What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)

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Hi,

There have been quite a few discussion regarding cheap PCB/Schematic
layout packages recently. What package(s) are considered the best if
money is no object ? What features does this/these package(s) have
that are not available in the cheaper PCB/Schematic packages ?

What packages are used to do the layout of these new generation ultra
compact cell phones and other high volume consumer products ?

Regards
   Anton Erasmus


Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)

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I have experienced very expensive en powerfull packages like ORCAD en
ULTIBOARD.
But eagle is a cheap one (http://www.cadsoft.de/prices.htm ) and can make
wonders.



Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
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One thing it can't do (without screwing up the DRC) is holes in a PAD.
I am using a small regulator that requires heat spreaders on the top and
bottom of the board connected by vias directly under the thermal pad on
the bottom of the package.  I know this is not normal, but TI recommends
it.  I was never able to get rid of the DRC errors this produced.

Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)


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If this is the package I remember, you can make the thermal pad a small pad
with THERMAL=OFF inside a rectangle on the top layer.  A pain, but no DRC
complaints.



Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
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I am not trying to make a thermal.  I am trying to make a fairly large
rectangular pad with six holes (vias) in it.  The entire rectangle needs
to have the solder mask removed from it.  I guess I could have split the
pad up into six equal, rectangular areas as pads.  But they should be
touching and I don't think I can get this past the DRC either unless I
allow everything to touch.  I believe I have object spacing set for 10
mil at the moment.  

Or could I use a polygon to open up an area in the solder mask?  I did
not try much in that area.

Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
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By George!  That did it!  I can draw a rectangle on the tStop layer to
open up some copper around the six pads.  I already found somewhere that
you can put the same name on multiple pads by adding a $ or # or
something similar to the name.  So I could use six pads inside a solder
mask rectangle to add these to the part.  

However, there are still four more vias that are outside this pad area
that need a surface plane which is under solder mask.  I believe adding
a rectangle to the copper layer of a part causes problems because it
does not have the signal name.  Or maybe a rectangle does not need a
name?  But will that cause other problems such as a copper pour leaving
a gap around it?  

The part according to TI should be like this...

  +---------------------+
  |    +-----------+    |
  | O  | o   o   o |  O |
  |    |           |    |
  |    |           |    |
  | O  | o   o   o |  O |
  |    +-----------+    |
  +---------------------+

The inner rectangle has no solder mask and six 0.013" vias.  The outer
rectangle has solder mask and 0.018" vias.  I don't see how to do the
outer ones.

Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
Ralph Malph schrieb:

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Sorry, I really can't see your problem here.

EAGLE does not support extended pad shapes in packages without
DRC complaints, but you can draw about anything directly in your
board (most often using polygons makes sense) with perfect match
of specifications and DRC. However, you can include non-copper
objects (like stop mask) in the package definition.

I have written about this several times in eagle.support.eng,
I thought you had noticed that.

--
Dipl.-Ing. Tilmann Reh
Autometer GmbH Siegen - Elektronik nach Maß.
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Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
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But you don't say anything about the pads or vias that are needed to
connect to the other side of the board.  I guess I could use a stop mask
rectangle in the package to allow the heat transfer pad on the part to
be soldered to the board.  But then all the rest of this area has to be
hand drawn, the copper pour on both layers and the 10 vias with two
different hole sizes.  

The fact that I can't put this in the package in the library is my
complaint.  It is silly to have to manually add these features each time
you use the part.

Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
Ralph Malph schrieb:

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Agreed, this topic is already on our wishlist.

But currently, the described method is the only one that is
DRC-clean, and normally there are not too many of those packages
on each board.

--
Dipl.-Ing. Tilmann Reh
Autometer GmbH Siegen - Elektronik nach Maß.
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
Ralph,

try to use polygones. Don't forget to give it/them the right signal name. If
the signal name (e.g. GND) is the same for different polygones or Vias,
Eagle will connect them together ( or tries it). I hope it helps you....

...kay

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PAD.
and
on
recommends
small pad
DRC



Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
I *am* using polygons.  The problem is with the vias that need to be
added.  I have to do this manually on the board rather than once in the
package.  


Kay Schubert wrote:
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Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
I don't know about phones but I know people like Wind River use PowerPCB &
Blaze Router from Mentor.

I suspect the major difference would be rules base routing. i.e. it's
possible to say these 2 traces have to run next to each other, have to have
a certain clearance, have to have a certain time delay, have to have a
certain impedance. etc

Also more than 4 layer routing, split or mixed plane, and other things like
design for test and design for manufacturing.

Spectra is also a very big name in autorouting.

A decent spec on these systems is generally in the tens of thousands of
dollars.

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Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
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I think it is up to what does start with? I'm used PowerPCB.  :)

Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
In my opinion, it's clearly EAGLES PCB Design software.  
You can try out the free trial first.  
The support and tutorials are awesome, too!


http://www.cadsoftusa.com/

Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
On 1/4/2013 4:43 AM, snipped-for-privacy@googlemail.com wrote:
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The best is Altium.

No limits, no funny libraries, not just a hobby tool.



Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
On 04/01/2013 14:03, hamilton wrote:
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If you are a full-time PCB designer, and not a circuit designer, then  
Altium may be a good choice.  If PCB design is something you do  
occasionally, then stay away, it's far too complicated and you need to  
re-learn everything you've forgotten every time you use it.

Cheers
--  
Syd

Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
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Unfortunately that appears to be available just for for a hobby OS.

--  
Grant Edwards               grant.b.edwards        Yow! I'm thinking about
                                  at               DIGITAL READ-OUT systems
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Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
says...
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What?  You mean it's only available on Linux?  (That's the only  
PC OS I can think of that seems to have been developed as a hobby.)
   ;-)

On a more serious note,  I don't think the OS hosting a professional
tool is much of an issue as long as the developers know how to  
use the OS to support their tool.   If money is no object, you
can alway get a new computer with the OS required and use
your other computers to handle your Non-PCB stuff.

If you're going to do any large projects, you will probably want
two monitors---one for the schematic and one for the
PCB layout.  That greatly reduces the window swapping as you revise
pin connections etc.


Mark Borgerson



Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
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:)

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I would think three would be the minimum (one is definitely out of the
question).  IMO you need a third monitor for datasheets, web browser,
e-mail, and other stuff that needs to be consulted while working on
the schematic/board.

--  
Grant Edwards               grant.b.edwards        Yow! Should I get locked
                                  at               in the PRINCICAL'S
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Re: What is the Best PCB Layout software ? (Money no object)
says...
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Good point.  I use a second computer with a single monitor  for the,  
emails and web browsing.   The two computers are on two sides
of an "L" on my bench, so I can just swivel my chair and move about
a foot to type on the other keyboard.  

I can usually get by with two monitors for the PCB layout stuff.
By the time I get to the layout stage, I'm pretty much past the
data sheet stage.  It generally works out as schematics on
one monitor and data sheets and web on the other.  At the layout
stage it is layout on the larger (24") monitor and schematic
on the 21" monitor.

With even 1920x1080 24" monitors being under $200, there's no reason
not to have at least two.  If you want more than two, you
may need a second graphics card in the PC.


Mark Borgerson


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