Nothing better than free, even PCB software. Can not say that more expensive softwares are better than free ones. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the popular ones over the past, and now there will be updates on PCB design platform from time to time . Firstly , we need to setup a clear standard, we select the following softwares which have been updated at least once in the past two years.
First on our list is from Mirko Bruno Sortini ZentiPCB platform, the platform offers a range of free software to help users design their own PCB projects. ZentiCapture allows users to quickly and easily design the schematic by using the simple function of the design tool set, which allows users to capture and pin locking orthogonal to place parts (components). Once the diagram (in chart form) is completed, they can be transferred to ZentiPCB.
ZentiPCB is a CAD-based program that allows users to import netlist file and make the chart visualization. Layout editor provides to use cursors to import components directly from the library functions, depending on the demands to support the single-sided and double-sided PCB.
CometCAD platform is another great case of free software, which provides an electronic circuit schematic editor and a PCB layout editor. But this software only supports Windows platforms. CometCAD electronic circuit schematic editor supports multi-page schematic, symbol rotation, parts list and schematic netlist output. PCB layout editor provides almost all functions (libraries, double-sided PCB, etc.) mentioned previously, and also has a function of output CAM files, while is very convinent for the PCB manufacturer.
TinyCAD is from the SourceForge users: Beischer, Don_lucas and Mattpyne. Do not underestimated this software due to its name . This software has all the functions for PCB design and layout design. it includes 42 libraries, a total of 755 symbols, including digital logic gates, electromechanical components or microcontroller. And each element can be edited, in which the user can even add your own component symbols. TinyCAD support a variety of netlist formats (Eagle SCR, PADS-PCB, XML, etc.), it can also generate SPICE netlist.
Those who don’t want the unnecessary features but only the most basic functions can try Suigyodo BSch3V Shematic capture (BSch represents Basic Schematic). The PCB Editor allows users to design single, double, or even four-layer PCB board. It also has a library of components, component list generator and a netlist generator. Users can also use two other softwares to strengthen BSch3V, including SmdICpad (for obtaining QFP, PLCC, SOP data) and POLYGON (place copper area).
Fritzing platform is not just a simple PCB editor, and is to actually create their own designs for the creator and hackers. also can achieve their own Arduino-based microcontroller design and create the layout fit for PCB fabrication. Once the user design a real circuit on the breadboard, which can then be transferred to the editor, which includes three different projects perspective. Breadboard perspective allows the user to drag and drop and place virtual electronic components on the breadboard . schematic perspective is an official expression of the schematic diagram, is the corresponded mapping of the virtual circuit on the breadboard, but the user can also edit as needed. Finally, PCB
perspective allows users to place the components in the virtual printed circuit board, and then can be used for production.
The Designer of PCWeb is one the most features editors in the internet, and it’s free. The software has an impressive lineup of tools, including Schematic Capture (component placement, routing / networking, comments, etc.), PCB (component placement, routing, design rule checking, etc.) and Part Editor (Create / definition component, increase symbols, etc.), while it also contains the BOM functions, the BOM Manager integrates Digi-Key, allows the user to assign a number for each of its individual components on the PCB, the number will show up through the BOM to facilitate procurement . This is a software that is conducive to efficient production.
KiCAD should be the most popular free PCB editor on the internet, it is an EDA tool similar with Fritzing. This software provides the functionality of a virtual environment at every stage of the design process . Including these modules: Eeschema (schematic editor), Pcbnew (PCB editor), Gerbview (Gerber file viewer) and Cvpcb (associated components for path selection). In addition, a built in BOM manager that allows users easily to tag the bill of materials and calculate the costs.
DesignSpark PCB is another widely used EDA applications or PCB editing tool. it’s similar with the two previously mentioned tools, DesignSpark PCB provides a schematic editor features, and PCB Wizard is used to complete schematics, Autorouter is able to complete the automatic wiring between components. But the software does have some caveats, such as the software is very resource-consuming, some additional functions must be a registered user to unlock, and worst of all The software will display ads.
Despite the fact that most of the PCB software are running on Windows-based computers, but there are some specifically for Linux users to design, for example: the gEDA project of Ales Hvezda, which provides open-source EDA tool for collaboration. Collaboration section refers to mutual cooperation of the developer’s continuous efforts to develop and update gEDA kits, including circuit design gEDA schematic capture and netlist platform, PCB layout design and optimization, as well as Icarus Verilog (for simulating electronic systems hardware description language). In addition it also includes ngspice / ngucap SPICE / analog simulator, gerbv Gerber Viewer and GTKWave digital wave form viewer.
10. Osmand PCB
Osmand PCB is PCB Editor for Mac users, which allows users to do almost any size, any shape of the PCB design, but also any layer counts you want to do. The software can design the layout with any angle and cabling spatial resolution of 10 nm, and supports Imperial and Metric units. Osmand also allows users to move and reposition the components, connectors / cabling / modify the path, and the use of its library containing PCB design labels. The software also supports the Lua scripting language, can generate Gerber (RS-274X) and Excellon demo files. it’s absolutely luxury configuration for a free software.