Author Topic: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??  (Read 849 times)

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Offline shparvez001

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I was really curious to know which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books. This question has been in my mind for quite a long time. I have used many different online and offline CAD software, but none of them seems to look like the ones in the books.
May main question is do they really use any Schematic tools or simply draw them in regular drawing programs?
-SHP
 

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 05:27:35 pm »
I've seen some of the source material used to publish AoE3; I think H&H have a bootleg copy of DaveCAD. ;)

In other words, their publisher handles prettyprinting.  They probably trace them in graphics, yeah.

There's unlimited ways to create graphics, many of which are compatible to some degree or another.

I've drawn with a subset of symbols in Altium, which looks alright in PDF output.  I can then crop the schematics in e.g. pdflatex's includegraphics, and get presentable vector output.

Going through PDF loses all semantic meaning, but graphics don't necessarily need that anymore, so that's understandable.  Same for other vector outputs, AutoCAD, SVG, etc.  (Actually, a lot of these can be structured, say hierarchical or block based, but a naive outputter or converter will probably just make a flat representation; there may not be room (fixed fields?) or support (you can put arbitrary XML in an SVG, but what are the chances it's simply ignored by everything?) for details, like component names, anyway.)

You can draw with direct semantic meaning.  I haven't used it personally, but there's a LaTeX package for that (of course!).  Example: http://www.texample.net/tikz/examples/circuit-decorations/  I'm not sure how dumb vs. formatted this is, but it's my understanding at least that some LaTeX-ey features (heuristic spacing and constraints) can be brought to bear on the layout of a schematic, which is great.  I follow such a procedure myself when drawing (manually), it looks great.

@UnnamedNewbie did his dissertation in, InkScape I think, just hand drawn figures mostly.  Graphs plotted in... gnuplot or MATLAB?  That was on microwave structures, so not so much electrical as mechanical schematics.

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Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 06:13:53 pm »
For electronic publishing, SVG would make a lot of sense, and it does allow e.g. tooltips (via the title="" attribute in each object properties), and good converters to compatible formats, e.g. epub, will retain those.  (That means rolling your mouse over components or nets would yield a tooltip labeling each.)

Most people don't bother, though.

If you consider e.g. evaluation boards for various Arduino-compatible microcontrollers, having precise (SVG can be as precise as you like) measurements and such tooltips (including labeling test pads), it would be perfect.  Again, most won't bother.

There are a number of projects that can convert gerber files to SVG, but I haven't used those; I've only redrawn some simple schematics directly in Inkscape.
 

Offline Warhawk

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 07:43:35 pm »
For our datasheets (TI), we mostly use visio.

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 08:55:08 pm »
Visio reminds me, there is also Dia (Wikipedia), which is Free/Open, with downloads available for Windows and Macs, and is already in most Linux distros' package managers.

(I often use Graphviz to create directed and undirected graphs, in the Dot language, for example from programs.  Then, if I can see a clear layout, I often redraw the graph in Inkscape or Dia.  You can also save Graphviz and Dia graphs as SVG, and edit them in Inkscape.)
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 10:00:15 pm »
Visio, Illustrator and there is one for Macintosh.. McCad i believe. Xcircuit is also there . used for IC drawings.
I draw everything in Altium then copy paste directly into Illustrator that then massages the line widths , colors and fonts. Save as SVG.
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Offline blackdog

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 10:51:37 pm »
Hi,

I use a German program called sPlan and it costs about 50 Euro.

It is only meant for the drawing of schematics and not for a connection with e.g. a CAD package for making PCBs.
I Love it!

Below are two high resolution exports of two drawings, or rather a drawing and a sheet with the scoop photos.
The photos are large in terms of file size, around 25MB.

Schematic


Scoop pictures


Kind regards,
Bram

« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 04:51:03 pm by blackdog »
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Online Cerebus

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2020, 11:00:11 pm »
In other words, their publisher handles prettyprinting.  They probably trace them in graphics, yeah.

Exactly this. The standard on most publisher's Art Desks is Adobe Illustrator, but anything that spits out an EPS or pdf-X file will suit most publisher's workflows. CorelDraw and Aldus FreeHand used to see a lot of use in the same space in the past, but they've fallen by the wayside

The slave-paying-to-work economy of academic publishing (journals and the like) then it's more likely that the publisher will demand that the authors do all the work themselves and then all bets are off as to the tooling used. LaTeΧ is still very popular in this area and there are a number of drawing package front end tools that work with LaTeΧ, some even specific to electronics.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2020, 12:30:59 am »
Below are two high resolution exports of two drawings, or rather a drawing and a sheet with the scoop photos.
The photos are large in terms of file size, around 25MB.

Haha holy shit why would you post uncompressed bitmaps?

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Offline blackdog

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2020, 07:24:19 am »
Hi Holy Tim   :-DD

The reason I chose this file type in this post is quality.
It are 300dpi images and one of them is a schematic and the other is a sheet of images.

Normally I use 150dpi png files which I then edit with IrfanView.

sPlan can create up to 300dpi images in these formats, GIF, JPG, BMP, EMF and SVG.

I hope it is now clear why.

Kind regards,
Bram
“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.”
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2020, 08:24:45 am »
Those sPlan schematics remind me of Elektor magazine schematics, I wonder if they used it for a while.

Demo version is 4.9MB  :-+

https://www.electronic-software-shop.com/demo-versionen/?language=en
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 08:30:17 am by voltsandjolts »
 

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2020, 04:27:02 pm »
That... doesn't explain anything. ??? ???  It's a 25MB uncompressed BMP.  PNG at exactly the same size and 256 colors (a slight reduction from the 2060 original unique colors, which are present in text antialiasing only) is 193k, a compression rate of 99.2%.  Or using a filtered resize to 50%, effectively antialiases all graphics, maintaining readability while using only 229k (24 bit color) or 104k (256 colors).  In those 25MB you could've uploaded, say, a one-minute video describing operation of the circuit; or about a dozen dictionaries in plain text; or the genetic code to an as-yet-unknown virus that attacks and cures cancer; or...

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Offline blackdog

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2020, 05:02:42 pm »
Hi, Tim,

I haven't uploaded anything, these files are on my server right here next to me.
That means that the viewer downloads this to his devices, it costs a bit more data from the user, yep!

I have chosen a non-compressing format to show the quality that is possible of this CAD pakage.
Because of the many white and black in the images, a high compression factor is possible and of course I know that.

I also know what fits in 25MB file, my first harddisk was 20MB.  :-DD
The average user looks daily at all kinds of video information that is totally useless and often contains Gigabytes of data.
So I don't see the problem, with the 52MB of data in these two files on my own server.

Kind regards,
Bram
“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.”
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2020, 12:37:17 pm »
Quote
So I don't see the problem, with the 52MB of data in these two files on my own server.

Every time someone visits this page they will download 50MB. Every time. Everyone. That's a fuck of a lot of data to spring on people unawares. When they drop back to see how you answer this, that's another 50MB. Let's hope they're not on a roaming cell phone, eh!

The proper way to do it would be to post low-res pics with hyperlinks to the full-res ones on your server. They if they're interested it's a mere click away and you haven't foisted your ego on anyone unawares.
 

Offline blackdog

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2020, 04:56:17 pm »
Hi,

I think the original poster has already seen the pictures...
The pictures are now converted to *.png

Kind regards,
Bram

“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.”
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2020, 06:49:55 pm »
Those sPlan schematics remind me of Elektor magazine schematics, I wonder if they used it for a while.

Same here. And I suspect so!
sPlan actually makes good quality schematics (publishable) compared to most other schematic editors.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2020, 08:52:53 pm »
Those sPlan schematics remind me of Elektor magazine schematics, I wonder if they used it for a while.

Same here. And I suspect so!
sPlan actually makes good quality schematics (publishable) compared to most other schematic editors.

 Elektor used McCad on Mac using a custom library. They also ultiboard. prior to that it was hand drawn.  now they are on altium i
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Online bd139

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2020, 11:23:17 pm »
I’m using circuitikz for what I’m currently working on.

http://texdoc.net/texmf-dist/doc/latex/circuitikz/circuitikzmanual.pdf

Caution: requires extensive LaTeX knowledge!

Appears to have output very similar to AoE 3rd edition.
 
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Online Cerebus

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2020, 12:39:39 am »
Having literally just read the preface to the Art of Electronics X-Chapters I'll draw attention to

Quote from: Paul Horowitz, Winfield Hill
Our colleague Peter Lu taught us the delights of Adobe Illustrator, and appeared at a moment's notice when we went off the rails;

From which I think we can conclude that Illustrator was used for the AoE3 X-Chapters.
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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2020, 08:08:09 am »
Illustrator is great but the workflow is horrible. I had to piece together a technical manual once with that and InDesign. Ugh. Kill me with a spoon.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2020, 02:55:00 pm »
Those sPlan schematics remind me of Elektor magazine schematics, I wonder if they used it for a while.

Same here. And I suspect so!
sPlan actually makes good quality schematics (publishable) compared to most other schematic editors.

 Elektor used McCad on Mac using a custom library. They also ultiboard. prior to that it was hand drawn.  now they are on altium i

If you're sure about that, thanks for the info. I've always thought sPlan schematics spookily looked like Elektor ones. So maybe it's the other way around; sPlan authors got inspired by Elektor magazines to devise their libraries and overall schematic appearance...

Anyway, I always liked the cleanliness of Elektor schematics.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2020, 03:00:18 pm »
For electronic publishing, SVG would make a lot of sense, and it does allow e.g. tooltips (via the title="" attribute in each object properties), and good converters to compatible formats, e.g. epub, will retain those.  (That means rolling your mouse over components or nets would yield a tooltip labeling each.)

Note that KiCad can export to EPS and SVG. When set on B&W, that now looks actually pretty decent. (For the SVG export, I don't think they support tooltips, but the vector format itself is still pretty useful. You could suggest tooltips for a future version.)
You can always design your own library of parts for publishing if you don't like the predefined ones.

Some other schematic editors (on Windows) that don't directly have vector graphics export still have EMF export (through files or through the clipboard.) You can then import/paste this in Inkscape and save it as SVG or EPS. (EMF retains the graphic commands and thus can yield vector graphics with no loss.)
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Which CAD tools are used by Authors to draw circuits for books??
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2020, 07:44:41 pm »
For electronic publishing, SVG would make a lot of sense, and it does allow e.g. tooltips (via the title="" attribute in each object properties), and good converters to compatible formats, e.g. epub, will retain those.  (That means rolling your mouse over components or nets would yield a tooltip labeling each.)

Note that KiCad can export to EPS and SVG. When set on B&W, that now looks actually pretty decent. (For the SVG export, I don't think they support tooltips, but the vector format itself is still pretty useful. You could suggest tooltips for a future version.)
So does EasyEDA as well, for both the schematics as well as the gerbers (layers).  However, you may wish to remove the "shape-rendering:crispEdges;" style/attributes to allow browsers to anti-aliase the edges.

Tooltips are trivial to add in Inkscape: just open the Object properties dialog, then use the Edit paths by nodes tool to select individual components; that way you don't need to ungroup anything.  Just remember to click the Set button in the Object properties dialog to save the changes for each object.  Here's an example:

However, instead of adding Title attributes to existing objects, you can instead just draw background-colored rectangles and circles, put them behind the artwork but in front of the background, and give them the title attributes, to make the hot areas larger and easier to point to.

(If you don't see any tooltips, it might be the forum HTML/CSS/Javascript interfering (overriding) them; open the SVG in a new browser window in that case.)

I believe this kind of thing would be really useful in e.g. module and microcontroller pinouts, where just moving the cursor to the point you are wondering about would be enough to show what it is.  Inkscape does allow interactive Javascript as well (in the same Object properties dialog); although I would personally embed the SVG within the HTML page (see my home page for an example of that), so that one could highlight SVG elements (by changing their color properties) by clicking on a text anchor.

It might also be useful in tutorials, where one could look at the schematic and the board view at the same time, and highlight components in both by clicking on it in either.  Something like showing a diode or a LED, and which leg is cathode and which anode, and highlighting the segment in both a "real world side view" and a schematic, might help newbies learn more efficiently.  (Me, I have to use mnemonics for such details..)

The only microcontroller I have both accurate schematics in KiCad/EasyEda for, and nice photos to use for the real-world image, is for the Pro Micro clones.  If there is real interest in seeing whether that kind of interactive browser/HTML/web view of the board pinouts is useful in practice, I could do that one.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 07:46:38 pm by Nominal Animal »
 


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