Author Topic: Considering getting circuit studio  (Read 8306 times)

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Offline SimonTopic starter

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Considering getting circuit studio
« on: May 10, 2017, 05:46:01 pm »
Despite owning a Proteus licence for less than a year I’m actually considering switching to something else. To be honest I snapped about 20 minutes ago when I moved a via my design in Proteus only to find that the connection between 2 points on a another net nearby has suddenly been lost and the rat nest for it has reappeared despite the track and buyers still being in place. So maybe it is a pile of crap and I should move on.

The next step up seems to be circuit studio. Before I make a massive cock up again can somebody give me some advice. How easy is library management, would I be able to put my libraries into a dropbox folder and point to it from any installation so that I can have common libraries across different computers? Is it actually easy and intuitive to use rather than having extreme convoluted ways of doing basic things? Is it just a piece of sheet because it’s a cutdown version of Altium or is it a serious stand-alone piece of software? I am quite interested in 3D models being exported so is this properly supported?
 

Offline trophosphere

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 08:40:41 pm »
I have been using Circuit Studio for about the past year so here is my two cents in regards to your questions:

As far as library management goes in regards to different installations, it is fairly easy to do and shouldn't be a hassle. I find component and footprint creation to be more or less intuitive compared to other packages I have used. The wizard for creating footprints leaves a bit more to be desired though given the price you are paying for it so it's a bit disappointing in that you would think you would have more nice features included.

In terms of it being to hold itself then I would say yes but it certainly is no Altium Designer or even close to it. Sometimes things you want to do in Circuit Studio you know that can be easily achieved in Altium will either be out of reach or be convoluted in a way that it will take you 10x longer to get the same result. Things like custom scripting for rules in layout comes to mind.

I don't use 3D models in Circuit Studio so I would not be able to help you out there.

In regards to other things I think may be important... I find that the process of drawing/editing a schematic in Circuit Studio seems to be less intuitive/more aggravating than other packages such as Orcad Capture but I may be biased. I have a license for Orcad Capture and so will often draw the schematic in Orcad and then import the project into Circuit Studio for layout. One probable bug that I get annoyed at is that sometimes my color palette for the various layers will spontaneously change and one layer will always be on top despite disabling it or going in and manually changing the layer order. I usually just re-install Circuit Studio and everything will be fine. That has happened twice in the past year and I have not been able to reproduce it on demand.
 

Offline SimonTopic starter

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 08:45:20 pm »
I downloaded the trial and it will only let me have one installation on one computer. If I buy a licence will I be able to use it on more than one machine ? (one at a time)
 

Offline trophosphere

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 09:31:16 pm »
You can install the license on two computers but only one of them can run at a time*.

Per license agreement:
Quote
2.4.2.
In the event that You have licensed the Licensed Materials for use in connection with a single computer, You may
install and use only a single copy thereof at any given time, and said copy may be used only by You; provided,
however,  that  if  You  have  licensed  the  Licensed  Materials  for  use  on  a  single  computer:  a)  you  may  install  a 
second  copy  of  the  Licensed  Materials  on  a  home  computer  solely  for  use  in  connection  with,  and  governed 
by, the License granted herein, so long as such copy is never used simultaneously with the original copy
; and b)
You may make a back-up, archival copy thereof that You shall install and use only in the event the original copy
of the Licensed Materials is lost, corrupted or in some other way made unavailable other than through use or
possession by another person.

Edit: * Would wait for official confirmation though since I don't work for them and I have never tried to install on more than one computer since I carry my laptop around with me.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 09:34:41 pm by trophosphere »
 

Offline ahbushnell

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2017, 03:48:28 am »
I run it on two computers with no problem. 

The 3D works good. 

Comparing it to a 9k$, Altium you will not get the same features. 

I like it.  But there are things in Altium I miss.

Andy
 

Offline SimonTopic starter

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2017, 04:59:42 pm »
So I created a basic board (just 2 diodes), I put a copper pour on but noticed that is connects to pins with spokes and no option to make it fully connected, not good for high power. Any way around it?
 

Offline trophosphere

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2017, 05:30:14 pm »
So I created a basic board (just 2 diodes), I put a copper pour on but noticed that is connects to pins with spokes and no option to make it fully connected, not good for high power. Any way around it?

Assuming you used "Polygon Pour" to build your copper pour:

In your layout, go to the "Home" tab and select "Design Rules". It will bring up a dialog box with a tree view on the right side. In the tree view, select "Polygon Connect Style" to expand that selection and then click on "PolygonConnect". The right side of the dialog box will have a "Constraints" section and within that section will be a "Connect Style". There is a drop-down box which can used to specify what kind of connect style you want. Change it to "Direct Connect", hit apply, and then the okay button which should exit the dialog box. Make sure to rebuild the polygon to see the changes.

Note: If you want to have it where only a couple of components will have a direct connection versus others with thermal relief versus vias with their own connection type then you will have to go through the "Rule Wizard" and play around with it as it is not as nice as Altium Designer's.

 

Offline SimonTopic starter

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2017, 08:16:26 am »
Are there any design limitations ? Can't find a list on the website.
 

Offline H.O

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2017, 08:37:43 am »
From the FAQ:
Quote
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).
 

Offline Joel_l

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2017, 04:21:13 pm »
This makes me laugh, what comes to my mind is that the software was poorly written, so when you........

I tried a demo of Designer. I can't speak much to its features, but when trying to work on a fairly large design, it was useless. Now, to be fair, I imported an Allegro PCB design to test it with. It's possible the issue was the import and not Designer itself.

I bought CS for my own hobby/project use. Probably wont do anything more that 4 layers or 8x10 inches ( at that, it would be big ). For that use I think CS will be fine. CS seems to annoy me as much as anything else. I've tried free stuff, low cost stuff, CS is the most I've paid for this kind of SW, they all have something that's annoying.

Lack of real documentation is my on going peeve. The online stuff seems to make some people happy, I'm not one of them.

From the FAQ:
Quote
What are CircuitStudio's design limitations?

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).
 

Offline PartialDischarge

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2017, 05:09:27 pm »
Not trying to suggest anything, but have you considered kicad? or why not? I'm not a user but read many positive things regarding it's latest version.
 

Offline SimonTopic starter

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2017, 08:06:06 pm »
I've used KiCAD, Diptrace, now proteus and considering CS. In the past I have used OrCAD but that was school days and it was massively complex as I remember.

KiCAD I lost interest in as it seems to be lagging in development and like anything free you are dependent on the good will of people to develop and support it and things can be changed. I stopped using it when they changed the library management and made a right mess of it. I never liked the library management and developers admitted it was bad and needed work. There is no propper 3D support.

Diptrace I lost patience with if anything the support was awful as any problems were never their fault and development was slow, when pressed my support contact admited that it was mainly the work of one man who had spent the last year with his new family and had less time to develop. They were realing new versions with practically not changes butr wanting more money while 3D support was there is was awful and often failed to work with external models which are the most important to me as they would be things like connectors that need physically accounting for.

Proteus I am slowly loosing patience with, it seems full of quirks and seems to be designed by people who have to rename things for the sake of it and make procedures very un-obvious and convoluted. I am also noticing problems with it that I would put down to bugs. Support for metric is not good, I resent it being native imperial and I have to keep specifying everything in "mm" or it is assumed to be metric even though I have set it up to be metric (this is 2017 not 1977!). They do offer good support though but when I come to a stop in my design at 8pm because of a software problem and can't find a solution in their complicated and mostly pointless documentation I have to wait until the next day and phone while I am at work or submit my entire project for them to figure out which "gotcha" I have fallen over this time. Doing a 4 layer board has been a nightmare. The lack of an evaluation copy makes it hard to test beforehand given the steep learning curve it is hard to do 1 board in 1 sitting and if you close you loose your work.

So now having wasted £720 I am looking elsewhere (yes I had to pay that just to get custom copper pours that are pretty basic in todays designs).
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 08:09:10 pm by Simon »
 

Offline Joel_l

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2017, 01:39:07 pm »
Why can't you get an evaluation copy? http://www.circuitstudio.com/

There are things that are annoying with CS. A lot of it might be my lack of experience with it, some I think is just that it is different than what I'm used to.

Yesterday I was trying to do a simple route and switch layers, the documentation ( did I already say I don't like the documentation ) says a via will automatically be placed while in interactive routing mode and switching layers, well that has not been happening. I also don't care for the dimming of the active layer while routing, but that might be a setting.

Joel
 

Offline SimonTopic starter

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2017, 01:43:51 pm »
Yes I have the evaluation copy but a month is not long to figure the whole thing out as i have found with other packages. with proteus you have to setup layer pairs so that the program knows which layer you want to switch to.
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2017, 02:26:38 pm »
Yes I have the evaluation copy but a month is not long to figure the whole thing out as i have found with other packages.

Yes, you really need to evaluate Circuit Studio carefully. It is (as you know) a cut down version of Altium Designer & I much prefer to use both Diptrace & Proteus (both of which you are familiar with) over AD.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline SimonTopic starter

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2017, 12:00:20 pm »
I am struggling to put parts into my schematic from a library that I created. There seem to be limited instructions for CS but having put one ARM chip in from the vault every time I try to put a part in from my new library it just puts another ARM chip in with most fields greyed out in the part selection box.
 

Offline Joel_l

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2017, 02:36:17 pm »
I also had an issue, wish I could give you a step by step but I only accidentally got it to work.

I made a small parts library, I think I did something that had to compile it. It was grabbing the compiled version that was causing me an issue. Once I did that ( grabbed the compiled version ), I was able to load the library into the project and use the part.

My impressions of CS so far,

Yes, I hate the documentation ( I will voice that every opportunity I get ).
I feel like Altium carved CS out of Designer for a quick buck. Last release ( 1.4 ) was mid March. They broke some things and don't seem to be in a particular hurry to get a fixed version out.
I don't believe CS is well supported by Altium, more like it's in the " if there's nothing better to do " category for development cycles.
I hope CS support will change for the better........?

Now, would I buy CS knowing what I know now? Probably, I am not happy with it right now, but I'll put a lot of that on the fact I'm not familiar with it and it feels like a departure from what I'm used to. The poor documentation does not help. There have been three cases of trying to figure out something and searching for it in the online docs and they gave useless results. I have more luck with a general google search.

As far as my PCB CAD experience, I started with PCB on Linux. No rules, no frills would let you make all the mistakes you wanted. I liked it, could design a simple project by laying it out.
As I went into more complex designs the notion of schematic capture and linking to layout was a good feature. None of the free Linux packages did this well, tried Kicad, Geda....
I got the entry payed version of Eagle way way back, had features I liked, had nothing other than the free Linux stuff to compare to, liked it except for it's price structure.
I then bought Autotrax DEX, good feature for cost, has some layout preocess issues for me that I just can't get over. At some point, development on the core stopped to put in more fluffy features.
At work I use Allegro, it is the best of all I have used but even it annoys me at times. Price of it ( and AT ) not even close for me ( at home hobby use ).

For some projects I would like the schematic capture feature and turn off all design rules for layout, just do what I say. I would think I should be able to do this in CS but have not invested the time to see yet.

I just consider CS to be part of the tool set I have for PCBs, I hope in the end it becomes the only one I need to use. The <$500.00 price pushed my leap into it, I've done worse.

I do have a project I need to get on, I will use it as my learning tool for CS.

That was probably more rambling than you wanted/needed to hear over a simple library question, but maybe helps a little as you consider whether or not to invest in CS.

Joel



I am struggling to put parts into my schematic from a library that I created. There seem to be limited instructions for CS but having put one ARM chip in from the vault every time I try to put a part in from my new library it just puts another ARM chip in with most fields greyed out in the part selection box.
 

Offline SimonTopic starter

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Re: Considering getting circuit studio
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2017, 05:52:59 pm »
thanks for your experiences Joel, I think it might be a better option than Proteus but clearly they have not bothered to do documentation. I think a lot of AD applies to CS, I watched a tutorial on AD describing how to create a schematic part and PCB footprint and it was identical for CS, but it did not answer my question. What I can say is that looking at that tutorial makes me want to use CS over Proteus that is clunky and missing so many of the nice options.
 


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