Author Topic: Looking for better EDA...  (Read 1833 times)

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Offline 3dgeo

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Looking for better EDA...
« on: November 13, 2019, 06:01:28 pm »
Well, hello there,

I'm a bit in a pickle – I'm a hobbyist and was using EasyEDA, but it's not cutting it anymore plus all the bugs they refuse to acknowledge and remove makes it not a viable option anymore.

I've tried KiCad – I just can't use program that need to right click and tell it specifically in the menu to end trace, I don't know why but behavior like this just tigers me, this is the reason I didn't learned AutoCad  ;D Fan boyz – calm your titties – using shortcut to do this doesn't make it any better, it should be just simple right click or it should be ended automatically when trace gets connected to the pad...

Eagle seems to be a bit better, but it's still can't end trace with mouse right click tho it doesn't use right click for anything, I don't get this design decision... Also it seems Eagle UI is for high pixel density screens and icons are huge on my screens – I will play around more with Eagle, but I'm not feeling it :)

Circuitmaker looks cool, but even if it's probably way more mature software than EasyEDA it still kinda same thing and all public sharing stuff is a deal breaker (watched old Daves video about it so "rules" may be changed, but online EDA is not an option anymore).

I don't need much – EasyEDA is kinda sorta almost OK, but it lacks a feature to snap trace to next trace according to gap defined in design rules – I wasted days moving traces by hand (my board is relatively dense), also with more complex boards EasyEDA becomes slow and painful to work.

Downloading Altium "trail" version to try it out, but main feature I need is those dam traces to snap automatically according to design rules.

Probably I will have to redo entire board due to different IC I've most likely end up using, so this is a perfect opportunity to change EDA.

I don't think I will go beyond 4 layers, not planning to become extremely complicated PCB designer...

Any other options worth looking in?


Have a great day ;)


« Last Edit: November 13, 2019, 06:18:07 pm by 3dgeo »
 

Offline taydin

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2019, 06:55:45 pm »
I have had light use of Proteus, diptrace, Kicad, Eagle, and Circuit Studio. The only one that had an intuitive user interface, and advanced capability (if you need it, I don't) was Circuit Studio. What I like most in the CC user interface is the inspector. You can basically select any number of objects and do wholesale modifications to it, a very powerful and useful concept.

But beware, Circuit Studio documentation is practically non existent, much trial and error is needed. And the only support venue is a forum that doesn't seem to have helped many.
Real programmers use machine code!

My hobby projects http://mekatronik.org/forum
 
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Offline 3dgeo

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2019, 06:12:00 pm »
I've tried Altium, it looks promising, but its PCB schematic layout are very lagy and slow (about 160 components) and the snapping is the worst – when I try to move any component when selecting it Altiums lags for more than a second then if I move mouse it appears in random location, if I disable snapping it does not detect net name placed on top of the wire (still lags tho). Actually even if I enable snapping I can't get that net label to "stick" in the right place...

No it's not my PC – 16 core Xeons, 64GB RAM, 2 RAID0 SSD, 1050Ti... It must be something I messed up, tho I did not mess with snap settings at first and I got this behavior still.

WTF is happening?  :o
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2019, 06:37:10 pm »
Recent versions of KiCad with the OpenGL mode are actually now quite usable. I still don't hugely like the schematic entry (although it's getting better), but the Layout part is alright IMO.

 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2019, 07:53:43 pm »
If you have some cash to spend (apparantly you do since you are looking at Altium) then look at Orcad too. The functionality is equal to Altium but the system requirements for Orcad are much lower. Orcad also has a staggered pricing so you can buy only what you need; the base package is way cheaper than Altium and even with some options (like the CIS component management and high speed PCB design option) it is cheaper compared to Altium.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 07:55:54 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline MarkF

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2019, 09:20:38 pm »
I have been using Diptrace for a long time now.
It has been the most intuitive and easy for me to learn. 
Just one afternoon for my first PCB.
With the free "For Non-profit" license you get 2-layers with 500-pins.
More then meets my needs for personal use.  Nice 3D-View also.

If you want to end a trace that doesn't go to a pin, you just hit the "ENTER" key.
Although, I do not see why you would want to.  You would at a minimum go to a single pad.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 09:25:31 pm by MarkF »
 

Offline 3dgeo

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2019, 04:27:47 pm »
Recent versions of KiCad with the OpenGL mode are actually now quite usable. I still don't hugely like the schematic entry (although it's getting better), but the Layout part is alright IMO.

It's not hardware requirements, I have tried Altium with my 12+ year old laptop and it doesn't lag, I think it's Windows version or graphic driver, on my laptop I have "newer" Win7, on my workstation I don't update OS.

...then look at Orcad too. ...

Hm, I haven't came across this software, will take a look.

If you want to end a trace that doesn't go to a pin, you just hit the "ENTER" key.

Nah, maybe it's just me, but pressing keyboard key to end/exit routing is just stupid... Also I will need more than those limits.


Actually coming from EasyEDA Altium feels familiar, most hotkeys are the same, and behavior is very similar. If I have to guess they are trying to rip Altium off, tho they are far from competing with Altium due to lack of features. But in a way, lack of features is an advantage to EasyEDA, cos it's makes it simple to use, especially for the beginners. Two things that EasyEDA needs is dedicated (not browser based) software, cos now even a desktop version is a cut down web browser version with only one webpage to load – EasyEDA. Second – trace to trace snapping, now real time DRC shows when track is too close, but you have no snapping according to minimum gap. My project is dense enough to make this a huge issue.

I'm playing with Altium for a few days now, I starting to like it, it's UI kinda messy and settings are all over the place, but if I manage to remove schematic window lag I will stick to it.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2019, 04:49:56 pm »
Perhaps there is some kind of check (DRC? Database update?) running in the background which slows Altium down. It doesn't hurt to search using Google. It might be a setting somewhere.

About the keyboard shortcuts: Altium has had the same ones for decades. In the time the software was called 'Autotrax' which ran on MS-DOS. I couldn't resist to dwell on the past visually:

Since then several other companies may have copied the same shortcuts.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2019, 04:55:37 pm »
Quote
If you want to end a trace that doesn't go to a pin, you just hit the "ENTER" key.
Although, I do not see why you would want to.  You would at a minimum go to a single pad.

Perhaps routing a few adjacent tracks a bit at a time, or just getting something in place while you adjust things around it. Ultimately it must end on a pad, but it doesn't have to do that until you've finished :)
 

Offline 3dgeo

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2019, 05:02:00 pm »
DRC on schematic window? BCB window works fine.

I promise to myself to make simple LED PCB with Altium so I could get familiar with it and test IC I'm considering using. At first it's interactive routing seemed very clunky (and in some degree it still is) but I'm starting to like it. It's biggest difference from EasyEDA is routing that needs to be get used to. Tho I'm still not sure how good it will perform in my very dense board were I need more manual control over vias and tracks. Strange quirk I found – if via has no connections to it real time DRC works just fine, if via gets connected – real time DRC doesn't work anymore.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2019, 06:17:24 pm »
Recent versions of KiCad with the OpenGL mode are actually now quite usable. I still don't hugely like the schematic entry (although it's getting better), but the Layout part is alright IMO.

It's not hardware requirements, I have tried Altium with my 12+ year old laptop and it doesn't lag, I think it's Windows version or graphic driver, on my laptop I have "newer" Win7, on my workstation I don't update OS.

I'm not sure you got why I talked about KiCad's OpenGL mode though. The benefits are not just about graphics performance. The OpenGL modes implement a significantly different UI from the basic mode, which makes KiCad in those modes a lot more usable IMO.
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Looking for better EDA...
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2019, 12:13:01 am »
I don't need much .....
Any other options worth looking in?

As suggested by several other users above, take a look at DipTrace. Its GUI is very intuitive & version 3 has come a long way from version 2.4. Version 4 will be released in the next several months. You can set up most functions onto keyboard shortcuts if you like.

I'm a registered Altium user but use DipTrace by preference most of the time.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 


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