Author Topic: Considering taking the plunge  (Read 20318 times)

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Offline Simon

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Considering taking the plunge
« on: November 01, 2015, 02:16:13 pm »
I've arrived at a point where I need to work as efficiently as possible mostly when it comes to specifying components. So before I spent a lot of time in my current software which is dip trace I'm wondering if it is time to change as I'm not impressed by the slow progress they have made.

So I am wondering if evil will do what I want as it is the only thing I can probably afford that has wide support.

Firstly as a single license user I would need to use the software on more than one machine although not at the same time. I would also like to store projects and libraries in my dropbox which is what I currently do with dip trace. This means I can share my libraries with my work dropbox so that anything new I create either at home or at work and benefit me in both locations and I am not repeating work.

In order to make the production of bill of materials easy and slick I am considering spending a lot of time selecting some components from Farnell as standard and creating a component symbol per part so that for example when I place a resistor of the correct value its order code is already matched up so that when I produce my bill of materials it will have everything on it and I can simply hand it to the purchasing department, the other thing that I would be able to do here is a sign my employers part number to the components as well as every single last resistor needs a part number in our own database.

Is this all possible in Eagle? The ease of creating my own libraries the portability of the licence and a user specified location for libraries and projects. I just created a test project and was not asked where to save it it has been saved deep in my machine somewhere.

Also is the auto router any good? But dip trace one sucks big time particularly when you use copper pours and no matter how many times I explain concepts to them they just insist they are right end of story and there is nothing wrong with their software, typical Russian attitude.

The other thing that is quite important to me if I use this software at my day job is the ability to export 3-D CAD models and I'm also quite interested in been able to assign models to components so that the production of a model is also a seamless exercise.
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Offline Christopher

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2015, 02:51:31 pm »
Yep all possible with eagle. You can add attributes to parts in the library, order code and supplier etc. You can also change this in the schematic. and export BOMs to CSVs containing thiss info. I have written a script to auto convert the csv to something meaningful/

The best thing about eagle is the scripting. It's basically an easy C language, you can create your own custom toolbars and control anything about the software.

Export to solidworks is done via. IDF files which work out quite nicely.

The autorouter sucks. Generally in every program you want to route the board yourself.

--

I would go with Altium after playing with it for a while though. Seriously, a board that takes a day in Eagle would take an hour or two in Altium with all the librarys already made. The push and shove router makes routing a breeze. Watch this and your jaw will drop: 
 

Offline RogerRowland

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2015, 03:00:02 pm »
I use Eagle successfully, and I've also noticed with Farnell, that many parts have a downloadable Eagle part on the detail page, so you get a script that you run in the Eagle library editor which populates a new part for you, complete with the Farnell part numbers.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 03:01:56 pm by RogerRowland »
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2015, 03:11:10 pm »

The autorouter sucks. Generally in every program you want to route the board yourself.

--

I would go with Altium after playing with it for a while though. Seriously, a board that takes a day in Eagle would take an hour or two in Altium with all the librarys already made. The push and shove router makes routing a breeze. Watch this and your jaw will drop:


Yea, I don't have £5000 to spend
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Offline BloodyCactus

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2015, 04:56:44 pm »
try this first, download the free version and make a couple of parts. just do a simple dip part with footprint and pin association etc.  |O
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Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2015, 04:58:42 pm »
I have downloaded and installed it and had a little play, i like the way the wires don't dissapere when the attached component is removed, makes it easier to do cable loom schematics when the connector needs changing.

I'm still wondering about the liscense though. I need it at work and at home on two machines.
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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2015, 05:14:34 pm »
You could rent Orcad PCB Designer at about £600/yr:



Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2015, 05:17:26 pm »
You could rent Orcad PCB Designer at about £600/yr:



Are you kidding ? unless that has substantially improved, last time i got near it it was so hiddiously complex that it was beyond use.
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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2015, 05:30:19 pm »
kicad also have interactive routing with push-n-shove etc.  and I think also support for 3D

https://youtu.be/CCG4daPvuVI?t=4m14s

 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2015, 06:04:12 pm »
Last I knew it could only visualize, not actually export a usable 3D CAD file, unless you are a software tinkerer and know how to do it.

I'm still trying to pluck up the courage to get back into KiCAD after the absolute mess they let it get into before as I'm always wondering if it will loose support or change so much that I can't use it again.
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Online tggzzz

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2015, 06:37:03 pm »
DesignSpark PCB?

I wouldn't push it over the alternatives, but it is free-as-in-beer and doesn't have any arbitrary limits.I run it under wine, but I haven't tried its 3D stuff.

Advertising is unobtrusive (the splash screen), but that might imply the service could do a "MicroSoft PlaysForSure" (sic) some time in the future.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2015, 06:47:32 pm »
No I'm not touching design spark, that was RS's poor attempt to match the fact that Farnell bought Eagle out.
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2015, 07:05:51 pm »
Eagle can do just about anything, given you have an enormous amount of time. I have been using it for about 2 years and have learned how to write the scripts (ULPs) to patch together the functionality I need. Routing is crude. I only played briefly with auto-routing and decided it was a toy that I was not willing to waste time on.

As I have grown my skills, Eagle becomes more and more frustrating. Not because I cant get a PCB designed, but because it takes longer than it should.

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Online nctnico

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2015, 08:45:50 pm »
What has worked well for me for over 15 years at various employers is Orcad Capture and the CIS component / part manager. I have all my components in an Access database (but you can use something else too as long as it can be accessed using ODBC but Access is just simple to use) where each component has a part number, order number, footprint, symbol, etc attached to it. What many CAD packages don't understand is that a component is so much more than a symbol. In other words: look for a CAD package which makes this distinction. I can get production ready BOM lists with one click of the mouse button and yet it takes little effort to add a component to a database.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 08:47:31 pm by nctnico »
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Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2015, 09:10:09 pm »
I can get production ready BOM lists with one click of the mouse button and yet it takes little effort to add a component to a database.

If your in the UK trying to use RS or Farnell good luck, last week I specified a load of farnell parts, by the time we as a company got the stuff in our system and ordered farnel turned round and said that the stuff was obsolete or out of stock, so I copied them into the email back to my buyer asking me what he should do asking him to order the specified replacements from RS, hopefully farnell got the messgae but me doubts it. Of course RS is as bad, about 6 weeks ago they decided that a L298 from ST was obsolete....  |O |O |O
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Online nctnico

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2015, 02:07:27 am »
I can get production ready BOM lists with one click of the mouse button and yet it takes little effort to add a component to a database.
If your in the UK trying to use RS or Farnell good luck, last week I specified a load of farnell parts, by the time we as a company got the stuff in our system and ordered farnel turned round and said that the stuff was obsolete or out of stock, so I copied them into the email back to my buyer asking me what he should do asking him to order the specified replacements from RS, hopefully farnell got the messgae but me doubts it.
That is why the BOM list must always have the full manufacturer part numbers down to the last letter (preferably for stuff like capacitors and resistors as well)! I supply RS and Farnell numbers as a convenience but they do change their order numbers every now and then or stop selling certain parts. Your buying department is in for a serious learning curve if they want to buy electronic components. For starters they need to use/check the manufacturer part numbers so they can source from different vendors. Designs using obsolete components will always be challenging though.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 02:24:12 am by nctnico »
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2015, 02:31:55 am »

The autorouter sucks. Generally in every program you want to route the board yourself.

--

I would go with Altium after playing with it for a while though. Seriously, a board that takes a day in Eagle would take an hour or two in Altium with all the librarys already made. The push and shove router makes routing a breeze. Watch this and your jaw will drop:


Yea, I don't have £5000 to spend
Circuit maker ? Free and works exactly the same as big altium. Once you are ready to take the next step -> CircuitStudio -> Altium
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Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2015, 06:47:57 am »
I can get production ready BOM lists with one click of the mouse button and yet it takes little effort to add a component to a database.
If your in the UK trying to use RS or Farnell good luck, last week I specified a load of farnell parts, by the time we as a company got the stuff in our system and ordered farnel turned round and said that the stuff was obsolete or out of stock, so I copied them into the email back to my buyer asking me what he should do asking him to order the specified replacements from RS, hopefully farnell got the messgae but me doubts it.
That is why the BOM list must always have the full manufacturer part numbers down to the last letter (preferably for stuff like capacitors and resistors as well)! I supply RS and Farnell numbers as a convenience but they do change their order numbers every now and then or stop selling certain parts. Your buying department is in for a serious learning curve if they want to buy electronic components. For starters they need to use/check the manufacturer part numbers so they can source from different vendors. Designs using obsolete components will always be challenging though.

It's only prototypes and one offs luckily because where i work they are not used to buying parts off the shelf, they are only geared up to take in sheet metal and box section and produce in house parts. Giving the buyer a manufacturers number is pointless because he's useless and is too scared to go to another supplier and work out which packaging he needs for the quantity so I have to give him the specific farnell or RS or mouser (I'm forcing them to make progress!) part number and he comes back to me if he can't find something.
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Also, if you want to get ripped off: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/simons_electronics?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2015, 09:36:16 am »
It's only prototypes and one offs luckily because where i work they are not used to buying parts off the shelf, they are only geared up to take in sheet metal and box section and produce in house parts. Giving the buyer a manufacturers number is pointless because he's useless and is too scared to go to another supplier and work out which packaging he needs for the quantity so I have to give him the specific farnell or RS or mouser (I'm forcing them to make progress!) part number and he comes back to me if he can't find something.

It isn't difficult to find examples where an assembler substituted parts, only to find out that the entire production run had to be junked because the parts were's sufficiently similar. There's no way an assembler can be expected to understand the subtleties of your design.

For one-offs, I would guess that if an assembler had to spend time working out which component/packaging to buy, that would wipe out their profit margin.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2015, 11:00:47 am »
I can get production ready BOM lists with one click of the mouse button and yet it takes little effort to add a component to a database.
If your in the UK trying to use RS or Farnell good luck, last week I specified a load of farnell parts, by the time we as a company got the stuff in our system and ordered farnel turned round and said that the stuff was obsolete or out of stock, so I copied them into the email back to my buyer asking me what he should do asking him to order the specified replacements from RS, hopefully farnell got the messgae but me doubts it.
That is why the BOM list must always have the full manufacturer part numbers down to the last letter (preferably for stuff like capacitors and resistors as well)! I supply RS and Farnell numbers as a convenience but they do change their order numbers every now and then or stop selling certain parts. Your buying department is in for a serious learning curve if they want to buy electronic components. For starters they need to use/check the manufacturer part numbers so they can source from different vendors. Designs using obsolete components will always be challenging though.
It's only prototypes and one offs luckily because where i work they are not used to buying parts off the shelf, they are only geared up to take in sheet metal and box section and produce in house parts. Giving the buyer a manufacturers number is pointless because he's useless and is too scared to go to another supplier and work out which packaging he needs for the quantity so I have to give him the specific farnell or RS or mouser (I'm forcing them to make progress!) part number and he comes back to me if he can't find something.
In that case it is better if you fill the shopping basket yourself or produce a BOM with accurate order numbers and have the buyer deal with making the purchase. I have used both methods at various employers.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2015, 12:35:20 pm »
I can get production ready BOM lists with one click of the mouse button and yet it takes little effort to add a component to a database.
If your in the UK trying to use RS or Farnell good luck, last week I specified a load of farnell parts, by the time we as a company got the stuff in our system and ordered farnel turned round and said that the stuff was obsolete or out of stock, so I copied them into the email back to my buyer asking me what he should do asking him to order the specified replacements from RS, hopefully farnell got the messgae but me doubts it.
That is why the BOM list must always have the full manufacturer part numbers down to the last letter (preferably for stuff like capacitors and resistors as well)! I supply RS and Farnell numbers as a convenience but they do change their order numbers every now and then or stop selling certain parts. Your buying department is in for a serious learning curve if they want to buy electronic components. For starters they need to use/check the manufacturer part numbers so they can source from different vendors. Designs using obsolete components will always be challenging though.
It's only prototypes and one offs luckily because where i work they are not used to buying parts off the shelf, they are only geared up to take in sheet metal and box section and produce in house parts. Giving the buyer a manufacturers number is pointless because he's useless and is too scared to go to another supplier and work out which packaging he needs for the quantity so I have to give him the specific farnell or RS or mouser (I'm forcing them to make progress!) part number and he comes back to me if he can't find something.
In that case it is better if you fill the shopping basket yourself or produce a BOM with accurate order numbers and have the buyer deal with making the purchase. I have used both methods at various employers.

Except he has to fill out a load of stupid paperwork. I could give him a CVS file to upload that comes from my BOM. My employer seems to revel in wasting time and money.
https://www.simonselectronics.co.uk/shop
Varied stock of test instruments and components including EEVblog gear and Wurth Elektronik Books.
Also, if you want to get ripped off: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/simons_electronics?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
 

Offline timofonic

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2015, 06:40:03 pm »
Last I knew it could only visualize, not actually export a usable 3D CAD file, unless you are a software tinkerer and know how to do it.

I'm still trying to pluck up the courage to get back into KiCAD after the absolute mess they let it get into before as I'm always wondering if it will loose support or change so much that I can't use it again.

Well, I have some hopes. Don't desesperate, it's not like the other EDA software. There are smart people at CERN :)

I hope they get less stubborn about their messy UX, but things are improving. They just need some constructive feedback and a few more developers that want things to change.
 

Offline Christopher

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2015, 07:20:58 pm »
After 3 years working with Eagle every day for 4/6 hours I've finally almost got all my libraries and scripts up to par...

Altium took me about 2 weeks to get to the same stage in my own time, a few hours a night......
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2015, 08:09:48 pm »
After 3 years working with Eagle every day for 4/6 hours I've finally almost got all my libraries and scripts up to par...

Altium took me about 2 weeks to get to the same stage in my own time, a few hours a night......

Ha! That is the testimonial I have been looking for!

I am about 2.5 years into Eagle and just now getting settled in. REALLY hoping for a change.
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Offline timofonic

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2015, 07:28:52 pm »
Last I knew it could only visualize, not actually export a usable 3D CAD file, unless you are a software tinkerer and know how to do it.

I'm still trying to pluck up the courage to get back into KiCAD after the absolute mess they let it get into before as I'm always wondering if it will loose support or change so much that I can't use it again.

Well, I have some hopes. Don't desesperate, it's not like the other EDA software. There are smart people at CERN :)

I hope they get less stubborn about their messy UX, but things are improving. They just need some constructive feedback and a few more developers that want things to change.

I did read some discussions by Wayne on the mailing list and they are more open about UX/UI than I tought. They want the shortcut-based workflow to be consistent and usable, yet they are aware of GUI needing improvements.

It would be nice to see what happens after 4.0 release, that I hope it's before the end of the year.
 


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