Author Topic: Considering taking the plunge  (Read 20190 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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Offline langwadt

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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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Offline 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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Offline 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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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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Offline 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
ties into their massive vault , and octopart directly. ( Altium bought Octopart and Ciiva )
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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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Offline 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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Offline 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.
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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.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2015, 07:40:10 pm »
Well I am bake using it for my employer for doing loom schematics as it makes so much more sense than diptrace, much faster to use and I prefer the method where if i delete a part (connector) the wires remain in place rather than what happens to diptrace where half the schematic would dissapere. I don't know if there are pros and con to this but it works for me. I was also able to make a decent title block that looks a bit like the one my employer has on their mechanical drawings and I'm going to insist they add it to their system (or i will use it regardless) so that now I can just draw a schematic and then PDF it rather than:

Save to image (having got it the right size and in the right position on the "page" that bit of diptrace for saving images is buggy).
Then because diptrace does not do PNG open the bitmap that can be up to 200MB in an image editor and save it as PNG so that it goes down to a few hundred KB.
Then import it to the mechanical program and resize the thing and position it
Then finally be able to output a PDF.....
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Online blueskull

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2015, 07:54:46 pm »
Altium allows you to install one license on multiple computers (license restricts that to 2 computers, but there is no technical limitation), but you are only allowed to use 1 instance at a time.

Could be expensive, but think its reward compared to other low end tools. If you really need an easy to use and powerful PCB tool, it won't fail you.
 

Offline Christopher

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2015, 08:33:59 pm »
eagle licence is the same, install on unlim pcs and you can run on 1 or 3 or whatevr depending on licence


the coolest thing is i have a button in my custom menu to put a frame on the schematic and another button to print schematic as a pdf in the directory of the project. pretty much anything is possible with eagle IF you have the time to play about
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2015, 08:52:21 pm »
All you need to do in kicad is got to file>plit and pick PDF as the output.
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Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2015, 08:55:00 pm »
I did speak to altium a while ago, they want £5000, this is not something I personally can justify and my employer would never pay it either, even £10 can be too expensive for them!  :-DD |O
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Online blueskull

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2015, 09:02:05 pm »
I did speak to altium a while ago, they want £5000, this is not something I personally can justify and my employer would never pay it either, even £10 can be too expensive for them!  :-DD |O

Depends on how you look at it. My dad gave me $10k for a car, I spent $8.3k on Altium (silly me), then $1.3k on a 95 Honda Accord.
 

Offline Weistek

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2015, 09:17:31 pm »
I'd have to say that if you have the bones to drop I'd go with altium. I used to be a hardcore eagle user then my boss wanted me to switch to altium 2 months later I'm more efficient in altium than he is and I can't touch eagle fast forward 9 months I'm their main engineer..

There's just so much that altium does better than eagle and as stated a board that would take me a day takes me less than 2-3hrs in altium from project go to generating production files.

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Offline timofonic

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2015, 10:06:37 pm »
I'd have to say that if you have the bones to drop I'd go with altium. I used to be a hardcore eagle user then my boss wanted me to switch to altium 2 months later I'm more efficient in altium than he is and I can't touch eagle fast forward 9 months I'm their main engineer..

There's just so much that altium does better than eagle and as stated a board that would take me a day takes me less than 2-3hrs in altium from project go to generating production files.

Did you try KiCad? How does Altium compares with KiCad in productivity terms? What are the features and UX you find better and help you to get faster at generating production files?

Altium is interesting, but expensive and bloated. And the Altium Vault thing makes me suspect they will sell the software crippled and certain features will be sell into pieces, like DLC in videogames :P
 

Offline fivefish

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2015, 10:49:56 pm »
There's just so much that altium does better than eagle

Better be at $7200!  But realistically speaking, that's beyond of most maker/electronics startup/business.  There's got to be a strong financial justification for using Altium over an Eagle Pro License. 

Will me using Altium increase my sales 7x compared to using Eagle Pro designing my boards? 
 

Offline Weistek

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2015, 12:00:27 am »
I haven't really given kicad a run for its money yet. The interface to me just feels un intuitive. But I'm sure with a bit of fiddling around becomes easier to use as does any software.

We don't use altium vault it cost extra for a license. We use svn to keep track of everything including our library. Altium automatically supports svn etc.

Don't get me wrong I'm sure if I would have been forced to learn kicad I'd be just as proficient in it now. The one thing I don't like about kicad (this is just preference) is that the schematic symbols have no footprints associated with them until you go to pcb layout, this to me adds another un necessary step in the work flow. Most of the time you find a part you like assign a foot print to it and stick with that part until you find one that better suits your needs in altium.

Altium just seems faster, granted I think a nice mouse also has a lot to do with it. Some times I click so fast and drag etc that altium can't keep up.. altium is not without its faults it is somewhat bloated and was originally made for fpga design. It has memory issues at least on my rig and my rig is brandnew i7 16gb ram.

Also the trace drag and auto jump feature is one that I also drooled at when switching from eagle. That said alot of my opinion is preference and the fact that I have been using it for some time.

I could go on but like I said I haven't given kicad enough time for my comparison to really be fair.

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Offline Wilksey

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2015, 12:17:03 am »
You can directly associate a footprint with a schematic part in KiCAD from the schematic capture program rather than going through CVPCB if you want to.  This makes it a bit more intuitive, but also it allows you to create a schematic part without having to worry about the footprint, unlike EAGLE where you have to create the symbol, package (footprint) before finally creating the "device".  I switched from EAGLE to KiCAD and I also use AD, and yes, AD is a more polished package, but then again, you would expect it to be!  With the trace length matching, push and shove, and the 3D output, I prefer to use KiCAD than EAGLE regardless of the quirks.

I have so far made 3 boards with KiCAD, and every single one has worked first time, the DRC works, the ERC works if you set your pin types correctly, the only thing it doesn't do very well is autoroute, which does not bother me one bit.

I can only speak from my experience, but I would definitely try the latest 4.0.0 RC build of KiCAD before dismissing it.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2015, 06:50:21 am »
the latest version of kicad is better, although I've not got past schematic capture yet, but did notice the ability to assign footprints to symbols.

As far as I'm concerned altioum take the piss and are not worth the bother, if they cared about small people they would have different lisence levels, the rep I spoke to said lots of people asked for that and I told him about how diptrace do it. then they came out with that circuit maker crap to try and trap people. I don't trust altium, they have all the hallmarks of just trying to screw you over.
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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2015, 08:16:02 am »
They have all the hallmarks of operating in a different market, that's all.

They're not interested in competing with DipTrace, or Eagle, or Kicad, or any of the other cheap hobby tools. Their competitors are Cadence and Mentor Graphics.

Better be at $7200!  But realistically speaking, that's beyond of most maker/electronics startup/business.  There's got to be a strong financial justification for using Altium over an Eagle Pro License. 

Will me using Altium increase my sales 7x compared to using Eagle Pro designing my boards? 

Imagine you're hiring a full time board designer at, say, $75000 annually. For a one-off cost of 10% of the engineer's salary, the improvement in productivity you'll get from using a proper fit-for-purpose professional package easily wipes out the purchase price.

Offline Wilksey

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2015, 11:18:11 am »
They seem to set their pricing to however they feel, who did you speak to, I think Premier EDA are the distributors here in the UK?
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2015, 05:41:01 am »
Don't get me wrong I'm sure if I would have been forced to learn kicad I'd be just as proficient in it now. The one thing I don't like about kicad (this is just preference) is that the schematic symbols have no footprints associated with them until you go to pcb layout, this to me adds another un necessary step in the work flow.

You don't have to do it that way, and I don't. All of the parts in my schematic libraries have footprints embedded in them. While it's not the same as an Altium integrated library, it does work well enough.

Quote
altium is not without its faults it is somewhat bloated and was originally made for fpga design.

Absolutely not true. Altium grew out of Protel and PCAD, and has always been primarily a PCB design tool. The FPGA stuff was added on for no good reason and there are lots of threads here and elsewhere about that.

Quote
It has memory issues at least on my rig and my rig is brandnew i7 16gb ram.

Indeed AD 15 leaks memory like a sieve. Last week, I noticed that the little memory-usage widget on my desktop (a Win7-64 box) was showing half of the memory in use ... with no applications running. I had spent the entire previous day in Altium. A reboot took care of that, but still.

 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2015, 06:21:29 am »
They seem to set their pricing to however they feel, who did you speak to, I think Premier EDA are the distributors here in the UK?

Yea I think I spoke to them. I had to jump through hoops just to download the viewer and get that "licensed" and then the next time I syarted it it locked me out and I had to call them to sort it out. All so I can just check what files I'm looking at.
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Offline Wilksey

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2015, 03:42:23 pm »
Puts you off a bit doesn't it!?

It's a CAD program, not some secret military project, they'll have you sign an NDA next before they can even take your call!
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2015, 03:57:28 pm »
... they'll have you sign an NDA next before they can even take your call!

Large companies often instruct their employees not to sign or verbally accept NDAs, because that NDAs can cause big legal problems down the line.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Bassman59

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2015, 04:52:17 pm »
... they'll have you sign an NDA next before they can even take your call!

Large companies often instruct their employees not to sign or verbally accept NDAs, because that NDAs can cause big legal problems down the line.

Small companies do likewise. When a vendor has asked me to sign an NDA, I rightfully say, "Only the owners of the company can sign this," and then I pass it along to the boss.

I think it's pretty obvious that an employee can't make legally-binding agreements for the employer.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2015, 05:34:37 pm »
correct but it was a flippant remark that many of us that work in engineering particularly in military projects will understand. I can only talk freely to some of the contractors we deal with because they have signed NDA's issued by my boss.
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Offline Wilksey

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2015, 11:49:49 pm »
I have signed my fair share of NDA's, and I don't mind, but some of them are just pointless for the type of information I am after, I don't know why I would want to sign an NDA for a GSM/3G chip set datasheet, I'll just use someone else's who doesn't require me to! There's nothing in it that secretive or bespoke! :palm:
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2015, 07:03:51 am »
The only time you need and NDA is if your sharing actual information about your manufacturing like with a sub contractor or customer that could use it to make the thing themselves. Like some customers ask us for all the drawings so they have to sign an NDA that basdically means they can't pass them onto anyone else.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2015, 08:16:35 am »
The only time you need and NDA is if your sharing actual information about your manufacturing like with a sub contractor or customer that could use it to make the thing themselves. Like some customers ask us for all the drawings so they have to sign an NDA that basdically means they can't pass them onto anyone else.

Or to someone that might pass the information onto one of your company's competitors.

Large companies hate signing NDAs for the same reason that authors hate receiving "story ideas" from readers. At some time in the future they might find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit claiming (with or without  justification) that they "stole" the idea and should pay royalties to the idea's "creator".
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline electrolust

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #48 on: November 13, 2015, 09:34:56 pm »
I did speak to altium a while ago, they want £5000, this is not something I personally can justify and my employer would never pay it either, even £10 can be too expensive for them!  :-DD |O

You may not be valuing your time highly enough.

I am into Eagle for a few months now, and have made 2 small PCBs.  I even coughed up for a Standard license to get 4 layer output.  This after evaluating all the other low end softwares, including the "free" KiCAD (free only if your time is worth zero).

Gawd Eagle can be frustrating.  It can do all you want, but you will have to invest serious time into it to get there.  Bob Starr's scripts are a great starting point, especially bom-ex.ulp.  The biggest downside of Eagle is that no matter how well you learn the tool, there are many tasks you can just not do quickly, nor robustly.  The UI is so limiting.

I am 1 day into AD15.  What a pleasure.  AD15 is more value per dollar than Eagle is, for sure.  As a hobbyist I cannot afford AD15 and part of AD's value is in many of the features that I will never use.  So for someone like me, most of the value part of the equation is lost and therefore the cost part is excessive.  But I find it hard to believe that anyone doing design work professionally would not be able to justify AD.

I would sit down and do a time estimate based on your diptrace work, from schematic to ordering to prototype.  Divide by 10 to estimate time savings using Altium, PER PROJECT, and present that to your employer.  Don't forget to include the time/cost of change orders due to parts unavailability, etc, and the weak support on the purchasing side.  Don't forget the time/cost of producing customer-ready documentation.

I can't really justify CS either but I will try it out and maybe I'll treat myself for christmas.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #49 on: November 13, 2015, 11:39:15 pm »
I do a 20 part PCB once in a blue moon, usually as a "save the day" intervention and i can be put on it quicker than a subby or if it's a simple thing it's not worth getting a subby in for.
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Offline electrolust

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #50 on: November 15, 2015, 08:58:38 am »
I am 1 day into AD15.  What a pleasure.  AD15 is more value per dollar than Eagle is, for sure.

I am now 2 days into AD15.  I'm much less impressed at this point.  I do love the IPC wizard but otherwise, meh.  I've hit a couple of quirks and bugs already.  Most annoying so far is if you rotate a part after it has been wired, you lose the connections.  If you want to move a part and keep the connections, you have to do it in "RPN" like Eagle -- choose E,M,D then choose the part then move it.  So you have to mentally switch between 2 different UI models to get things done.  Also pretty damn annoying is "update from library" doesn't work so great.

I found some wire dragging bugs that were fixed in 14.3.  WHAT?  It wasn't until 14.3 that they got that stuff fixed?  The code must be complete crap.

It's been stated that CS and AD share a lot of code, so CS must have a lot of baggage and crap as well.  There is a huge market opportunity for software in between Eagle and Allegro.

I can definitely see why big companies would use AD, but for small guys and small shops doing less complex layouts, the low rent software seems better.  It's one thing to pay $500-$1000 and live with Eagle, it's another to pay $7k or whatever and be frustrated.  At least with Eagle, things work exactly as I expect.

I haven't gotten into the board layout part of AD yet, I guess that is where the real magic is, but I'd be surprised if that isn't bug ridden as well.
 

Offline con-f-use

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #51 on: November 15, 2015, 10:00:44 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.
KiCAD can export 3D files as .wrl. The option is in PCBNew under 'File -> Export -> VRML'.

 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #52 on: November 15, 2015, 10:10:58 pm »
excellent, I'm yet to get a chance to do a board with it. so far i'm using the schematic side of things for wiring loom drawings.
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Offline con-f-use

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #53 on: November 16, 2015, 08:45:43 am »
Just a tip, watch the relevant parts of "Getting to Blinky" (Chris Gammell's KiCAD tutorial). It prevented a lot of confusion when I switched over from Eagle.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 08:47:25 am by con-f-use »
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Considering taking the plunge
« Reply #54 on: November 16, 2015, 09:59:47 am »
I'll not be moving from eagle but will have a look at it.
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