Electronics > PCB/EDA/CAD

pins and PC needed

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First post on the EEV.  Glad to have found this place.

I am going to start doing processor designs and programmaning as a hobby/small biz/teaching my son.  I have a project lined up with a friend of mine looking to improve the usage of a several components.  Should be a good project to start with as it really is just a bank or relays, a dial, and display.  I would also like to get into wireless projects as well.  I will need to get access to a PCB CAD program, like DIPTrace.  I have a few questions that I cannot find answers to.

- On the licensing, what is meant by pins?  Like 500 pins or 2000 pins?

- For DIPtrace or similar, what is recommended for PC.  Looks like a good gaming laptop with I7 and separate graphics card will be ideal.  Agree?  My current laptop is about dead, so I need a upgrade anyways.

- Is KiCAD a better place to start than DIPtrace?

As a note, I am a seasoned engineer that has been working with wireless RF hardware, devices, and systems. Most of you board level guys would call me a product guy as I am more of a systems or box level engineer.  I currently manage a team that is focused on next generation wireless hardware, IP core to base station, for 3G and 4G wireless.   I would like to expand my craft to doing board level design. My son is interested in learning programming and robots.  So why not make them ourselves...

The license is about the limit of pins you an use in a schematic.
I would suggest diptrace, i tried them both and stayed with diptrace. I find it much easier to use, make new parts in it.
A gaming laptop will be a bi to much but it would be good if you also want to do some 3D stuff/play games.

I am not a gammer, just thought the gaming laptop to get the external graphics module instead of integrated. So you think it is ok to have a i5 with integrated graphics to save a few hundred bucks?

If you want the laptop only for writing code, creating PCB's, viewing some movies, browsing, music than yas, a i5 is just right but an i3 also would fit your needs. Think also for the future, how often do you want to upgrade your laptop?


--- Quote ---what is recommended for PC.  Looks like a good gaming laptop with I7 and separate graphics card will be ideal.  Agree?
--- End quote ---
Frankly, I don't think that the average Schematic/PCB package requires, or uses, many (any?) of the advanced features present on high-end gaming graphics cards.  A "gaming laptop", i7, and fancy graphics card are probably all overkill.

"pins" means the total number of pins on all the components.  So if you have a 28-pin microprocessor, a crystal with two caps, a current-limiting resistor and an LED, that would be 38 pins.  An Arduino (uno r3) has about 250 pins.  A "Really Bare Bones Board" (Arduino variant) has about 100.


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