Author Topic: Which Design software Is the best of all??  (Read 2899 times)

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Offline phil from seattle

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2021, 10:58:55 pm »
So at least 2 engineers above me replied about custom footprints. I have my own and my fellow engineers have them too. How many of them match and how many can be re-used? If we are talking about 10 different footprints for the same component - that's fine, but I bet we have hundreds of engineers drawing the same footprints. So same job done 100 times...

There should be a database where everyone could contribute.
AFAIK KiCad and Horizon EDA have public library systems. But you'd still need to check the footprint against the datasheet and if you find errors it would be nice to fix them and upload. But then again... what you might find an error is perfectly fine to others. IOW: a public library would need to have very clear rules and someone who is checking the footprints against those rules.

BTW: bigger companies have seperate departments which deal with symbols and footprints for CAD to make sure every component is up to the company's standards.

Yup!

User contributed libraries - For years, there were Eagle device libraries where there were a lot of user contributed devices.  A good amount were just plain wrong.  Another chunk were mediocre at best.  I got burned a couple of times early on and never trusted user supplied libraries again.  I would use them but only after a consultation with the datasheet and a paper fit test.  That takes about as much time as making the symbol and footprint myself.  I don't think anyone would call verifying the footprint as wasting time. So, choose your approach.

 
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Offline exe

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2021, 08:41:47 am »
In diptrace I've seen a j3elly-bean component (like lm317 or a bjt) with two pins swapped :(.

What I do now is I try to download ready components from, e.g., ultralibrarian, but then I verify footprint and pin assignment against the datasheet. Typical problem: do-not-connect pins have wrong labels, or indicated as ground. Here is a relatively recent horror story: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/so-vs-soic-packages-do-they-differ-between-manufacturers/msg3484828/#msg3484828 .
 

Offline fcb

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2021, 09:55:05 am »
Hands-down Altium if you're going to learn something that has wide industry acceptance.  Else KiCAD if your paying for it, or it's a hobby, or cash-constrained. IMO Altium is better than KiCAD, Eagle, Diptrace, etc.. but it COSTS alot more.  I last tried Eagle, Diptrace in 2017 and KiCAD 5.

Haven't tried KiCAD 6 yet, heard good things.

Just pick one and learn it - the skill in PCB design isn't knowledge of the tool - it's the sheer practice of 100's and 1000's of hours behind the screen designing PCB's that matters.

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Offline nctnico

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2021, 11:37:33 am »
Just pick one and learn it - the skill in PCB design isn't knowledge of the tool - it's the sheer practice of 100's and 1000's of hours behind the screen designing PCB's that matters.
I don't agree with this fully. Designing a PCB takes some talent (basically solved 3D puzzles), experience with the tool (which takes a couple of hundred hours) and understanding what you are doing. The talent part you either have it or not. The understanding part can be learned and is universal knowledge you can apply to any PCB. Learning a PCB CAD tool however is something you'll need to do for every new tool you encounter.

If you are a student then it is a good idea to dabble a bit with Altium, KiCad and Orcad. Make 2 or 3 PCBs with each of the packages. That will give you a head start compared to other applicants for a job.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 11:39:48 am by nctnico »
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Offline exe

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2021, 07:40:14 pm »
How good is kicad's schematic editor? If I remember correctly, last time I tried a couple of years ago, when I dragged/moved components the wires either disconnected, or wires formed weird angles. Did I do something wrong?
 

Offline mario5000

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2021, 08:16:07 am »
The best design package is:

-your brain
-paper and a pencil
-the will to invest time and learn something.


On the software side there is no such thing as the best software only your budget.

YEAH "every idiot can count to one"  :-DD

Unfortunately there is no time to draw every single part by hand or made by your self... Sure if you want to design something you must to search and study but the time isn't grow in the trees.
In February i was work on a project with an NXP SC16IS750IPW,128 which have only 24 pins. Well on Multisim 24 pins is 24 minutes... Don't ask for bigger parts (maybe hours)  :palm:
 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 08:54:08 am by mario5000 »
 

Offline phil from seattle

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2021, 03:37:20 pm »
The best design package is:

-your brain
-paper and a pencil
-the will to invest time and learn something.


On the software side there is no such thing as the best software only your budget.

YEAH "every idiot can count to one"  :-DD

Unfortunately there is no time to draw every single part by hand or made by your self... Sure if you want to design something you must to search and study but the time isn't grow in the trees.
In February i was work on a project with an NXP SC16IS750IPW,128 which have only 24 pins. Well on Multisim 24 pins is 24 minutes... Don't ask for bigger parts (maybe hours)  :palm:

Yes, Idiots and broken clocks...

1 minute per pin would kill me.  In Kicad, the symbol could be banged out in about 5 minutes. The table tool makes it really fast. The footprint, probably about the same. For foot prints, I drop one pad, make it the correct type and size and then drop the remaining ones in the approximately correct positions.  Then modify the properties for each one to set X and Y exactly.  Draw a reasonable courtyard and silk screen outline and you're done.
 
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Offline exe

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2021, 03:44:45 pm »
Unless the algorithm is smarter than you, dragging is always less polished than hand drawn connections.

Well, me too. But in many free EDAs I tried wires don't move with components. I'd need to manually reconnect wires to pins, or schematic would be broken. I don't mind manually adjust wire placement if they are a bit off after moving/rotating parts. But re-drawing every wire after every movement or rotation of, say, an MCU with many pins is nonsense. So, how does it work in kicad?
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2021, 07:56:51 pm »
Unless the algorithm is smarter than you, dragging is always less polished than hand drawn connections.

Well, me too. But in many free EDAs I tried wires don't move with components. I'd need to manually reconnect wires to pins, or schematic would be broken. I don't mind manually adjust wire placement if they are a bit off after moving/rotating parts. But re-drawing every wire after every movement or rotation of, say, an MCU with many pins is nonsense. So, how does it work in kicad?

The upcoming Kicad v6, which is in beta now as v5.99, supports dragging symbols and "rubber-banding" the wires.

Actually, I just checked and v5.1.9 (the latest stable) supports dragging/rubberbanding as well. So the feature has been in Kicad for likely a year now.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 07:58:49 pm by Bassman59 »
 
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Offline exe

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2021, 08:53:53 pm »
The upcoming Kicad v6, which is in beta now as v5.99, supports dragging symbols and "rubber-banding" the wires.

Will it keep wire angles at 90 degrees, or it will make weird angles when dragging?
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2021, 02:29:01 am »
The upcoming Kicad v6, which is in beta now as v5.99, supports dragging symbols and "rubber-banding" the wires.

Will it keep wire angles at 90 degrees, or it will make weird angles when dragging?

It makes weird angles. It tries to not cross other parts.

I think that the dragging feature is more complicated to implement than you might think. Should it do right angles on drag, or should it just maintain connections between the part-being-dragged's pins and other pins? My guess is that no matter how it's implemented, there are going to be users who say, "do it the other way."
 

Offline phil from seattle

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2021, 02:33:56 am »
Eagle does rubber banding and I would spend a lot of time cleaning that after up.  Frankly, I prefer the disconnected drag approach. If you can multiselect  the various pieces, disconnected drag is pretty easy to fix.
 
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Offline nctnico

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2021, 07:45:34 am »
Eagle does rubber banding and I would spend a lot of time cleaning that after up.  Frankly, I prefer the disconnected drag approach. If you can multiselect  the various pieces, disconnected drag is pretty easy to fix.
I agree. What I've seen from auto-connect is that it always results in a mess. The way Orcad Capture works is quite OK for dragging horizontally and vertically (with multiple components / lines selected if necessary). Just like PCB design it is better to put the major components on the schematic first, determine optimal locaction and then start drawing connections. Being able to move horizontally / vertically is enough with such a workflow.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline exe

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2021, 08:36:21 am »
I think that the dragging feature is more complicated to implement than you might think.

I like the way it works in diptrace. I had some limited experience with circuit maker (based on altium?), it also worked well. I drag and rotate components a lot and I can't imagine living without this. In easyeda dragging works fine, but wires break on rotation. Breaking wires is a no-go for me because I can reconnect them wrong.

I'm not saying this is a very simple feature, but I think I'd be satisfied with simple solution, such as make two connections from orthogonal wires which are easy to clean-up (if needed). Diptrace definitely does more than that (like, trying to avoid overlapping of wire segments), but there is a diminishing return for me. I'd say sometimes this intelligent wire placement creates a mess.

It's very interesting how this is not a problem for other people, esp. for professionals. I'd expect people to demand a more intelligent schematic editor. Am I the only one who prefers parts to remain connected when dragging, and wires keep straight angles? Or is it altium pricing that makes people be tolerant to schematic editors?
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2021, 03:47:26 pm »
I think that the dragging feature is more complicated to implement than you might think.

I like the way it works in diptrace. I had some limited experience with circuit maker (based on altium?), it also worked well. I drag and rotate components a lot and I can't imagine living without this. In easyeda dragging works fine, but wires break on rotation. Breaking wires is a no-go for me because I can reconnect them wrong.

I'm not saying this is a very simple feature, but I think I'd be satisfied with simple solution, such as make two connections from orthogonal wires which are easy to clean-up (if needed). Diptrace definitely does more than that (like, trying to avoid overlapping of wire segments), but there is a diminishing return for me. I'd say sometimes this intelligent wire placement creates a mess.

It's very interesting how this is not a problem for other people, esp. for professionals. I'd expect people to demand a more intelligent schematic editor. Am I the only one who prefers parts to remain connected when dragging, and wires keep straight angles? Or is it altium pricing that makes people be tolerant to schematic editors?
I'm finding this an interesting question/position and I want to stay far away from any judgement whether it is good or bad to demand such a feature.

I guess the preference boils down to what you are used to and what software you have used in the past. Personally I have been using mostly Orcad (first DOS then Windows) and it doesn't have this auto-rewire function. On top of that I have worked with someone who did lots of cursing on UltiCap (from Ultiboard) because it would rewire (=mess up) all his painstakingly, manually drawn wires (to make the schematic look pretty & readable) when he had to move a part. So all in all I'm not very motivated to use (or require) auto-rewiring but that might be a shortcoming/oversight from my side.

This leaves me wondering: what do your schematics look like in the end?
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline exe

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2021, 06:58:11 pm »
This leaves me wondering: what do your schematics look like in the end?

I attach three sheets from my current project: a power supply. I'm posting power (analog) part, digital control and shunt switch. There are other stuff that are not essential, such as power rails, etc. It is work in progress.

I wonder how do you find it. I'm fine with criticism.

PS After posting it I realized that analog part and shunt switching should probably be on the same sheet, while pre-reg could be on another sheet. This way all analog circuitry would be on one page.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2021, 07:30:17 pm »
For the analog stuff it looks OK but around the microcontroller things do start to get messy; including 3 seperate wires turning into one wire at the bottom left corner. How can you read such a schematic in a few years? This likely isn't an issue due to auto-wiring, the schematic just needs tidy-ing up to make it more clear.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline exe

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2021, 08:18:54 pm »
For the analog stuff it looks OK but around the microcontroller things do start to get messy; including 3 seperate wires turning into one wire at the bottom left corner. How can you read such a schematic in a few years? This likely isn't an issue due to auto-wiring, the schematic just needs tidy-ing up to make it more clear.

Fixed, thanks :).

May be there is some misunderstanding. Auto-wiring at perpendicular angles doesn't prevent mess (at least not in diptrace). It just makes it easy to clean: in the example you highlighted I just selected three pins and moved it one grid cell to the right. Now connections are straight again.

I like my schematics looking clean, so I spend a lot of time tidying and re-organizing things. This is easy for me to do in diptrace. May be more skilled engineers less move components?

PS LTSpice is ok for me. Less convenient than diptrace, but it doesn't break wires when dragging/rotating, and all components/wires/etc aligned to the grid. But I often find myself fixing weird angles.

PPS I will work more on digital part of the circuit to make it more readable. I'll organize MCU connections into named buses.
 

Offline harerod

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #43 on: April 13, 2021, 06:34:27 pm »
@exe, for whatever that's worth, your schematics' structure look alright to me. I am surprised that you use American symbols though.

Question, out of curiosity: Are you comfortable with the nightmode-display? Is that standard for your tool? Last time I saw something like that, was on some 1990s CAD. ;) Wouldn't that require some basement office, where they have to pump the light in?
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Offline exe

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #44 on: April 13, 2021, 07:19:02 pm »
I am surprised that you use American symbols though.

Ah, got used to it :). Probably, you mean resistors, right?

Question, out of curiosity: Are you comfortable with the nightmode-display? Is that standard for your tool? Last time I saw something like that, was on some 1990s CAD. ;) Wouldn't that require some basement office, where they have to pump the light in?

It comes with two themes (dark and light), I think dark theme is default. Yeah, I use dark themes everywhere, so are many of my colleagues on the previous jobs (software engineers). To my surprise, in my current company very few people do it.

Speaking of 90-x, what do you think of screenshot I'm attaching? A colleague of mine told me he felt like blast from the past (actually, I use it almost daily, it's called Midnight Commander).
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #45 on: April 13, 2021, 11:53:37 pm »
A fellow Midnight Commander addict!!   8)
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline harerod

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Re: Which Design software Is the best of all??
« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2021, 05:45:30 pm »
@exe: Take the following with a grain of salt, please:

Regarding the symbols: in the late 1980s there was this joke about Siemens plotters having trouble with those wriggle lines. So they used their market power to introduce the current European symbol set. ;)

In my younger years I preferred cave-like lighting at the workplace. On my Atari ST SM124 b/w-monitor I used inverted mode (dark).  As the years moved on I had to work with DOS-machines, which NC/MC made, err, usable.  Then Win95 came along, with a GUI topping the stuff available on GEMDOS a decade earlier. I guess it was Win95, Trinitron-tubes and my dimming eyesight that brought me to the light side.
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