Author Topic: Looking for new PCB software and to drop my old one, what are your suggestions?  (Read 6819 times)

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Offline thm_w

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I went to KiCad about 14 years ago and never looked back, it's been great.

Of course now its great, but 14 years ago it was barely usable, so I'm impressed.
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Offline james_s

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Of course now its great, but 14 years ago it was barely usable, so I'm impressed.

Maybe it was 12 years? I've forgotten now. At the time Eagle was the defacto hobbyist standard and I tried everything else I could get my hands on, they were all pretty bad, KiCad didn't seem much worse.
 

Online JPortici

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I installed DipTrace last night and have been getting along with it rather well...
I have yet to install KiCard... 

(I left in your extra "r" typo).

I'd be curious to read about a comparison between those two from a beginners perspective.
I'm very strongly biased towards open source software (and the whole philosophy behind it), and thus am not even even capable of giving diptrace a fair review myself.

Apparently Diptrace is a bit easier to learn, but I like the many shortcut keys in KiCad, which allows you to do many things quickly once you've learned them. Library management is a bit bare-bones in KiCad, but it "works" adequately. Diptrace may be better here though.

The "Interactive Router" in KiCad is an extremely handy function, and I believe diptrace does not have that (or something comparable). The ease with which you can push existing tracks aside to make more room for yet another track or squeeze in an extra via has allowed me to design denser PCB's then I would have dared to make otherwise.

I guess both packages are quite comparable in functionality but work a bit "differently" from each other. But as a long time KiCad user, I do know I'd never ever would want to work without the push and shove mode of the interactive router. That one really is a game changing feature.

I also had a short peek at the diptrace forum. There does not seem to be much happening there. It's curiously quiet but I don't know the reason for that. Maybe a Diptrace user can explain. In comparison, the KiCad forum is buzzing with activity (although I realize that is not necessarily a good thing when observed as an isolated parameter).

Longtime diptrace user, when i was a beginner i loathed kicad. I am probably going to try it again in the near future (i have a 6 layer board in mind, my license is 4 layers only. Also, if i decide to pull the plug on windows and native diptrace is not there yet)
Diptrace was very easy to get started with. I'm still on version 3, as i didn't want to bother paying for the upgrade.
Most of the new features solved ancient quirks that you could always work around (also a lot changed in the file format)
would be nice but it's not worth to me paying for it. If i'll need to make bigger layouts, maybe...

Yes, there is not much activity on the forum, but that's what it is for closed source software: Admins take feedback, implement, then there are a few release cycles every year. No nightly builds, daily updates, mods to explore, changes are slow to come, but the upside is that diptrace is a tool that does exactly what it has to, it's one of the most stable pieces of software i use.

To be honest, there isn't much use of the forum other than feature request / comment on releases
« Last Edit: November 11, 2022, 11:35:37 am by JPortici »
 

Offline WarFreak131Topic starter

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Longtime diptrace user, when i was a beginner i loathed kicad. I am probably going to try it again in the near future (i have a 6 layer board in mind, my license is 4 layers only. Also, if i decide to pull the plug on windows and native diptrace is not there yet)
Diptrace was very easy to get started with. I'm still on version 3, as i didn't want to bother paying for the upgrade.

One of the things that attracted me to DipTrace is that they have pretty generous pricing/upgrade options.  I think the freeware version is 300 pins + 2 layers.  If you want to go with the non-profit license, the 500 pins + 2 layers version is free, and higher versions are discounted heavily (Unlimited version goes from $995>$358).  Edition upgrades like Standard > Extended only costs the price difference between the two versions.  And version upgrades like 3.X to 4.X are only 25% of the full price.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Of course now its great, but 14 years ago it was barely usable, so I'm impressed.

Maybe it was 12 years? I've forgotten now. At the time Eagle was the defacto hobbyist standard and I tried everything else I could get my hands on, they were all pretty bad, KiCad didn't seem much worse.

Oh yeah. KiCad was not that great back then, but it was usable. Heck, I had tried it around 2004/2005 IIRC and designed a couple small boards with it. At the time, there was Eagle as you mentioned, and Proteus which was affordable. There was otherwise Protel DXP (which was going to become Altium Designer), which was already pretty expensive (but license prices have skyrocketed since then).

Free or low-cost solutions were not that abundant.
 

Offline james_s

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At the time I tried every EDA I could get my hands on to play with, ranging from free to costing thousands of dollars and I determined at the time that they all suck. They're all difficult to use with weird quirks and bugs, so I decided to go with the one that is completely free and not crippled in any way. KiCad has worked well for me and it keeps getting better.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Well, for "hobby" or small company use, Proteus was not bad at all. I kinda liked it.

I also remember having evaluated Pulsonix, which seemed very good compared to the competition. But it was expensive. They appear to still be around. I wonder if anyone here has any experience with Pulsonix?
 

Offline Feynman

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I can recommend Pulsonix. But it looks a little like overkill for the given requirements.
 

Offline bidrohini

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Have you tried Proteus? Proteus is user-friendly. It is easier than Eagle. Personally, I like Proteus 7. I feel very comfortable using that. I did not like proteus 8. The software used to hang very often.
https://www.pcbway.com/blog/PCB_Design_Tutorial/How_to_Design_PCB_in_Proteus_1.html
 

Offline PlainName

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Quote
Personally, I like Proteus 7

Yes, I preferred 7 over 8 because the PCB and schematic files were separate things. In 8 they were merged into a 'project' so you couldn't have a part number for a schematic, say, and a different one for the PCB - change one and the other changed even if they didn't actually change. Right pain for source control and BOM.

Seems to be the way of things around then. TheBrain changed from v7 to v8 so all the various projects were now under one huge database in a single folder. No way to keep one client's data separate (both in use and for backup) from anyone elses.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2022, 05:54:59 pm by PlainName »
 


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