Author Topic: Is anyone using DesignSpark  (Read 55336 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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Is anyone using DesignSpark
« on: July 02, 2011, 05:25:14 am »
I haven't tried it yet, but it doesn't have any restrictions unlike Eagle and DIPtrace.
As mentioned on TheAmpHour, is anyone using it? and if not, why?

Dave.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2011, 05:42:19 am »
I haven't tried it yet, but it doesn't have any restrictions unlike Eagle and DIPtrace.
As mentioned on TheAmpHour, is anyone using it? and if not, why?

Dave.

I tried to load it but after all the kerfuffle of registration it now has decided that I've loaded two copies and reached my limit. Haven't got a single copy running yet.

I'll have another try when time permits.
 

Offline FreeThinker

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2011, 06:22:27 am »
Yep tried it and (as a completed novice) found it ok. I think the Library is geared towards RS part numbers etc but that is to be expected. Latest plugin allows the 3d pcb model to be loaded into sketchup for mechanical design. Seems quite professional but I'm no expert. Lots of good things and support on the forum. I prefer Diptrace as it just seems to be easier to use, but as I say I'm a total noob  :).
PS Dave do you still call RS Radio Spares? or is it just me and my ever increasing years? :-\
Machines were mice and Men were lions once upon a time, but now that it's the opposite it's twice upon a time.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2011, 06:59:38 am »
I just tried to install it.
On first run is hangs on "installing part maps"

FAIL.

Dave.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2011, 07:01:25 am »
PS Dave do you still call RS Radio Spares? or is it just me and my ever increasing years? :-\

Yeah ,sometimes.
And Agilent, HP.
Element 14, Farnell
etc

Dave.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2011, 07:10:17 am »
Finally got it installed and activated.
First thing I tried to do is load a PCB and drag some tracks. Horrid.
And you have to pan the PCB window by using the slider controls? Yuck.

Not a good first start.

Dave.
 

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2011, 03:36:38 pm »
I gave it a try a couple of months ago for an open hardware project. The general impression I got was that it is hacked together with abstract specifications from a marketing team to join the 'open hardware/software trend'; no real thought into usability or features. I don't see how it can compete with the other packages commonly used, free or not.
 

Offline Rufus

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2011, 05:35:03 pm »
The general impression I got was that it is hacked together with abstract specifications from a marketing team to join the 'open hardware/software trend'; no real thought into usability or features. I don't see how it can compete with the other packages commonly used, free or not.

As far as I know Designspark is or is based on Easy PC (http://www.numberone.com/easypc.asp#) which has been around for ages. The same company is responsible Pulsonix.
 

Offline Fox

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2011, 07:40:22 pm »
Finally got it installed and activated.
First thing I tried to do is load a PCB and drag some tracks. Horrid.
And you have to pan the PCB window by using the slider controls? Yuck.

Not a good first start.

Dave.
For pan you have to hold P down and move the mouse, not very intuitive.
A closed Switch should have zero Ohms or less!
 

Offline dimlow

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2011, 09:05:54 pm »
For pan, middle mouse button, so easy, well not if you dont have one.
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2011, 01:16:01 am »
I was not impressed enough to switch to it since that would mean I have to redo some of the schematics I am working on for designing their PCBs.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2011, 08:10:43 pm »
I was not impressed enough to switch to it since that would mean I have to redo some of the schematics I am working on for designing their PCBs.
There should be an open standard format for schematics so you shouldn't have to worry about that.
 

Offline rasmithuk

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2011, 03:07:43 pm »
I've been using it on and off for a month. I never really got on with Eagle, and the limitations put me off learning it properly.
Designspark seems to work ok. The footprint wizards are helpful to get a starting point (especially for the 144 pin QFP ones I've been making).
The oddest thing is the redrawing speed. If you set the visible grid to something reasonably high it really struggles when you pan around.

The most anoying thing I've found so far is the lack of drawing tools for footprints. If you want to put any tracks or extra solder mask on you're out of luck. Also I've yet to find any way of adding holes/slots as well, but it could be I've just not discovered the right way.

I'm tempted to try diptrace as it seems to be well liked by some users.

I'm also fighting the urge to write my own at the moment (really shouldn't start any new software projects). Gerber/drill files look reasonably nice to output compared to some of the stuff I've had to deal with in the past. The trickest bit would be writing the code to do track editing nicely and cope with components being moved.
 

Offline FreeThinker

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2011, 12:40:41 pm »
Have you gotten any further with Designspark? What are your thoughts and how do you find it to use? Just spent half an hour trying to turn off the topsilk layer had to give in and RTFM, 2mins later and turned off (it's part of the COLOUR tool??!)  :D
Machines were mice and Men were lions once upon a time, but now that it's the opposite it's twice upon a time.
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Offline slburris

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2011, 04:18:30 pm »
I played with DesignSpark for a couple months, looking for something to switch
to instead of Eagle.  Registration of the program is kinda screwy.  I managed to get
the same laptop registered twice, which made it impossible for me to register a desktop
as well.  After sending some email this was sorted out in a couple days.

Still, for something that's supposedly *free*, there are a bunch of hoops to just through and
it looked to me like you have to renew your registration when it expires in a year.

Nothing about the user interface stood out to me.  It worked, but I didn't get one of those,
"hey, this is really easy to do in DesignSpark" moments.  Of course the libraries don't have the
parts I wanted so I was forced to do my own.

Eventually I ended up using DipTrace instead and liked it enough to pay for the Standard Edition.

Scott
 

Offline FreeThinker

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2011, 05:58:07 pm »
Diptrace seems more polished, intuitive to use but how do they stack up against each other? As a test I ran though the diptrace tutorial in designspark ie I created the same schematic and laid out the components on the board in the same positions etc. Then autorouted the pcb and compared the two. They are very similar. You then have to make the choice, do you pony up for a more polished but commercial product or put up with the quirky ui of the free designspark? As they say you pay your money and make your choice. Not tried to edit or create a new footprint yet or create a new component but suspect that they will be similar. Potentially designspark COULD have a big advantage if RS create a library for all it's components with 3d models etc. Will they have the savvy to do this or is it just a 'me to' response  to Farnells eagle? The UI needs some serious rethinking as does eagles so where does this leave pcb design software? Professionals will use a commercial package end of, so it will only be hobbyists or small design groups who would be the user base, would these numbers be enough to justify the money involved in developing the software or will it just wither and die?
Machines were mice and Men were lions once upon a time, but now that it's the opposite it's twice upon a time.
MOONDOG
 

Offline johnboxall

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2011, 11:18:24 am »
I haven't tried it yet, but it doesn't have any restrictions unlike Eagle and DIPtrace.
As mentioned on TheAmpHour, is anyone using it? and if not, why?

Dave.

On a brand new, well specified Core i3, 4G RAM, Windows 7 Pro x64 machine it kept crashing.
On a two year old, AMD Quad core machine, 4G RAM, Windows 7 Pro, etc., it kept crashing.
Fail.
Now both machines are running Ubuntu 11.04 and Eagle, etc., at full steam.
 

Offline Bloch

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2011, 10:49:45 am »
On a brand new, well specified Core i3, 4G RAM, Windows 7 Pro x64 machine it kept crashing.
On a two year old, AMD Quad core machine, 4G RAM, Windows 7 Pro, etc., it kept crashing.

That version ?

And then did it crash ?

Just asking as DesignSpark 2.0 on my Windows 7 64  have never crashed.

But I dont like the "calling home" and online register.
 

Offline johnboxall

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2011, 02:10:55 pm »
On a brand new, well specified Core i3, 4G RAM, Windows 7 Pro x64 machine it kept crashing.
On a two year old, AMD Quad core machine, 4G RAM, Windows 7 Pro, etc., it kept crashing.

That version ?

And then did it crash ?

Just asking as DesignSpark 2.0 on my Windows 7 64  have never crashed.

But I dont like the "calling home" and online register.

I was using whatever was the latest version in February, as I distinctly remember farting about trying to get two copies registered after a snafu with an earlier machine. It's all moot now, I'd rather pay for something and have it work well on my OS of choice.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:15:58 am by tronixstuff »
 

Offline ciccio

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2011, 08:03:01 pm »
I've installed it about one year ago on two machines, with some  problems (don't remember exactly now) with registration on the second one, promptly solved with a mail exchange with DS team.
I like some of it's features, but  dislike (or better HATE) the way you design new components and footprints.
Example: I've designed an 8 pin DIL connector, with some hassles being a novice,  but searched through help for hours trying to find a way for modifying it to a 6 pin and save with another name.
The other problem is with the supplied libraries: searching through them is an big nuisance, and the graphic style  of the components is inconsistent (line width,  component style, ecc..) from one to the other.

Mi experience with PCB and schematic design dates back to DOS days, with PROTEL PCB and ORCAD schematics, but they were really more intuitive and, at the end, were doing the same service.
Cannot use those versions  any more because they are outdated, and I do not have any printer that will work with Windows 98 anymore.

As my boards were becoming bigger and more complicated, I was obliged to use the services of external consultants, who use higher level CADs, but I would like to design again everything by myself
Strenua Nos Exercet Inertia
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I always invent new ones
 

Offline IanJ

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2011, 08:21:21 pm »
Mi experience with PCB and schematic design dates back to DOS days, with PROTEL PCB and ORCAD schematics, but they were really more intuitive and, at the end, were doing the same service.

I must be getting old......I remember Wintek's Smartwork the HiWireII, both DOS apps. Basic apps but very intuitive.....I got to know every single aspect about those programs.....can't say the same about Eagle.....the thought of designing new library components, or modifying an existing turns my stomach. WHY WHY WHY won't the guys at Eagle fix these well know issues......Grrrrr!

Yes I'm bitter.

Ian.
Ian Johnston
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Manufacturer of the PDVS2 & PDVS2mini
 

Offline McPete

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2011, 04:28:06 am »
It's the EDA of choice for my new employer- I've got a few designs going with it, but it's far from perfect... Seriously considering pushing for an Altium license, or EAGLE if I get really desperate.

Creating new parts is a drag, as is fine routing of tracks, making a global change... Ugh, not fun.
 

Offline Slobodan

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2011, 12:11:31 pm »
In DesignSpark PCB 3.0 I have opened Schematic Design (File - New - Schematic Design), and when i want to save it it says: "Failed to save document".
Product (DesignSpark PCB 3.0) has been activated.

What is the problem?

P.S.
Creating new parts is a drag

I don't know about the previous versions, but in 3.0 creating new components is easy (you can even use a wizard for it).
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 12:15:40 pm by Slobodan »
 

Offline Bloch

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2011, 07:25:07 pm »
In DesignSpark PCB 3.0 I have opened Schematic Design (File - New - Schematic Design), and when i want to save it it says: "Failed to save document".
Product (DesignSpark PCB 3.0) has been activated.

What is the problem?

It work i Windows 7, So maybe re-install it ?
 

Offline Slobodan

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Re: Is anyone using DesignSpark
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2011, 11:13:23 am »
I have installed it on my laptop and my desktop computer, bouth on Windows 7, and it is the same situation.
 


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