Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?

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Hi,
   I've just wasted about a fortnight at work, all thanks to the
Protel 99SE schematic/PCB program going berserk, corrupting its own
files, being impossibly non-intuitive and generally doing everything
it can to make me want to smash my monitor out of frustration.
   I refuse to ever do another schematic and PCB layout using that
woeful bugware (in my opinion).
   Has anyone here used Eagle Professional for doing multi-layer SMD
artworks? I'm thinking seriously of going to it from Protel, and would
like some feedback from actual users before I go any further.
   Thanks. :)

Regards,
Bob

 

Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


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Do you have the latest Service Pack bob?
Protel 99SE is extremely popular because it is a pretty stable
environment and does work very well. Sure it has a few issues, but you
learn to deal with them with time.

Forget what other people say when it comes to using PCB software, try
the demo yourself on some real boards, only then will you know if it's
any good for you. If you use anything but protel, you might have to
generate Gerbers to send to the manufacturers. If that's your normal
thing, no problems, if not then it's an extra step which can be a pain
in the butt.

Dave :)


Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


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I agree completely about Protel 99SE. Its *only* benefit is that the file
format is accepted by PCB manufacturers, without need for Gerber plots.  I
think that after time some people are able to adapt to Protel and jump
through the hoops.  People pay money to do Protel courses.  Protel 99SE is
poorly designed, poorly coded.

I tried Eagle, but I never felt at home.  Eagle is available for Linux as
well as Windows, but I would rather the standard Windows control
conventions. Instead, like most other CAD programs, you just have to adapt.
Many people recommend Eagle.

I use Protel at work, but only the PCB layout part.  For the schematic, I
use TinyCAD, a freeware schematic editor which exports a Protel format
netlist.  TinyCAD is easy to use and works how you expect.  It doesn't lock
up.  Surprisingly, Protel PCB is much better behaved when importing a
netlist rather than doing its own stupid schematic to PCB.  You can modify
the schematic and Protel PCB will suck in the new netlist and match up all
the copper and parts.

TinyCAD is so good I use it for all my work schematics.  You can cut bits of
TinyCAD schematic and paste into Word etc documents.  TinyCAD does
multi-sheet for big jobs.

http://tinycad.sourceforge.net/Links.html


this was recommended as "human friendly" :

http://www.pulsonix.com



Roger



Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


Thanks Roger!
   You can obviously relate to what I've been going through. :) I
really appreciate your input and I'm going to seriously check out both
those websites/programs you recommended.
   I too have found that the PCB layout part of 99SE isn't too bad.
Most of the bugs and instability seem to be in the schematic capture
and PCB updating part of the program.
   If TinyCAD does what I expect it to do, that will be a whole new
experience after 99SE where many commands seem to have been placed in
the last menu in which you'd expect to find them.
   Thanks again!

Regards
Bob  



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Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


Thanks Dave,
   Yeah, our Protel 99SE has been upgraded to SP6 which is the latest
one on the Altium website.
   "A few issues" seems to be a big understatement. :) All the people
using that program where I work know it to be very unstable and prone
to coming up with all kinds of weird errors.
   One time I told one of the blokes "99SE crashed twice on me this
morning". His comment was "Only twice?" and he was serious. He backs
up his Protel files every 2 minutes just to be sure of not losing much
work when it does something stupid. I'm an optimist... I back up about
every 5 minutes!
   We completely re-installed the program and SP6 from scratch and we
just replaced the 2.8GHz Celeron motherboard/128MB ATI video card with
a 3GHz P4/256MB Nvidia video card in the despairing hope that 99SE
would become stable enough for me to finish the project I'm working
on. That didn't significantly help either.
   It finally turned out that 99SE had subtly corrupted the .ddb file.
Of course using its "File repair" function didn't make the slightest
difference. Only time-wasting trial-and-error methods identified which
components on just one page of the schematic were invisibly corrupted,
and I was able to fix it (I think/hope).
   I'm only really annoyed because I was beginning to wonder if 99SE
was going to lose me my job because I was wasting so much time trying
to find the problem and the manager was running out of patience.

   Thanks to you and everyone else for your thoughts about Eagle. If
it's stable and not so quirky that I can't get my brain around it, it
has got to be better than 99SE! :)

Regards
Bob
  
    
  


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Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


What OS are you guys using?

I use 99se+sp6 under win2K or XPpro  to lay out schematics and manual
route  4 layer boards and have not had a crash in years (4? 5? years).

If you are running it under win98 or earlier you will have problems,
this has been documented on the techserve protel mailing  list.

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I run 99SE primarily under W2K and have only had one issue since SP6
has been installed. That is due to file names (including paths) on the
server exceeding 256 characters.
99SE is most probably the most popular professional package in use in
Australia. It's not for hobbyists, but for professional use it's hard
to beat once you get used to it.
I actually love the way you can re-install parts of the program if
needed. Eg, if the Autorouter is playing up or a program file gets
correct, just reinstall that part. No other program I know of lets you
do that - real nice.
Before that I used Protel 2.8 PCB for years, now that was a NICE
package - small and fast, did enough but not too much.

I always liked to show up the Autotrax guys who recon Autotrax was
faster because it was DOS based. Once you pull up a board and zoom in,
it was no contest, you could literally see the tracks being drawn on
Autotrax, but 2.8 (and 99SE even) is instant at any zoom level. I never
went back to Autotrax after that.

Dave :)


Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


   All I can say is that I'm jealous of those people who don't seem to
have any problems with 99SE. If it would stop producing assorted
memory conflict errors and the "Floating Point Division By Zero" one
which brought all progress to a stop for about a week (which Altium
Aust said they'd never seen before) while I tried to identify the
cause and correct it, I'd be delighted!!!
   I still hate that program with a passion now, regardless of the
fact that it does have some nice features like all the global things
it can do so easily.  


Bob




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Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


   What kind of name is that? Most of us are running XP Pro. I've been
using XP Home but have just upgraded to XP Pro as one of the things we
hoped would make it behave.
   Now that the corrupted page schematic page "seems" to be fixed,
it's been stable. I hope it stays that way!





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Yup. I wasted three hours of my life trying to get some value
out of the 99SE evaluation version on Tue night. Never again.
Might have been better if the service pack would apply itself.

As I wrote to a friend the next day:

Under XP, it's utterly broken. I can't even remember half the defects
I found during three hours of hair-tearing frustration. Almost nothing
worked in the way a naive user would expect, and some fundamental and
annoying quirks made the experience unpleasant. On the whole, the "help"
isn't, and isn't consistently searchable - they can't even decide
whether they're talking about "parts" or "components" for example. And
that's before you get beyond the design "features" into the numerous
outright bugs, of which only one is possibly attributable to running
under XP. Every time I hit Save, I got an error dialog from the Access
Ado driver about a "null string truncated on the right" or some such
MicroShit unintelligable garbage. The file seemed to be saved correctly
every time except the last time at 11:30 PM, which was *empty* when I
re-opened it. Needless to say, I gave up in utter disgust, it's an
absolute disgrace.

Altium, if you're listening, sack your entire software development and
documentation staff and hire some new ones. It won't impede your
business more than continuing with the current pile of dogshit.

Installed Eagle under Linux yesterday, and though it's a bit "different"
in its approach to a few things (verb-noun instead of noun-verb), it
works reliably and I've almost completed my first library, schematic
and board. The Eagle files are directly accepted by www.olimex.com, so
I don't have to worry about doing Gerber and drill files as I would
have with geda, the other software I tried.

Clifford Heath.

Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


   Wow! I had to stop and make sure that your post wasn't something
I've written to mates about 99SE. Those are all my thoughts exactly,
even though 99SE has frustrated and infuriated me in somewhat
different ways to how it's taken its revenge on you.
   There are times when I was sure its designers had gone out of their
way to make it baffling, frustrating and almost impossible to do many
of the functions. The "help" files are so ambiguous that they usually
only make me more confused about what the program's supposed to do.
   Thanks for your comments about Eagle. I don't mind a few little
problems related to its German origin, as long as it's stable and does
what I expect.
   Every time I do anything with 99SE, I stop and carefully check to
see what unwanted side-effects there were... like finding that the far
end of a line on the schematic had also moved along with the end I was
working on, producing a nice short-circuit waiting to haunt me later,
etc etc etc.
   This 99SE/Eagle discussion has been very educational!

Regards,
Bob





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Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 01:48:50 +1000, Bob Parker

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The number one tip when using 99se, do not use the database function.
That will be your biggest downfall. That aside, Protel99se is fine.

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The thing is, this sort of garbage is really unacceptable. When you pay a
fairly huge amount of money for a piece of software, it should bloody well
work, and in particular, NOT corrupt files which it itself has created!!
This is one of the reasons I prefer open-source software... if there's a
bug, you can fix it yourself, or if you care enough and can afford to, you
can pay someone to fix it for you, independent of the vendor / original
author. There are quite a few decent open-source electronics tools out there
now, such as Electric (for VLSI), PCB, the gEDA suite, oregano (SPICE
front-end), Qucs (circuit simulator) etc.

I used to use Protel for DOS some years ago... which was rock solid... the
first Windows version was horribly unstable - perhaps understandable as a
newly supported platform - however subsequent releases have gotten worse
each time. They need to do major work on the quality control front. It's not
that hard to create good quality, STABLE software... maybe if enough
customers bitch about this they'll do something about it.

- Daniel
--
*************************************************************************
*    Daniel Franklin - Lecturer in Computer Engineering
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Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?



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I've been using the database file system without fault. The the only
problems I have heard about were caused by the versions of MS ODBC
drivers being out of date.

99se+sp6 is a very stable program when run on the correct operating
system (win2K or above) with the correct resources. Join the techserve
mailing list and you will find many, many  happy users of this program.

Protel V3 was an abomination however.

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There are thousands of happy users who love Protel, who learn all the quirks
and never think twice about it.

I recognise that, but I am among the group who find Protel to be shoddy,
weird, offensive, stupid.  I've gone to the help forums, read documentation
and I just don't see how Protel can charge $ for this amateurish job. Its
not so bad if you use Protel a lot, because you remember the tricks, but I
only do a board every 6 months.

By contrast, I can sit down to all sorts of programs and pick them up after
6 months.

Roger Lascelles



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Fair enough. I do agree its price is incredibly inflated, and there's no
way we can justify the expense of upgrading to Protel DXP.

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That's exactly what management in the company I work for said, too.



Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


On Tue, 14 Jun 2005 00:50:21 +1000, Bob Parker

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My company recently bought a number of Protel DXP 2004 upgrades
because Altium were about to stop issuing upgrade licences from 99SE.
However so far there is no decision to start using it because:

1) Many of our workstations are slower than 2GHz, or with less 512Mb
RAM.  They are too slow to run it properly, especially with large
project files or complex simulations.

2) It seems far too complex and no one wants to suffer the
productivity loss.

regards,
Johnny.



Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


   Just looking at the complexity of the DXP startup screen is enough
to make me not want to use it. :)

Regards
Bob




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Re: Anyone used Eagle Professional PCB editor?


On Mon, 13 Jun 2005 15:03:12 +1000, "Roger Lascelles"

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There is two choices for professionals when it comes to CAD packages
for electronics, Protel and Cadence, the rest are toys. When you use
protel to it maximum capabilities, there is only one better, Cadence.
It is extremly powerful. If you can handle using the toys, go for it,
you are probably a back yard operation anyway.

BTW, I have been using protel since dos to 99se. 99se is the best i
have used, the most powerful and the most stable. IF you blame Protel
for their ddb, then go and have a whinge to MS because Access
databases are shit and so are both there native drivers and the ODBC
drivers. When 99se was developed, there was JET (access) and sybase
anywhere. Sybase would have added another $300 to the cost.

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