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PCB Design S/W

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Hope this isn't too OT.

I want to build my own demux - as much for the fun of it as anything - and would like to use one of the PCB pooling services like PCB Train to create boards so it's neat.

I wondered if any other BR'ers knew of software to create the board layouts in appropriate (i.e. standard) formats.


Since this is for fun, I can't justify spending much money on software; on the flip side I don't need much in the way of features:

- pin/pad count of less than 500, I guess

- max double sided

- no autorouter required

- schematic capture not essential

- max board size probably less than 6" in any dimension


I just want something that's fairly easy to drop pad layouts onto!


Can anybody recommend something from personal experience?





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The low cost thing means that many popular and good packages are unavailable to you.


PCBPool has their own layout software, which I have tried (though not in real anger, not having got as far as burning a board from it) and it seemed OK, especially given its was free.


Dont underestimate the value of schematic capture.


I use the LabCenter products, but they are distinctly not free.

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Another vote for Eagle, www.cadsoft.de , lot of board houses will accept .brd files directly. Free version is a 2 side size llimited version of full thing, which is pretty powerful,means can be bit of learning curve,really have to follow workflow, schematic capture generates ratsnest for layout, it will autoroute :-)

Cadsoft run their own support newsgroups and support ,even for free users, is outstanding.

http://www.olimex.com have an OK reputation for proto boards.

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You don't say what platform you are using, but if by any chance it is vaugely unix like then GEDA may be a choice.


It's free, and the pcb package is not totally horrid, Schematic capture lacks a few too many common parts for my

taste, but is ok for simple stuff. It has an autorouter and DRC capability but I have never used either in anger.


Failing that, +1 for Eagle.


Regards, Dan.

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Proteus Lite at the top is labcenter, and is what I use, and so if you can get your design in 100 pins, at $38 its the one to go for. Its an excellent tool with many years history, and it does the full monty from schematic capture.


(To be honest, although I've got Proteus, I still use a much earlier DOS version using an emulator!)


And [standby for plug.... plug GO] I used to FTP my gerbers to RAK PCBs who always did a great job for me.

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