Author Topic: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions  (Read 62283 times)

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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.
 

Online 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.
PLD/Linux Team. Electronics as a hobby.
http://readme.maven.pl/
 

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.
 


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