PCB Design resources

Tired of breadboarding ? Me too.

True breadboarding is very easy to test drive a design. But when the circuit is OK and meant to stay, it is much less practical (where was that loose cable going to ?). So I started looking for free tools to design PCB.

Here's what I found:

  • Fedora Electronics Lab
    • a Fedora Linux distribution that is tailored to include all the Linux tools needed for designing and producing circuits (from PCB to FPGA - VHDL)
    • a software suite for Electronics Design Automation
    • for Linux (and Mac OSX through X11 server)
  • Kicad
    • a software suite for creating schematics diagram and printed circuits
    • works under Windows, Linux (source code compatible with BSD and Mac OSX)
  • FreePCB
    • PCB drawing only
    • Windows only, Open source
    • Output Gerber and Excellon drill files
  • ExpressSCH & ExpressPCB
    • drawing of schematics and associated PCB
    • Windows only
    • Linked to a PCB manufacturer
  • Advanced Circuits' PCB Artist Layout
    • drawing of PCB
    • Windows only
    • Advanced Circuits proposes the tool and links to different manufacturers in USA (not directly linked to a single manufacturer but still...)
      • "Gerber-Formatted files FREE after 1st order for each part #"

From our HAM friends,

  • SDS & TCI
    • SDS for Schematics capture, TCI for tracing circuits
    • Windows only

Good source of links:

Tips & techniques for PCB design:

3 comments on PCB Design resources:

20 Feb 2011

Probably the best FREE package for Windows Linux, and Mack is eagle PCB, a very easy to package, widely supported package. And it is free !. It has a wide following across hundreds groups. Including MBED.

Keep up the great work, ceri.

21 Feb 2011

Is it the CADsoft Eagle software that you are talking about ? Eagle has a freeware version but it is fairly limited (particularly the board size). Found it at http://www.cadsoftusa.com/freeware.htm

21 Feb 2011

only the Eagle's board size is limited to 100 x 80 mm and 2 board layers are allowed. But for the rest all functions are enabled. With this limitations a lot of nice things can be build. see http://mbed.org/users/franzachatz/notebook/reference-design/

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