Author Topic: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?  (Read 3753 times)

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Offline TheUnnamedNewbie

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I am interested in what tools/workflows others use.

Note: I am not asking "what tool should I use for schematic design". I'm also not asking "what is the best schematic design tool". I am not interested in schematic capture for PCB design purposes, or to create a netlist in general. This is also why I didn't put it in the general PCB/EDA/CAD section. I know some people just use screenshots from the PCB software but that, in my opinion, just doesn't look acceptable in any documentation meant for outside of the design team.

I myself usually draw of schematics for documentation and papers etc. in a vector-graphics program. I used to use Inkscape, but I got too fed up with it's issues (instability, some features that are missing, a pain in the ass to work with in general, ...), and went out and got myself Adobe Illustrator. As for symbols, I use my own 'library'. Depending on the target I will change my symbols a bit; for more public and general stuff I will use the 'correct' symbol for MOSFETs, for academic work the one originally created by Razavi.

Here is an example of a schematic I made from a text on RF power amplifiers:



So what do you guys use?
The best part about magic is when it stops being magic and becomes science instead

"There was no road, but the people walked on it, and the road came to be, and the people followed it, for the road took the path of least resistance"
 

Offline bd139

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2018, 11:09:56 am »
I use Kisscad for documentation: http://ludens.cl/Electron/kisscad/kisscad.html

Beware: unforgiving, learning curve, obtuse. But when you get going it's fast and powerful. You can drive it entirely from the keyboard too. Output is really good. I really like it. It's by Manfred Mornhinweg XQ6FOD

 

Offline donmr

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2018, 03:39:15 pm »
Inkscape
 

Offline CopperCone

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2018, 04:19:39 pm »
Dremel the schematics into flesh

You can later make the forth necronomical volume of the art of electronics that deals with using circuits to rise the dead for your army of darkness
 
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Offline bd139

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2018, 05:17:30 pm »
CopperCone for president!
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2018, 06:27:41 pm »
I'm still using Protel 99 SE, and it makes pretty nice schematics, as well as being the schematic entry I use for PC board design.  On occasion, I use the SPICE-based simulator in it, also.

Jon
 

Online Alex Eisenhut

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2018, 06:40:17 pm »
There's an export DXF in Cadence. Maybe try that.
*Except AC/DC adapters on eBay. Avoid them all!
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2018, 06:41:18 pm »
I usually use TinyCAD, which can export in EMF that can be imported in a lot of publishing software and get rendered as vector graphics. If I need a specific intermediate format, I use Inkscape and export it to SVG or EPS. Downside, it's Windows-only.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2018, 06:45:08 pm »
There's an export DXF in Cadence. Maybe try that.

Diptrace has DXF export too.

It will also save BMP and JPG from the Print Preview screen, doesn't look too bad...
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 07:03:14 pm by Gyro »
Chris

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Online jbb

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2018, 07:18:00 pm »
These days I use Microsoft Visio, which works OK. Not great, but OK.

Tips for civilising Visio:
  • Turn on the grid
  • Go into the grid properties and set the grid to 'Fixed'. This is critical to avoid snap problems.
  • Choose a reasonable grid size (2mm seems to work well for me.
    • f you want to put a drawing in a Word document, you can (in Word) say Insert Object >> Visio Drawing.  Then right-click on the drawing and say 'Open'

    I used to use JFIG (which is a Java implementation of XFIG) and got nice results but you have to be really disciplined. I used my own component library which had been tweaked to be as small as possible while still being clear. I had to fit everything into 3.3 inch columns (for IEEE papers).
 

Online T3sl4co1l

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2018, 09:10:49 pm »
CopperCone for president!

He's better qualified than Trump, I'll give you that.

*Cough*

Me, Altium of course -- e.g. https://www.seventransistorlabs.com/Images/AltiumDiscreteFlybackSch.png I'm quite particular about my schematic library and drawing style.  (I know UnnamedNewbie already knows this, I'm posting for the benefit of others to bask in the aesthetic glow of my symbols. :P )

That includes limited block diagrams, circuit snippets, waveforms and such: https://www.seventransistorlabs.com/Images/AltiumFigures.png Not as practical as some other methods, but alright when it is.

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 
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Offline archnemesis

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2018, 10:10:36 pm »
DigiKey has this tool https://www.digikey.com/schemeit/project/

It's.... okay
 

Offline blackdog

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2018, 11:58:49 pm »
Hi,

I use S-Plan for al my schematics.
Website of the maqkers.
https://www.electronic-software-shop.com/lng/en/electronic-software/splan-70.html

Some examples...









It can export to different picture formats, but better read the documentation.

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

Offline djnz

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2018, 03:09:32 pm »
Tried XCircuit? It has its learning curve, but can produce good quality output.
 

Offline metrologist

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2018, 03:46:23 pm »
I use Illustrator - generally I open the designer's PDF of the schematic in Illustrator and manually edit.

OP, Would you mind sharing your Illustrator library of electronic objects?
 

Offline Gary350z

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2018, 04:16:09 pm »
Use DipTrace, then print to PDF:
 

Online bson

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2018, 01:47:18 pm »
http://draw.io for internal use, technical documentation, and presentations.

But not so much for circuits (though it does have most common symbols), as much as for system documentation in general.

Oh, and https://sequencediagram.org/ to explain protocols, communication, API use, data life cycles, etc.  Nothing fancy, but certainly works well enough to let you explain yourself.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 01:49:48 pm by bson »
 

Offline rdl

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2018, 02:00:03 pm »
Use DipTrace, then print to PDF:

Also, from the Print preview screen you can save directly to .bmp or .jpg format.
As a bonus, it's trivially easy to make your own custom parts or symbols.
 

Offline TheUnnamedNewbie

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2018, 06:38:51 pm »
Use DipTrace, then print to PDF:

Also, from the Print preview screen you can save directly to .bmp or .jpg format.
As a bonus, it's trivially easy to make your own custom parts or symbols.

But neither .bmp or .jpg are vector formats. Does it save the PDF print version as vector format?
The best part about magic is when it stops being magic and becomes science instead

"There was no road, but the people walked on it, and the road came to be, and the people followed it, for the road took the path of least resistance"
 

Online Wimberleytech

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2018, 08:37:39 pm »
I wrote a textbook once and I drew all of the figures in Adobe Illustrator (what the publisher wanted).

Now I use Visio.  I have my own stencils containing the elecectronic symbols I like (many I created).  Still using 2007 version and have not reason (that I know of) to change.



 

Offline TheUnnamedNewbie

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2018, 08:41:31 am »
I wrote a textbook once and I drew all of the figures in Adobe Illustrator (what the publisher wanted).

Now I use Visio.  I have my own stencils containing the elecectronic symbols I like (many I created).  Still using 2007 version and have not reason (that I know of) to change.

What made you switch from Illustrator to Visio? (cost?)
The best part about magic is when it stops being magic and becomes science instead

"There was no road, but the people walked on it, and the road came to be, and the people followed it, for the road took the path of least resistance"
 

Online Wimberleytech

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2018, 10:03:00 am »
I wrote a textbook once and I drew all of the figures in Adobe Illustrator (what the publisher wanted).

Now I use Visio.  I have my own stencils containing the elecectronic symbols I like (many I created).  Still using 2007 version and have not reason (that I know of) to change.

What made you switch from Illustrator to Visio? (cost?)

There were several reasons, and cost was one but probably the main driver.  Illustrator is very precise and is a standard format that will be reproduced just as it was drawn.  However, it is not the most user-friendly for schematics, which was most of my drawing.  I started using visio where I worked to align with the others in the office--fell in love with the UI, stencils and such.  For work, I did not have to send stuff to a publisher, I just needed schematics for reports, powerpoint, etc.  Visio is perfect for that.

I still keep an old copy of Illustrator installed because sometimes I want to use old book figures that are still in ai format (or eps).
 

Online Wimberleytech

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2018, 10:06:54 am »
Hi,

I use S-Plan for al my schematics.
Website of the maqkers.
https://www.electronic-software-shop.com/lng/en/electronic-software/splan-70.html



Impressive!  Appears to borrow from Visio concepts...I am tempted...but do I need another piece of drawing software???
 

Offline Gary350z

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2018, 03:02:47 pm »
Use DipTrace, then print to PDF:

Also, from the Print preview screen you can save directly to .bmp or .jpg format.
As a bonus, it's trivially easy to make your own custom parts or symbols.

But neither .bmp or .jpg are vector formats. Does it save the PDF print version as vector format?

Yes the PDF is a vector format. Its very impressive when enlarged; see below.
Remember it's free for the base version.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 03:20:47 pm by Gary350z »
 

Offline stefan_k133

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Re: What do you use to draw schematics for documentation and reports?
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2018, 03:03:20 pm »
Another vote for XCircuit (http://opencircuitdesign.com/xcircuit/index.html). It saves its file in PostScript and therefore it could be processed further in other graphics software or included in documents. The book "Lessons In Electric Circuits" by Tony Kuphaldt (http://www.ibiblio.org/kuphaldt/electricCircuits) used it for illustrations.
 


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