Author Topic: PCB Elegance New Version  (Read 4600 times)

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Offline tycz

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PCB Elegance New Version
« on: May 21, 2016, 01:14:45 pm »
This is a general notice that I'm now actively maintaining PCB Elegance, the PCB design software for Windows. It's a complete package, with schematic entry, board layout, and parts library management. It was commercially sold from 1998-2012 then released by the author as free, open source software.

A new version was released today, the first in about eight years. Many bugs have been fixed. See the website (new address) for a list of changes.

http://www.pcbelegance.org
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2016, 02:41:55 am »
Interesting naming convention:
Quote
int32 CheckTraceAperTure(double ThickNess)

And schematic capture screenshot brings memories of P-CAD 4.5 :)
Alex
 

Offline tycz

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2016, 02:29:17 pm »
Version 3.52 of PCB Elegance was released today! Almost all of the significant bugs of version 3.5 have now been fixed. The few remaining bugs that I'm aware of are quite benign. I have permitted one new feature in this release and that is support for the Gerbv gerber viewer (from the GEDA project) as an alternative to Viewplot, the included gerber viewer. Gerbv project files are generated so the layer colour and order is always consistent.

Currently, there is no beginner tutorial for new users. I'll try to make few videos to cover the basics soon. Even without a guide, it's certainly possible to teach yourself, particularly as most features have help available. The user interface is quite intuitive and it has the feeling of a modern Windows program.

I'll also be moving the code base to a public repository in the near future.

http://www.pcbelegance.org
 

Offline tycz

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2016, 04:22:53 am »
I'm making some videos showing how to use PCB Elegance, starting with the symbol and geometry editors.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw4IT4_6lPP02R23wkmxN7A
 

Offline technotronix

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2016, 07:05:27 am »
Great. I want to buy it.
 

Offline MaBerY

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2016, 01:38:26 pm »
I got a 403 Forbidden error on http://www.pcbelegance.org/ just a day after I grabbed the 3.52 release from there.
Anyone knows what's going on?

 

Offline bicc1306

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2016, 02:18:37 pm »
Great! Thanks for the information. I got the exact page not 403 error.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2016, 02:33:17 pm »
Is it Windows only?
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline technotronix

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2016, 11:14:11 am »
I'm making some videos showing how to use PCB Elegance, starting with the symbol and geometry editors.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw4IT4_6lPP02R23wkmxN7A

I really like your video. Please share your work update.
 

Offline Lukas

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2016, 08:52:28 am »
This EDA software seems to be much more capable than one might guess at first sight. I've given it a test drive in wine (runs just fine, as to be expected from bare-metal win32 apps) and was pleasantly surprised to find out the the PCB editor supports online DRC and automatic loop removal when routing. In terms of 'advancedness' I'd sort it somewhere between EAGLE and KiCad, maybe even on-par with KiCad.
 

Offline tycz

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2016, 03:04:21 am »
Sorry for the slow replies. I was away on holiday.

Is it Windows only?

Yes. It's a 32 bit Windows program. I have no plans to make a 64 bit Windows build or port to other operating systems.

I'm making some videos showing how to use PCB Elegance, starting with the symbol and geometry editors.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw4IT4_6lPP02R23wkmxN7A

I really like your video. Please share your work update.

I can only work on PCB Elegance when I have some free time which that isn't all that often. I don't think there will be another release this year.

I'm not very happy with how the videos turned out. They are too long and boring to watch so I doubt many people will bother. The problem is that it takes so much time and effort to make good, well structured tutorial videos with scripted voice overs. I think my time is better spent working on the code.

This EDA software seems to be much more capable than one might guess at first sight. I've given it a test drive in wine (runs just fine, as to be expected from bare-metal win32 apps) and was pleasantly surprised to find out the the PCB editor supports online DRC and automatic loop removal when routing. In terms of 'advancedness' I'd sort it somewhere between EAGLE and KiCad, maybe even on-par with KiCad.

Good to hear that it runs well in Wine. I suspected that was the case, but I don't have any computers with Linux installed around here any more so hadn't had a chance to try yet.

I'm not very familiar with Eagle. It seems to me the most significant feature it has that PCB Elegance doesn't is the built in scripting language, and the user contributed scripts that come with it. It lacks (severely, in my opinion) in usability, with its old fashioned verb-noun interface and no online DRC.

I've played with Kicad for a few days, but haven't ever done a full project with it. It too has and unconventional user interface. It's not as awkward as Eagle's, but it's less consistent. It's the only PCB design software that I couldn't figure out how to use without reading a lot of documentation. There are lots of features but many are buggy or half finished at present. There are some important features missing. For example net information is not retained in traces, vias, and fills. No polygon pads or board outline drawing in footprints (geometries). Can't easily copy bits of circuit diagrams between different projects.

The reason I started to use PCB Elegance was it had all the features of a professional PCB layout packages (albeit one last updated in 2008) and a user interface just like a normal, modern Windows program. For some reason very few PCB design packages manage to pull this off. It's also written entirely in C, an excellent choice for a such software for the sole reason that it's the programming language most commonly known by electronics design engineers. I'm an embedded C programmer and this is the first time I've done Windows programming!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 03:08:56 am by tycz »
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2018, 02:48:17 pm »
Hello,

PCB Elegance seemed interesting and since it got open-sourced, I've worked on the source code for a little while, starting from version 3.52. I've been a long-time user of FreePCB and TinyCAD when it comes to open-source CAD, and they are pretty decent but I don't like much the fact they were written using MFC. The "open-sourceness" of software based on MFC is kinda dubious IMO and we can't really use open-source dev tools (that I know of) to maintain them, pity.

So far, I have the design manager, schematics editor and pcb layout editor done. Still remains to work on the geometry editor and library manager.
What I've done so far:
  • Ported to 64-bit, mingw64 build (GCC 7.2);
  • Fixed quite a few bugs and all compilation warnings except unused variables;
  • Ran CppCheck on the source code and fixed quite a few more potential bugs and memory leaks;
  • Raised internal limits significantly where it could be safely done;
  • Started "modernizing" looks a little (still got a lot to do);
  • Zoom in/out is now centered on mouse position when using the mouse wheel.

The port to 64-bit has been done cautiously and doesn't seem to have elicited any new bugs, but it would need more testing of course. All the example designs can be opened and saved.

This software package is feature-packed but has a lot of annoying quirks IMO, so I think there would still be a lot of work to make it more usable. Also, there are some discrepancies between the different editors that would be nice to get rid of.

Anyway, does anyone actually use PCB Elegance here and would be interested in testing my development versions?
I may stop this development if there is no interest.
 

Offline tycz

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2018, 08:46:10 am »
SiliconWizard,

I still work on this project. I'm about 40% developer, 60% user. I don't really know how many users there are, but I don't think there are a lot of us. A few users that contacted me are users since the Merco Electronics days.

Last year I spent a lot of time on making a new component database manager. The same general idea as the current one, just much more user friendly. It's taking longer than expected and I din't get to finish it in the time I had available. It was a good way to learn Win API though. I also sent a couple of PCB Elegance related patches to the WINE devs, and ported the help docs to Sphinx (Restructured Text).

I'm planning a release this year. Finish the component database, fix the graphics (they're slow and flickery), bug fixes, improve presentation. The last one is quite important as I think the poor presentation contributes to its lack of popularity.

If you would like to collaborate with me please get in touch. tim at pcbelegance dot org.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2018, 11:34:40 am »
I still work on this project.

Alright. Didn't really know how it was coming along, the thread was kind of old.

If you would like to collaborate with me please get in touch. tim at pcbelegance dot org.

Will do.
 

Offline jksgvb

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2019, 08:38:25 pm »
I recently downloaded pcbelegance 3.52 and began a project. I am unable to load any .sha geometry files and attach them to a symbol. I can attach files from other parts lists but no .sha shapes will attach. If I select a geometry from the .sha list the program hangs and then crashes. I'm using Windows 7. This function worked OK in previous versions. Anybody know of a workaround or where I can get an older version? Several of my footprint drawings are .sha files and I'd still like to use them. 
 

Offline tycz

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2019, 01:58:51 am »
jksgvb,

If I understand correctly, you can choose geometries from the global libraries (.slb files) but not the global directory (.shp files). The list of geometries from the global directory show up in the dialog, but causes a crash -- does it crash when you click on one for a preview in the geometry editor?

This does work OK for me on Windows 7 and I haven't had any complaints about this from other users. Maybe something is wrong with your configuration. Which version of PCB Elegance were you using previously?
 

Offline jksgvb

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2019, 03:00:02 am »
tycz, thanks for your reply. Yes. That's right. From the schematic editor I can select .slb files OK. If I try to select a .shp file I get a hang and then a crash. I get no preview of the footprint as I do with the .slb files. I have no trouble selecting .shp files from the geometry editor. I get a preview OK.

Sometimes I feel that I'm the very last person still using pcbelegance. I no longer use windows and it's a pain to transfer cables to my old windows computer and start it up. I spent a few days reviewing LibrePCB and KiCad on my linux computer but those were even more painful.

3.50.1009 was the last version I used. I installed it and tried it and still have the same problem so it appears there's something wrong with the project.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 03:02:36 am by jksgvb »
 

Offline tycz

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2019, 07:43:55 am »
Is it just the geometry files from one particular design that have a problem? To test you can use the library manager to export a geometry from one of the libraries that you know is working. Put it in the global directory or the local design one and see if the behaviour is still the same. You can also try renaming the sch.ini and geom.ini files in the design directory so the schematic and geometry editors will run with default settings.

I think you are the 6th long term user that I've come across. And there are a few new users that have picked it up since it became free like myself. I guess there are about 10 current  users at a conservative estimate.

If you use Linux you might try running PCB Elegance through Wine (version 3.0 or above). As far as I know nobody does this, but I do try to support this platform. I spent several hours running it this way about a year ago and didn't run into any trouble. The performance was better than native Windows 7 because Wine has hardware acceleration for more of the GDI graphics functions.
 

Offline jksgvb

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2019, 07:28:47 pm »
tycz, I find that I can attach the .shp geometries to a symbol by simply typing the name of the geometry into the box in the edit dialog. I'm very happy with the easy .shp workaround and am rolling again.

Thanks for the help and for the WINE suggestion. I have heard many things about WINE, mostly not good, and was reluctant to try it. I may try it now if you say pcbelegance runs better under WINE in linux than in Windows.
 

Offline Oleander

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2019, 08:07:27 am »
I run PCB Elegance in Linux via Wine today. In schematic section - how can I highlight certain net ?
 

Offline legacy

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2019, 08:59:21 am »
I don't really know how many users there are, but I don't think there are a lot of us.

Count me in the group, I daily use EagleCAD, I don't find KiCAD comfortable, and I want to try a new CAD  :D
 

Offline tycz

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Re: PCB Elegance New Version
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2019, 01:06:24 pm »
In schematic section - how can I highlight certain net ?

It doesn't have that feature.

I really should implement it for the next release. The netlist generator already outputs a file (*.wir) for each schematic sheet which contains a the co-ordinates of every wire/bus segment with its associated net.
 


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