the layout tool directly supported perfboard!
- Once in a while I'll upgrade the layout to a custom PCB.

The features I require in any "free" package include:

1. My files are mine.  This has some implications:
- Files reside on my local system (cloud backup and versioning is nice).
- File formats are fully documented (standard or custom, either way).

2. The software and/or workflow is expandable by 3rd parties (including users).
- Best case: The entire tool is open-source.
- Next-best: Open plugin API, with open-source plugins being OK.
- Minimum: Independent processing (external tools that work on documented file formats).

3. Given the above, I get to do the following:
- Unlimited import/export of everything from/to everything (if not available, I can write it)
- Combine with other tools (e.g., I may like to use a different simulator or design rule checker)

What I don't care about (much) either way:

1. Mandatory Internet connection:
- So long as my files are local, I don't mind the tool requiring Internet connection.
- Everything must work over a crappy connection (primarily for authentication, not live interaction).
- Some offline functionality is required (capture, layout, print).
- Everything else may be online (vendor libraries, autorouter, simulator, etc.).

2. Pin/Part/Size/Layer Limits:
- I'm OK so long as I can do "reasonably complex" double-sided boards.  On the order of a RasPi2.
- If limits exist, there must be incremental steps up (not "all or nothing").

3. Bug fixes, public forum for support.
- Major revisions can require uninstall/reinstall
- Updates can be batched to reduce frequency.

4. Commercial license.
- On the vary rare occasions when I need to do a board for a client, I can typically get/borrow a seat of whatever tool they are using.
- Sometimes I'll use ExpressPCB for expediency, if only a handful of boards are needed.
- If they have no in-house tools, they are often willing to pay a low price to upgrade my "free" home tools.

What I won't tolerate in a "free" package:

1. Forced sharing of my designs.  Really.  Lots of my stuff isn't fit for public consumption.  It's a pride thing.

2. Expensive upgrade path.  "Max" package must be well under US$2K.  Multiple steps to max are required.

3. "Broken" import/export to most popular "free" tools, and export to common documentation file formats (especially PDF).  For example:
- Does the tool make it easy to do an article, report, Instructable or blog post about my circuit and board?  Without having to do screen captures!
- How easy is it to share my work with clients or other Makers, especially those who don't use the same tool?


So, for my needs listed above, the current Circuit Maker beta is a massive fail, despite its many other truly great qualities.  Hopefully some of the issues will be handled before the beta ends and 1.0 is released.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #51 on: June 16, 2015, 10:16:02 pm »
Quote
What I won't tolerate in a "free" package:

Did I just read that? Wow.
 

Offline roli

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #52 on: June 16, 2015, 10:18:50 pm »
http://diptrace.com/buy/non-profit/

Tada.  :)  Just write them a note.  As long as you're not making money on it, their prices are really quite reasonable.  It's a very nice piece of software, and though it has some limitations, it's probably the easiest to use design tool I've seen.  It could be world class, but they can't seem to get their heads out of their butts and recognize just exactly what market they're in.
Ah, it was hidden under the buy section. I haven't used their new website before - I only remember the old one.
It's still too limited for my next project. Unless I spend 125$ for an educational version. Which could be ok. But that's a lot of money for a product that you aren't really sure about.

I tried KiCad - I will definitely not be using that. I almost lost my mind trying to find an 0805 resistor in the default libraries. Just... no. Interface is so far off from intuitive that it hurts.

And I also tried DesignSpark PCB. A bit better than KiCad. I had the same problem in the beginning until I figured out that you can actually search in the RS component library thing. And the whole thing is a bit unintuitive as well. I'll try experimenting with it a bit more to see if it grows on me. But I somehow doubt it.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #53 on: June 16, 2015, 10:36:15 pm »
I haven't used a component from the DipTrace's library yet.  That's not to say they're bad, but the through hole components seemed to chronically have pads that were too small, and stupid things like that.  Now, I just make my own patterns, and a lot of my own components too if I don't like how they've done the library ones.  The component and pattern designer are so easy to use that it costs me practically no time to whip up a new component.  It's one of it's best features, IMHO.  I've used some packages where designing new components and patterns is a nightmare.

About the biggest thing I can fault Diptrace for, and if you need it it's a PITA, is the ability to rotate individual pads by arbitrary angles.  Somewhat irrelevant for surface mount, because you can always just draw the pad as a polygon, but every now and then you have elongates through holes that are laid out radially.  Some styles of vacuum tube holders come to mind.  They said they're going to consider fixing that....some day...when they're done with their stupid differential pairs that no one cares about.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 10:48:24 pm by John Coloccia »
 

Offline Guni

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #54 on: June 16, 2015, 10:50:34 pm »
Idea to share my projects with Altium engineers and allow them to pass through my firewall is absolutely not acceptable!
Respect that Altium decided to help amateurs and give them/us this great tool. Respect! But there's no such thing as a free lunch. Price is to high for me.
To be clear, I don't work on secret service devices or military stuff but... you know  ;) 
   
 

Offline Isaac000

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #55 on: June 16, 2015, 11:17:21 pm »
I have used the expensive stuff before like PADS or Allegro, plus some freebies before I started kicking at CircuiMaker.
  • The on-line requirement is a real bummer. Support forum got me going quickly, but you will have troubles if you're behind a corporate proxy, for example.
  • Not that you would use it in a corporate environment, because everything is online and public. It's a non-starter for small companies or departments who need to get small things done. (Well, it seems Beta 2 allows 2 private projects, I'm glad they listened to feedback, but still, what I really want is ability to save off-line and function off-line when I need to)
  • All sorts of minor usability issues (which the competitors are NOT exempt from, mind you!)
  • The component library is kind of horrible to use, mostly everything is in one big list
  • It's laggy. It feels like it's a web app, even though it's not. Doesn't make me a happy user that's for sure!
The problem is after using CircuitMaker, it does not make me want to pony up the cash to their other products, which is what it's supposed to do, isn't it?

Of the freebies that I've tried:
  • DesignSpark PCB is quite easy to use and as far as I know, will keep working when I'm off-line and the files are local. You get a quote for PCB and I think BOM from RS/Allied. I did a simple project in it, no problems.
  • PCB Web. This is the DigiKey tool and there are many fantastic things about it, but also some not so good. Stuff you discover as you actually do a whole project. The link to DigiKey database is good (not great because it is far from complete). The "live" PCB-schematic update seems great so far. PCB routing behaviour & tools is not so hot. I am also not sure if my local file also gets copied into the cloud (I'm just being paranoid). Custom library fairly easy to use and nicely organized. "Live" BOM and PCB pricing as you work.

I would imagine for home hobbyist, DesignSpark or PCBWeb will do what you need and I would use either of them before CircuitMaker. I think for my own tool I would probably stick with DesignSpark next time. KiCad seems a bit too "daunting", but I may give it a try. The limited library in KiCad is a bit of an issue, I find I spend a big chunk of my time creating the symbols and layout before I do any sort of work!

(I also tried Multisim Blue from Mouse, but that is crippled beyond belief and so little users it seems the forums have just died off and become inactive).
 

Offline gadgetjunkie

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2015, 12:01:55 am »
Here's my take:

First, some background: my primary job is software development (everything from Windows to Linux, and some embedded stuff).

Most of the hardware I work on is for my own personal projects, which I have no problem with sharing as open source.

However, there are times where I may have to design something for a customer who isn't so willing to share their intellectual property as open source.

I am not going to invest time and effort learning a tool while working on my personal stuff if down the road, I will have to spend lots of $$$ to work on private, for-profit projects.  The 2 sandbox project limit is just a non-starter for me.

As many issues as Eagle has (and it does have plenty), the incremental pricing to go from the free / hobbyist level, to a licensed commercial product is reasonable -- especially for someone like myself who doesn't spend 40 hours a week in a hardware design tool.  If I were a pro designer, I'd make the investment into high-end pro tools (such as Altium).

$3500 to make the jump from free to commercial is just too much to justify spending the time getting invested in CircuitMaker.   I'll stick with Eagle for now, and possibly look at KiCad now that it's evolved a bit.  I may even give gEda another spin.
 

Online sleemanj

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2015, 12:04:15 am »
Well, it looks like a good package, probably easy-enough to use for beginners (if it's as intuitive as DipTrace I don't know, but that's the gold standard for intuitiveness in a 'professional' PCB design tool in my books).  Love the component data hookups, community aspect etc.

But for me, the mandated online tethering, necessity to have everything you commit be public, and most importantly, the Windows requirement (maybe it'll run in Wine, but usually only that's any good if the developers have actually put some work in to do that), take it off the table.

Would anybody (who knows Altium) REALLY be surprised if in 3-5 years they turn around and discontinue the product, or implement some major restrictions (the upgrades panel) because it's not making the revenue they wanted (how exactly are they going to be monetizing this anyway... just relying on people to buy the ridiculously more expensive ones.... yeah, I don't see that).


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Offline ranch varment

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #58 on: June 17, 2015, 12:06:10 am »
Its down the simulation how good the software is,  not just the pretty render.   and does this do it?  if not, its pretty much a waste of money.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 12:46:36 am by ranch varment »
 

Online sleemanj

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #59 on: June 17, 2015, 12:16:27 am »
if your good at software you know how basic this is to make and asking money for drawing a line on the screen is just a joke to me.



"Drawing a line on the screen" is not in any way an accurate description of a Schematic Capture and PCB CAD package.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #60 on: June 17, 2015, 12:21:27 am »
Go read his other posts. He's cuckoo.
No longer active here - try the IRC channel if you just can't be without me :)
 

Offline ranch varment

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #61 on: June 17, 2015, 12:57:02 am »
you guys think im so crap at coding...


you wanna see some better code than this?


I could code this program with my eyes closed. :)

thank you... thank you...

king man!
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 01:54:23 am by ranch varment »
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #62 on: June 17, 2015, 02:28:31 am »
Anyone want to put some bets on how long it takes for an alternate unofficial circuit maker "server" to come out?  Something that you can run locally...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #63 on: June 17, 2015, 02:36:57 am »
As many issues as Eagle has (and it does have plenty), the incremental pricing to go from the free / hobbyist level, to a licensed commercial product is reasonable

No, it's not!
If you want to design a single sided PCB with a couple of LED's on it that is bigger than 161mm or more in any direction, then you have to pay US$1145
Why do people think Eagle is cheap?
 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #64 on: June 17, 2015, 03:06:07 am »
No opinions. Only a couple questions..

My Altium sales rep quoted AD15 at $3569 , which included a free upgrade to AD16 when released.  Offer valid for a limited time...  although they say that just prior to every release.  After the "limited time offer" it goes up to ~$5k.  Circuit Studio at e14 is $2990.   If I purchase CS and later decide to upgrade to AD15, they will charge me an additional $1495 ($4485 to try CS and end up with AD15).

1. Does anyone have a feature list that would explain the $600 price difference?  Are they honestly charging customers for the un-crippled interface.. or is there something more AD offers over CS.. or something CS lacks?

2. Does Circuit Studio allow custom key bindings so that I could mimic Altium Designer's hotkeys? 

« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:12:01 am by Poe »
 

Offline ruairi

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #65 on: June 17, 2015, 03:11:57 am »
Poe,

Is that some kind of student special pricing? My (perhaps incorrect) understanding was that the full Standard Altium package was much more expensive. 
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #66 on: June 17, 2015, 03:14:34 am »
WTF?  There's a $5400 discount for buying designer direct?  Who's your rep? 
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:24:17 am by LabSpokane »
 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #67 on: June 17, 2015, 03:41:10 am »
Poe,

Is that some kind of student special pricing? My (perhaps incorrect) understanding was that the full Standard Altium package was much more expensive.

Don't think so.  It's for a small company.  I imagine they charge what they can get.  We've never had a NEED to buy their software.  We simply said "no thanks" and let them come to us by downloading a free trial every so often.  When the price dropped and we had the cash, we bought. 

The quote is simply the start of the negotiation IMHO.  They aren't dumb either.  Inflated retail prices, then discounted, drive sales just as much as anything.
 

Offline modrobert

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #68 on: June 17, 2015, 03:45:29 am »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:58:06 am by modrobert »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #69 on: June 17, 2015, 04:24:16 am »
My Altium sales rep quoted AD15 at $3569 , which included a free upgrade to AD16 when released.  Offer valid for a limited time...  although they say that just prior to every release.  After the "limited time offer" it goes up to ~$5k.

From what I understand that is an insanely cheap price. I though AD was in the order of $7-8K  :-//
 

Offline Someone

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #70 on: June 17, 2015, 04:46:37 am »
Would anybody (who knows Altium) REALLY be surprised if in 3-5 years they turn around and discontinue the product, or implement some major restrictions (the upgrades panel) because it's not making the revenue they wanted (how exactly are they going to be monetizing this anyway... just relying on people to buy the ridiculously more expensive ones.... yeah, I don't see that).
This is why the perpetual standalone licenses are so important to long term businesses, even if Altium goes under or discontinues/cripples/changes the product you can continue to use what you bought forever. With their rapidly changing features/conditions/requirements of circuitStudio I wouldn't risk buying something that may lose support for advertised features even during the first 12 months of subscription.
 

Offline Tothwolf

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #71 on: June 17, 2015, 05:33:20 am »
Cloud == FAIL [blinking, red, bold FAIL]

IMO Altium has completely missed the mark here and the limitations of their new "CircuitMaker" aren't going to gain them many fans. The "must be public" feature of the software in particular may well end up causing people all sorts of legal headaches.

How long until one or more far-east design clone outfits camp out in the community and start mass producing anything they think will make a buck or two?

Heck, what happens when someone tries to license their finished widget to a company, and the company then says "Well, it looks like you released this widget publicly in the CircuitMaker community, so we don't have to actually pay you anything..."? Forcing someone to make a project public doesn't necessarily change its license status, not can Altium force someone to license their design for free.

Protel/Altium can -attempt- to pry my MicroCode* CircuitMaker 2000 from my cold dead fingers.

*If you can't beat em with competition, buy em out so you can kill their better, lower cost product...later, once (you hope) people have largely forgotten, call your "new and improved" cloud-based (gag) software by the same name (CircuitMaker) to ride on the original software's coattails (and obscure the original's history)... Altium -- you haven't fooled anyone...you FAILED.
 

Offline pa3weg

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #72 on: June 17, 2015, 08:57:32 am »
No, it's not!
If you want to design a single sided PCB with a couple of LED's on it that is bigger than 161mm or more in any direction, then you have to pay US$1145
Why do people think Eagle is cheap?

Wow....thats a lot more than I thought! I bought EAGLE professional when at version 4 for about 400 Euro's or 450 yankee dollars.
Ever since, I have done very reasonably priced upgrades, and I will still have to upgrade to version 7.
Mind you, only the PCB and Layout engines, autorouters I wil never buy...

I accept they need some money to keep the show going, so upgrading a major version for around 170 euro per license is not that bad. That was the kind of money I was thinking about, because thats what I am paying.

I am now using it commercially with about 30 licenses for the same price as ONE altium license!

Now....a hobbyists use is a lot different if they indeed priced EAGLE at US$1145 for the pro license. Thats ridiculous compared to the license multiples!

 

Offline frvisser

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #73 on: June 17, 2015, 09:48:29 am »
So it's a superb tool for newbies/dummies making their Arduinoshields and stuff (like me)  :-+
Let's get the EEVblog community to make some basic stuff on there. Things like a simple but safe power supply to be used on your circuit instead of buying onehunglow stuff from Ebay, will make the world a much safer place  :-/O
 

Offline ChrisW

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #74 on: June 17, 2015, 10:02:00 am »
I'm sure somebody will figure out how to hack the software to enable it to run offline etc. Just give it some time.
 

Offline pa3weg

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #75 on: June 17, 2015, 10:21:37 am »
I'm sure somebody will figure out how to hack the software to enable it to run offline etc. Just give it some time.

But that's hardly a solution. If the product needs 3rd party hacks to make it work, its just no good!
Why would you need to pirate FREE software...come on Altium!
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #76 on: June 17, 2015, 10:57:22 am »
Altium's biggest potential problem here is that the were too generous. I know it's hard to say there is such a thing, but when you are trying to balance product take-up with protection of existing products, it is possible to give too much away.
They decided to give practically everything away, and in doing so have no real option left but to make it internet/cloud only etc. So that can hurt their take-up of the product.

If they had just followed my original advice and give away a decent free version with some high end restrictions, and charge a reasonable amount like a few hundreds bucks for local saving, they would have:
- a killer product
- get another revenue stream
- product their higher end product.

it's not too late, it's only in beta.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #77 on: June 17, 2015, 12:22:42 pm »
Thanks Dave. Good review.

I heard the nanoboard acted like a dongle. I have never tried it. Buy the Nanoboard 3000 for $500 or so, you unlock Altium to do all your own designs, APPARENTLY. I guess that backdoor has been closed by now, because their method of downloading has changed.

I use the full Altium Designer and if they cleaned this Circuit Maker menu up cleaned this up a bit to be more like Atium Designer, it would be nice for those of us who are used to it. And the hotkeys are a must, otherwise you'd go nuts on a big design!.

Who cares about the Altium standard libraries? They are crap (especially the PTH devices), but are sometimes useful as templates to create smarter footprints.

The worry is the lack of ability to export/import and non standard file formats. If they abandon the software, you are up the creek without a paddle.

Altium is getting back to basics. The add-ons crap is off the radar. Good move by Altium.

Whoever did that Arduino board either had not finished or is a two-bit slap dash merchant. Having component designators half obliterated by vias or completley oblitered by the component is idiotic.

 

Offline mmetzkes

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #78 on: June 17, 2015, 12:25:31 pm »
Hi Dave,
you can hide the ribbon-band with the  little arrow as shown in the attached image.

Greetings
Michael
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #79 on: June 17, 2015, 12:25:59 pm »
Whoever did that Arduino board either had not finished or is a two-bit slap dash merchant. Having component designators half obliterated by vias or completley oblitered by the component is idiotic.

It looked like a direct import of the 'official' Arduino files. So I think 'two-bit slap dash merchant' is a bit redundant.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #80 on: June 17, 2015, 12:44:12 pm »
Whoever did that Arduino board either had not finished or is a two-bit slap dash merchant. Having component designators half obliterated by vias or completley oblitered by the component is idiotic.

I think the importer was at fault.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #81 on: June 17, 2015, 12:45:37 pm »
Hi Dave,
you can hide the ribbon-band with the  little arrow as shown in the attached image.

Sure you can hide it (and hence can't use it), but the point was it took up too much space when showing. They could have made it a lot thinner.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #82 on: June 17, 2015, 12:47:26 pm »
Whoever did that Arduino board either had not finished or is a two-bit slap dash merchant. Having component designators half obliterated by vias or completley oblitered by the component is idiotic.

I think the importer was at fault.

Overlapping drill hits, silkscreen over vias, silkscreen under components? No, the files provided by Arduino really look like that. Although I don't think most of the silk under components is meant to get printed, it's on a different layer.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 12:50:28 pm by Monkeh »
 

Offline madires

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #83 on: June 17, 2015, 01:04:44 pm »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.

And that would explain the bussines case. Give the editor away for free and own everything created with it. Can someone confirm this?
 

Offline amyk

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #84 on: June 17, 2015, 01:12:59 pm »
Anyone want to put some bets on how long it takes for an alternate unofficial circuit maker "server" to come out?  Something that you can run locally...
I doubt the pirates are going to use anything other than the full version of Altium.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #85 on: June 17, 2015, 01:32:34 pm »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.

And that would explain the bussines case. Give the editor away for free and own everything created with it. Can someone confirm this?

I can't. The "End-User License Agreement" link on the website links to the main Altium EULA, which makes no such claim.
No longer active here - try the IRC channel if you just can't be without me :)
 

Offline DJohn

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #86 on: June 17, 2015, 02:00:09 pm »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.

And that would explain the bussines case. Give the editor away for free and own everything created with it. Can someone confirm this?

I can't. The "End-User License Agreement" link on the website links to the main Altium EULA, which makes no such claim.

8.11 in http://www.altium.com/resources/PDFs/altium_license_agreement_en.pdf appears to be the relevant bit.  It's the general Altium agreement, but that bit looks like it's written specifically for CM.  And it says nothing like what Modrobert is claiming.

While you use their service, you give them permission to copy and distribute your public designs.  That's fair enough - they can't do any of the community stuff without it.  They can also modify and adapt them, which probably isn't as alarming as it sounds.  I'd guess it's just to cover things like creating thumbnails for project search results (they tend to write these things a lot more generally than they intend to ever use).  It's fairly standard language for this kind of service.

You still own all of your designs, and you don't give them any rights over your private designs.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #87 on: June 17, 2015, 02:44:50 pm »
Let me ask a dumb question. Which serious open source project uses a proprietary tool as their main development environment? You could even maybe get away with that for a tool like this, but this tool is worse than propriertary thanks to their dippy cloud requirement. This is a fail on so many levels that Altium should just kill it now before they look stupid, and it's a shame because they have the resources and experience to really make a worthwhile contribution.
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #88 on: June 17, 2015, 03:19:05 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.
2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.
3) Sharing your designs with the community will make you a better designer, now you get peer reviews for free. And the best design become most popular.  You can also learn a lot from other people in the community.
4) A perfect training tool for beginners and wannabee professional designers.  You get to know Altium and what I have seen it is much more intuitive than other programs.  If you are really getting serious and want to make $$$ with your design, you will get a full version of Altium Designer either paid for or pirated.
5) Knowing Altium is a good thing to have on your resume, if you want to go professional.  I can see companies using the forum to find potential employees.

I agree that the version that allows local saves should be priced more reasonable in the $ 500 to $ 1000 range and think this product will fail if the price isn't brought down.

I would love Dave to make some followup video's on how to design a very basic board from start to end in this version of Altium.


« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:25:16 pm by Rutger »
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #89 on: June 17, 2015, 03:46:57 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.

I agree that the version that allows local saves should be priced more reasonable in the $ 500 to $ 1000 range and think this product will fail if the price isn't brought down.

Good, valid points. 

My concern on the tethered access isn't *my* network connection - it's the other side.  We've all experienced server/switch side outages of banks, credit card companies and ISPs.  Heck even Gmail has had service outages.  Granted, our own PCs are usually the weak link, but if you're running on deadline and the cloud is down for hours or days, that's a stress that no one needs.  And with the product generating ZERO revenue, I guarantee that Altium's server side is not going to be as robust and redundant as it would if it had money attached.

If I could get local saves for the price you're thinking, I would have a seat of Altium today.  For better or worse, it *is* one of the industry standards and is a good bet for platform longevity. 

It's this whole notion of "free" being cheaper that is screwing up everything.  Free is rarely, if ever, the lowest cost solution.  It almost always guarantees extensive duplication of previous efforts after the provider of "free" goes away. 
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:51:17 pm by LabSpokane »
 

Offline roli

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #90 on: June 17, 2015, 04:10:36 pm »
2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.
I would actually change this - make version control and cloud saving the paid option and have the basic version be "local only". It would be far more sensible since versioning and sharing aren't all that useful for hobbyists.

Besides - the same thing can be achieved with any tool that uses textual based files (XML for instance - like eagle) and git. With that you can use either github if you want it easy or local git server if you want privacy and stuff like that. There is also another benefit to using git - you can version your whole project. Documentation, source code, ... All in one.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 04:14:56 pm by roli »
 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #91 on: June 17, 2015, 04:22:03 pm »
From what I understand that is an insanely cheap price. I though AD was in the order of $7-8K  :-//

Colleagues working for larger companies report paying ~$7k for AD14, and nearly $8k for AD15 ...per seat.  Basically retail.  A colleague of mine who works for himself reports paying ~$4950 for AD14.  He just took the first quote.  We received about five formal quotes over the last six years.  Price ranged from $7k to this new ~$4k price. 

CS price is non-negotiable (tried) and stupidly close to AD's price right now.  I expect AD's price to increase rather than CS decrease given the capability of CM.  ..or maybe they're trying to improve their interface and change their pay model similar to that of Photoshop?

I understand issues with the only-online thing for companies and maybe people with bad internet connections....

But why would anyone (using free software intended for OSHW, hobbyists and students) care if they had to put their finished stuff in the public domain?  Do these people simply want AD for free or is there some reasonable honest thoughts behind it? 

Does CM incorporate some kind of mechanism (IP check) to prevent a user from creating multiple accounts for more than two sandboxed projects?  I can see weekend startups using this tactic since most only have about six products anyways.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 04:25:02 pm by Poe »
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #92 on: June 17, 2015, 04:38:43 pm »
But why would anyone (using free software intended for OSHW, hobbyists and students) care if they had to put their finished stuff in the public domain?  Do these people simply want AD for free or is there some reasonable honest thoughts behind it? 

Because:

1) it's crazy to spend any time working on something when you know that if the network goes down for any reason, or heaven forbid you might even have to reboot your computer to get it working again, you will be unable to save your work and that gets lost.

2) if there's a network hiccup anywhere, you will not be able to work at all

3) if Altium decides to pull the plug, change their terms, or whatever, you loose everything permanently

This is practically the opposite of the concept of "open source" and "free" (in the sense of unencumbered).  I could be wrong, but I have a hard time seeing the open source community embracing this product.

Remember what happened with BitKeeper and Linux?  How much crap did they get for that, and in the end BitKeeper axed support for the free version, leaving users high and dry.  Well, at least they could suck everything out and migrate to something else.  What do you do with Altium's software?  Oh well, you're screwed I guess.

This isn't serious software, and even hobbyists deserve to have serious software even if you have to live with KiCAD.

Anyhow, there's really nothing to complain about because no one has to use it, and it IS free, but I have to wonder just what kind of market research Altium's done that makes this seem like a good idea.  I'm sure they must have a team that's investigated this and they must be right, but I'm really having a very hard time seeing how you overcome these hurdles.  Being free just doesn't seem like enough.


« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 04:50:14 pm by John Coloccia »
 

Offline donkey77

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #93 on: June 17, 2015, 04:50:32 pm »
Not being an expert on Altium as a company, or anything else for that matter, if they do choose to ditch DM as it is a loss leader, surely they would offer an update or separate tool to download/backup your projects to a generic, or even AD file format before shutting it down?!
 

Offline BloodyCactus

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #94 on: June 17, 2015, 05:22:05 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.

It is for me, I have DSL, and if there is a storm within 20 miles, my internet goes down. I live in the mountains. I get 1.5mbit DSL


2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.

unless your internet goes down and you cant access those files, like you can local files and work on projects during a rain storm.

3) Sharing your designs with the community will make you a better designer, now you get peer reviews for free.

huh? I work on my own stuff, why would I care about browsing through 10000000 useless projects of other people with random crazy names (for enforcing the unique name thing). who is going to give you free peer review?

I think your dreaming if you suddenly think putting a design out there will net you 100 comments on improving/fixing/changing your design.

And the best design become most popular.  You can also learn a lot from other people in the community.

best designs becomes popular what? is it a competition? your design is competiting against someone else to be the best something? what? are we gonna start seeing "#1 best usb rs232 conversion" "#1 best pcb than directly breaks out AVR pins to a through hole header thats not called an arduino" ?


personally, I'd rather local files and compete with DipTrace/Eagle. Sell me an 800 dollar version of Circuit Studio with no limits. DipTrace sell you 4 layers/1000 pins for 350$ or 6 layers, 2000 pins for $600.

for non enterprise tool market, wants more than circuit maker provides but less cost than circuit studio.

if they sold CS for 800$ people would throw money at them.



-- Aussie living in the USA --
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #95 on: June 17, 2015, 05:22:26 pm »
A lot of assumptions in this thread.

Oh well, I'm a happy user and I don't mind the small limitations they currently have, after all it's still in Beta.

They do have the flexibility to add new features at will, and that includes the simulation and whatever other plug-ins they decide to release.

Say you get a decent user base of say 100K people (and that is a low ball estimate) using CM and there are many ways to monetize it.
They probably get a cut from ciiva, or they will in the future. Or a simple $20 plug in might make them a couple of millions in no time.

So far there are 550 committed projects, and the rating system is not terrible, and no, you can't delete comments as far as I know.

Anyways I like it and they support ODB++ and gerbers and you can backup your stuff anyways with the Project Generate Documents it spews a zip file with everything on it so you don't need to dig for the files in that obscure folder where they are kept.

Anyways I'm going to keep on using it because it is the best tool with the best features that I can afford legally.

 

Offline rolycat

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #96 on: June 17, 2015, 06:15:38 pm »
why would I care about browsing through 10000000 useless projects of other people with random crazy names (for enforcing the unique name thing).

From the announcement for beta 2:
  • Project names are only required to be unique on the user level now.
:-+

However, so far there does seem to be a lot of noise and relatively little signal. Lots of released projects consisting of blank schematics, or one or two resistors.

The star rating system which should presumably help to filter this also seems fairly useless at the moment - some apparently substantial projects have no stars, while others containing nothing but a few IC outlines have five.
 

Offline modrobert

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #97 on: June 17, 2015, 06:51:37 pm »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.

And that would explain the bussines case. Give the editor away for free and own everything created with it. Can someone confirm this?

I can't. The "End-User License Agreement" link on the website links to the main Altium EULA, which makes no such claim.
I couldn't find it either. OP can you provide a link please?

I was reading this...

Quote
While Altium remains committed to listening to its users about improving products or services, you understand that any ideas, inventions or materials (collectively, “Materials”) that you submit to Altium using the Website shall become the exclusive property of Altium and by submitting the same you relinquish all rights in the Materials upon their submission and waive any right to hold Altium liable for its use of or failure to use such Materials in any way.

http://www.circuitmaker.com/terms-of-use.php

...and I realize now that was probably only for the website, not the circuit maker tool? Think I jumped the gun there, sorry about that.

I read section "8. HOSTED SERVICES" in the following document (assuming that is the relevant one):

http://www.altium.com/resources/PDFs/altium_license_agreement_en.pdf

Although it is not as bad as the website agreement (quoted), it looks open for change, it has that dynamic feeling which reminds me of other services where they change the user agreement daily, and you automatically approve by logging into the system each time.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 07:01:40 pm by modrobert »
 

Offline Isaac000

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #98 on: June 17, 2015, 07:14:18 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.
Well, I guess we all work differently. I prefer to do my background work first, then download all datasheets and then I'm ready to do actual schematic & PCB work once I've got everything else in order. So yes, I do happen to be able to get quite a bit of work done while I'm somewhere which doesn't necessarily have an internet connection
Quote
2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.
Nope, this sucks. If my not-so-important e-mail is lost for a while because the network is down, I don't care so much, especially since all my old e-mails are generally downloaded. Knowing that the one and only copy of my work is stashed away in "the cloud" under somebody else's mercy, hmm... not so good if that's really important work.
Quote
3) Sharing your designs with the community will make you a better designer, now you get peer reviews for free. And the best design become most popular.  You can also learn a lot from other people in the community.
Really? Cause a really experienced designer is going to browse through all these random projects and take the time to give proper critique & pointers? Or more likely I'm not such a motivated designer, but I need some working circuit and I search for one and copy the thing.
Quote
4) A perfect training tool for beginners and wannabee professional designers.  You get to know Altium and what I have seen it is much more intuitive than other programs.  If you are really getting serious and want to make $$$ with your design, you will get a full version of Altium Designer either paid for or pirated.
Aaah yes, but that's the problem, it's not obvious that it is related to Altium unless you're already in the business. And if I'm starting from "scratch", CircuitMaker is not making me want to move up to the paid editions. More likely I am wondering, "Surely there must be better!"
Quote
5) Knowing Altium is a good thing to have on your resume, if you want to go professional.  I can see companies using the forum to find potential employees.
And are these the type of companies a good engineer wants to work for? All things being equal, sure, knowing Altium is good. But in general, get a good engineer and he'll figure out to use whatever tool is available at your company to do the job at hand. Companies that want X years of experience using Software Y and designing Circuits of type Z are generally cheap bums with managers who don't really know how to manage talented employees and just want to squeeze every last bit of monetary gain they can.
 

Offline Kibi

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #99 on: June 17, 2015, 08:56:04 pm »
It's often fascinated me how these companies think that everybody has a permanent internet connection. They really need to get out a bit more and they would soon discover that the internet is not always available wherever a person may reasonable carry a laptop for instance.
The cloud thing is also a bit of a failure. What makes them think that they'll be able to maintain said cloud for the rest of eternity.

The mind boggles.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #100 on: June 17, 2015, 09:17:37 pm »
Not sure why people have so much cloud phobia.

Do you think Amazon is suddenly going to loose all the movies they offer through amazon prime?

Why would they loose some measly CM project.

Storage and bandwidth are just going to get cheaper and cheaper, so yeah, cloud data can stay there for eternity.

In no particular order:

Terremark (Verizon), Amazon AWS, RackSpace, Microsoft Azure, Google compute, Sun (Oracle), HP, IBM & Dell all of them offer cloud services and they are all billion dollar companies.

Altium uses AWS for what I can tell, so their data is pretty safe, it's not like they are going to some provider that is 40 hops away from the backbone.
 

Offline BloodyCactus

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #101 on: June 17, 2015, 10:26:50 pm »
it isnt altium loosing data, its altium doing what altium does, 180degree business directional changes. The product may be gone inside of two years, and sure they might let you get your data out, as altium designer format specific files, what good is that for a hobbyist?

I dont trust their motive and lack of long term commitment based on their history.
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Offline Kibi

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #102 on: June 17, 2015, 10:52:12 pm »
Not sure why people have so much cloud phobia.

You answer your own question here:

and they are all billion dollar companies.

Altium uses AWS for what I can tell, so their data is pretty safe, it's not like they are going to some provider that is 40 hops away from the backbone.

They may well be very few hops from the backbone today (and hopefully tomorrow), but I am not always. I tend to move around. The more I perform this activity, the more varied the number of hops away from the backbone I am. Sometimes this number increases to infinity. So, no matter how robust or reputable the actual cloud may be, if I cannot contact it, it's useless to me.

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #103 on: June 18, 2015, 12:13:08 am »
The star rating system which should presumably help to filter this also seems fairly useless at the moment - some apparently substantial projects have no stars, while others containing nothing but a few IC outlines have five.

Yep, they really need to figure this out.
Even if Altium go through them and pick out the good ones. Like a "Staff Pick" kinda thing and highlight those.
It's a really bad look for people who first try it.
 

Offline Tothwolf

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #104 on: June 18, 2015, 12:37:53 am »
Not sure why people have so much cloud phobia.

Do you think Amazon is suddenly going to loose all the movies they offer through amazon prime?

Why would they loose some measly CM project.

Altium uses AWS for what I can tell, so their data is pretty safe, it's not like they are going to some provider that is 40 hops away from the backbone.

"Code Spaces"

Murder in the Amazon cloud

AWS console breach leads to demise of service with “proven” backup plan
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #105 on: June 18, 2015, 01:22:57 am »
It's not "cloud phobia".  If the only place you store your data is on some cloud service, you need to have your head examined.  If the only place you store your data is on your primary work computer, again, you need to have your head examined.  These are single points of failure.  Altium can use whatever service it wants, and have as many backups it wants.  IT is the single point of failure, both for your data and for the use of the program itself.  That is absolutely, completely and utterly unacceptable for any project, even for "hobbyist" projects.  No one should subject themselves to that when there are other reasonable options available.

There are others ways to cripple the program that are a lot easier to live with.  This is going to be a non-starter for a great many people and projects.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 01:34:00 am by John Coloccia »
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #106 on: June 18, 2015, 01:29:37 am »
I watched the video and would certainly say that as a free tool, quite remarkable. As I made the transition from hobbyist to making a living with electronic design and manufacturing, Altium Designer has been on my wish list. At first it seemed like a great way to learn it before I buy it. I can deal with most of the limitations with the exception of one - incompatible file format with 'real' Altium Designer.

Whatever I design in this free version will not be part of a usable library when I get the full version. I don't want to put in the needed effort to build a library and then have to start over again right after I write a check for $9k to get the full version. Today, I use Eagle and get PCB's done (eventually). Huge amounts of time have been dedicated to learning the tool and building a library, so I do not want to abandon that until I am very confident it is a long term solution.

"Push" and "shove" features look so awesome. The graphics seem so much easier to see multiple layers. 3D view! So many cool things, but I will not bother. Just saving my pennies for the move up. There is a long line of needs for test equipment that are ahead of Altium Designer since I can do layouts with Eagle at the moment.

It is a good step for Altium. The nature of this effort is that they can change course quickly to make it more appealing or could abandon it where users efforts would be thrown away. Hopefully they have made a real commitment to this.
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Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #107 on: June 18, 2015, 02:27:55 am »
(This is a screen shot from the CircuitMaker site as of seven minutes ago.)
Why cloud / tethered Altium software is going to be a freaking disaster, Exhibit A:
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #108 on: June 18, 2015, 02:42:28 am »
That's a screenshot of creating an account from their webpage, I've been using CM non stop for two days in a row.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #109 on: June 18, 2015, 02:51:48 am »
If they can't keep a website with a few scripts alive that collects three database fields, how are they going to manage thousands of users simultaneously?  Once again, no money = no support. 
 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #110 on: June 18, 2015, 02:57:16 am »
Because:

1) Requires Internet

2) Requires Internet

3) No local backup


The internet requirement, and the lack of locally backed up files are entirely different issues than forcing projects public. 

Yes.  For a very very small percentage of hobbyists who have to do all of the internet research somewhere other than where they do the off-line layout, ...or those with a spotty link... the internet connection would definitely be an issue.    But why not simply request that it has a longer time-out?  Say ten minutes? What is it now?  Photoshop only checks once a month!  This software could do the same by saving locally and updating your project the next time it's online.

I think they do allow locally stored backups already, right?  Can't you export/import?  Although if not, locally backed up files and an internet requirement are not mutually exclusive things... so feel free to specifically request that. 

I see a valid concern about the company going out of business, although isn't Photoshop in the same boat now and doing better than ever?

Since the "public-only-projects" thing effectively allows them to provide hobbyists, students and the OSHW community a powerful tool while requiring companies to pay-up....it appears to be a nice solution. 

I think the only real reason for most hate here, is that individuals wishing to sell a few projects on the weekend and 'start-up dreamers' have different needs than what AD or CM are setup to satisfy.  If CS gets some limitations and is sold at a reasonable price, I think that would satisfy 99% of people?

if they sold CS for 800$ people would throw money at them.
Of course they would.  CS is currently ADx ($5k package) with a slightly different interface, right?

Why cloud / tethered Altium software is going to be a freaking disaster, Exhibit A:

Dave's video drove too many people to download and sign up. :)
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #111 on: June 18, 2015, 03:07:17 am »
Since you changed my quote, for the record I said

1) it's crazy to spend any time working on something when you know that if the network goes down for any reason, or heaven forbid you might even have to reboot your computer to get it working again, you will be unable to save your work and that gets lost.

2) if there's a network hiccup anywhere, you will not be able to work at all

3) if Altium decides to pull the plug, change their terms, or whatever, you loose everything permanently

I actually subscribe to Adobe's creative cloud.  I'm not worried about them going out of business.  I'm not particularly worried about Altium going out of business either.  But if Adobe DID go out of business, or change their terms to something I couldn't live with, I would simply take all of my image files, artwork and anything else, and switch to a different application.  What do you do when Altium decides it doesn't want to spend anymore money storing everyone's files and maintaining a free program?  It's a completely different situation.

Personally, I don't see the "being public" thing as any big deal.  If you need to keep your stuff private because you're a commercial user, there are ample free and inexpensive tools available for such a purpose.  The sticking point is putting the user in a situation where they can have the rug pulled out from under them.  That seems crazy.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 03:10:11 am by John Coloccia »
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #112 on: June 18, 2015, 03:40:56 am »
If they can't keep a website with a few scripts alive that collects three database fields, how are they going to manage thousands of users simultaneously?  Once again, no money = no support.

Maybe is your email address or name because even if I have already an account I was able to resend it to my email address again.
 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #113 on: June 18, 2015, 04:15:47 am »
Because:
1) Requires Internet
2) Requires Internet
3) No local backup

Isn't that a decent summation?

... But if Adobe DID go out of business, or change their terms to something I couldn't live with, I would simply take all of my image files, artwork and anything else, and switch to a different application.

Aren't the PSD/PSB file formats proprietary and patented just like the Altium files... well the Altium files are probably not a patented format.

The sticking point is putting the user in a situation where they can have the rug pulled out from under them.  That seems crazy.

I agree.  Although I think it's more likely the license system will get cracked and 'free CM server' will become a thing..... like nearly every client side online game.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #114 on: June 18, 2015, 05:22:37 am »
So it finally intstalled.

First impressions after 20 minutes, the good:

Clean interface
Painless installation except for associating library
Functionality is obvious
The library appears extensive.  No clue if the parts are accurate yet.

The not so good:
Can't see the manufacturers listed in the library view, only manuf part numbers
After I place a part *then* I get to view the manufacturer  :-//
Horizontal panning does not work with a trackpad
Have to login at least three times to get everything up. Logins are OK, once.
Zoom buttons are on a different toolbar tab than the rest. Give users a fly out for that.

That's all I had time for. But I will say that the UI appears to be excellent compared to others. I will try to do a small board for the sake of giving it a whirl.

 

Offline bitwelder

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #115 on: June 18, 2015, 05:29:45 am »
I agree.  Although I think it's more likely the license system will get cracked and 'free CM server' will become a thing..... like nearly every client side online game.
I hope it will happen. It might be the only way to convince Altium to add a 'local save' feature at a more reasonable price than the CS suite.
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #116 on: June 18, 2015, 06:25:47 am »
This software seems fantastically poorly executed.

I'm a filthy capitalist and I have little sympathy for broke students or home-brew designers who are just playing around, but I bet the same goes for Altium.  But they don't seem to really have all this stuff figured out - so they've crippled all 3 of their offerings to the point that none of them are really very good.

The problem is that they don't have a reasonable hop-skip-jump in their product line.  I know a lot of people who do circuit design, and it is a small minority who can commit to a tool that will make ALL of their work public domain (yeah you get 2 non-shared ones, that's nothing).   The lack of offline working ability is just the final nail in the coffin.  And because they aren't making money from it, and it's not meant for "real" work, I have a feeling Altium will feel free to do whatever they want with the product at any time - so I wouldn't trust it.

If they were smart, they would let you pay a per-project fee, maybe $20, to make that project non-open-source and usable offline.  That brings in revenue for Altium, it caters to the needs of the starving hobbyist and student, and provides a reasonable ecosystem whereby one can reasonably move between Altium products if they so choose... i.e., if you are doing dozens of boards a year, it makes sense to buy the full product.  If you are doing 10 a year, you pay-as-you-go with Circuit Maker.

Right now the choices are to get porked for a huge amount of $$, or be relegated to (essentially) non-commercial status which will work for a tiny fraction of people who might otherwise use the tool.

It's like these guys spend time figuring out ways to shoot themselves in the foot. 

It's not always the most popular person who gets the job done.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #117 on: June 18, 2015, 09:02:03 am »
The problem is that they don't have a reasonable hop-skip-jump in their product line.  I know a lot of people who do circuit design, and it is a small minority who can commit to a tool that will make ALL of their work public domain
...and the ones who don't mind having their work public domain are usually the ones who don't have an always-on, high bandwidth internet connection. Double whammy.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #118 on: June 18, 2015, 10:11:09 am »
If they were smart, they would let you pay a per-project fee, maybe $20, to make that project non-open-source and usable offline.  That brings in revenue for Altium, it caters to the needs of the starving hobbyist and student, and provides a reasonable ecosystem whereby one can reasonably move between Altium products if they so choose... i.e., if you are doing dozens of boards a year, it makes sense to buy the full product.  If you are doing 10 a year, you pay-as-you-go with Circuit Maker.

That's why I really liked their "feature app" model and pricing in the alpha software they showed me. Need 8 layers for a design?, no problem, that's $50 for 3 months or something.
Need private, that'll be $NN thanks, no problem.
They can still do this, it's all still in place in the software.

Quote
It's like these guys spend time figuring out ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

That's been an Altium specialty for the last 15 years!
Every Altium user I know (not to mention the employees) has permanent face-palm marks.
 

Offline DJohn

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #119 on: June 18, 2015, 10:59:34 am »
I was reading this...

Quote
While Altium remains committed to listening to its users about improving products or services, you understand that any ideas, inventions or materials (collectively, “Materials”) that you submit to Altium using the Website shall become the exclusive property of Altium and by submitting the same you relinquish all rights in the Materials upon their submission and waive any right to hold Altium liable for its use of or failure to use such Materials in any way.

http://www.circuitmaker.com/terms-of-use.php

...and I realize now that was probably only for the website, not the circuit maker tool? Think I jumped the gun there, sorry about that.

I hadn't seen that one.  Quite alarming indeed.  I assume it's to protect them when they release new versions of their software, with features that look a bit like an idea someone posted on the forum five years ago (which the developers probably never even saw).
 

Offline madires

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #120 on: June 18, 2015, 01:19:56 pm »
Not sure why people have so much cloud phobia.

Do you think Amazon is suddenly going to loose all the movies they offer through amazon prime?

Altium uses AWS for what I can tell, so their data is pretty safe, it's not like they are going to some provider that is 40 hops away from the backbone.

Because a company can pull the plug on its cloud services any time. It happened several times already, even for paid software/services. A classic one is gaming. You pay US$ 50-80 for a nice online game. If the profit isn't as expected the company shut's down the servers and you can't even play offline. The company gave itself the permission to do so in the fine print. Any you can bet on the fine print of any free cloud service, that they reserve the right to shut down the service any time they want. Maybe with some time of notice.

BTW, AWS had outages too. Or take MS for example, they lost data of mobile phone services because of a broken highly redundant storage system.
 

Offline nixfu

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #121 on: June 18, 2015, 02:29:58 pm »
I tested it and actually see LOTS of promise in the actual tool itself.

However I will NEVER USE it because:


This limitation makes every other tool better:
  • You can't work without an internet connection on your existing projects.  The files are sitting on my disk, just let me freaking open them without having to go to some stupid website first.

These limitations makes the version control system worthless, and more trouble than just setting up my own git repo:
  • I can't take advantage of the version control system WITHOUT having to make a project public
  • You can't work private, but maybe publish 'releases', while still being able to use the version control private.
  • HELL, why can't I just point the damn tool at a standard version control repo like git? 
  • Frankly, I don't trust Altium to make their own version control system that will not screw up, loose data, etc.. when there are some very smart teams of people that maintain and work very hard on git, subversion etc.. some piss ant hack of a version control system made by altium programmers as a side feature is not going to be trustworthy to keep me from losing data.  Who really thinks they can make a high-quality, safe version control system compared to others already existing?  Not me.
  • Make their site an option to publish releases to, but let me use my own if I want too. 
  • This short of shit is why commercial software sucks compared to open source.  Open source is made for the users and does things good for them.  Commercial software does things good for the company, and often screw the customer.

This limitation makes me thing they have other MOTIVES which are not in my best interest as a creator:
  • I can't keep ANYTHING I WANT private, not just two 'sandboxes'

This limitation makes me not trust them and like 4 makes me think they have other motives not in my interest:
  • Its proprietary.  Without full blown non-limited/non-crippled import/export to a well known, open file format like Eagle or something that I can use to keep a copy of my project forever and use in another tool, I will NEVER EVER EVER use this tool.  I am not going to take the chance of being locked-in.

These  limitations makes me also not want to put any time or effort into migrating or committing to the tool:
  • Altium's reputation for making random 180 direction changes that usually screw the customer
  • No shown commitment to keep us from being locked-in if they change directions (no export to eagle provided etc.
  • No promise that if they decide to kill the product that we are not screwed
  • Scary terms of use with no assurances of what they will REALLY do with our data



I can't believe that people inside Altium can't see these issues which are as plain as day and why this will NEVER take off until they are all addressed.  As a company with a poor customer reputation, and one who has ZERO track record in the open source / open hardware community they would be bending over 10000x more than anyone else to do everything they possibly could think of to earn some trust.    That trust is not going to come free.  Get over yourselves.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 02:45:54 pm by nixfu »
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #122 on: June 18, 2015, 02:40:11 pm »
I tested it and actually see LOTS of promise.

Yup.  Just do the right thing, then charge me a reasonable price that will sustain the effort.
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #123 on: June 18, 2015, 05:55:06 pm »
That's why I really liked their "feature app" model and pricing in the alpha software they showed me. Need 8 layers for a design?, no problem, that's $50 for 3 months or something.
Need private, that'll be $NN thanks, no problem.
They can still do this, it's all still in place in the software.

It's rare that I get genuinely annoyed, especially at someone else who is screwing themselves - but in this case, Altium is being really annoying.  It seems incredibly obvious that they are missing a huge opportunity.  I can't tell if they are just inept, or (like I've seen in other places) management is so afraid of doing something new or losing something they already have that they actively end up screwing themselves over.

I interact with quite a lot of FAE's, small biz (electronics industry) owners, hobbyists and so on... and I would say the vast (VAST!) majority of them have a few things in common.  They almost all do small scale EE work either moonlighting and bringing their ideas to fruition, or just personal hobbies they might want to sell on Tindie or eBay or whatever.  And another thing they ALL have in common is that they would never realistically spend $3k to $8k on ANY piece of software.  Altium can think "well if you're really serious, then $3k isn't that much money" - but that's not the decision these people are making, between spending $3k or giving up on their projects.  The decision they are making is "Altium sure is nice, but is it $3k-8k nicer than KiCAD/Eagle/DipTrace/hacked Altium?".  And you have to be doing some pretty serious volume to spend $3-8k on one software tool. 

But I am pretty sure an equally vast majority of the people I know doing this work would LEAP at the chance to pay-as-they-go. 

Quote
That's been an Altium specialty for the last 15 years!
Every Altium user I know (not to mention the employees) has permanent face-palm marks.

LOL!

Altium really needs to think exactly *what* it is that they are selling.  It's not software, and it's not really a service either.  They are selling you the ability to develop a PCB.  So that's the basis they should charge on with Circuit Maker.  When creating a project, they should let you choose free/open-source, or maybe $20 for a 2-layer, $40 for a 4-layer, etc.  I bet there would be thousands of boards created weekly under such a system. 

The way it is now, I don't see why anyone who has the intention of any commercial design would even entertain using this software because why get into it if you know you can't use it... and it's not like it's worthwhile learning it to see if you want to jump into the Altium ecosystem because that comes with a $3k-8k price tag.

Mind boggling.
It's not always the most popular person who gets the job done.
 

Offline Edgarus

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #124 on: June 18, 2015, 06:37:21 pm »
But, maybe Commit button is only for a "source control" saving?
I've tested circuitmaker, it is very similar to Altium Designer on which I was working a couple of years ago.

Of course, as every software, it has some disadvantages:
- sometimes it's very slow,
- lack of shortcut list, I've found some list, but most useful operations as add part/wire/etc are not listed,
- the idea of choosing a part is not good. I prefer a kicad approach, where you put parts on the sheet, and after exporting netlist, you assign footprints to each component,
- 3D files - .step, need a large software for viewing it, viewer changes colors of the layers.
- ribbon, but it can be minimized
But, if someone is familiar with Altium Designer, he/she would like this piece of software.

 

Offline keethrax

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #125 on: June 18, 2015, 07:59:58 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.
2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.


These are both *huge* things. Even if you're happy with how it works now (and I mostly am), the possibility of suddenly being unable to work with or usefully access old designs because Altium shut the server down is an immediate deal breaker. Full stop.

Further, as far as version issues go, if you're collaborating, the Altium cloud sharing/versioning isn't terrible from the little bit I played with it, but it's not great either. There are plenty of better tools which you cannot use because of the way this is setup. Not a  deal breaker, but if you are honestly having issues because you're just shuffling things to/from google drive, there are plenty of other solutions. Observing that any solution (Altium's) is better than basically no solution (shuffling files via google drive) is silly when there are plenty of free and low cost better solutions out there.

EDIT: A somehow binding agreement along the lines of:
If we ever shut this down we'll unlock your ability to store these/work on them locally. Or we'll export them to some other formats and send them to you. Would alleviate most of my concerns. But I have no idea how you'd actually structure such an arrangement, it's really just a fairy tale. I don't care that others can see my crappy work. I don' care (much) that I might get stuck being able to tinker for a bit because some piece of the internet between is being cranky. I *do* care that I could lose everything I built with this tool at the whim of Altium.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 08:53:59 pm by keethrax »
 

Offline arekm

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #126 on: June 18, 2015, 09:41:11 pm »
Are others able to register?

Third day of:

"UH-OH SOMETHING WENT WRONG!
It looks like we’re experiencing some technical difficulties

Please try registering again in an hour or so."
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Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #127 on: June 18, 2015, 09:44:09 pm »
Are others able to register?

Third day of:

"UH-OH SOMETHING WENT WRONG!
It looks like we’re experiencing some technical difficulties

Please try registering again in an hour or so."
If you signed up early for updates on CM, you get this error when you try to sign up on the website.  Somehow your email is locked out if you have already signed up.  Check your email for an email with registration information and click the link provided.  *Then* it will work.   |O
 

Offline Someone

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #128 on: June 19, 2015, 03:05:33 am »
if they sold CS for 800$ people would throw money at them.
Of course they would.  CS is currently ADx ($5k package) with a slightly different interface, right?
CircuitStudio is $3000 USD + $500 p/a, Altium Designer is $8000 USD give or take $1000, with $1000 p/a upkeep. They are not the same, CircuitStudio is the offline version of CircuitMaker and misses some of the high end parts of Altium: CAM tools, Signal Integrity, FPGA integration, Hierarchical Schematics, ...others? and doesn't share keyboard commands but more critically CircuitStudio has the same total pad count limitation of CircuitMaker.

For the lols crowd out there who want to have some fun with Altium, here is what they are currently advertising on their CircuitMaker website in the FAQ:
Quote from: CircuitMaker website
Is the software licensed?
No, there is no licensing to worry about, and no subscription to maintain. CircuitMaker is totally free, giving you all the tools to think big and make cool stuff, with features and functionality to facilitate creation of diverse and challenging designs.
So without a license you should have no legal worries about creating a slightly different version of the tool that enables offline mode?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 09:03:12 am by Someone »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #129 on: June 19, 2015, 05:34:28 am »
So without a license you should have no legal worries about creating a slightly different version of the tool that enables offline mode?

Interesting point!
I say hack away!
 

Offline bitwelder

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #130 on: June 19, 2015, 06:51:30 am »
Quote from: CircuitMaker website
Is the software licensed?
No, there is no licensing to worry about, and no subscription to maintain.
I see already Altium legal office going  :scared:
Every piece of software should have should have a declaration of rights and ownership we call license, whether it's open and/or free software or proprietary. Otherwise it seems CircuitMaker is... abandonware from the start  ;D
 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #131 on: June 19, 2015, 02:48:52 pm »
if they sold CS for 800$ people would throw money at them.
Of course they would.  CS is currently ADx ($5k package) with a slightly different interface, right?
CircuitStudio is $3000 USD + $500 p/a, Altium Designer is $8000 USD give or take $1000, with $1000 p/a upkeep. They are not the same, CircuitStudio is the offline version of CircuitMaker and misses some of the high end parts of Altium: CAM tools, Signal Integrity, FPGA integration, Hierarchical Schematics, ...others? and doesn't share keyboard commands but more critically CircuitStudio has the same total pad count limitation of CircuitMaker.

Altium's FAQ says CM/CS's upper pad limit is 50k.  No loss in performance under 5k.  Have many >10k pad designs? 

For reference this iMX6 REX project from http://www.fedevel.com has ~2k pads:    The red board ~4k?

I haven't seen many CS productivity limitations beyond learning a different set of hotkeys and a different user interface.  I'd try it out, but I'd rather spend a couple hundred more and get AD15&16.

Just to be clear, Altium only sells their software for $8k to big companies who don't care what it costs.  REAL people who work hard for that money negotiate and pay <$6k easily.  Don't be a sucker and pay retail folks. 

I think we're both saying CS should be cheaper...  $800 is a great price.... but I'm sure you'll agree that it needs more limitations than what it appears to have now for that to make sense, right?
 

Offline SaabFAN

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #132 on: June 19, 2015, 07:20:36 pm »
I have tested Circuitmaker for the past few days and at the moment, the part-library is just too limited for my projects.
The only way I'm going to use it for a while is probably to overcome the size-restriction of Eagle via the Eagle-Importer of CM.
Creating new parts in CM is just too unintuitive for me. Eagle does a much better job with that. How do I connect the pins of the components footprint to the ports of the schematic symbol for example? I'm assuming that I'm doing that by assigning designators, but it isn't specified in the documentation.

Improvement-Points that would prompt me to switch from my current setup to CM-Only:
- Improve Documentation
- Increase Part-Library (will probably happen automatically because of community-created content)
- Better filters for the Part-Library - Filter by Footprint, for example
- Eliminate the bug that I have to change the Comment/Value-String for parts Twice before they are actually updated

Offline ondo

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #133 on: June 19, 2015, 08:00:05 pm »

am I the only idiot that just doesn't know how got this thing going?

After registering in their web I got an email with an "activation link", that pops up directly to a nice login/password screen for wich I have no login or password. I've already contacted them by email and twitter, but I'm still waiting. Is that the normal? am I missing something here?  |O

 

Offline VingTor

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #134 on: June 19, 2015, 09:35:17 pm »
I'm an electronics engineer by profession, but in a different field (ASIC/MCU design). I have been doing circuit boards on a hobby basis for about 10 years, most of them ends up not being finished or are ongoing projects (never had time to finish). Most of these boards are simple boards and dont require fancy features. Since the boards usually are small I have been using Eagle for these (free version). Since I learned Eagle first I just ended sticking with it for hobby projects as I did not want to spend a lot of time learning new tools for each design I did. Eagle for the most OK, but could be a bit hard to use in some cases (as I did not spend time to learn it proficient). At my first summer internship I was making PCBs for a company, and I used Protel99se I think it was. It was a new world, but of course too expensive for hobby use. I probably did a couple of designs in Protel and later a few designs in Altium for this company, so I got semi proficient in using it.

The fact that I now can use a similar tool for free is great IMO. I know how to use it, and I dont have the limitations of Eagle. Most of my hobby projects I dont mind being public. In fact I think it is great as this made it much easier to make the project public. No hassle with setting up a site for my project, uploading files and similar. Great. But I also have projects that I dont want to have public, mostly due to the fact that I spent a lot of time on these, and I would like to get something back if I make it public.

In any case I had to try it. This my experiences after a short project import from an eagle project.

Register, download and install took about 3-4 minutes (I have 50/15 Mbps download/upload), no issues.
Setting up and importing eagle project was not a big problem, except that I had to install a newer version of eagle and update my eagle files to new format. Import process was all most OK. I did lose some silkscreen graphics that I had added in eagle. I didn't spend time on checking the status of the board and schematic, but it looked OK at first glance. As good as one can expect I guess.
Committing files worked OK. Releasing seems to be OK* also (did not spend much time configuring it). Release name ended up with a stupid long unreadable string. There should be some option to set a release version number or something and add a release comment (same as for commit). I guess this will be fixed.

So given that it is a beta, I think it has potential, but:
-Keyboard shortcuts!!! it freaks me out that it is not the same as in AD. Please allow me to be partly effective at least (happy to pay a few $$ for shortcuts)
-Internet access, great if I can get an offline mode, but for me its not critical. If my internet is down I'm doing something else. it wont kill me :P
-Local only project, yes I want it, happy to pay $$ for it.
-It must be possible to have several projects with the same "readable" name in the community (if I got Dave right, this was not possible).

And the price have to be right for the different features. I for sure wont spend a lot of $$ on PCB software as I'm not using it a lot and I cant defend the cost when it is anything close to $1000. It would then be much cheaper for me to buy all the things I otherwise would make myself (it probably already is...).


« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 09:54:42 pm by VingTor »
 

Offline Wilksey

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #135 on: June 19, 2015, 09:41:34 pm »
I use Altium day to day, as well as a few other CAD tools for various projects / reasons.

We have recently upgraded to 15.1.12.

I downloaded CM to tinker with and it was OK, but very very limited, like the internet / cloud dependency drove me absolutely nuts that I could only develop whilst within range of a network connection.

That said, I downloaded a special version of Circuit Studio 1.04, and it had everything I needed, subsequently I downloaded the newer 1.1 and that now has .step exporting for MCAD and works so much better than CM with actually being able to open and save files locally properly!

I am hoping that AD 16 will support opening CS files and that CS will open AD files (haven't tested) I think CS will open AD15 schematic files but not PCB files.

I have removed CS from the test machine as I use AD15 as I said, but although over priced, it is certainly more comforting to use than CM.
 

Offline SaabFAN

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #136 on: June 19, 2015, 10:05:35 pm »
If I understand it correctly, CM now has 3 Sandbox-Project-Slots, which are Local Only. 
So that part has been fixed. :)

Offline Someone

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #137 on: June 19, 2015, 10:55:15 pm »
if they sold CS for 800$ people would throw money at them.
Of course they would.  CS is currently ADx ($5k package) with a slightly different interface, right?
CircuitStudio is $3000 USD + $500 p/a, Altium Designer is $8000 USD give or take $1000, with $1000 p/a upkeep. They are not the same, CircuitStudio is the offline version of CircuitMaker and misses some of the high end parts of Altium: CAM tools, Signal Integrity, FPGA integration, Hierarchical Schematics, ...others? and doesn't share keyboard commands but more critically CircuitStudio has the same total pad count limitation of CircuitMaker.
Altium's FAQ says CM/CS's upper pad limit is 50k.  No loss in performance under 5k.  Have many >10k pad designs? 
...
I think we're both saying CS should be cheaper...  $800 is a great price.... but I'm sure you'll agree that it needs more limitations than what it appears to have now for that to make sense, right?
They've said it stops working at 50k pads, and noticeably slows beyond 5k, given it can be so slow already I'd hate to see what their idea of slow is. Yes it just needs a more appropriate price, but they need to tone down the crap marketing. Here is the text from the CircuitMaker website:
Quote from: CircuitMaker website
It’s All Free
CircuitMaker is completely free, with zero limitations to hold back your design potential. Look what is included:
Access to thousands of ready-to-use components from real-world vendors.
Access to a community for sharing ideas and collaborating on your design.
Access to 30 years of PCB design technology from the experts at Altium.
THERE’S NO REASON TO DELAY YOUR NEXT ELECTRONICS PROJECT, START TODAY.
Not even a cynical * on the unlimited claim, you have to hunt around quite a bit to find what they actually limit. But the web 2.0 user content/comments/blogs/posts all across the internet are churning all sorts of claims as to how you get the whole Designer experience for free, when some very important parts are in fact missing. Even when they do disclose the pad limitation its full of inconsistencies.
Quote from: CircuitStudio website
What are CircuitStudio's design limitations?
CircuitStudio supports:

Unlimited components.
Unlimited nets.
While there are no 'hard limits' per se, the software has been engineered to make it impractical for use with large designs. To this end, the PCB Editor will start to exibit performance degradation when editing designs containing 5000 pads, becoming virtually unusable with designs containing 50,000 pads. Degradation itself takes the form of progressive slow-down in PCB editing functions (such as routing, placing components, polygon pours, etc).
So its unlimited, but not able to be used? Also this VERY IMPORTANT DETAIL is hidden away in the back of the FAQ and was added a week or two after release, so you could have bought the package without any information of this underlying limit of your "Unlimited" software. Its this sort of conduct thats keeping me away from putting any money into CircuitStudio, if they had come out upfront with the feature comparison and made clear the limitations then the pricing still would have been borderline but while they arent disclosing the "features" I'm going to pass.
 

Offline jsmith45

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #138 on: June 19, 2015, 11:15:58 pm »
Altium plans to add many of the keyboard shortcuts in, although they have yet to do so. See the following except from a post from Dan Fernsebner (Corporate Director, Technology Partnerships and Business Development) of Altium on the CM forums:

Quote
To be honest hotkeys in CircuitMaker has been an extremely emotional topic, both internally and externally.  Everyone has their opinions and preference.  Those that are Altium Designer users want them the same as Altium Designer.  Those that are Eagles users want us to make them the same as Eagle.  One of the challenges is given the ribbon menu structure making all the keys the same as Altium Designer or Eagle does not make sense.  Each Ribbon has it's own accelerator hence 'P' activating the Project Ribbon.  For an Altium Designer user 'P' 'P' makes perfect sense as it reflects the Place->Part menu.  For a new user in CM there is no Place menu so the context of that hotkey structure does not make sense.  What we've decided to do is incorporate Altium Designer hotkeys where it makes sense and than map the other keys to single keys that would be obvious.  An example of this would be just 'P'  instead of 'P' 'P' to place part or just 'W' to wire a net.

Hopefully this offers some clarity and once again this in no way was to make the software less productive.

More interesting, he has promised on the CM forums that there will be an intermediate product with local saves between CircuitMaker and CircuitStudio. They plan it announce it soon.

Quote
We also understand that many users can't/won't adopt cloud storage and are willing to pay for an affordable offline solution. We've heard the community and going from free to CircuitStudio ($3K) is to large a price gap. We've had plans all along to offer an in between solution, but wanted to hear the feedback from users to confirm our beliefs. This product will be announced in the not so distant future - stay tune...
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #139 on: June 19, 2015, 11:43:41 pm »
If THAT's reasonably priced, and they don't screw it up by making it impossible to migrate files back and forth from "cloud" files to the intermediate version, now we're talking.  :clap:  I'd take a very serious look at something like that.

edit:
Of course, you need to do away with the "tethered to the internet and everything is public" nonsense too.  Leave that out, and I'm back to  :palm:, especially for a paid program.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 12:23:12 am by John Coloccia »
 

Offline Bud

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #140 on: June 19, 2015, 11:45:33 pm »
Dear Altium, i have a solution to your hot keys problem:

Get rid of the stupid ribbon.
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 

Offline garlicbread

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #141 on: June 20, 2015, 12:00:28 am »
Just thought to ask if anyone else has noticed this

I've discovered that it's possible to drag and drop the schematic files (.schdoc) or project files (.PrjPcb) directly into the application window on the left, at which point they'll load up
Those files don't need to be in the standard directories in order to be loaded ether

So for example if you created a sandbox project, the default location for the files will be something like
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\CircuitMaker {533EAC6B-76C6-48F8-92D7-3D14C3AB51A2}\Projects\<guid>\
lets say we copied and pasted or moved those files into somewhere like C:\temp\

To load up that project all you'd need to do is
1. launch the app
2. drag and drop the project file from C:\temp\ into the app window on the left
3. profit

This won't work if the app isn't on the interent, but I'm wondering if this is something they'll remove in a future version
Also I think they might be using subversion under the hood for public change control, since I noticed a copy of the client in the program files directory
I've always prefered git myself, ideally I'd like the option to store designs on github
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #142 on: June 20, 2015, 01:12:14 am »
Also I think they might be using subversion under the hood for public change control, since I noticed a copy of the client in the program files directory

We used subversion for everything at Altium when I was there, so that is likely.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #143 on: June 20, 2015, 01:14:28 am »
I haven't seen many CS productivity limitations beyond learning a different set of hotkeys and a different user interface.  I'd try it out, but I'd rather spend a couple hundred more and get AD15&16.

Just to be clear, Altium only sells their software for $8k to big companies who don't care what it costs.  REAL people who work hard for that money negotiate and pay <$6k easily.  Don't be a sucker and pay retail folks. 

AD is more than a few hundred more than CS, it's about double.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #144 on: June 20, 2015, 01:27:45 am »
It's rare that I get genuinely annoyed, especially at someone else who is screwing themselves - but in this case, Altium is being really annoying.  It seems incredibly obvious that they are missing a huge opportunity. 

Yep, obvious to all except Altium  :palm:

Quote
I can't tell if they are just inept, or (like I've seen in other places) management is so afraid of doing something new or losing something they already have that they actively end up screwing themselves over.

That is Altium's specialty unfortunately. I thought this would change once Nick Martin left, and is has a fair bit, just doing CM itself is HUGE step forward. But yeah, ultimately they can't figure out the market, because they have no one left inside the company that really knows anything about the real world. They know ECAD tools, and do them pretty well, probably the best, but they don't know the market itself.

Quote
Mind boggling.

Yep. I'm starting to think another dedicated Altium rant video is in order? I deliberately left most of that out of the CM video I just did.
 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #145 on: June 20, 2015, 04:36:20 am »
I haven't seen many CS productivity limitations beyond learning a different set of hotkeys and a different user interface.  I'd try it out, but I'd rather spend a couple hundred more and get AD15&16.

Just to be clear, Altium only sells their software for $8k to big companies who don't care what it costs.  REAL people who work hard for that money negotiate and pay <$6k easily.  Don't be a sucker and pay retail folks. 

AD is more than a few hundred more than CS, it's about double.

You are correct, in that retail is double and everyone is free to pay it. 

Although a little while back our bank account dropped ~$3800 (few hundred more than CS).  Then like magic AD15 showed up on my computer!  I tried to get CS for <$3k and it wasn't happening.  Maybe you got CS for $1900?

To be fair, I can't speak for your neck of the woods either.  Maybe they draw a hard line in the sand due to the relatively inactive electronics industry down there?

 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #146 on: June 20, 2015, 04:38:37 am »
Was the $3800 with or without the support contract?

===========
ETA: there seems to be three Altiums now. There appears to be no coordination between the CM and Designer sides. And so few copies of CS have been sold, my rep doesn't even know if its selling at all. So Altium is putting resources into three distinct groups, only one of which has a known future. Crazy shit...
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 04:56:08 am by LabSpokane »
 

Offline george graves

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #147 on: June 20, 2015, 06:17:24 am »
The more I think about this - I think Altium is onto something here with their plan.

No one will want to use CM for "business use" with projects being forced to be public - so it won't cut into their corporate-type sales - and at the same time, the OSHW community should eat it up - it will be a robust, professional tool, without limits, and no commercial restrictions.  Just what OSHW people have been asking for.  And if they keep the back end of the software the same as AD - it's not going to be a burden on the company to keep up to date.

All that, and at the same time, they are talking a page out of Apple's old playbook of putting the tools in the hands of students.  Students who will flock to CM knowing that it will look good on their resume(well better then Eagle Cad would I suppose).  And I have to assume even though the interface is different then AD, it's not going to be a huge leap to move from CM to AD when it comes time to get a job.

There's going to be a vocal minority with bad internet connections that will hate it.  But that's a small percentage of people.  They have to make it an online only tool, and force the project files to the public so that it won't eat into AD sales.


Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #148 on: June 20, 2015, 06:45:31 am »
Altium plans to add many of the keyboard shortcuts in, although they have yet to do so. See the following except from a post from Dan Fernsebner (Corporate Director, Technology Partnerships and Business Development) of Altium on the CM forums:

Quote
To be honest hotkeys in CircuitMaker has been an extremely emotional topic, both internally and externally.  Everyone has their opinions and preference.

..so put all the mappings in a file and let users choose what they prefer.
if a company like Altium can't figure something as simple as this out then there's really no hope for them.
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #149 on: June 20, 2015, 08:22:01 am »
There's going to be a vocal minority with bad internet connections that will hate it.  But that's a small percentage of people.  They have to make it an online only tool, and force the project files to the public so that it won't eat into AD sales.

Nope, they just have to set sensible limits. Their problem here is that they gave practically everything away for free. That's both noble and completely stupid.
They can easily make money from CM, whilst protecting AD.
At present they are making zero money from CM, left CS no-man pricing land, but they have protected their one and only cash-cow AD, as you'd expect.
 

Offline mux

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #150 on: June 20, 2015, 08:26:29 am »
Just a little bit of comment on the 'oh requiring the internet at all times is fine'-argument.

I live in one of the top-5 broadband penetration countries in the world, we have fiber in ~50% of the country and very fast cable (for cheap prices) elsewhere. Yet.

A friend of mine is looking at buying an office and workspace, to do his milling/lathing/dirty stuff as well as his computery/electronicky stuff. Even in the absolute middle of the country, in a new (built in 2007-2008) industrial area, a significant proportion of the properties have no better internet connection than the copper phone line. A bunch of properties don't even have that and charge extra to have a line dug for you. Even then, the best you'll ever get is DSL. Or 4G.

This isn't unique to the properties he's been looking at. A company I used to have as a client had their office in a renovated warehouse complex. Adjacent, maybe 100m further down the road, apartment buildings had fiber. They had nothing. They had to pay €4000 upfront to extend the fiber, because all their operations are internet-based.

There are still a lot of reasons, especially for small businesses, not to want something that relies at its core on internet access and just stops working the moment your connection fails. Even in the best of countries when it comes to broadband penetration.
 

Offline george graves

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #151 on: June 20, 2015, 09:09:17 am »
A friend of mine is looking at buying an office and workspace, to do his milling/lathing/dirty stuff......just stops working the moment your connection fails. Even in the best of countries when it comes to broadband penetration.

I'd still think it's a small percentage - I'd be generous if I said it's 1% for the US.  No?  And I can't imagine running any kind of company in this day-and-age, without internet.  That would be impossible.  A machine shop, like you said, might just be one of the few that could.

With that said, I think it sucks that whole countries might be left in the dark for using CM, but it's not the only game in town right?  Such is life. (I really believe internet should now be a basic human right - just as much as freedom of the press once was - so don't get me wrong - but that's another topic for another day - so you can put that away)

There's going to be a vocal minority with bad internet connections that will hate it.  But that's a small percentage of people.  They have to make it an online only tool, and force the project files to the public so that it won't eat into AD sales.

Nope, they just have to set sensible limits. Their problem here is that they gave practically everything away for free. That's both noble and completely stupid.

Dave, you're not thinking like a marketing guy!  Duh!  (CS - not worth mentioning - we would both agree that's dead in the water) The whole brilliant idea is that they destroy/interrupt/shake-up the 0$ market for low end, and position themselves as the OSHW and educational king. (I'm not saying that's what's good for everyone, I'm just looking at it as a business decision) - their cost to give away CM is nothing compared to the fanfare they will get.  Again, looking at it as a smart business decision.

RE: "sensible limits" Yea, they could have made $50 here, or $100 there on upgrading to a 4 layer or "bigger-then-an-arduino-sheild"/eurocard layout. (for a company that is use to 10k-100k orders, $100 bucks is an annoying about of money to have to book keep)  But here's the rub.....once you take people's money, they want support, and they will be forever emailing you why their software that "THEY PAID GOOD MONEY FOR" doesn't work.  You give it away, start a forum, and all of the sudden people are happy to support the product on their own.  You just saved yourself ($200k? At least!) a year in customer support personal.

Chris Anderson, in his book "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" is a great read, if you haven't already read it.  The psychology of "free" is a powerful thing. I think if you get it on audio book, he personally he reads it(or I might be thinking of his other book).  Give it 1-2 chapters in, it's very interesting.

Anyways, you video review of it(CM) was awesome(it'll be on HAD later today) - would love to see you do a start to finish capture-to-layout-to-gerbers of something simple like your uCurrent. 

« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 09:16:15 am by george graves »
 

Offline garlicbread

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #152 on: June 20, 2015, 09:53:09 am »
I remember it being said that the file format is different than that of the original Altium, that might be a good thing
I've discovered a way to read the files as plain text, so in theory you could import those plain text files into another app

With 7zip installed by right clicking on the schematic or pcb file, then selecting "Extract Here"
For a schematic this will lead to 3 files
FileHeader - appears to contain the schematic in plain text
Additional - true header describing the file format
Storage - used for icons / graphics data

with the pcb files it seems to extract out to a bunch of directories with plain text inside I think for different layers
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #153 on: June 20, 2015, 11:51:21 am »
Dave, you're not thinking like a marketing guy!  Duh!  (CS - not worth mentioning - we would both agree that's dead in the water) The whole brilliant idea is that they destroy/interrupt/shake-up the 0$ market for low end, and position themselves as the OSHW and educational king. (I'm not saying that's what's good for everyone, I'm just looking at it as a business decision) - their cost to give away CM is nothing compared to the fanfare they will get.  Again, looking at it as a smart business decision.

If that's the case then that will likely fail in it's objective to eventually get more seats in their higher end product(s) as people upgrade. And to dominate the entire PCB space from top to bottom.
Publicity isn't worth squat if it doesn't ultimately (directly or indirectly) lead to people buying your product and the company makes it's compounded profit that the shareholders expect.
In the CAD tool market, numbers of seats is everything. Nothing else matters.
You can have low end seats that are free, and that works great if it ultimately gets a percentage into the more expensive seats.
And if you are going free, then you do it so you absolutely dominate the market giving the majority of people no sensible alternative. If you do a half arsed poorly thought out attempt (as Altium are currently doing) then odds are you won't dominate and the product will just become a burden instead of a driver of further company growth.

Quote
RE: "sensible limits" Yea, they could have made $50 here, or $100 there on upgrading to a 4 layer or "bigger-then-an-arduino-sheild"/eurocard layout. (for a company that is use to 10k-100k orders, $100 bucks is an annoying about of money to have to book keep) 

You don't book keep it, you use PayPal only and transfer in one large lump sum every month. One entry in your books. Pretty simple.

Quote
But here's the rub.....once you take people's money, they want support, and they will be forever emailing you why their software that "THEY PAID GOOD MONEY FOR" doesn't work. 

You make it very clear IN BIG BOLD LETTERS THERE IS NO SUPPORT. But you set up a support email account anyway for the idiots that auto answers with a long spiel on why they are idiots for expecting support and direct them to the community support forum.
Also, you build the support forum right into the software, like they have essentially already done. Even the idiots will quickly learn they will get faster support from an active community forum.
 

Online NANDBlog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #154 on: June 20, 2015, 01:29:28 pm »
Did anyone try to actually work with this? IDK, maybe I expect too much, but it was a pain. I tried placing a 7805 from TI and some 0603 1K resistors. Searching for the resistor was a pain. Then I got 1000 results 990 without footprint. What the hell? Like how much effort would it take to get a full assortment of E192 Vishay generic 0603-0805-1206 resistors up in one  library and make it search-able? Like MCS series, I dont really care. To be able to place something I can select from my own library in 5 seconds, here I wasnt able to do it in 10 minutes, and I had to go to freaking Digikey to search for part numbers and datasheets.
I mean the good thing in Altium, I can finish a simple project in few hours. Knowledge is there, parts are there, I save time by using the shortkeys, and what do you know, when the board arrived the components actually will fit onto their footprint. Here, not so much. I dont want to spend as much time selecting a resistor as I usually do selecting an opamp or a microcontroller. Or click on the ribbon every time -god forbid- I want to place a track or a wire.
Productivity down the drain. Thanks, but no thanks.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #155 on: June 20, 2015, 05:44:47 pm »
@NANDBlog, they do have a check box for "Has Model" that will filter on the parts that have footprints.

But I agree, the part selection is horrible. Someone in the CM Forum mentioned that no one works with the actual parts preselected before building a circuit, well I kind of do and try to use what I have at hand but I agree that's not the best way.

He/She further suggested to let us use a generic component and set the values and tolerances for that component so later on CM could use those values as part of the filter to actually find the actual part in question. That would make a huge difference and I hope Altium replies to his requests and agrees on implementing it.

Also a voting system for user created footprints would be nice to know if a part made by someone else and committed to the vault is any good.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #156 on: June 21, 2015, 05:13:10 am »
I do not understand how's selecting specific parts can be considered a nice feature. Parts become obsolete and delisted by distributers all the time. ICs survive for longer time but smt caps/resistors vanish often. Two years from now many of components in your design will point to nowhere. For one time projects it may be ok, design select go and forget, but for projects that need maintenance or further development it is a bad idea. I do not need stinking part number in my schematic for passives, all i need is the value and footprint. The BOM exists and gets updated separately.
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #157 on: June 21, 2015, 08:14:37 am »
I do not understand how's selecting specific parts can be considered a nice feature. Parts become obsolete and delisted by distributers all the time. ICs survive for longer time but smt caps/resistors vanish often. Two years from now many of components in your design will point to nowhere. For one time projects it may be ok, design select go and forget, but for projects that need maintenance or further development it is a bad idea. I do not need stinking part number in my schematic for passives, all i need is the value and footprint. The BOM exists and gets updated separately.
Absolutely. It's nuts to have part numbers for passives in the design, unless as an auxilliary property of the part. It should be package type with a value paramater. At design time you may well have no clue what actual part will get ordered.
Having library parts for every different value is just ridiculous.
If they were clever, at least for resistors,  there would be a mechanism to provide a part number template, which would get auto-filled from the value, as most resistor part numbers include the value in the part number.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2015, 08:16:33 am by mikeselectricstuff »
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Offline george graves

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #158 on: June 21, 2015, 10:54:59 am »
You make it very clear IN BIG BOLD LETTERS THERE IS NO SUPPORT.

If only idiots read BIG BOLD LETTERS.  And even if they did, it's an emotional thing of handing over money - viscerally(is that a word?), you expect something back..  Read the book I referenced - (I'm not saying that to be a smart ass) - it's actually really interesting read, and explains a lot about about how consumers make a chose between free and not-free.  Even if that not free is $1. 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #159 on: June 21, 2015, 01:38:27 pm »
Was the $3800 with or without the support contract?
With.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #160 on: June 21, 2015, 09:18:10 pm »
I'm still happy with CM, as a hobbyist I don't need to do very complex things, but it's great to make little modules that can be recreated just based on the Gerbers or ODB++ files.
And as someone else mentioned you can drag and drop files into it, so you could have local backups.

Also I noticed that you can open your built in components in AD.

But CM suits my needs, but I'm pretty sure I work differently than others, for example I do look for the MCU that I want to use, check the datasheet for how to decouple what needs to be decoupled, look for parts at findchips.com or octoparts, order them based on specs and price and then do the design.

But I agree that it should allow to let you put the values in the schematic and even generic footprints on the board layout. And when you need to create the BOM then it can use the parameters to filter what is available.

I did find it easy to derive new components based on other that had models. For example I did create the MUC(based on a similar MUC that shared the same pinout from the same manufacturer), the 40 pin male headers (based on an existing 20 pin one from the same manufacturer) and the bigger 0805 caps that I already had at hand. And I'm happy with the result:





I actually found it fairly easy to use.

 

Offline omglol

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #161 on: June 22, 2015, 04:38:26 pm »
A bit off-topic, but: How do you rotate when you are in 3D view? If I left-click and move the mouse it says "this action is only supported in 2D mode".
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #162 on: June 22, 2015, 04:47:08 pm »
A bit off-topic, but: How do you rotate when you are in 3D view? If I left-click and move the mouse it says "this action is only supported in 2D mode".

I'm not at home so I cant try, but I think you hold the control key and use the right mouse.

Depending where you put the cursor on the rotation ball it will do different things. Center dot is free rotation, concentric circular arrows is along the you and the monitor. left right arrows will rotate along the monitor's y axis, up down along the x axis.
 

Offline Iwanushka

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #163 on: June 22, 2015, 05:46:02 pm »
Guys,

Altium guys have a video that there are some shortcuts in the PCB editor, but non of them are working for me, has anyone got 'em working? Without them this thing is 999,999 times slower than a freakin' paint....

EDIT: supid me, looks like it's not enough to click on the part,  you need to hold mouse down for the shortcut to work.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 05:56:46 pm by Iwanushka »
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Online NANDBlog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #164 on: June 22, 2015, 07:32:50 pm »
A bit off-topic, but: How do you rotate when you are in 3D view? If I left-click and move the mouse it says "this action is only supported in 2D mode".
Move with right click+move mouse, rotate/spin with shift+right click+move mouse. You are supposed to work with one hand on the keyboard. That is why I'm pissed off about the hotkeys.
 

Offline Isaac000

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #165 on: June 22, 2015, 09:10:33 pm »
The more I think about this - I think Altium is onto something here with their plan.

No one will want to use CM for "business use" with projects being forced to be public - so it won't cut into their corporate-type sales - and at the same time, the OSHW community should eat it up - it will be a robust, professional tool, without limits, and no commercial restrictions.  Just what OSHW people have been asking for.  And if they keep the back end of the software the same as AD - it's not going to be a burden on the company to keep up to date.
Yup, great plan, except they forgot for the OSHW community, there are alternatives. You could argue better or worse than CM, but most are good enough to get the job done. In fact, most are good enough and have a far easier learning curve, work fast, runs without network, etc.
Quote
All that, and at the same time, they are talking a page out of Apple's old playbook of putting the tools in the hands of students.  Students who will flock to CM knowing that it will look good on their resume(well better then Eagle Cad would I suppose).  And I have to assume even though the interface is different then AD, it's not going to be a huge leap to move from CM to AD when it comes time to get a job.
Right, because as a student, I actually know all about what is in use in the industry, right? And even though I can't afford AD, I just know it's got to be similar to CM, right? Right? That's why they named it differently and not AD "Lite" or AD "Open Edition" or something so people can easily make the connection, right?

Quote
There's going to be a vocal minority with bad internet connections that will hate it.  But that's a small percentage of people.  They have to make it an online only tool, and force the project files to the public so that it won't eat into AD sales.
It isn't just the internet connection that's a problem, there's all sorts of other usability issues. It's already eating into AD sales because, well, if I've never used AD and assuming I know the connection between CM and AD, CM is not making me want to upgrade to AD!

Who knows, maybe they will win if their mighty marketing machine manages to convince people that CM is the only game in town and everyone flocks to it. I kind of doubt it. A lot of competitors got into this space well before they did.
 

Offline Muxr

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #166 on: June 24, 2015, 04:59:05 pm »
The thing with CAD software like PCB design software is you have to spend time with them to really learn all the quirks and become proficient at it.

I went with the open source route personally. Because my time is valuable to me. And if I am going to dedicate time to learning a product, it better be around for a long time. I have a feeling KiCad isn't going anywhere, it's gaining a lot of traction in the hobbyist and OSH circles and it's supported by people like CERN.

But let me tell you, it is not an easy software to get into. KiCad has a bunch of quirks.

Luckily they aren't the type of quirks that get in the way once you work around them. It's mostly about setting up your project libraries. The keyboard shortcuts are well thought out and once you do a few boards, it becomes pretty easy. You just gotta plow through it.

I mean I only do it in my spare time and I started a few months ago but now I feel I can design PCBs for my use without issues. Some features are probably missing compared to a full featured commercial product, but I find all the essentials are there. And I don't feel restricted. I also love the file format it uses as it makes it very easy to script. So for instance I can automate certain integrations.

I attached a screenshot of the project I am working on.
 

Offline Rene

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #167 on: June 24, 2015, 08:05:33 pm »
Besides the fact that cloud services like this require you to always be online (not cool), there are other issues that are important to consider (in my humble opinion).

  • What if my account gets hacked due to a security issue with the service provider or due to some virus that infected my computer? How would I recover my account? Is it possible that the hacker could take over my account to the point where my account is unrecoverable? How fast would I be able to recover the account if it were possible?
  • What if my account gets canceled because my board traces ended up having the shape of a penis and the service provider finds that to be so offensive they decide to cancel my account? What if I am developing an innovative and legitimus electronic sex toy and they find that offensive too and cancel my account? What other "criteria" would qualify for account cancelation? Where is the line drawn? What would I do then? How much begging and supplication will I need to do to recuperate the account?
  • Privacy concerns are also an issue. What if the service provider decides to make a business out of providing potential employers a history of all my designs so that the potential employer is able to determine if I am worth the trouble or not by having a look at my designs? What if the service provider creates some algorithm that profile my design skills based on the products I have created and sells the info to recruiting companies?

Yes, yes, yes I know, I need to wear a tin hat blah, blah, blah, Altium would never, ever, ever do something as horrible as that, never, ever, ever. Hey, you are probalby right, but free is never free with products like this, there is always a hidden agenda.
 

Offline george graves

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #168 on: June 25, 2015, 11:51:30 am »
What if the world ends?   :scared:

Offline Wilksey

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #169 on: June 25, 2015, 12:13:45 pm »
What if the world ends?   :scared:

You're right, we should "collaborate" and build a open source hardware space shuttle that we can each get made and fly to the moon before that happens!
We should store the design in Altiums' cloud and then if it all goes horribly wrong and their cloud goes down, we can blame Altium for us not being safe at the end of the world.
 

Online CM800

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #170 on: June 26, 2015, 05:25:37 pm »
I would really recommend checking out and maybe doing a review of this software, Quadcept:

http://www.quadcept.com/en/

I think it's really quite impressive!
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #171 on: June 26, 2015, 06:04:53 pm »
I would really recommend checking out and maybe doing a review of this software, Quadcept:

http://www.quadcept.com/en/

I think it's really quite impressive!

Pay per month/year just to access your software? So you can't access your designs if you don't? Fuck that, hard.
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Offline sonic

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #172 on: June 28, 2015, 03:44:46 pm »
They are not the same, CircuitStudio is the offline version of CircuitMaker and misses some of the high end parts of Altium: CAM tools, Signal Integrity, FPGA integration, Hierarchical Schematics, ...others?

So this hierarchical DipTrace schematic can't be done with CM/CS? I guess I'll pay the $125 for DipTrace then.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2015, 03:47:18 pm by sonic »
 

Online CM800

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #173 on: June 28, 2015, 06:57:50 pm »
I would really recommend checking out and maybe doing a review of this software, Quadcept:

http://www.quadcept.com/en/

I think it's really quite impressive!

Pay per month/year just to access your software? So you can't access your designs if you don't? Fuck that, hard.

Haha, I think its actually really quite clever and good. Especially for companies.

Think about it like this:

You have 10 engineers, however you often contract out some of the job, your contractors come in and you can just buy however many licenses for them for x months, much cheaper then the huge cost of each license for traditional schemes. This also includes the standard support, updates etc. that most companies pay huge amounts for yearly.

While it may not be great for hobbiests, I think it would be good for business, I wonder what Dave thinks...
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #174 on: June 28, 2015, 07:20:05 pm »
That model works well for Adobe with their Creative Cloud. But they still offer the full version with no time limits.

Also Photoshop, etc offered is an industry standard pretty much so it makes sense.

The quadcept model is not quite the same, they don't offer a product that you can use without keeping on paying, and they are not established well enough to do a monthly offer.
If at least they allowed you to export the circuit design and the PCB design so it could be used with other programs, then maybe.

For a company it doesn't make sense either because you will need to train your engineers to use a new tool that might actually hurt their future employment because I dont see a position requiring knowledge in Quadcept any time soon.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2015, 08:14:39 pm by miguelvp »
 

Offline george graves

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #175 on: June 29, 2015, 09:20:16 am »
Anything that you can't keep using indefinitely or that is tied to some online service or which has forced updates is an automatic failure.

I don't know - there is a flip side to that.  When you're using software that has attached special hardware, and your forced to run an outdated OS.  That's as annoying if not more IMHO.  I was suck in XP land for *years*.


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