Author Topic: Eagle is horrible software  (Read 63336 times)

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Offline tom66

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Eagle is horrible software
« on: March 31, 2014, 11:21:30 am »
beginning of a RANT...:

I have been using Eagle for the past four weeks working on my university 2nd year project. I've never used it before -- it was a course requirement to submit eagle BRDs instead of gerber files, so... I'm using Eagle.

Eagle is... umm... probably best described as "special".

And it may have just cost me a board.

I have personal experience of gEDA (decent and easy to use, but lacks features) and Cadence Allegro/OrCAD (at work/internship.) Cadence is very, very powerful and fast, but with a somewhat initially unintuitive interface. However, once I got used to it (which took only about a week) I found it incredibly powerful. I was able to create small and large projects easily in it. Great workflow, although annoying that you have to restart the PCB editor if you want to back-annotate it... I haven't tried Altium yet, but I might end up at my next job. So I'll pass judgement on Altium another time.

Eagle is none of these things. Eagle is horrible.

So... How do I select and move group of objects on a schematic or PCB? Oh. That makes sense. Select "MOVE" tool, select "GROUP" tool, highlight group, right click and select "Move: Group", THEN move it. No key shortcuts for major commands. No proper command queuing.  You have to NAME a NET, but if you copy a block, and try to rename that net, you short the two old nets together - WTF? So how do you do block copying? Just make sure you don't name any nets before, or you'll have to delete them all and try again. If you connect two nets, I get a question asking if I want to name it N$22 or N$32... how the hell do I know???

Good luck drawing planes too. Make sure to set the RANK ORDER correctly, and hopefully you don't have more than 6 overlapping polys. Oh, and if you draw a trace into a plane, it disappears until you update it manually. Cadence and gEDA both do this live. Why can't EAGLE?

If you say "CANNOT SET VIA TO LAYER 16" one more time I will lose it.

OK, that's bad enough, and with all that I finally finished a board. But I'm trying to bring it up and as soon as my P-FET for the sonar sensor turns the power on, the 5V rail collapses. I look at the PCB and immediately see it. Boom. Dead short across this cap. So, I must have missed it in DRC. Nope. Not detected. Neither in ERC. In fact EAGLE has back-annotated the net change I accidentally made on the PCB.

You know the one thing Eagle actually gets right -- if you make a change in the schematic, it immediately updates the PCB. I really like that. Both Cadence and gEDA workflows required a restart of the PCB editor.

Luckily, this isn't a killer fault. I can cut that trace and bypass the cap, then use a mod wire on the bottom of the board. But it's mighty frustrating.

/rant
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 11:27:17 am by tom66 »
 

Offline Mr Smiley

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 01:03:41 pm »
Have you checked the footprint.

All other components have a white cross indicating the centre of the component. That looks like a similar cross but with one of the lines extended  :-/O

Can you change the colour of the rats nest lines and see if it really is a rats nest line.

 :)
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Offline DavidDLC

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 01:06:15 pm »
If it is horrible, change to a different one and stop complaining.

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Offline JoeO

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 01:10:57 pm »
If it is horrible, change to a different one and stop complaining.

David.
You didn't read his post.  He has to use it for his school project.
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Offline tom66

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 01:11:03 pm »
The rat is yellow, cross is white. It's faintly visible but there is a rat there. Also, it only affected this component so far, an 0805 SMD cap.

If it is horrible, change to a different one and stop complaining.

Can't. Course requirement. Don't understand why it's so standard with such an awkward design.
 

Offline Mr Smiley

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 01:36:46 pm »
Where does SNS_5V1 go and where do the two pins on the two connectors shown connected to the positive side of the capacitor go. Are any of them grounded somewhere else.

 :)
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Offline marshallh

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 01:42:18 pm »
Yes eagle is horrible. That's why I stopped using it


Ctrl-right click moves gruops btw, you can also copy entire groups with the same procedure.


It is a total pile of fail which I realized after I stopped using it. It's not as bad as Kicad though
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Offline Dago

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 04:39:23 pm »
Yes eagle is horrible. That's why I stopped using it


Ctrl-right click moves gruops btw, you can also copy entire groups with the same procedure.


It is a total pile of fail which I realized after I stopped using it. It's not as bad as Kicad though

In my opinion (even) KiCAD is way nicer than EAGLE.
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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 05:34:25 pm »
In Cadence, there's no restart needed. Just:

- update schematic
- Tools > Create Netlist
- select the PCB Editor tab, and set the net list file directory. You only need to do this once.
- click OK

...then in the PCB software, with your board file still open...

- File > Import Logic
- ensure that 'Import logic type: Design entry CIS (Capture)' is selected
- click 'Import Cadence'

Once the net list type and folder have been selected once, it's literally three clicks in each tool and you're done. The net list gets updated, any changed components are either removed or updated in place depending on which option you selected, and you can carry on editing without interruption. Don't forget you can also enable inter-tool communication, so you can select parts in one package and have them automatically selected in the other too. It helps if you have dual monitors for this.

I'm guessing you're doing it the other way, which is to get the schematic package to update the .BRD file directly. If you do this, then you're quite right, the board file has to be reloaded. So don't!

Don't understand why it's so standard with such an awkward design.
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Offline Corporate666

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 07:13:45 pm »
Eagle is a HORRIBLE piece of software.  Unfortunately, I know how to use it well, and it's "fast and light" compared to something like Altium, so like an old pair of shoes, I find myself going back to it because it's comfortable.

That being said, in many years of using Eagle and many hundreds of boards made, I have never ever seen Eagle make a mistake in airwires and routing.  I am positive that there is something going on in your schematic that led to this error.  I am sure it was an unwitting mistake, but it's not Eagle's fault anymore than it's Windows fault when my aunt calls me to say "OMG!  Windows just erased all my pictures!".
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Offline tom66

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2014, 11:28:38 pm »
I did eventually find the mistake. The stub net coming out of the capacitor has the netname GND, so the two nets are shorted - why you can name a little stub (without it being visible!) and short them together is unknown to me. I guess this must have happened when I rotated the capacitor and neglected to check it.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2014, 11:31:35 pm »
I'm guessing you're doing it the other way, which is to get the schematic package to update the .BRD file directly. If you do this, then you're quite right, the board file has to be reloaded. So don't!

It was set up at work so you had to restart it. There might be a reason they didn't enable it or maybe they weren't aware of it. The IT guy was also one of the engineers (or rather, one of the engineers was also the IT guy?) Oddly though, inter-tool did work, and quite well.

Wasn't frequent enough to bother me. Overall a nice piece of software. Only crashed it once.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 11:35:33 pm by tom66 »
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2014, 12:58:16 am »
Weird.  Different packages have different worldviews on connectivity and stuff...

Altium autogenerates names on compilation (not live), which is a "bring it all together" step on the schematic.  With that done, you can probe a wire to see what net it thinks it belongs to.  Net names normally come from a pin on some component (I assume the first pin it finds attached), or if used, an off-sheet connector or port (also depending on project settings).  Altium will remind you if things are funny (multiple possible net names warning), but doesn't ever really screw things up.  The worst that can happen is, you've referenced an auto-named net, by name, and the name changes.  Which I think only happens in simulation postprocessing (since SPICE nets are named by the netlist, of course).  And that's basically your fault for not using an explicitly named net; if you want it named, name it.

Altium also uses nets as a property of each physical object on the board: pads, traces, polys, anything.  Suppose you have a bus (a set of related traces, running in parallel), and need to swap some around (maybe you can save a via or two with a pin swap at one end or the other, a typical example).  You can't just delete the bits touching the pads, draw new copper and have it work; no, you've shorted between nets, because the copper doesn't auto update.  You have to do a "connectivity by physical connection" or whatever, or change the nets manually.  So, they treat every little line segment as a fully privileged, first class object with net name and layer and position and all these attributes.  (Which, since everything is an object, isn't too bad, it's logical and consistent from the computational direction at least; but it may not be the most convenient.)

The other package I've used a lot is Multisim/Ultiboard.  This is much more special-case programmed, so you only get so-and-so fields on components, net names are autogenerated on drawing (not regenerated on every 'compile' procedure), names are usually persistent once placed or specified, and connections can be made globally in any number of ways (on/off sheet connectors, global supply symbols, manually specified net names, buses..).  One thing that pisses me off: it seems to handle net names better than component names.  I can specify that a circuit should be IC4B exactly, or a hierarchical sheet be "DQ1" or something.  But then it'll go and rename it to U12A when I place a new component!  It seems like, when it searches for a next-available-index to name the new component, that causes a "recompile" sort of event.  Despite not having one accessible in the menus.  So, labels, user fields, but not usually net names, are sometimes fragile and weird.

As for Ultiboard, forward/backward annotation is done through a file, and seems well behaved (random renamings notwithstanding).  It's no worse than Altium, which does it through ECOs (which generate a file, but the process is done all within Altium, not between two programs; whether it actually parses the ECO, or transfers the changes internally, I have no idea, but it's just a couple of clicks in both cases).  In Ultiboard, traces are second class objects, they don't really have attributes (there's something of an object system too, but not nearly as accessible or as fixed as, like, being able to use Altium's Inspector box on literally everything).  As such, you can delete connecting segments, and floating copper defaults to 'no net'.  You can short a new net onto said copper, and accomplish that bus trace swap I talked about earlier.  Though cleanup is worse, because it doesn't really give you object snap or anything.  Manipulating things is very manual, heavily mouse driven, one object at a time, diving into dialogs and such (for both Ultiboard and Multisim).  Absolutely no design rule engine, only the most basic trace/pad clearance sorts of things can be set.

As for heritage, I guess Altium is kind of unique; it comes from Protel and whatever, which has always been its thing, so it operates in its own way.  Like AutoCAD works in its own way, and SolidWorks, and so on.  Multisim/Ultiboard are again different, probably with more influence from the Mentor Graphics side of things (I notice some similarities with PADS, but, I haven't used the latter enough to really comment on it... except to say there's no way it's worth its price).

S'pose I should try Eagle some time, just to see how truely awful it actually is, and if it's possible to do real work in it at all (I guess it is, people are making boards... but..??).  I've also got gEDA, but only ever opened it, just to see nothing of interest or value; looks like a righteous pain to get anything done in it, let alone the work flow between umpteen different, fully independent applications.  But I didn't pay anything for it, so that's just the way of FOSS; it's written by programmers, for programmers.  Probably great on data structures, crap on CAD, that kind of thing, what do you expect.

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Offline Mr Smiley

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2014, 01:12:24 am »
I did eventually find the mistake. The stub net coming out of the capacitor has the netname GND, so the two nets are shorted - why you can name a little stub (without it being visible!) and short them together is unknown to me. I guess this must have happened when I rotated the capacitor and neglected to check it.

Yep, problem occurred between the keyboard and the chair  :-DD

 :)
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Offline KedasProbe

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2014, 01:37:13 am »

Yep, problem occurred between the keyboard and the chair  :-DD

 :)

I vote for the keyboard and chair of the program designers :)
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Offline poorchava

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2014, 01:58:27 am »
Eagle is shit. They are dominating on hobby market only because there is no other alternative on even roughly comparable level. If things go as they are going now, I can see DipTrace or KiCad replacing Eagle in near future. I don't like KiCad and gEDA, but they are free and Eagle is something that somebody actually charges money for, whereas they should be paying people for using that crap.

To be honest my personal low-end program of choice is DipTrace.
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Offline jpb

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2014, 02:05:33 am »
I'm interested in this thread because I'm in the process of deciding which (low cost) board layout software to invest time (learning it) and money. A long time ago I had a copy of EasyPC from number one systems. I see that it is still in existence but looking on the associated forums it seems that the users are not that happy and it is not updated much (edit - also they charge for libraries!).

I'm slightly wary of open-source software in the sense that I feel if you're not paying for something then you have no leverage on getting things fixed or what is prioritised. I like the idea of open-source, and it works very well for OSs and compilers like gcc but it doesn't seem to work so well for tools like drawing programs (like Gimp vs Photoshop). I think one problem is too many people with different ideas working on the same project leads to lots of separate features and complexity.

So, within my budget, it seems to come down to Eagle or DipTrace.

From this thread (and others) people don't seem very keen on Eagle! But it does seem to have the most comprehensive library which seems a big plus for someone like me who will be using standard parts probably bought from Farnell who now own Eagle I think or are closely associated with it.

The question I have is,

is Eagle bad because it does things differently so those of you used to other packages keep running up against annoyances, or is it intrinsically doing things in an awkward way and lacking in key functionality?

(The reason for the question is that I've not yet committed to any system so I won't have any preconceptions as to how things should be done.)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 02:39:52 am by jpb »
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2014, 02:21:03 am »
Intrinsic awkwardness, in my opinion. I'm sure if you worked with it for long enough it could work well. But you need to be careful - it's easy to slip up like I did. As featureful as necessary for most basic applications, although you'd be a little crazy IMHO to use it for a BGA or high density design, in my opinion, unless some of the software options improve the feature set significantly.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 02:25:12 am by tom66 »
 

Offline Hypernova

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2014, 02:31:48 am »
That last time I tried Eagle (3 years ago), it didn't even have a measuring tool, as in ctrl-m in Altium and you can get dx/dy etc between two points. How the coders manage to miss a basic feature like that is beyond me.
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2014, 11:49:48 am »
Quote
So, within my budget, it seems to come down to Eagle or DipTrace

Have you considered Proteus from Labcenter?

http://www.labcenter.com/

Started as a DOS program, I think, so the user interface is ..ah.. not what you would expect from an app designed for Windows, but it is OK once you get over that small step. It has recently been redesigned to allow Altium-like features to be added (relatively) easily.

Pricing is on pin count rather than PCB size or similar,  but there are pros and cons either - whatever suits your circumstances is best :)
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2014, 07:23:25 pm »
I'm interested in this thread because I'm in the process of deciding which (low cost) board layout software to invest time (learning it) and money. A long time ago I had a copy of EasyPC from number one systems. I see that it is still in existence but looking on the associated forums it seems that the users are not that happy and it is not updated much (edit - also they charge for libraries!).

I'm slightly wary of open-source software in the sense that I feel if you're not paying for something then you have no leverage on getting things fixed or what is prioritised. I like the idea of open-source, and it works very well for OSs and compilers like gcc but it doesn't seem to work so well for tools like drawing programs (like Gimp vs Photoshop). I think one problem is too many people with different ideas working on the same project leads to lots of separate features and complexity.

So, within my budget, it seems to come down to Eagle or DipTrace.

From this thread (and others) people don't seem very keen on Eagle! But it does seem to have the most comprehensive library which seems a big plus for someone like me who will be using standard parts probably bought from Farnell who now own Eagle I think or are closely associated with it.

The question I have is,

is Eagle bad because it does things differently so those of you used to other packages keep running up against annoyances, or is it intrinsically doing things in an awkward way and lacking in key functionality?

(The reason for the question is that I've not yet committed to any system so I won't have any preconceptions as to how things should be done.)

Take DipTrace. It's being developed quite actively and devs are responsive to user suggestions, complaints and bug reports. There are some feature requests that have been hanging for some time (eg. teardrops), but in general the development is pretty good.
It has some shortcomings like for example impractical footprint and component library management (it's being totally reworked on and released in next build IIRC). They have recently added STEP 3D support (although it's currently in beta phase and some stuff is lacking and bugs happen).
Real time DRC is in place and it's really good and fast. Component library creator is even better than Altium's in my opinion. Eagle doesn't compare.
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Offline jpb

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2014, 09:34:52 pm »
Quote
So, within my budget, it seems to come down to Eagle or DipTrace

Have you considered Proteus from Labcenter?

http://www.labcenter.com/

Started as a DOS program, I think, so the user interface is ..ah.. not what you would expect from an app designed for Windows, but it is OK once you get over that small step. It has recently been redesigned to allow Altium-like features to be added (relatively) easily.

Pricing is on pin count rather than PCB size or similar,  but there are pros and cons either - whatever suits your circumstances is best :)
Thanks for the link. No I've not considered them though the name sounds vaguely familiar. I'll look into it. They seem a bit pricier than DipTrace but of the same order.
 

Offline jpb

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2014, 09:37:03 pm »

Take DipTrace. It's being developed quite actively and devs are responsive to user suggestions, complaints and bug reports. There are some feature requests that have been hanging for some time (eg. teardrops), but in general the development is pretty good.
It has some shortcomings like for example impractical footprint and component library management (it's being totally reworked on and released in next build IIRC). They have recently added STEP 3D support (although it's currently in beta phase and some stuff is lacking and bugs happen).
Real time DRC is in place and it's really good and fast. Component library creator is even better than Altium's in my opinion. Eagle doesn't compare.

Thanks for the information - it is good to have the experience of real users, there is a plethora of layout programs (there is a massive list on this forum that I browsed) and each claim to be brilliant and cover everything.
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2014, 09:53:25 pm »
I'm not a 100% DipTrace user, I use Altium for most of the work and only occasionally DipTrace, but if I didn't have Altium I would for sure use DipTrace. I was thrown off DipTrace for bigger projects because of library management issues.

Case study: Imagine that you have separate position in your library for every resistor value (like you should) and then your assembly subcontractor tells you that they suggest changing the pad and soldermask opening dimensions a bit for all 0805's because of excessive tombstoning during reflow. You have to change the footprint and then update components one by one in the component library... There is no "update multiple components" option. I had to update 100+ components one by one... (I think they have reworked that part of library system, btw). Other thing that may throw off many people is that while there is a lot of keyboard shortcuts, they are not for every single function and they are not remappable (it's on their todo list I think).

Just download the trial, sit on it a bit, do a project on it and you will know. There is a community forum on DipTrace website and people there (both users and devs) are quite helpful.
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Offline IanJ

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Re: Eagle is horrible software
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2014, 10:01:14 pm »
Beats me why folks are comparing Eagle to Altium.................two completely different levels of software.

I use Eagle mainly because it's the app I just so happened to pick up on after using DOS apps for many years. I have tried DipTrace & Kicad a couple of times but always went back to Eagle........I guess I'm an old stick-in-the-mud who just prefers to use what I know.

To see where you can go with Eagle check out Bob Starr - http://www.bobstarr.net/pages/pcb.html

PS. Bob Starr has made available his own ULP's which extend Eagle with new toolbars (sch & pcb) - http://www.bobstarr.net/pages/downloads.html

Ian.
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