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Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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This is really bizarre. What OS are you trying to install on? Are you
running antivirus software, automatic file restoration utilities or
other weird programs that may be hooking file I/O?

My guess is that you probably downloaded with Internet Explorer, and
the download silently timed out, so you have a partial file only. Try,
try again :) Eagle has one of the least restricted eval modes you'll
find.

Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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I agree.  Eagle seems like the best approach and seems to be well
recommended.  But I don't get what's with the file errors.  I have
downloaded both the rel 1 and rel 2 versions of 4.09 twice and get the
same error each time.  The sizes match the expected sizes and are the
same each time.  The current version 4.11 seems to be downloading now.
I guess they may have had the server down for some of the weekend.  That
would not be the first time a company did maintenance over the weekend.  

We'll see how the current release goes.  I'm sorry that one poster said
the GUI is not intuitive.  Seems to me that a layout package should be
very straightforward.  But then I am not a board layout expert.  I guess
there can be subtleties that I am not aware of that make it complex.

Re: Low cost PCB layout software

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It would be a Good Thing if the Windows app vendors would post MD5 sums
alongside the download links -- at least for large files -- as is common
practice over in the Linux side of things.

FWIW, my connection here is usually pretty clean and the 4.11 I just
downloaded installed OK. The checksum is

FA53F89BCD6430F6B3F610FCD84044C6  eagle-4.11e.exe

If you don't have md5sum, here's one place to get a Windows binary,
along with a usage summary. I think there are GUI-ized versions, too.

http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/using_md5sums.html

--
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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Help me with this.  I downloaded the MD5sum program and the checksum is
not ok, then what do I try to fix?  I have done the same downloads
several times from this website and they just don't seem to work.  Other
sites download just fine and the programs run.  

I use a download utility called Star Downloader 1.42 and have never had
any trouble with it before.  I repeated the download and got a different
wrong checksum.  

Can anyone make these files available from a different source?

Re: Low cost PCB layout software

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Try a simple FTP from ftp://ftp.cadsoft.de/pub/program/4.11 /. If you
don't have an FTP client, there's one available from
http://sourceforge.net/projects/filezilla

--
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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I got the file to download correctly by telling the download utility to
download it in one stream rather than in several.  I am not sure how
multiple streams helps, perhaps improving speed when the source limits
bandwidth to any one stream.  

But now that I have tried to use Eagle, I do not find it an easy to use
tool.  One of the first tasks I have is to make a foot print for a
TSSOP20 package.  I can find various commands to add the SMD pads, but
it is *extremely* tedious since I have to calculate the X,Y of every pad
and then go though a process of creating each one and moving it to the
right location using the mouse.  Since the X,Y coordinate shown depends
on where the pad is picked up using the mouse, I have to use the info
command to find the current location, make sure I pick it up by that
location and then move it to the correct location.  I tired using typed
commands for this, but the editor complains saying the move command can
only be used on "boards".  

I can't seem to find a way to pour copper on this part, which it needs
to create a large pad under the body for heat conduction.  I suppose I
could add an extra pin to the schematic and use the SMD command, but
that seems like an odd way to do it.  

All in all, this seems like yet another program that is very far from
modern GUI techniques.  I have drawn this layout in Visio to make sure
it will fit on the board and it was much, much easier to do than it is
in the board layout package.  

I have looked at the tutorial and did not find it very enlightening.
Anyone know of other sources of info on how to use this tool?  The
manuals just don't cut it.

Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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Try working through the tutorial.  It isn't that difficult.  I'm
definitely no expert but to place pads at regular intervals I set the
grid to the pad spacing and set the ALTernate grid to 1/2 of the
pad spacing interval.  Then all that is needed is to select SMD, set
the pad size as needed and click away.  The right mouse button rotates
the pads as needed.  What I haven't found yet is an easy way to number
the pads as I desire.  Presently I go back and selet the RENAME tool
and edit each pad after placing them all.
BTW the grid set button is the one in the upper left corner of the
window which has a rectangular array of dimples.
The current version (4.11) has a nice feature where you can OPEN your
custom library, then from the control panel browse the other
libraries.  When you find a DEVice or PACkage that is close to what
you need, it can easily be copied to your open library.
Good luck.
-Bill Knight
R O SOftWare


Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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But the grid works in both directions, X and Y.  Just by coincidence
this worked out for this part (off by only 0.0002").  But in general the
spacing in the X and Y directions will not have a happy multiple.  I
guess I expected to have a way to enter the coordinates of a pad as text
to save all the awkward GUI mouse stuff.  But I don't see a clean way to
do that.  I would have expected an interface based on a DOS program to
have keyboard commands for this sort of thing.  


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I did not do it, but it looks like they can be done in order and you get
the right names.  

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Wow, that is only avaialble with the most current release?  Seems like a
standard sort of feature that should have been in place long ago.

Re: Low cost PCB layout software
Thanks for your advice.  I figured out some of it on my own, but a lot
of what you said is new and useful.  

I am drawing the footprint of a TSSOP20 with a thermal pad underneath.
I think I have the 20 pins (SMDs) laid down ok, but I am very unclear on
how to do the thermal pad.  I added a 21st SMD in the area where the
solder mask is open for connection.  I also added the vias for thermal
connection to the back of the board.  I am unclear if this is a good way
to handle this or if I should use PADs instead.  The TI data sheet
recommends 10 vias of two different sizes, one inside the open area and
a larger via outside the open area.  I guess this was not a good chip to
use for a first try of the software.  


"Lewin A.R.W. Edwards" wrote:
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I agree as long as you don't mind answering questions :)

Is there a better group for discussing board layout or Eagle?

Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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The commands to place pads for packages will take coordinates from the
keyboard (I prefer that to the mouse for this kind of work anyway).  You
can also script this.

Definitely peruse Cadsoft's support newsgroups.  This kind of question is
dealt with nicely there.  Be sure to read older postings since these
kinds of questions have often been addressed before.

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See polygon.

Robert
--
" 'Freedom' has no meaning of itself.  There are always restrictions,
be they legal, genetic, or physical.  If you don't believe me, try to
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Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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From my prior posting...

Cadsoft hosts newsgroups for product support, and I've been pleased with
the user community as well.  Before I bought, I scoured both to look for
the chronic complaints and found there were no serious issues, and a lot
of compliments - a nice side-effect of an open support forum.  Here are
their English newsgroups:
news://news.cadsoft.de/eagle.userchat.eng
news://news.cadsoft.de/eagle.support.eng


It does take quite a bit of patience to get familiar with Eagle, but it
pays off.  Once I got a complete board (incl. new devices) through the
process, I began to appreciate its features much more.  (They could do a
lot to help the learning curve, not the least of which is better
tutorials.)

For precision package layout, check out the export feature - it's
excellent for this purpose.  Create the package, export it (to a text
script format), edit the coordinates to give the exact precision you
require, then run it as a script to import the revised package.

Also, there is a tutorial specifically on creating devices, IIRC.  If
you haven't found it already, it's very enlightening.

Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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It would be quite enough to use ZIP (or ARJ, LHZ, etc) formats,
possibly combined with a self extractor for the unwashed.  All
such formats include internal consistency checks and can be
examined before installation.  MD5 is simply overkill, but can
also be used internally for the consistency checks.

 *** Ad Hoc Committee to Stamp Out Delivery in Executables ***

--
Chuck F ( snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com) ( snipped-for-privacy@worldnet.att.net)
   Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
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Re: Low cost PCB layout software
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It's a personal preference thing as much as anything else. When I
*first* started working with EAGLE, I also found it unintuitive,
because it doesn't behave like other Windows applications. There are a
couple of things that are decidedly non-Windows-standard. For
instance, you don't use the Copy tool to copy, you use the Cut tool.
And the procedure is not simply "select item to copy, and click copy".
The procedure is:

* select item(s) to copy
* click Cut
* either click Go, or right-click on where you want the pickup point
to be.

The reason for this, by the way, is so that you can select where the
grab point on a group lies. The default (clicking Go) is the center of
the selection.

Like all of its counterparts, EAGLE is descended from a DOS package.
(It was also at one time available for OS/2). Cadsoft decided to stay
with consistency with the old DOS interface in preference to moving to
a more standardized way of doing things.

4.11 has ironed out some of the oddities in the library manager, which
was also a bit unusual to use.

The bottom line is, whatever package you use will have a learning
curve. My experience with Eagle and OrCAD, both of which I've used for
my "daily bread" (plus a couple of packages I just evaluated) is that
you have to expect a significant learning curve to use any of these
packages *effectively*. I wouldn't say EAGLE's is steeper or longer
than any of the others.

Re: Low cost PCB layout software

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Greetings,
I am a retired consulting EE.  I have been using Eagle for many years.
I was a beta tester for the OS2 version and have just bought the
4.1Pro  version but I have not installed it yet.  I like the
autorouter and think it works quite well. I would be willing to sell
it all to you or I offer my services to do the schematic capture and
board layout for you.  I'm always looking for ways to make a little
extra money to support my R/C airplane habit.  My email is:ahorne1 at
comcast dot net.  If I can be any help feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Art

Re: Low cost PCB layout software
http://www.pcb123.com/?source=eetimes

I'm not sure if this one is already mentioned.

Gerard



Re: Low cost PCB layout (for Mac's)
Well,

  I'll throw in the lone voice of the Macintosh community.  I use Osmond,
which is currently a freeware package being created, but is VERY good.  It
can't autoroute (which no one seems to like anyway) but it does support
partlist and netlist files, copper floods and "ratsnesting" which allows
you to see what pins should be connected.  Building your own libraries is
very easy, as is doing minute individual mods after the board is done.  It
can handle any number of board layers and does the standard modern Gerber
and drill file outputs.  Joe (the author) also does a Gerber-to-PDF tool
so you can look at the gerber file outputs to make yourself feel better about
the final product.  I've used the files on a bunch of PCB manufacturers and
never had any complaints.

  He has both OS9 and OSX versions of the software.  You can get it here:
http://www.swcp.com/~jchavez/osmond.html

  If you are into Mac electronics, don't bother with the Douglas PC layout
system, it looks like the last time they gave that package a facelift the
80286 was the hottest thing on the market...

  I use LogicWorks 4.0 to do my schematic capture, then massage the parts
and connection list files to work with Osmond to give me a GREAT CAD package
for PC boards.  Designworks would be a better package, but Logicworks is
about $80 and comes with a book on Amazon.com - Osmond is free.

have fun,
DLC

: I am looking for low cost PCB layout software.  My designs are not
: overly complex, and are on small boards, but I will be using very small
: parts and features ~0.4mm/0.016" pitch, .006"/.006" trace/space.  I have
: looked at a couple of web sites that list free software and have found
: two types of packages; the no strings attached open source packages that
: are not very mature or run on xNIX (and not windows) or the PCB fab
: house supplied packages that tie you to getting your boards from them.  

: Clearly I need something that actually works, so most of the truely free
: packages are not viable.  The PCB package from
: http://bach.ece.jhu.edu/~haceaton/pcb/ seems to work, but is not
: supported under windows.  It is not clear if it will run under Cygwin.
: I guess I could dedicate a machine to PCB design and run Linix, but I am
: pretty sure I would end up creating problems from my lack of experience
: with *NIX.  

: I looked at a few of the PCB vendor packages and have done one design
: and ordered boards.  It was fairly low risk since it only cost $59
: including shipping from expressPCB.  But these boards have no soldermask
: or silk screen.  I can live without silk screen, but the solder mask is
: important when using fine pitch parts.  In general, I am not happy being
: tied to a vendor and having to duplicate the layout work to use a
: different vendor.  Reentering a schematic is no big deal, but layout is
: very time intensive and each tool is toally different.  

: So that brings us to the commercial layout packages.  Most of them are
: several kilobucks and out of my budget.  I found a list at
: http://www.olimex.com/pcb/dtools.html of a lot of packages, but there is
: no real info on them.  So that is why I am here.  Can I ask for opinions
: on what tools will give the best benifit for the cost of the low end
: tools?  I hate to spend even $100 on a tool that I am not sure I will
: want to continue to use, but if I have confidence that it will be a good
: tool, I would not mind paying $500.  

: So what are my options and how good are they for fine pitch work, up to
: 6 layers?  

: And does anyone have any experience with TCI3?  It seems to be a free
: tool, but when I follow the link, the page is in French.  Anyone know if
: the tool can be used by English speakers (and readers)?  Any English
: docs?  I guess I could learn metric dimensions; 0.15 trace - 0.15 space
: :).

--
============================================================================
* Dennis Clark         snipped-for-privacy@frii.com                www.techtoystoday.com   *
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Re: Low cost PCB layout (for Mac's)
Thanks for the info, but other than this one tool, there are not many
engineering uses for Macs; at least there are not many that I can use.
The bulk of my work is doing DSP and FPGA design and FPGA tools just
don't exist on the Mac.  I don't know of any DSP tools on the Mac
either.  


Dennis Clark wrote:
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Re: Low cost PCB layout (for Mac's)
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Please don't toppost.  Your answer belongs after the material to
which you are replying, after snipping out whatever is not
germane.

I thought MACs these days were running Linux/Unix in one form or
another.  This opens up the whole world for them.  At worst such
things as WINE and DOSEMU should allow you to run ugly Windoze and
DOS applications.

--
Chuck F ( snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com) ( snipped-for-privacy@worldnet.att.net)
   Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
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Re: Low cost PCB layout (for Mac's)
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That is correct, Mac OS X is a variant (Darwin) of FreeBSD UNIX.  X
Windows is supported (with a free download from Apple); standard
supplied shells are tcsh (C shell, extended) and zsh (Korn shell,
extended).  "gcc", "cc", "ld", and "make" are present, "imake" is
supplied with X Windows...

Re: Low cost PCB layout (for Mac's)
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Yes, but I hate the way Apple did it. I wish they had implemented the
new Finder as an X window manager. As it is, there is no integration
whatsoever between XWindows and "normal" applications. Particularly
disappointing in the case of openoffice.org. (sigh). But it was a
great step forward for Apple to use the UNIX kernel.

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