[time-nuts] Schematic capture, anyone?

Bob Camp lists at rtty.us
Fri Feb 24 17:20:28 UTC 2012


One very basic question to ask yourself:

Do you want / need a program that checks the schematic against the layout? 

It's a feature that probably isn't needed for a really simple circuit. It's
something that will save you a hundred dollars (one PCB run) pretty quick on
things of even moderate complexity. 

You can indeed do the schematic on the back of an envelope and do the layout
from that. Print out the layout and get out the colored pencils. Color this
here and that there as you check it. Been there done that. Gets old pretty

Next basic question:

How big are the built in / available libraries? If not built in are they
free or an extra cost option?

All of these programs have the very basic stuff in them. Even simple designs
seem to get past the basics pretty fast. RF connectors, regulators, stuff
from Mini Circuits, something gets in there. Even a big library won't have
everything. Doing two things instead of ten is a lot less tiring. 

The library thing goes to both ends. Having a schematic with a bunch of
numbered boxes in it isn't very helpful. Having a layout made up of a random
bunch of pads makes changes (and checking) tough. Again, loose one PCB run
to a mistake and you have paid for a license to some of these programs or
the library upgrade. 

No, I'm not trying to sell you on any specific program. I'm just trying to
complicate the decision process. It's better to look at all the issues
before you spend a couple months learning how a package works than to run
through three or four packages (and a years worth of agony).  


-----Original Message-----
From: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com] On
Behalf Of Jim Hickstein
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 7:39 PM
To: time-nuts at febo.com
Subject: [time-nuts] Schematic capture, anyone?

What do people use these days for schematic capture (and just possibly PCB 
layout), for low-budget homebrew stuff?  It's been so long since I did this,
still own a T-square and a pile of contemporary relics like rules and
  I'll get out my pencil sharpener if I have to.  But really, this must be a

solved problem by now.  For less than $300?  I only need TTL, not striplines
any black magic like that.

I'm a Mac shop, but can of course run Windows if need be.  And to make
worse, I prefer ANSI logic symbology over shovels-and-spades (or, really,
plain rectangles where you're expected to know what the part number means). 
This comes from exposure to Control Data, who were big on it back in the
day.  I 
even used to be on the mailing list of the standards committee.  I suppose
all sank without a trace?  If it's still controversial, I apologize in
for trolling.

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