Author Topic: Pcb Design Program  (Read 14866 times)

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Offline janoc

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2018, 04:00:33 pm »
Are we now able to set whatever background colour we want in the PCB module?
Don't know. Why does it matter?

When a design engineer spends many tens of hours in front of a computer screen each week, it is important to reduce eye strain to a minimum.

Research has shown that a relatively dark shade of grey (as the background "colour") is optimal for reducing eye strain.

Unfortunately those working on KiCAD have glossed over this important fact.

As a result, many professional design engineers will avoid using KiCAD.

And no ............... a dark shade of grey does not even come close to black when looking to reduce eye strain.

Um, if professional design engineers avoid using KiCAD it is for many other issues (like it not doing what they need) than the window background color.  :palm: See the other threads on Kicad on this forum. I really wish the (in)ability to set colors was the decisive factor here - it would mean that all those much more serious issues (such as the library system or the UI issues many complain about) were fixed already. You are the first professional engineer that I hear complaining about the inability to change background color as preventing you from using the software.

BTW, I personally hate these low contrast grey color schemes - staring at the low contrast screen makes my eyes literally hurt and water after a while. Low contrast makes text difficult to read, lines harder to see, etc. Adjusting the monitor contrast/brightness is much better since you are most likely working with the window maximized to full screen anyway.

 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2018, 08:18:39 pm »
You are the first professional engineer that I hear complaining about the inability to change background color as preventing you from using the software.

When a user spends so much time in front of a screen each week, if the design software can't manage to have its background colour changed to reduce eye strain, one wonders what else it can't manage.

Once KiCAD has the ability to change its background colour, perhaps it will have grown up enough to encourage professional engineers like myself to have another look at it.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2018, 08:40:07 pm »
Well like I said, put in a feature request, if nobody asks for that feature then why would anyone expect it to get added? I spend all day in front of a computer screen too and personally I prefer a black background.

KiCAD is not going to outdo the big guys like Altium any day soon, but it's as good or better than any of the low cost hobbyist and prosumer packages I've tried.
 

Offline Joel_l

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2018, 09:24:36 pm »
The forums are private, not sure if you have to have an active license or just register. Once you are logged in, the topics and activity show up.
not sure why your system seems to have an issue.

mine is,
AMD 1920X Threadripper
GTX 1070
32GB ram

I guess the variable is the complexity of the design.

I found it slowish even with the default Arduino design. Maybe some specific issue with my setup. I tried version 10.177, I notice they just released 10.180 shortly after, maybe there are performance fixes? (I haven't found the release notes. I also noticed there is a user forum but it's completely empty...)
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2018, 11:39:30 pm »
When a user spends so much time in front of a screen each week, if the design software can't manage to have its background colour changed to reduce eye strain, one wonders what else it can't manage.

Once KiCAD has the ability to change its background colour, perhaps it will have grown up enough to encourage professional engineers like myself to have another look at it.

That is BS, there are thousands of professional engineers using KiCad. Tbh, I think the background color causing eyestrain thing is a myth, I've never seen any actual research that shows it, just a few anecdotes. I expect there are many people using computers that have bad eyesight though.

And it's funny the way people throw in the word "professional", to try to make their own subjective opinion sound like they are representing the whole industry.
Bob
"All you said is just a bunch of opinions."
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2018, 12:36:52 am »
I've had people flat out tell me that things that cause my eyes to hurt do not cause eyestrain so I'm not going to flat out say that whatever someone else finds cause them eyestrain does not. Even so, unless someone actually requests the feature don't expect it to change, I like black and I suspect most other users are fine with either black or white otherwise we would have more choices by now.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2018, 01:55:15 am »
The forums are private, not sure if you have to have an active license or just register. Once you are logged in, the topics and activity show up.
not sure why your system seems to have an issue.

mine is,
AMD 1920X Threadripper
GTX 1070
32GB ram

OK thanks for the info about the forums. Well, maybe it's very demanding on the graphics card then. Your GTX1070 is much more capable than my humble GTX660.
 

Offline tycz

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2018, 08:34:07 am »
The forums are private, not sure if you have to have an active license or just register. Once you are logged in, the topics and activity show up.
not sure why your system seems to have an issue.

mine is,
AMD 1920X Threadripper
GTX 1070
32GB ram

OK thanks for the info about the forums. Well, maybe it's very demanding on the graphics card then. Your GTX1070 is much more capable than my humble GTX660.

I downloaded Dex (v10.177) and gave it a try. It loaded an example project automatically, some kind of Arduino board. The 3D view runs fine if a tad slow, the schematic entry is fast and responsive while zooming, panning and moving parts. Unfortunately the layout editor runs very poorly. When the program is running full screen the layout editor updates about 4 frames per second. When I turn off both top an bottom copper layers it runs fast (panning)...

Win 7, 1920*1200 res, Quadro K600 gfx.

You are the first professional engineer that I hear complaining about the inability to change background color as preventing you from using the software.

When a user spends so much time in front of a screen each week, if the design software can't manage to have its background colour changed to reduce eye strain, one wonders what else it can't manage.

Once KiCAD has the ability to change its background colour, perhaps it will have grown up enough to encourage professional engineers like myself to have another look at it.

You want to make Kicad look like Protel?

It's important to make sure that the colours don't cause eye strain. Kicad has reasonable colours as default. The background is black, but the default copper colours are lower intensity too, so it's easy on the eyes. The problem is you can't really change it much. To see what I mean try to set the background colour of the schematic to black (to match layout). Now the colour choices available from the fixed palette look truly garish.

As it stands the Schematic must have a white background and the layout must be black. Even the layout background colour limitation was lifted, the palette is not sufficiently varied to make it work. I guess it's related to the way it handles transparency, highlighting, etc. Anyway, I did read somewhere that the next version will be improved in this regard, maybe there is hope.
 
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2018, 01:24:47 pm »
You want to make Kicad look like Protel?

Yes, or is successor Altium or DipTrace or Proteus etc.

Quote
Anyway, I did read somewhere that the next version will be improved in this regard, maybe there is hope.

Let's hope so.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2018, 06:08:38 pm »
The first thing I do when installing KiCAD is set the schematic background to black, I've used it that way for years and find it pleasing. I absolutely hate bright white backgrounds that are all the rage lately, I typically use a computer in subdued light.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2018, 08:54:25 pm »
I absolutely hate bright white backgrounds that are all the rage lately

Is that "lately" as in "since 1984, when Mac OS came out"?  ;-)
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2018, 10:45:59 pm »
For some reason the small B&W CRTs were much easier on the eyes than a modern LCD monitor displaying a bright white background. Also the old MacOS had reasonable contrast, the desktop itself was gray, the OS and other software had a really nice overall fit & finish with borders separating various categories of features.Not at all like much modern software that uses a bright white background with various low contrast elements scattered amongst the white space with little or no borders and few indications as to what is clickable and what is not.

Even so, I was a DOS guy back then and preferred that over the GUI, perhaps partly due to my preference for black backgrounds. Now I always use dark wallpapers on my Win7 and Linux PCs.
 

Offline hermit

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2018, 01:21:48 am »
I worked for a large manufacturer that had a problem with an easy fix but they refused to do it because research showed white on black was the easiest to read.  In the end they did a complete product redesign and went black on white.  I find the idea that the black background is a major problem rather amusing.
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #38 on: January 15, 2018, 10:50:39 am »
I absolutely hate bright white backgrounds that are all the rage lately

Is that "lately" as in "since 1984, when Mac OS came out"?  ;-)

Exactly. The modern trend is for dark backgrounds, which give me eyestrain. The first thing I do is have to fiddle with the settings to get a sensible display, and then find yellow on white is impossible to change, give up and find some software not designed by hipsters sitting in a dark bedroom.
Bob
"All you said is just a bunch of opinions."
 
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Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #39 on: January 15, 2018, 03:27:41 pm »
What's most distracting and somewhat hurts the eye is when the dominant color on screen is too different (worst when it's complementary) from the dominant color in your work environment.

So yes, dark backgrounds tend to work better in low-light environments.
I find it very annoying to look at a dark background for a period of time (even just a few tens of seconds) and then look at a white page in a book or PDF. It's very hard to read for a few seconds. When you work with datasheets and books while you're doing CAD stuff, it's extremely annoying IMO.

The big plus of a black background when doing PCB layout is the great contrast, and on (even moderately) dense layouts, the black areas will not be that dominant most of the time anyway. So I don't really mind black backgrounds for PCB layouting, but I dislike it pretty much for schematics editing.

As for plain white backgrounds, depending on your surrounding lighting, your monitor and your eyes condition, they are not ideal either. I tend to prefer very light yellowish backgrounds, which tend to give almost as good contrast but are very easy on the eyes IMO.

So anyway, the best option is of course programs that allow you to define your own set of colors.
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2018, 08:12:44 pm »
I've always preferred to work in dimly lit spaces, even when I'm working on hardware projects at home I usually turn off the ceiling light in the office and use the light mounted on my workbench. At work I've always taken the tubes out of the fluorescent light over my desk and used a desk lamp when I need light. My eyes are sensitive and I don't like high brightness levels, especially in my peripheral vision.
 

Offline bicycleguy

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2018, 11:30:31 pm »
Back to the original subject...

I used to use Eagle.  Now I'm determined to only learn programs that can't be taken away or limited.  So open source is the only way to go.  I found KiCAD while trying to look a files that other open hardware people were generating with it.  As a mechanical engineer the 3d views that KiCAD can make are amazing and definitely made me decide to learn it.

The GUI is different and overall design method a little unique..  so forget about 'hacking' at the icons like you could get away with in Eagle, with KiCAD you must start by reading the manual !  even to do simple things !  However once you get into the swing of things you will find the program awesome, definitely better than eagle.  At first the library flexibility will frustrate you but after you re-read the manual a few times the idea will start to sink in.  Now I think it is the best feature of KiCAD.  Unlike in Eagle, making parts out of existing parts is easy and encouraged.

Attached is a 3d view of a board I had previously made with Eagle.  Importing the schematic and board files was painless.  Infact so easy I thought it was opening Eagle somehow.  As you can see I found and added a 3D model for the socket. 
 
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Offline imidis

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2018, 12:45:21 am »
I found Kicad to be a bit overwhelming at first, but after I got the hang of it, it's quite a capable and nice program to use!  :-+
Gone for good
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2018, 05:33:56 am »
I tried every EDA I could get my hands on and they're ALL complex and non-intuitive, they're all buggy and quirky, in a nutshell they all suck in one way or another. In the end you just have to pick one and stick with it until you learn to work around all the quirks.
 
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Offline chipss

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #44 on: March 02, 2018, 01:36:06 am »
Dip trace! Wow been messing with KiCad for a week trying to get a silly switch part for a microphone pcb, took seconds to find switch measure pads, and mod it exactly how I wanted it with diptrace, I used winbord and win draft on my old xp computer but it is no more...
thank you!
 

Offline PCB.Wiz

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #45 on: March 02, 2018, 05:29:25 am »
The last time I used KiCAD, I could only choose a black or white background in the PCB module.
Are we now able to set whatever background colour we want in the PCB module?

I just tried this, (Version: (5.0.0-rc2-dev-44-gde6b32d23), release build)
and Visibles.Items.Background pops up a palette, just as you might hope ?  Black -> Dark Grey selects fine ?
 

Offline VEGETA

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2018, 06:43:39 am »
Quote
Imagine you have a tool you pay $5000/yr for and want to stop doing this, so a viable migration strategy is to produce gerbers for everything and import them elsewhere, and when done and verified cancel your contract.

This is what I want to know, how can someone migrate like that?

Plus, I consider it a bad planning and bad choice in the first place. you either buy a package with a license that lets you own the product (never mind updates and maintenance subscription) or use a free standalone package (KiCAD). Because either way you can still work with it forever without the need to change it at any time.

I am a mere beginner and I saw that CircuitMaker is a nice software overall but the cloud-only thing is a bummer. However, I don't see why professionals cannot use kicad... why? is there anyone who really use it on a professional job here to tell us about it?


Quote
Research has shown that a relatively dark shade of grey (as the background "colour") is optimal for reducing eye strain.

Almost all design software are like this by default now, like AutoCAD and Adobe After effects. However, they let you choose the color you want and I don't know why other software do not have this simple feature.

_______

I really like to see KiCAD and others have a ribbon just like CM and AutoCAD. The ribbon is nice despite people hating it.

Offline b_force

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2018, 09:33:51 am »
Another vote for Diptrace.
Finally some developers who listen to the community.
Also works much more intuitive than the more expensive tools I have worked with all these years.

Still waiting until KiCad is doing the same thing.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 09:35:59 am by b_force »
 

Offline hermit

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2018, 09:13:33 pm »
Another vote for Diptrace.
Finally some developers who listen to the community.
Also works much more intuitive than the more expensive tools I have worked with all these years.

Still waiting until KiCad is doing the same thing.
More of the KiCad developers seem to be frequenting the user forum in recent months and sometimes asking questions before making  changes.
 

Offline apurvdate

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Re: Pcb Design Program
« Reply #49 on: April 21, 2018, 11:08:46 am »
Quote
However, I don't see why professionals cannot use kicad... why? is there anyone who really use it on a professional job here to tell us about it?

We do use KiCad at work. Though we hardly have 5-10 designs/revisions a year & we don't have high speed (GHz signals) circuits either.
But we do have to use differential pair routing in almost all designs & kicad does that just fine.

For my personal hobby & freelance projects, I use Diptrace & Kicad both.
Just waiting for Diptrace to add KiCad import-export   ;D
 


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