Author Topic: PCB design  (Read 2820 times)

SprinkleSpraycan

PCB design
« on: February 01, 2023, 05:20:32 PM »
I would like to get pcb's printed but I'm new to this. What program should I use for design? Or can I submit a schematic and have it designed as well? All suggestions are welcome.

bartimaeus

Re: PCB design
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2023, 05:44:28 PM »
try kicad if you want to design your own. but it takes work to learn it well, if you want to make a low-noise layout.

if you want a pcb designed from your schematic, you'll need to pay someone to do that for you. maybe it's more cost effective to do that, depends on your situation.

mark2

Re: PCB design
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2023, 10:20:08 PM »
In addition to KiCAD, which is great, you'll find EasyEDA has a pretty shallow learning curve. If you spend about 20 minutes going through their tutorials, you'll be ready to make your first PCB.

It's a web-based tool and tied to their PCB fab house, JLCPCB, which is the cheapest place I know of it get boards produced. Quality is fine for pedals.

POTL

Re: PCB design
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2023, 05:41:19 PM »
Diptrace is good enough

ElectricDruid

Re: PCB design
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2023, 08:29:12 AM »
Diptrace is good enough

I use Diptrace and like it too. It makes more sense that some other schematic/PCB packages I've used, which tended to be very obscure and slightly bizarre - plenty of "Wait? You do what?!?" moments. My Diptrace copy is paid-for though, and I can't any longer remember what the limitations are on the free version. I used that for several years, and I had a good deal for a while when I was working in Education too. It's definitely worth checking out.

Ice-9

Re: PCB design
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2023, 03:34:27 PM »
Diptrace- Very easy to learn and produces gerber file that fabrication factories can use. I have Diptrace for quite some time. There is a 'non profit' version that allows 2 layers and 500 pins which is more than enough for most pedals.
I would say though, no matter what layout program used the autoroute option are not good. I find it best to manually route.
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ElectricDruid

Re: PCB design
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2023, 05:22:37 PM »
I would say though, no matter what layout program used the autoroute option are not good. I find it best to manually route.

Gawd, yes, agree 100%. Perhaps if you pay thousands you get an autorouter that can do a decent job. On my budget, I've certainly never seen one. Stay away.

bean

Re: PCB design
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2023, 07:53:40 PM »
I'm still on pre-Autodesk EagleCAD 7.7 because it does everything I need to do and I purchased a permanent license (I hate the subscription model). You should be able to find 7.7 as a freeware installation which is limited in board size and has no autorouter (which you should not be using anyway for guitar pedal PCBs) but perfectly serviceable for layouts Or, whatever their newest freeware version is (I think it's 9.6 or something).

If you go that route, you can download my Eagle library here which I use to design all my PCBs. It's based on the Gaussmarkov library from a decade or so ago and I've added to it continuously with many custom parts and modifications. I'll be releasing v4 later on this year.

If you want to go KiCAD, a member created a port of the mbp Eagle library for it. It can be found here: https://www.madbeanpedals.com/forum/index.php?topic=30576.msg311283#msg311283

And, as others have mentioned: JLCPCB is great! Cheap and generally no issues. OSHPark is another company that can do small run, high quality boards. Can't go wrong with either those guys.

SprinkleSpraycan

Re: PCB design
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2023, 09:30:00 PM »
Thanks guys. Lots to look into.

mark2

Re: PCB design
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2023, 06:08:56 PM »
Diptrace is good enough

I hadn't used it before so I thought I'd give it a try and unfortunately it's a total disaster on Mac. It appears to use some sort of embedded WINE (windows emulator), but just opens with a window with blank buttons.

I appreciate the desire to try to provide a solution for a wider range of folks, but this seems clunky at best, even if it DID work.

ElectricDruid

Re: PCB design
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2023, 07:05:15 PM »
I hadn't used it before so I thought I'd give it a try and unfortunately it's a total disaster on Mac. It appears to use some sort of embedded WINE (windows emulator), but just opens with a window with blank buttons.

I appreciate the desire to try to provide a solution for a wider range of folks, but this seems clunky at best, even if it DID work.

Yes, it runs under WINE on Mac, but it runs perfectly ok. I've been using it that way for some years. It sounds like your installation was bad for some reason. A native version would be nicer, but honestly, it's perfectly functional.



mark2

Re: PCB design
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2023, 09:42:25 PM »
That's good to know. Maybe I'll give it another go some time in the future.

mmessmore

Re: PCB design
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2023, 08:48:10 AM »
Yes, it runs under WINE on Mac, but it runs perfectly ok. I've been using it that way for some years. It sounds like your installation was bad for some reason. A native version would be nicer, but honestly, it's perfectly functional.

WINE on Apple Silicon is pretty bad.  You get to add x86 emulation into the mix  :icon_sad: Donít know if youíre on Intel, but itís nicer on my older MBP.

I install KiCAD via homebrew. Nice thing about open source is that you donít have to wait for the vendor to support the CPU (on normal things).

There was a bit of a learning curve, but I kind of like it.  I do wish it had better SPICE integration.  I end up drawing the same schematic in LTSpice.  And also redoing the schematic in DIYLC for breadboard/veroboard layout.  Donít know if the commercial tools integrate any of that better.

My background is in software development, so I like my keyboard over my mouse, when possible.  And I revision control everything with git: my libraries, my projects, etc.  So my preferences may not match other peopleís.

MetalGuy

Re: PCB design
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2023, 03:06:11 PM »
Quote
What program should I use for design?

Depending on the complexity everything other than that piece of sh*t Eagle.

ElectricDruid

Re: PCB design
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2023, 06:32:44 PM »
WINE on Apple Silicon is pretty bad.  You get to add x86 emulation into the mix  :icon_sad: Donít know if youíre on Intel, but itís nicer on my older MBP.
Fair enough. I *am* on an old Intel Mac. The new ones break stuff I need because of the forced change to 32-bit applications. It works pretty well on my OS. I've crashed it a time or two, but nothing I'd write home about.

Quote
I install KiCAD via homebrew. Nice thing about open source is that you donít have to wait for the vendor to support the CPU (on normal things).

There was a bit of a learning curve, but I kind of like it.  I do wish it had better SPICE integration.  I end up drawing the same schematic in LTSpice.  And also redoing the schematic in DIYLC for breadboard/veroboard layout.  Donít know if the commercial tools integrate any of that better.
Yeah, me too. I often have several schematics of various prototypes in LTspice, and then one in Diptrace for the actual "making". For me, LTSpice is an adjunct to the breadboard, not something I regard as part of the production process, so this kind of duplication hasn't really bothered me. I use LTspice to generate possible frequency responses and so on, not to design PCBs.

Quote
My background is in software development, so I like my keyboard over my mouse, when possible.  And I revision control everything with git: my libraries, my projects, etc.  So my preferences may not match other peopleís.
Gagh. Maybe so. My background is also in software development, but for some reason I've never got on with bloody Github. It seems to make something simple more complicated, rather than the reverse, which defeats the purpose.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. ;)

Tom.

mmessmore

Re: PCB design
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2023, 04:15:45 PM »
I also just use LTSpice pre breadboard to get a swag a frequency response and impedance.  But good to know I'm not missing out with a nicer tool.  You can probably tell from the tools that I like to plan and test a lot as early as I can.  And I still have a lot to learn with small signals.

Also I donít etch boards.  PCBs are pretty cheap.  But it means waiting 2 more weeks for a mistake.

My background is also in software development, but for some reason I've never got on with bloody Github. It seems to make something simple more complicated, rather than the reverse, which defeats the purpose.

Iíve fought my way from RCS, CVS, SVN, to git. Git was by far the biggest jump.  We have a love/hate relationship.  I donít use GitHub, GitLab, etc. directly myself except creating/cloning the repo.  At work, I also do issues and PRs but I stick to the CLI when I can. Iím a grumpy old Unix guy. ;D

bean

Re: PCB design
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2023, 06:07:55 PM »
I was trying out EasyEDA this weekend due to its integration with JLPCB and their assembly service. It feels pretty clunky to me but I could see it being advantageous if you want to do some surface mount assembly with them.