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Circuit Layout Software — Parallax Forums

Circuit Layout Software

KevinKevin Posts: 12
edited 2005-01-13 13:47 in General Discussion
I'm at the point in my Engine Monitor project that I would like to start using some layout software to show the chips and their connections instead of the paper/pencil approach. I was wondering what software people were using to create the circuit illustrations found in some of the pdfs?

Also, being a software guy I would like to play around with simulations and I·read about CircuitMaker2000. Seems like a cool product, but not sure if it would be way over my head in complexity. Anybody use this product or could recommend another?




  • steve_bsteve_b Posts: 1,563
    edited 2004-08-04 19:34
    Hi Kevin,

    At work I use ORCAD to put together circuit drawings.· Not that this is industry standard...but is fairly common due to it being fairly easy to use.

    You could get by with Microsoft Paint or some other simple drawing program....all a circuit is, is a bunch of lines connecting objects together....

    But it might not give you the flexibility you want with organizing your project.· Orcad is the one I endorse!


    as far as circuit simulators.· I've never been able to get one to do what it should....which makes me have to get more in depth with each devices characteristics...way over my head at some point.· Pspice is what I used in school and is quite math oriented (the math seems worse with each year gone by since graduation!).· Anyhow, I remember building an Astable Multivibrator circuit....sounds impressive but all it did was use 2 transistors a couple caps and resistors and caused an LED to flash at a given rate (determined by the value of components you used)....I built it in Pspice and it wouldn't work....the circuit I built along side it I don't have much faith in simulators (for my own uses....mostly hobby--although it is my profession too).

    If you are relatively new to the world of electronics....specifically with the Stamp/microcontroller....just spend some time going through the educational material that Parallax provides for free.· They start you off making me, in a few months you'll look back at the chapter 1 circuits and think they were pretty easy.·

    And anything you may have problems with....just post your question on here and you'll get barraged with WWW's and info to help you out!

    But save your money on the simulator!

    As far as ORCAD goes...I don't know the cost...but they may have 'LITE' versions.· Basically sold to students with some of the fancier stuff left out....on this same note, I used AutoCAD Lite in school and it's pretty similar to ORCAD except that ORCAD is definately electrical oriented where ACAD is for structural.


    hope that helps!



    "Inside each and every one of us is our one, true authentic swing. Something we was born with. Something that's ours and ours alone. Something that can't be learned... something that's got to be remembered."

  • NewzedNewzed Posts: 2,503
    edited 2004-08-04 21:09
    You might try ExpressPCB.· The software is free.

  • Dave_McDanelDave_McDanel Posts: 2
    edited 2004-08-04 22:20
    I use Eagle Layout Editor. It is great for the Auto Route tool and also the CAM export functions. It is also has a freeware license for "non-profit" and evaluation purposes.

  • KlutchKlutch Posts: 9
    edited 2004-08-04 23:00
    PCB123 ( is another good one; software is free - they get their $ when u order boards from them. only for board layout though, no simulation abilities. it has a large library of parts, and routing capabilities, and they just rolled out their latest release like a week ago.
    as far as simulation, PSpice is what ive used in the past, sometimes a tricky beast. i havent used it in several years. there should be bunches of freebies out there...varying degrees of usefulness of course. after a quick websearch i find this large listing of all kinds of electronics software - theve even labeled whether they are free or have free 30 day demos. give it a look:

    have a good one,
  • KenMKenM Posts: 657
    edited 2004-08-05 04:01
  • KevinKevin Posts: 12
    edited 2004-08-05 15:16
    Thanks for all the replies. This fourum is great!

    I spent the eveing playing around with ExpressSCH, which comes with ExpressPCB. Great suggestion Desi and Ken.

    I've made links to other software that others suggested and will evaluate them as time permits. Again, thanks to all!

  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2004-08-05 16:46
    For simple projects and prototyping I also use ExpressSCH and ExpressPCB. Once you get used to how the schematic creation and PCB layout software get linked, the programs are very easy to use.

    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
    Dallas Office
  • J. A. StreichJ. A. Streich Posts: 158
    edited 2004-08-14 00:43
    PSpice is supposed to be really good at simulating circuits, and from what I've seen it's not a bad diagram tool. But it is fairly expensive. You may want to look through sourceforge ( ) to see what else you can find.
  • ChipCircuitChipCircuit Posts: 23
    edited 2004-08-14 02:35
    I use WinQCAD,· the demo is free as is Eagle, but the interface is MUCH easier for a newbie.

    If you plan on doing a lot of boards Eagle does offer some additional features, but if you are a casual hobbiest, WinQcad probably is the easiest to get started with.

    The things I like about it is the ability to output CNC files directly and the super fast autoroute feature.

    The designer updates the software with good features every couple weeks so if there is something want or need, it may be an update (free) away.

  • jakjrjakjr Posts: 88
    edited 2004-08-14 04:17
    Radioshack sells some kind of layout software, the name of it escapes me but I know its 30 bucks.
  • R. SmithR. Smith Posts: 1
    edited 2005-01-13 13:47

    Like many, I use OrCad for schematic caputure and layout. Would anyone have an OrCad model for the SXB52 chip I could have?

    Thank you,

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