Author Topic: Is anyone using DesignSpark  (Read 55290 times)

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Offline amspire

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2011, 12:04:07 pm »
Where are you trying to save the file to?  The example circuits are in the "Designspark PCB\Examples"  Program Folder - that is a write only location in Windows 7.

If it is defaulting to that location, you will get a Failed message. You have to save to somewhere else.
 

Offline Slobodan

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2011, 12:50:15 pm »
I tried to save it in C:/Users/Slobodan/My documents/DesignSparkPCB and i would get an error, but now i saved it successfully in C:/Users/Public/Public documents/DesignSparkPCB

Thanks.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 12:59:42 pm by Slobodan »
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2011, 01:03:19 pm »
I only have V2, so I will try out V3. You could run it as administrator. So instead of left clicking on the icon to run, right click and select "Run as Administrator".

That way you will find out if it is a permissions problem at least.

Update: I just tried V3 on my Windows 7 64 bit, and it save a PCB fine for me.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 01:52:58 pm by amspire »
 

Offline Slobodan

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2011, 03:57:24 pm »
No, it is something else, but it doesn't matter, i can save it in the other location.
 

Offline im_a_human

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2011, 12:43:31 am »
I use Designspark just to do circuit diagrams as i dont need to design PCB's and yes its not perfect but found it certainly easier than Eagle which i found very frustrating and gave up with it.
 

Offline Sainttronics

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #30 on: February 29, 2012, 09:26:49 pm »
Tried it as an alternative to Ultiboard, and felt that I was going backwards instead of forward. Going to stick to Ultiboard 8 until something else better comes to market.
When rendering 3D views, it caused my PC to hang each time; no feedback given to the reason why.
Regards

Brian
 

Offline gjh

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2012, 04:56:58 am »
Actually I think DesignSpark is great..   I've been trying out a number of different software, KiCad, DipTrace, Altium, Eagle, Ultraboard, and a few others..  and I've seattled on DesignSpark..  Actually I use the AutoRoute feature (dont kill me I know Im lazy) and it actually works not too bad..  I get a ok small footprint layout that Im happy with that isn't a mess like other software Autorouting features. I've just been doing simple circuits nothing complex..   Newer versions of DesignSpark havent crashed on me yet with Windows 7 (64bit) and I import *alot* of components from Eagle libraries.       I think its a pretty good all rounder minimal effort to learn application.

Good Points - Good Autorouter, Minimal time in learning the application, Integrated 3D.
Bad points - Native libraries not that great, have to import Eagle libraries.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 05:00:44 am by gjh »
 

Offline nakchak

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2012, 09:58:41 pm »
I don't find it that bad, and certainly for the price you cant really grumble.

Certainly V3.0 has quite a few improvements in it, and auto panning is an option in settings, is just disabled by default...

The main advantage i find with it is that i have inherited several projects at work which were designed in EASY-PC/Pulsonix which is the same core product i.e. libraries are the same, file formats are basically the same, and i dont like either of those products enough to want to convince my management to buy me a license whilst design spark is obviously free.  I do find the library editor to be pretty buggy and prone to crashing out the whole program though so you find your self instinctively saving after every single edit (not that bad a thing I guess).

Also it is considerably nicer to use than eagle IMHO, although i cant understand why there isn't a ruler or guide lines in the editors, is a massive ball ache trying to be precise with it, same with the non existent (bloody well hidden if it exists) coord editor so i can use num pad instead of mouse to position.
 

Offline Teknotronix

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2012, 06:52:37 am »
I'm a fan. I have done three layouts with it so far and all worked out well. Sent the first complete one off to itead studio and they said it looked fine for manufacture. There are a number of missing features mentioned in this thread that I too would love to see incorporated, but they should come as the product evolves I imagine.

The auto-router SUCKS big time, so I do all manual routing. One other thing is that the PCB mode is heavily reliant on the context menu (right click) to do things like "End on Via" and "Change Layer". If the manual routing tools are made nicer, it would improve efficiency dramatically.

The library editor is awesome. It's very easy to make and abstract footprints for PCB, schematic and 3D. I've made a number of parts so far and they worked out very well.

Overall I like it and will stick with it until Altium bring out a free/hobbiest version. C'mon Altium, you should be getting all the young engineers hooked on your stuff so they have no choice when they turn professional. Just look at the winning approach MS has taken with Visual Studio .NET.
Don't drone me bro!

 

Offline hiddensoul

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2014, 08:37:15 am »
I am using designspark, I am really new to PCB design but a member of my Ham Radio club did a talk on it a few months ago and have started to play with it. I still have a long way to go both in PCB design in general and with designspark but I like it so far
Mark "Pockets" Clohesy
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Offline temmink

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2014, 04:42:53 pm »
I I have downloaded the application (version 6, I believe) from designspark, last week.

Until now I didn't installed it yet, because I use a Mac. But I just installed the parallels version, and will actually install the program within a few minutes.
I'm curious if it works reasonable within this setup.

I mostly use eagle on the mac. but I don't really like the limitations of my version. Off course I could buy the prof. version, but my mind is not yet eagle for pcb.
I also have tried to use Kicad (hey free version), but that gives some strange screen garbage on my mac.

Let you know what I think about it.

« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 04:46:32 pm by temmink »
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2014, 12:55:25 pm »
I I have downloaded the application (version 6, I believe) from designspark, last week.

Yes, a big improvement over its predecessors. I'm designing up a new project with it now which is quite amazing as I do own Altium Designer 6.9

I just can't bring myself to pay the $3.6K Altium want for me to bring my version up to the latest release.

There is plenty of room for improvement of course & some of the features that I like in Altium I will send on to Designspark for their consideration for their next release.

What I do like is the "ModelSource" feature to download the latest component schematic, footprint & 3D model from the RS Component's website. Library components have been such a time consuming aspect of Altium (& to be fair, most pcb design software).

Also, the screen drivers are pretty good compared to most low to mid end PCB software packages & moving from schematic to pcb is MUCH easier than with Altium. It remains to be seen if this easiness has any downsides in relation to lax design rules.

Maybe Dave will do a new review of Designspark ver 6.

At least it should load up & run this time :)
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #37 on: March 12, 2014, 03:59:38 pm »
Hmm, I might give this a try, now.  I'm keen to see how well it behaves these days.  I know that RS really hyped up the release of this version, so they must be pretty proud of it.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2014, 06:48:51 pm »
Still can't pan across their own example project without it feeling like 1998 again.
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2014, 12:08:32 am »
Still can't pan across their own (DesignSpark) example project without it feeling like 1998 again.

Press & hold the middle (3rd) scroll button on your mouse to drag around the pcb/schematic.

You can also activate pan by selecting
Settings
Preferences
Display

But, I will admit the 3 files required to set up a new library has driven me crazy (library itself, schematic part & pcb part). The methodology is not very intuitive at all. You will need to set up your own library at some stage as many parts are not found in "ModelSource".

So ................. for new boards with less than 50 or 60 parts, I am using a combination of DipTrace 2.3 (latest version) & Altium 6.9 (2008 version).

I draw the schematic in DipTrace & port to the pcb. This is very quick & easy. I then export via the PCAD filter into Altium. The board imports spot on.

I then use all the fantastic options in the pcb design of Altium to autoplace/autoroute/modify everything just as I want.

This gets around all the sh*t that drives me crazy in porting an Altium Schematic across to Altium PCB (maybe its got easier in Altium Designer 14).

For large/complex boards where you *might* have lots of cross probing, Altium schematic to pcb is still the way to go ............ with all the hair pulling that goes with it.

Just my 2c worth :)

PS: Maybe Dave can do a new DipTrace video now that he has had some past experience with it :)

I think it is one of the most intuitive schematic/pcb design programs out there for the money (or free for the small version). Libraries have always been the thing I hate & DipTrace makes it very easy to make new parts/modify old parts & SWAP footprints on the fly.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2014, 12:10:17 am »
That is not what I meant. I can figure out how to pan around for myself, thank you.

Zoom out on their example schematic until the entire board is in the window. Pan around. If there's a magic trick to getting it do this in real-time like every other modern tool, I haven't found it yet.
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2014, 01:04:19 am »
Zoom out on their example schematic until the entire board is in the window. Pan around. If there's a magic trick to getting it do this in real-time like every other modern tool, I haven't found it yet.

Entire schematic in window;
Keyboard
Z (zoom)
A (all)

Under "Display" select "Enable Auto Pan" then slide the "Delay Before Starting" slider to the minimum position.

Now here is the trick - panning will only operate if you don't push your mouse cursor past any of the menus or scroll bars. The cursor must remain just inside your schematic/board window.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2014, 01:14:15 am »
Zoom out on their example schematic until the entire board is in the window. Pan around. If there's a magic trick to getting it do this in real-time like every other modern tool, I haven't found it yet.

Entire schematic in window;
Keyboard
Z (zoom)
A (all)

Under "Display" select "Enable Auto Pan" then slide the "Delay Before Starting" slider to the minimum position.

Now here is the trick - panning will only operate if you don't push your mouse cursor past any of the menus or scroll bars. The cursor must remain just inside your schematic/board window.

Still not getting it. Once again, I can figure out how to use the basic functions of the tool!

Board editor, not schematic, my apologies (although I recall it not being any good on the schematic editor, either). Entire example board (chipKIT Max32) on screen. Designspark cannot draw fast enough to keep up with a gentle pan across the board. It simply can't maintain a smooth display. Totally unacceptable.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2014, 01:46:42 am »
might depend on the video card or PC specs.

works more or less real time for me.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2014, 01:48:37 am »
might depend on the video card or PC specs.

works more or less real time for me.

Q9650, GTX 470, plenty of DDR2-800.. if it can't render smoothly on that, when Eagle, Altium, and every other 2D and 3D tool (not to mention games..) works fine...
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2014, 03:12:49 am »
I don't know.  It doesn't move the PCB around at 60fps for me, but it's over 30.  Not sure what your issue would be.

Why they didn't start using the GPU for this stuff ages ago is beyond me.
 

Offline hikariuk

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #46 on: March 16, 2014, 05:09:38 pm »
One problem I've noticed with DesignSpark is when you upgrade it doesn't automatically carry over your existing custom libraries, you have to do it yourself.
I write software.  I'd far rather be doing something else.
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2014, 05:17:55 am »
One problem I've noticed with DesignSpark is when you upgrade it doesn't automatically carry over your existing custom libraries...

Quite right. You need to save your custom library in another directory that is not a sub-directory of your installed DesignSpark .............. otherwise it will be overwritten.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline RanchForeman

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2014, 04:12:59 pm »
If Design Spark's ease-of-activation is any indication of its ease-of-use, then I will most likely not use it.
 

Offline Bob F.

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #49 on: May 11, 2015, 11:43:44 pm »
Been playing with the latest version for about a week of evenings and it looks pretty good to me.  Saying that, I'm not to be taken too seriously as I've not done any layout (and even then very little) since about 10 years ago and that was with OrCad. 

I didn't look at Eagle as the free version is too restricted.  I did look at KiCad and quite liked it, especially the workflow, but it simply did not work out of the box.  The manuals and tutorials refer to a 4 year old version of the software with different library parts and menu items that have been moved about from one module to another since it was written.  Cryptically named path variables pointing at non-existent directories and some small changes to methodology caused some initial confusion when trying to follow the tutorial.  Finally, 3d models of the components are not showing on my installation.  I got fed up searching for yet another fix at that point and gave up. 

DesignSpark worked out of the box and has fewer quirks than KiCad - e.g. it seems more intuitive when you want it to do something by just clicking on the bit you want to move/edit/add a wire to/ draw a track etc.  I seemed to spend an awful lot of time finding and pressing quick-keys in KiCad.

I put Kicad and DesignSpark at about even on my short acquaintance in terms of capability but DesignSpark just simply worked without hassle.  But, as mentioned, I am by no means an expert on this (or practically any other) subject so  take this as a noob's observations only. 

I think that if you tried an earlier version and found it limited or of poor quality, it may be worth taking another look now.


Cheers, Bob.
 


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