Author Topic: Circuit Maker - It Lives!  (Read 32772 times)

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Offline ludzinc

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Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« on: April 15, 2015, 02:46:36 am »
Hi All,

Just got this email from Max Clemmons from Altium:

Hi,

I'm excited to tell you that we've just released the newest CircuitMaker beta build to the testing group. With this new build, the component workflow has moved entirely to the Libraries panel, so you can search for and create components from a single, convenient location! Check out the forum post for all the details and an installer (if you need a fresh install):

(link removed - need a closed beta account to access the forum at the moment)

Also, we are releasing you from your NDA, so please go ahead and share your CircuitMaker experience with the world!


I'll write up my impressions of the new beta over the next few days and will post when ready.

But for the curious:

1.  All the issues I see with Circuit Studio I also see with Circuit Maker
(see here: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-circuit-studio/msg602360/#msg602360)

2.  The focus is that you use the footprints / parts that are developed by the community and are available through Octopart.  Not a bad idea if you ask me.

BUT

3.  You CANNOT make a custom part that isn't associated with Octopart.  This ruins things like Edge Connectors, Programming Headers (i.e. Tag Connect), fiducials, testpoints and RF coils / antenna that are essentially pure PCB partwork.  This is a noisy point on the closed beta forum and I get the feeling the developers are pushing back against their corporate masters on this but are currently on the back foot.

I reckon when the open beta is released in May the same corporate masters will get flooded with feedback around this!

That said, it's good, I like it but I won't use it seriously until the Octopart limitation is lifted.
 

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 02:57:21 am »
That sounds like a crippling game-ending limitation!  :palm:
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 03:43:31 am »
Can't you just pick a random octopart part and associate it with your own arbitrary and non related symbol and footprint?
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Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 03:58:25 am »
^ Exactly the kind of policy, that would lead to exactly that ^ kind of polluted library-making...  People will find a way around it, because they have to, and it will be ugly.  Not that free/open libraries have even exactly been bastions of consistency and accuracy... but man, what a mess.

I'm waiting for a good deal, either when Altium comes back down again (ha, yeah right) or when CM gets better... but it's not looking like a buy.

Tim
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Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 04:23:14 am »
ugh, just let CM sink already... :palm:
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Offline ludzinc

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2015, 04:39:00 am »
Can't you just pick a random octopart part and associate it with your own arbitrary and non related symbol and footprint?

^ Exactly the kind of policy, that would lead to exactly that ^ kind of polluted library-making...  People will find a way around it, because they have to, and it will be ugly.  Not that free/open libraries have even exactly been bastions of consistency and accuracy... but man, what a mess.

I'm waiting for a good deal, either when Altium comes back down again (ha, yeah right) or when CM gets better... but it's not looking like a buy.

Tim

This is almost quoting the forum verbatim. 

ugh, just let CM sink already... :palm:

The rest of CM (imho) is nice and slick and could be a winner, even if you had to pay for 'local libraries'.  Yes I'm wearing my heart on my sleve and hope Altium get the message and change this restriction.  So when the open beta comes out, sign up and give them the feedback!
 

Offline timb

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2015, 08:36:44 am »
Wow, how would Altium ever think that was a good idea? In addition to the already aforementioned issues, there's simple components like headers. If I need a 1x6 pin header on my board, I just use a generic pattern for it. I have a box full of 1x40 breakaway headers that I simply snap to size and use. I don't generally even add a specific manufacturer's part number to the BOM, either. It's such a generic thing, you know? The same applies for SMD resistors and capacitors in a lot of cases.

Unless it's a critical part, I don't give a shit what 0603 0.1uF decoupling caps are used.


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Offline zapta

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2015, 02:10:54 pm »
Wow, how would Altium ever think that was a good idea?

Who said they do? 

They need to come with something that will not cannibalize their revenue products so expect crippleware by design.
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Offline Icchan

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2015, 03:11:53 pm »
The thing they're most afraid of is that the users of Altium Designer will move away from Altium's very expensive and large corporation oriented product to their cheaper products or even to the free one if it's adequate for their needs. And of course you don't want that since you'll lose revenue because lower or no subscription fees.

If they had figured out like years and years ago that the big program must be divided into smaller chunks so that it's possible to get the cheap / free options when you start out, then add components that you need when your company and needs grow. !BUT! there has to be an end to the current subscription model because if people can't go backwards when needed (company gets in financial trouble or person using it is in a pinch) they must be able to stop paying the subscription or downgrade their product without any concern of having to pay more or a penalty for doing so. Just the loss of capability.

If there's a risk that you'll get stuck to the subscription and they keep jacking up the price of that  subscription every year, it won't make the software very enticing now does it?

AND THAT'S WHAT THEY'VE ALREADY DONE!

They have jacked up the price of the subscription up and up and up and ultimately people will leave it for other solutions because they simply cannot afford it anymore and they can't go backwards by dropping features from their package that they don't need. And people know that Altium does this, so it makes it really difficult to recommend their products to other companies unless you think you have endless budget for a CAD program.

Altium is doing an awful job of treating their customers like milk cows, and no matter how good their tools are, it can't last like this for long.

So that's why they can't give you a tool for free that is good and usable (thus the stupid restrictions in the free one), because they can't understand that their current pricing and software model is broken from the ground up and must be fixed for them to have a healthy customer ecosystem and successful  business in the long run.

And sooner they realize this, sooner they can compete with the threat that KiCad poses. and KiCad will not stop until it is the best tool out there and it's just a matter of time now since they got a flame under the kettle with the CERN thing.

Fix your pricing and software model and you'll have customers that want to use your products readily.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 03:15:42 pm by Icchan »
 

Offline jmole

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2015, 03:30:55 pm »
Would love to see some screenshots or videos if you're allowed to post em!
 

Offline ludzinc

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2015, 07:36:39 pm »
Would love to see some screenshots or videos if you're allowed to post em!

Travelling for work at the moment, hope to get something up over the weekend.

However I got this reply for Max today:


Your point about making parts not associated with Octopart has definitely been one of the biggest topics of discussion for us. Several people have told us that creating parts outside Octopart is essential, and I believe this will be a feature in CircuitMaker soon enough. It just hasn't quite made it into the software yet.[\b]

If true, this would tourn out to be a 'good thing'.
 

Offline ludzinc

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2015, 11:49:49 am »
Sorry it took longer than expected - but here's my impression of Circuit Maker (up to Beta 3 now), with included pricing options.

http://ludzinc.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/circuit-maker-beta-testing.html

Have at it!
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2015, 12:19:44 pm »
here's my impression of Circuit Maker (up to Beta 3 now)

Thanks for spending the time putting up all the screen shots & for your observations.

I wish they had done the deal to use Digikey parts instead of Octopart.

Like you, I'm not interested in using this product. It will be interesting to see how amateur users/those with plenty of time to waste will take up the "free" (or almost free) offerings.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline vsq

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2015, 12:30:58 pm »
I wish they had done the deal to use Digikey parts instead of Octopart.

Octopart is a search engine. You can search Digikey parts in Octoparts...
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2015, 01:05:07 pm »
Octopart is a search engine. You can search Digikey parts in Octoparts...

Thanks. It nice to know I can learn something new everyday :)
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Offline guscrown

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2015, 02:49:35 am »
Quote
But the real deal breaker?  You must have an Octopart part to use - things that you need on a PCB that are not parts include Fiducials, Edge Connectors, Programming Headers, Custom RF coils, mounting and tooling holes are things you cannot make in Circuit Maker. 

Sadly, that's a deal breaker for me.

That's terrible. Who's the target audience for this?

I use Altium 14 at work and it would've been nice to have a free version of Altium for personal projects, but with those limitations I much rather learn KiCAD.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2015, 03:38:36 am »
Quote
But the real deal breaker?  You must have an Octopart part to use - things that you need on a PCB that are not parts include Fiducials, Edge Connectors, Programming Headers, Custom RF coils, mounting and tooling holes are things you cannot make in Circuit Maker. 

Sadly, that's a deal breaker for me.

What a useless piece of shit.
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Offline BenekC

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2015, 08:38:38 pm »
I'm not sure this is an unreasonable limitation for the average free user. I'm not sure I've not seen many if any hobbyist boards using edge connectors. Headers/Mounting holes, etc can all be done with vias well enough but you won't get the schematic symmetry. This is a minor issue at best for those cases. That realistically leaves custom RF coils, and that's able to be worked around. Octopart, theoretically, has every part that you can buy given it's just a database of part seller's items.

I'd be more worried about usability and how they plan to make people okay with just the cloud storage. Nothing wrong with cloud storage, but they need a proven backbone. Portability is problematic too, but I'd wager there's less of issue of Altium dispersing as a company overnight.

I completely agree with why professionals find fault with it so far, but then again this is an entry level product for them.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2015, 08:43:57 pm »
Making headers and mounting holes with vias is a pathetic hack. Sure, you could live with the limitations if you had to. But why would you? This product provides absolutely bloody nothing over its competition, and is a pain in the ass to boot! There is plenty of free and almost-free software that lets you do all those things without bodging them. The only people I can see actually preferring this software over Literally Anything Else are people with a fetish for pain...

Altium should stick to what they know best: overpriced, buggy software for professionals and stupid business plans... (oh, wait...)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 08:46:09 pm by c4757p »
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Offline ivan747

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2015, 10:52:01 pm »
Can't you just pick a random octopart part and associate it with your own arbitrary and non related symbol and footprint?

Yep... everyone doing that exact thing will spell the end of this program
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2015, 11:23:42 pm »
i just got my invite for the public beta. downloaded installed.

what;s this 'i can;t make my own parts blabla ? it works just perfectly fine for me.

click library panel.
select ciiva library.
make sure search field is blank.

right below that it will say :Can;t find part you;re looking for ? Build your own.
and off you go. i just created symbols for some banana jacks and switches. works perfectly fine. stuff is stored in your 'Favorites Library'

in the library :right click in the list and simply select : build new component. done.
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Offline poorchava

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2015, 09:56:04 am »
Even using Digikey instead of Octopart would suck. There are many brands which Digikey doesn't sell. For example Coilcraft.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2015, 03:33:15 pm »
Even using Digikey instead of Octopart would suck. There are many brands which Digikey doesn't sell. For example Coilcraft.

you are not tied to what you can find on octopart. i just created some fully custom schematic symbols and footprints for a part that doesn't exist (  a mounting hole that will slide over a front panel mounted banana jack so the nut of the banana jack makes contact with the board. mounting hole has copper features , an aligment marker and a bunch of other stuff.)  works perfectly fine. you are not tied to what you can find out there. so if you need ot make an edge connector you can do this. there does not need to be a link to a physical part.
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Offline DerekG

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2015, 09:25:01 pm »
Free Electron,

Based on your preliminary investigations, what would you say are the biggest/most critical limitations of CircuitMaker compared to Altium Explorer?

Thanks in advance.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Circuit Maker - It Lives!
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2015, 09:43:11 pm »
things that irk me a bit :

-shortcut keys. most are missing , i hate the endless menu clickodrome.

-file compatibility. it would have been nice to be able to pull in my existing libraries. i sorta understand this since they want to avoid people using the free version to do the big boy stuff.

i've only played with it for an hour  so i haven't really explored it yet.
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