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Mon, Jul. 23rd, 2007, 09:46 pm
icis_machine: schematic and PCB layout tools

what "free or relatively cheap" tools are you using? I need to design a schematic but maybe a PCB later.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2007 06:02 am (UTC)

Try www.expresspcb.com

They have free schematic and PCB layout programs that are quite capable. Layouts can be sent seamlessly to the company for manufacture of prototype boards. Because the PCB is a very small part of the cost of the products I make, I use their board service for production, too.

Dangerous Bill

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2007 08:30 am (UTC)

Eagle CAD works for me - www.cadsoft.de

Runs on windows/linux/mac and there are more tutorials for it on the internet than just about any other program. Some very good info about it on sparkfun.com

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)

I use Tinycad for schematics. Its free and I dont have any issues with switching back and forth between Orcad at work, and Tinycad at home.
Tinycad will export PCB net lists for PADS, Eagle or Protel.

I use protel Autotrax for PCB layout. It is an older DOS version of Protel. It has been released to the public domain and is available at:
It features an autorouter, and up to 8 layers.

I recomend Advanced circuits for your prototype PCBs. They will do 2 layer full spec PCBs for $33 each (minimum 3) in 5 days. Full spec 4 layer boards for $66 each (minimum 3) in 5 days. And bare bones (no solder mask or silk screen, 4 straight sides) for $41 per order plus $.475 per square inch with a 1 day turn.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)

thanks for the info. I am use to the luxury of Orcad at work but I now need to look for something else.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)

I forgot the link to Advanced circuits: