Author Topic: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!  (Read 8896 times)

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Offline alexanderbrevig

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I've been using Altium for work, and KiCad for hobby for a couple of years now.
While I like KiCad and have made it mine in some ways - I'm a bit tired by it and its quirks.

Because of this I've been on the lookout for a new and not free package. Something stable I can live with for a few, preferably many, years.
I've tried a lot of them now (circuit studio, eagle, design spark, orcad, easyeda and a few other web based waste-of-times) and I think I've found my favorite!
So close to the Altium feeling with a fraction of the cost.  :-+

Offline MarkF

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 04:43:14 pm »
When using the 3-D View to double check your layout, I found 3D ContentCentral a good source for those missing models in both step and wrl formats.  Sometimes the step format display better but the wrl format loads faster.  I often edit the part colors in the wrl files (like changing the lead color to gold instead of silver).  You will need to create an account to download the models but there is no cost associated with it.

For home use, don't forget to request the free non-profit license allowing for 500 pins and 2 layers.
Enjoy.
 

Offline alexanderbrevig

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 05:49:07 pm »
The good support for step is actually important to me :) yep.
Nice to see things lining up in the enclosure.

Grabcad is nice too btw. Fusion360 saves the day for the even weirder stuff :)

Must say the library they ship is HUGE! So far I also like how they organize libraries.

Place by list is awesome! And I like the way they handle repeated hierarchical schematics for copying layout.
So much nice, I will buy it I think. (Need at least 4 layers, may just go all inn and spring for the full version :) )

Offline DerekG

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 10:00:11 pm »
I've been using Altium for work

Me too, since the Protel days way back in 1990.

Quote
I've been on the lookout for a new and not free package. Something stable I can live with for a few, preferably many, years.
I've tried a lot of them now (circuit studio, eagle, design spark, orcad, easyeda and a few other web based waste-of-times) and I think

I also went on this pilgrimage, but mine lasted from 1996 (when I became dissatisfied with Protel/Altium) until 2014 when I found DipTrace V2.4. It had some real quirks then, but lucky for both of us many of these were fixed in V2.9 & V3.

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I've found my favorite!

Welcome to the club!

Quote
So close to the Altium feeling with a fraction of the cost.  :-+

For me it is soooooo much better than the Altium feeling.

Don't forget to checkout the "hotkeys". You can set many of the repetitive functions to a single keyboard key. I've made many of mine to be identical to Altium's keyboard shortcuts.

One thing I really like is that you can change between imperial & metric whilst you are editing within a pop up window. Even Altium can't manage that!

Also, make sure you join the DipTrace Forum. The design engineers read the customer posts carefully & many of the suggestions are implemented in the next update version. This is something that Altium could learn from "Listen to your customers".
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline Ash

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2017, 11:12:52 pm »
Hi,

I've also started using DipTrace. My project was commercial and we sprang for the 4 layer license I think (it counts Signal layers) and I did 6 layer designs in it (you have unlimited power layers, but you can manually route in these if you need). I assume the signal / power restrictions are related to the auto-router which I don't use.

Pretty happy with it. I did find a bug with the handling of slots and had a good support response from them and I believe it is fixed in the newest release (haven't had a chance to verify yet).

My only disappointment is being unable to bind in additional elements in a foot print (Pattern). I have lots of QFNs and want to have standard thermal vias integrated into my custom foot prints. At the moment, I have to add then manually every time I place the part. I'd also love to be able to define placement / size of designators the foot print, but again this is not how they do things. I understand why this is the case (how they implement stuff) but It still would be nice to be able to at least have predefined vias, then at least I can simply modify the via style to suite the board rather than have to add them and group them with the pattern manually each time I use it.

All in all though, it is really good. very stable (never had it crash) and quite usable. They do have an extensive component / pattern library, but I don't use it and rather prefer building my own. The component and pattern editors are good as well. I have my libraries checked in to a Git repository.

Ash.

 

Offline JPortici

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 08:07:41 am »
One thing I really like is that you can change between imperial & metric whilst you are editing within a pop up window. Even Altium can't manage that!

then try and name a net something like "THIS_HAS_A_U_IN_IT". to write it fast i don't use caps lock, i use shift. Shift+U is default change unit shortcut.. so be careful when you make your owns, this one is giving me a big headache.
I'm not really a fan of some of the default library, like how some symbols are too big (like the inductor), some are retarded (like new pic16), some are still not aligned to the standard grid after many versions (like one of the mosfets :palm:)

The obvious solution is to make your own, which i do, but i wish these were updated at some point. Actually i wish they separated software updates with library updates
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 10:09:11 am »

I use shift. Shift+U is default change unit shortcut.. so be careful when you make your owns, this one is giving me a big headache.

You can cycle between imperial & metric units in Altium using just the "*" key ........... so I just set the same asterisk key to do the same in DipTrace. Very easy :)
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 
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Offline HwAoRrDk

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 08:05:27 pm »
then try and name a net something like "THIS_HAS_A_U_IN_IT". to write it fast i don't use caps lock, i use shift. Shift+U is default change unit shortcut.. so be careful when you make your owns, this one is giving me a big headache.

Where are you entering the net name that this problem occurs?

I just tried it in Schematic editor both by right-clicking a net, and from the menu either clicking on the first "Net #" entry and typing in the Net Name window, or by clicking Properties and typing in the Name field of the Net Properties window. There was no changing of units for me at all. :-// (And yes, I checked and I do have the shortcut key setting as Shift+U.)
 

Offline JPortici

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2017, 08:40:56 am »
Funny that you ask, because i tried it right now with my windows 10 machine at home (hobby licence) and it doesn't happen

But it does happen with my windows 7 machine at the workplace (Standard licence)

http://www.diptrace.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11696

 

Offline HwAoRrDk

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2017, 05:28:26 pm »
Windows 7 here also, but no bug. Couldn't reproduce the problem using the steps in the linked DipTrace forum post either.
 

Offline JPortici

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2017, 03:28:34 pm »
Hi, still happening at the office pc.
I noticed it starts happening after a couple of hours.. When it happens i close DIP and open it again. The bug shows up again in a couple of hours
 

Offline kalel

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2017, 07:26:27 am »
Is their website diptrace.com? If so, does it work well for you?
 

Offline alanb

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2017, 10:35:21 am »
Their website is Diptrace.com however currently I cannot access it, I get the following error message

'Calculated absolute path to typo3conf directory does not exist'

 
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Offline kalel

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2017, 10:56:48 am »
I also got the issue, that's why I wanted to check.
 

Offline alanb

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2017, 11:25:11 am »
Hopefully the issue with the website will be resolved soon. I can highly recommend Diptrace , it works very well for me although so far all of my projects have been fairly simple and I have managed with the free version. I'm getting close to the pin limit so I expect that I will need to get the paid for version soon.
 

Offline little_grey

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2017, 02:45:37 pm »
looks much neater than Design-Spark i am using at the moment.
When i get to building some of my own projects i'll give it a go i think.

other than the website not working, anyone got any comment on its strengths/weaknesses?
bits you like or dont?
 

Offline MarkF

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2017, 06:18:00 pm »
Hopefully the issue with the website will be resolved soon. I can highly recommend Diptrace , it works very well for me although so far all of my projects have been fairly simple and I have managed with the free version. I'm getting close to the pin limit so I expect that I will need to get the paid for version soon.
Are you using the 500 pin Non-profit license (free)?
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2017, 11:46:17 pm »
(DipTrace) looks much neater than Design-Spark i am using at the moment.

Just wait until you have to built your own parts that are not in the Design-Spark library. It can be a nightmare compared with DipTrace.

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other than the website not working

The website is back!

Quote
Anyone got any comment on its strengths/weaknesses?

I love it. A more productive CAD tool than Altium (which I also use for work) in many ways.

Read (& join) the DipTrace Forum to get answers from other dedicated users. Well worth doing. Also check out the DipTrace videos on their website (& on Youtube). My suggestion would be to watch say six DipTrace videos so you have a pretty good idea about how it all comes together.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline alanb

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2017, 07:39:14 am »
Hopefully the issue with the website will be resolved soon. I can highly recommend Diptrace , it works very well for me although so far all of my projects have been fairly simple and I have managed with the free version. I'm getting close to the pin limit so I expect that I will need to get the paid for version soon.
Are you using the 500 pin Non-profit license (free)?

The free version that I am using has a 300 pin limit. I wonder if I reinstall the DIp Trace Lite version if the pin limit will go up to 500?
 

Offline kalel

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2017, 09:06:18 am »
Another question, does the 3D preview work with free version? I don't see why it shouldn't, but it would be interesting to know - I like those previews.
 

Offline alexanderbrevig

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2017, 12:01:46 pm »
Still a newb but for me I really like:
  • The workflow and component/footprint management
  • Nice integration with standards such as DXF and STEP plus an easy way to export to those
  • The UI and UX is not at all bad, a huge plus in the CAD/EDA space
[li]Net Class, rules and ERC/DRC both work as I want them to
[/li][/list]

Not so much / don't know how to do:
  • The thermal vias that's already mentioned
  • I miss the ability to draw a sone to turn off DRC/ERC such as over an antenna
  • No visible net names in PCB layout
  • Panelising tool is sub par but adequate for vscore panels
  • The grid is not always my friend, not sure what exactly it is - but I struggle to work with it some some times

The 3d is great and STEP import/export just simply works and is very easy. Even with the free version which was the first version I tried.

Offline MarkF

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2017, 12:09:10 pm »
Hopefully the issue with the website will be resolved soon. I can highly recommend Diptrace , it works very well for me although so far all of my projects have been fairly simple and I have managed with the free version. I'm getting close to the pin limit so I expect that I will need to get the paid for version soon.
Are you using the 500 pin Non-profit license (free)?
The free version that I am using has a 300 pin limit. I wonder if I reinstall the DIp Trace Lite version if the pin limit will go up to 500?
NO. The DipTrace Lite version is the Free version with the Non-profit license.
If you want the free 500 pin Non-profit version, you must write them a few lines describing what your intended use is and they will send you a license key to enter into the free version. Go to the DipTrace Lite page and use the link on the left side (half down).

Another question, does the 3D preview work with free version? I don't see why it shouldn't, but it would be interesting to know - I like those previews.
Yes. The 3D-preview works.  It's FREE. Just try it!
 
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Offline cdev

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2017, 04:24:02 pm »
Do you have "referrers" turned off or anything set which is nonstandard for cookies? Because that sometimes causes errors like that.

Try a number of different browsers.


Their website is Diptrace.com however currently I cannot access it, I get the following error message

'Calculated absolute path to typo3conf directory does not exist'
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline kalel

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2017, 04:29:54 pm »
The website seems to work now, I guess it was a temporary error.
 

Offline alanb

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2017, 04:37:45 pm »
The website seems to work now, I guess it was a temporary error.

Yes it was back on the 8 Sept
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2017, 02:26:38 am »
There are still things about DipTrace that piss me off to no end, and I really wish they'd address them. That said, if you can live with some of the issues (and maybe some have gotten better in the 3.0 release) it's really tough to beat their interface. I keep trying to use alternatives, but always come back to DipTrace.
 

Offline djos

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2017, 04:49:32 am »
I've been using Altium for work, and KiCad for hobby for a couple of years now.
While I like KiCad and have made it mine in some ways - I'm a bit tired by it and its quirks.

Because of this I've been on the lookout for a new and not free package. Something stable I can live with for a few, preferably many, years.
I've tried a lot of them now (circuit studio, eagle, design spark, orcad, easyeda and a few other web based waste-of-times) and I think I've found my favorite!
So close to the Altium feeling with a fraction of the cost.  :-+

Diptrace is awesome, I can tolerate it running via Wine on my Mac's simply because it's so darn intuitive and just takes an all round commonsense approach to design.

Oh and all my PCB's designed in DT have come back perfect from Elecrow.  8)
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 04:53:46 am by djos »
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

Visit my Tindie store for Tandy 1000 Adapters for EX, HX, SX, SL, TX & TL etc
 

Offline medical-nerd

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2017, 01:29:35 pm »
Hiya

A couple of newbie questions since I'm deciding what to start learning CAD for electronics on.
Does DipTrace include through hole library components?
Can schematics be exported to analysis programs?

Cheers
'better to burn out than fade away'
 

Offline NivagSwerdna

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2017, 01:34:15 pm »
Does DipTrace include through hole library components?
Yes
Can schematics be exported to analysis programs?
Never done it myself but allegedly, according to Google, someone has done a roundtrip between DipTrace and Multisim.
 
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Offline BloodyCactus

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2017, 07:05:13 pm »
Does DipTrace include through hole library components?

yes.

Can schematics be exported to analysis programs?

you can export  spectra dsn/ses for things like freeroute. (ive done this quite a bit to check things)

you can export pcb+schematics as some other formats etc. (PADS etc). (I've not done this stuff at all so cant comment on its quality).
-- Aussie living in the USA --
 
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Offline John Coloccia

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2017, 09:49:41 am »
I personally don't like their through hole library, but it's no problem because it's so easy to make patterns and components. I just made all my own patterns for through hole and now I have a library of everything I use.
 

Offline djos

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2017, 10:26:07 am »
I personally don't like their through hole library, but it's no problem because it's so easy to make patterns and components. I just made all my own patterns for through hole and now I have a library of everything I use.

That's one thing that really convinced me to ditch eagle, making your own parts from scratch or modifying existing ones is just so painless by comparison. Trying to do the same in eagle feels like you are messing with dangerous voodoo magic!
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

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Offline alexanderbrevig

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2017, 11:55:17 am »
I do miss net names in the PCB editor like KiCAD:

(random google image)

Though coloring net classes is almost as useful. In a weird way maybe even more useful, as it forces me to set those up, and then think in general abstract terms instead of having to remember. I.e yellow is impedance matching, blue is power etc. One less thing to have to constantly remember I guess. Still miss it for small quick projects though.

Offline ebclr

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2017, 09:39:38 am »
The thing I like is how easy and fast you can do things, does not have the most amazing graphics like Altium, but is direct to the point, to make the schematics and PCB, fast and easy , I liked a lot, and I'm afraid my Altium will be dormant waiting for the 2% projects that need things that diptrace can't do.
 

Offline alexanderbrevig

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2017, 10:04:33 am »
I have decided to go for it. All the things that really matters for me works as I want them to work.
Library management and super fast component and pattern creation.

Well worth its $.

Offline DerekG

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Re: I just tried DipTrace for the first time, and I like it a lot!
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2017, 08:56:14 am »
My only disappointment is being unable to bind in additional elements in a foot print (Pattern). I have lots of QFNs and want to have standard thermal vias integrated into my custom foot prints. At the moment, I have to add then manually every time I place the part.

I certainly have added extra through hole pads in the library to mosfet footprints so that I can choose different mosfets to handle different power requirements (on the same board design) ........ so maybe in ver 3.2 you can now do that with vias for your specialised layout.

Otherwise, you can save it as a mini pcb layout & simply cut & paste it into each new board design.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 


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