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PCB Design Software — Parallax Forums

PCB Design Software

David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 14,385
edited 2014-12-01 17:24 in General Discussion
I seem to remember that Parallax was standardizing on some PCB layout package. Can someone remind me of which one they are using? I'd like to try to design a simple PCB.

Comments

  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 14,385
    edited 2014-11-30 15:57
    David Betz wrote: »
    I seem to remember that Parallax was standardizing on some PCB layout package. Can someone remind me of which one they are using? I'd like to try to design a simple PCB.
    Never mind. I did a quick search and found that the Parallax recommended layout software is DipTrace.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 14,385
    edited 2014-11-30 16:23
    Ummm... Maybe the PC version of this software is stable but I just tried installing the Mac version and it crashed my Mac so hard I had to force power it off to recover. It doesn't seem that the Mac version is ready for prime time.
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,489
    edited 2014-12-01 03:59
    David Betz wrote: »
    It doesn't seem that the Mac version is ready for prime time.

    That's too bad. I hope you have a way of using the PC version.

    I was trying to learn to use Eagle when Parallax mentioned they were using Diptrace. I was reluctant to switch myself since I had already put a lot of effort into trying to learn to use Eagle. I'm very glad I switched to Diptrace. It didn't take long for my ability in using Diptrace to surpass my ability to use Eagle.

    A lot of PCB fab houses will allow one to submit the Eagle files but not Diptrace files. This isn't really a big deal since it's really easy to export a design to gerber and drill files. I've submitted designs to several different fab houses using these exported files (zipped together).

    I've posted a couple examples of these exported files to the forum. One example is my version of a 16 LED ring and another example (my single WS2812B board) is attached to this post.

    I like OSH Park for small boards. OSH Park sells their boards in sets of three. There are a bunch of less expensive fab houses which sell their boards in sets of ten. If your board is larger than a few square inches, it's probably less expensive to use one of these other fab houses.

    I've used ITead Studio and Dirty PCBs. I like the color choices offered by Dirty PCBs.

    I haven't decided if I like their yellow PCBs yet.

    attachment.php?attachmentid=112113&d=1417434401

    They also make nice stainless steel stencils.

    All the fab houses I mentioned used the zipped up files I exported from Diptrace using the default settings. It was surprisingly easy to submit these designs so don't let the requirement to export files sway you from using Diptrace.
    761 x 622 - 330K
  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,050
    edited 2014-12-01 07:46
    Duane,

    Do you panalize you PCB's, or let the Fab House do it?

    Jim
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 14,385
    edited 2014-12-01 09:56
    Duane Degn wrote: »
    That's too bad. I hope you have a way of using the PC version.

    I was trying to learn to use Eagle when Parallax mentioned they were using Diptrace. I was reluctant to switch myself since I had already put a lot of effort into trying to learn to use Eagle. I'm very glad I switched to Diptrace. It didn't take long for my ability in using Diptrace to surpass my ability to use Eagle.

    A lot of PCB fab houses will allow one to submit the Eagle files but not Diptrace files. This isn't really a big deal since it's really easy to export a design to gerber and drill files. I've submitted designs to several different fab houses using these exported files (zipped together).

    I've posted a couple examples of these exported files to the forum. One example is my version of a 16 LED ring and another example (my single WS2812B board) is attached to this post.

    I like OSH Park for small boards. OSH Park sells their boards in sets of three. There are a bunch of less expensive fab houses which sell their boards in sets of ten. If your board is larger than a few square inches, it's probably less expensive to use one of these other fab houses.

    I've used ITead Studio and Dirty PCBs. I like the color choices offered by Dirty PCBs.

    I haven't decided if I like their yellow PCBs yet.

    attachment.php?attachmentid=112113&d=1417434401

    They also make nice stainless steel stencils.

    All the fab houses I mentioned used the zipped up files I exported from Diptrace using the default settings. It was surprisingly easy to submit these designs so don't let the requirement to export files sway you from using Diptrace.
    Thanks for your comments. I installed Windows 7 in a VirtualBox VM on my MacBook Pro and installed the free version of DipTrace. After playing with it for about five minutes I can see it will be easier for me to learn than Eagle.
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,489
    edited 2014-12-01 10:08
    Publison wrote: »
    Duane,

    Do you panalize you PCB's, or let the Fab House do it?

    Jim

    Jim, I hope you don't mind, I replied to your question in my "NonaProp" thread.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 14,385
    edited 2014-12-01 10:13
    Duane Degn wrote: »
    Jim, I hope you don't mind, I replied to your question in my "NonaProp" thread.
    What does it mean to "panelize" a PCB? I assume this is when you place multiple copies of the same design on a board and then provide scoring so the board can be broken into separate units? is this a service that PCB houses provide, the scoring I mean?
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 7,699
    edited 2014-12-01 10:20
    I can see it will be easier for me to learn than Eagle.

    I used DipTrace first but installed Eagle because there are so many Open Source files that use it. I agree with you, though, Dip Trace is easier.
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,489
    edited 2014-12-01 10:23
    David Betz wrote: »
    is this a service that PCB houses provide, the scoring I mean?

    I assume so. As I mention in the other thread, I've trying to do the scoring myself.

    I've read forum posts stating FAB houses offer several different options on how a board is panelized.

    I know I didn't want all the boards scored. You never know when you might need nine Propellers on a single PCB? (right?)
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 7,699
    edited 2014-12-01 10:40
    I like the color choices offered by Dirty PCBs.

    Are you happy with the quality of the PCBs, Duane? I find it odd that their banner states: "No bull, just crappy PCBs"
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 14,385
    edited 2014-12-01 10:56
    JonnyMac wrote: »
    I used DipTrace first but installed Eagle because there are so many Open Source files that use it. I agree with you, though, Dip Trace is easier.
    Maybe after I become proficient with DipTrace, I can try Eagle again. Need to crawl before I can walk or run!
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,489
    edited 2014-12-01 11:07
    JonnyMac wrote: »
    Are you happy with the quality of the PCBs, Duane? I find it odd that their banner states: "No bull, just crappy PCBs"

    I don't find their name or slogans confidence boosters but I think the quality is great. I paid $15 extra to have the ENIG finish and I also ordered stencils.

    I'm far from an expert but with the added gold plating, the quality seems to match OSH Park. The yellow is kind of growing on me and I think I may end up liking it. The yellow and gold together look nice though come to think of it, every color probably looks good next to gold.

    I don't have any experience with stencils to offer as a comparison but the stencils also seem nice.

    I'm minutes away from my first solder paste stencil attempt.

    IIRC, the shipping was a bit more than some of the other fab houses but once the boards were done, I think they arrived pretty quickly (though now I'm not sure). So far, I plan to use them again.
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 7,699
    edited 2014-12-01 17:24
    Thanks for the feedback and the tips on other sources. I tend to use GoldPhoenixPCB, but can be a little expensive for personal prototypes.
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