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Clockmanfr
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Posted: 26 August 2017 at 7:57am | IP Logged Quote Clockmanfr

I went from my normal CAD Engineering software to PCB creation with the full in-between learning curve.

In the end after a few software blind alleys, I ended up with $300 TARGET PCB creation software that gives a start to finish job, then the correct type email attachment files away to China for manufacturing.

Thanks to 'FranknFurter' for this particular PCB software advice.

I have put a link here ........

http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=8501&PN=1&TPN=1 .........

The above was posted Before this Forum PCB Manufacturing topic area existed.

I thought it might help others.

Edited by Clockmanfr on 26 August 2017 at 7:57am



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Warpspeed
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Posted: 26 August 2017 at 11:48am | IP Logged Quote Warpspeed

Finally purchased the Proteus level one software.

There is also a "starter kit" that is about $370 Aussie dollars, that gives schematic capture and full autorouting, and an unlimited physical board size up to sixteen layers, and all the features of a full professional PCB design CAD package. The only limitation is board complexity is limited to 500 pins for the starter kit.

The "pin count" is basically the number of pads or through holes for each component on the board.
For instance, a resistor or capacitor has two pins, a DIP16 package sixteen pins and so on.
Naturally it also outputs Gerber files directly. Everything is there you could possibly want.

The big advantage is the electrical and physical rules checks. If you make a mistake or forget to connect something up, like a floating logic pin, or unconnected ground, it tells you. So its pretty much impossible to make an error, either on the schematic or on the the board and not be told about it.

Manually routing simple boards is fast and easy, but at higher levels of complexity it can be an exercise in frustration, and the odd mistake can be very difficult to spot.

I purchased the next level up, which cost $630 Aussie dollars its exactly the same with all the same features as the starter kit, but it has double the circuit capacity of 1,000 pins. There are also higher levels still, but it gets ridiculously expensive.

I wanted to make an especially dense board that has 42 integrated circuits, including a couple of 48 pin monsters, and it ended up using almost 800 of the thousand pins.
It auto routed the whole board in about twelve seconds complete without any errors or omissions. It would have probably taken me many many days to route it manually, and it would still have had several errors.

The starter kit should be more than adequate for most people, as everything is there.

I am told that Eagle software is simpler and much easier to use than Proteus, but lacks some of the high end features you get with Proteus.

Those seem to be the two top competing schematic and circuit board CAD products these days, Eagle is aimed more for the top end amateur market and is probably more popular. Proteus is aimed more for the professional user. If you have used similar software before, it does not take long to get up to speed. For the absolute raw beginner, Proteus might be a bit of a challenge though, although there is plenty of documentation and tutorials to help.

The biggest disadvantage of Eagle is that it limits physical board size to something rather small at the minimal low cost end.

Proteus offers unlimited physical size, but the cheap version limits the number of component pins.

If you are making really big power boards with few actual components, say less than twenty five to thirty integrated circuits, its probably better for our type of application. Believe it or not maximum board physical size is ten metres by ten metres even for the starter kit !

Eagle might be more suitable for making really small high density boards, unless you pay more for the higher levels of Eagle. Allowable maximum physical board size is disappointingly mean at the lower levels of Eagle.


Edited by Warpspeed on 26 August 2017 at 12:14pm


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Clockmanfr
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Posted: 27 August 2017 at 8:03am | IP Logged Quote Clockmanfr

Thanks Tony, Warpspeed.

A very nice brief on the Proteus PCB software and the limitations of Eagle.

Yes,! Size of PCB and Pins used seems to be the Industry standard for the smaller Pro & amateur use software costing.

On the OzInverter Power Board you can soon get a few hundred holes.

Being a little slow, and only using grey matter when really required, things like schematic capture and Autorouting, ratnesting, is something I have not used even with my present Target software.

In the 1980's DOS PCB software was maddening, so it was back of envelope then actual obtaining the components for sizing then grid layout. Sadly my methods have not changed much.

But all this latest PCB software sure speeds things along.

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Warpspeed
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Posted: 27 August 2017 at 11:17am | IP Logged Quote Warpspeed

The software has certainly improved greatly since the old steam age DOS days.

The Chinese boards are now so low cost and available, and some decent PCB design software is a one off expense that opens up a whole new world.



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