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posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 12 2018, @09:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the making-gratis-and-libre-tools-even-better dept.

KiCAD is a GPL'd Electronics Design Automation (EDA) suite with schematic capture and printed circuit board layout abilities. Its capabilities continue to expand.

Hackaday reports

[...] five years ago, if you wanted to design a printed circuit board, your best option was [Cadsoft's Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor (EAGLE)]. [These days], EAGLE is an Autodesk property, the licensing model has changed, [...] and the Open Source EDA suite KiCAD is getting better and better. New developers are contributing to the project and, by some measures, KiCAD is now the most popular tool to develop Open [Design] hardware.

At FOSDEM last week, Wayne Stambaugh, project lead of KiCAD laid out what features are due in the upcoming release of version 5 [Video]. KiCAD just keeps improving, and these new features are really killer features that will make everyone [who is] annoyed with EAGLE's new licensing very happy.

Although recent versions of KiCAD have made improvements to the way part and footprint libraries are handled, the big upcoming change is that footprint libraries will be installed locally. The Github plugin for library management--a good idea in theory--is no longer the default.

SPICE [Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis] is also coming to KiCAD. The best demo of the upcoming SPICE integration is this relatively old video demonstrating how KiCAD turns a schematic into graphs of voltage and current.

The biggest news, however, is the new ability to import EAGLE projects. Wayne demoed this live on stage, importing an EAGLE board and schematic of an Arduino Mega and turning it into a KiCAD board and schematic in a matter of seconds. It's not -quite- perfect yet, but it's close and very, very good.

There are, of course, other fancy features that make designing schematics and PCBs easier. Eeschema is getting a better configuration dialog, improved bus and wire dragging, and improved junction handling. Pcbnew is getting rounded rectangle and complex pad shape support, direct export to STEP files, and you'll soon be able to update the board from the schematic without updating the netlist file. Read that last feature again, slowly. It's the best news we've ever heard.

The author is tolerant of subtractive changes to proprietary licenses; other hardware hackers/tool users, in the comments there, not so much.

Previous: A Tool to Export EAGLE Projects for Use With FOSS ECADs
Cadsoft EAGLE is Now Subscription-Only
Scripts Make the (Proprietary) Cadsoft EAGLE-to-(FOSS) KiCAD Transition Easier
FOSS Printed Circuit Software KiCAD 4.0 Released
CERN is Getting Serious About Development of the KiCAD App for Designing Printed Circuits


Original Submission

Related Stories

CERN is Getting Serious About Development of the KiCad App for Designing Printed Circuits 18 comments

The computer-aided design software packages (ECADs) available to electronics folks for creating schematics and printed circuit board layouts have long been an aggravation when trying to share data with someone who uses a package produced by a different vendor--due to proprietary file formats that are (apparently, purposely) incompatible.

Many years ago, Cadsoft's EAGLE was available as a demo that would do very limited PCB creation but which had unlimited ability to view/print already-created files. It was also cross-platform. For a short time, EAGLE-compatible files became a quasi-standard for amateurs and pros on a budget.

In 2006, however, Cadsoft got greedy and DRM'd their stuff so that it would lock you out of your work product under certain circumstances, as described by Markus Zingg on October 24. Cadsoft quickly lost what little luster it had in the community. CERN engineers are hoping to produce a package that will do the same job - but better.

More down the page...

FOSS Printed Circuit Software KiCAD 4.0 Released 6 comments

Hackaday reports

KiCad 4.0 has just been released.

[...] If you've been using the old "stable" version of KiCad (from May 2013!), you've got a lot of catching-up to do.

The official part footprint libraries changed their format sometime in 2014, and are all now hosted on GitHub in separate ".pretty" folders for modularity and ease of updating. Unfortunately, this means that you'll need to be a little careful with your projects until you've switched all the parts over. The blow is softened by a "component rescue helper" but you're still going to need to be careful if you're still using old schematics with the new version.

The most interesting change, from a basic PCB-layout perspective, is the push-and-shove router. We're looking for a new demo video online, but this one from earlier this year will have to do for now. We've been using various "unstable" builds of KiCad for the last two years just because of this feature, so it's awesome to see it out in an actual release. The push-and-shove router still has some quirks and doesn't have all the functionality of the original routers, though, so we often find ourselves switching back and forth. But when you need the push-and-shove feature, it's awesome.

If you're doing a board where timing is critical, KiCad 4.0 has a bunch of differential trace and trace-length tuning options that are something far beyond the last release. The 3D board rendering has also greatly improved.

Indeed, there are so many improvements that have been made over the last two and a half years, that everybody we know has been using the nightly development builds of KiCad instead of the old stable version. If you've been doing the same, version 4.0 may not have all that much new for you. But if you're new to KiCad, now's a great time to jump in.

Previous: CERN is Getting Serious About Development of the KiCAD App for Designing Printed Circuits


Original Submission

Scripts Make the (Proprietary) Cadsoft EAGLE-to-(FOSS) KiCAD Transition Easier 12 comments

Hackaday reports:

One barrier for those wanting to switch over from EAGLE [software for producing printed circuit boards] to KiCAD has been the lack of a way to convert existing projects from one [file format] to the other. An Eagle to KiCad ULP [User Language Program] exists, but it only converts the schematic--albeit with errors and hence not too helpful. And, for quite some time, KiCad has been able to open Eagle .brd layout files. But without a netlist to read and check for errors, that's not too useful either.

[Lachlan] has written a comprehensive set of Eagle to KiCad ULP scripts to convert schematics, symbols, and footprints. Board conversion is still done using KiCad's built in converter, since it works quite well.

Overall, the process works pretty well, and we were able to successfully convert two projects from Eagle. The entire process took only about 10 to 15 minutes of clean up after running the scripts.

The five scripts and one include file run sequentially once the first one is run. [Lachlan]'s scripts will convert Eagle multi-sheet .sch to KiCad multi-sheets, place global and local net labels for multi sheets, convert multi part symbols, build KiCad footprint modules and symbol libraries from Eagle libraries, create a project directory to store all the converted files, and perform basic error checking.

The Eagle 6.xx PCB files can be directly imported to KiCad. The scripts also convert [Vias] to Pads, which helps with KiCad's flood fill when [Vias] have no connections. This part requires some manual intervention and post processing. There are detailed instructions on [Lachlan]'s GitHub repository and he also walks through the process in the video.

Previous KiCAD-related stories


Original Submission

Cadsoft EAGLE is Now Subscription-Only 34 comments

EAGLE, The Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor is an ECAD (electronic computer-aided design), proprietary software for creating printed circuit boards. Cadsoft, the company that created it, sold EAGLE to Autodesk in June.

Hackaday reports

Autodesk has announced that EAGLE is now only available for purchase as a subscription. [Previously], users purchased EAGLE once and [could use] the software indefinitely (often for years) before deciding to move to a new version with another one-time purchase. Now, they'll be paying Autodesk on a monthly or yearly basis.

Before Autodesk purchased EAGLE from Cadsoft, a Standard license would run you $69, paid once. [...] Standard will [now] cost $15/month or $100/year and gives similar functionality to the old Premium level, but with only 2 signal layers.

[...] The next level up was Premium, at $820, paid once. [...] If you [now] need more [than 2] layers or more than 160 [sq.cm] of board space, you'll need the new Premium level, at $65/month or $500/year.
New Subscription Pricing Table for Eagle

[...] The [freeware] version still exists, but, for anyone using Eagle for commercial purposes (from Tindie sellers to engineering firms), this is a big change. Even if you agree with the new pricing, a subscription model means you never actually own the software. This model will require licensing software that needs to phone home periodically and can be killed remotely. If you need to look back at a design a few years from now, you better hope that your subscription is valid, that Autodesk is still running the license server, and that you have an active internet connection.

The page has well over 100 comments, with many saying the equivalent of "Goodbye, EAGLE; Hello, KiCAD".
KiCAD is gratis and libre, cross-platform, has been adopted as a software development project by nerds at CERN, and has seen marked improvement in recent years.

Previous:
CERN is Getting Serious About Development of the KiCAD App for Designing Printed Circuits
Scripts Make the (Proprietary) Cadsoft EAGLE-to-(FOSS) KiCAD Transition Easier

Some time back, anubi and I conversed about how EAGLE has been DRM'd for quite a long while.


Original Submission

A Tool to Export EAGLE Projects for Use With FOSS ECADs 24 comments

Cadsoft's Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor (EAGLE) is an ECAD (Electronic Computer-aided design), a software product for designing printed circuit boards. As that product has a demo/freeware version which is adequate for many users, as well as having a reasonable price structure for more-capable versions, and being cross-platform, it had considerable popularity.

A year ago, Autodesk acquired Cadsoft Computer GmbH and changed the licensing of the product to a subscription model. Since then, many users of EAGLE have been seeking a path away from that EULAware app. Many have moved to (FOSS) KiCAD, a project started by French academics which has gained developer support from personnel at CERN.

A sticking point for those wanting to transition to a new tool is the projects previously developed using the old tool and saved in the native format of that package.

Hackaday reports

There is a desire to port those innumerable Eagle board layouts and libraries to other PCB design packages. This tool does just that.

The tool is an extension of pcb-rnd, a FOSS tool for circuit board editing [itself, a fork of gEDA's "PCB" module], and this update massively extends support for Eagle boards and libraries.

As an example, VK5HSE loaded up an Eagle .brd file of a transceiver, selected a pin header, and exported that component to a KiCAD library. It worked the first time. For another experiment, the ever popular TV-B-Gone .brd file was exported directly to pcb-rnd.

This is a mostly-complete solution for Eagle-to-KiCAD, Eagle-to-Autotrax, and Eagle-to-gEDA-PCB, with a few minimal caveats relating to copper pours and silkscreen--nothing that can't be dealt with if you're not mindlessly using the tool.

While it must be noted that most Open Hardware projects fit inside a 80 [sq.cm] board area, and can therefore be opened and modified with the free-to-use version of Autodesk's Eagle, this is a very capable tool to turn Eagle boards and libraries into designs that can be built with FOSS tools.

Previous: Cadsoft EAGLE is Now Subscription-Only
CERN is Getting Serious About Development of the KiCAD App for Designing Printed Circuits


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Monday February 12 2018, @09:30PM (16 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday February 12 2018, @09:30PM (#636838)

    It doesn't matter how great they make KiCAD. EAGLE will continue to be the standard, no matter how awful its licensing gets, because tons of hobbyists and engineers working on at-home projects keep recommending it for some reason, probably because a bunch of them have been using it for ages and all their projects are in it and they refuse to change (even if KiCAD can import those projects). Among professionals, it's even worse, as from what I've seen, hardware engineers (esp. American ones) are generally big fans of Windows and proprietary tools and turn their noses up at Free software.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday February 12 2018, @09:37PM (2 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday February 12 2018, @09:37PM (#636841)

      After reading a bunch of the comments on that article, though, I have to say I really like the attitude those commenters have towards Autodesk/Cadsoft, and their pointing out the corruption at hackaday.com.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @12:01AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @12:01AM (#636888)

        I don't know that I'd go that far, but there certainly is a bias WRT Brian and a tolerance for proprietary software and changes to the licenses on those.

        Apparently, some like the clanking noises made the chains they choose to wear.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:20AM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:20AM (#636988)

          Go read the comments: they explicitly point out the conflict of interest between Brian and Cadsoft.

    • (Score: 2) by BananaPhone on Monday February 12 2018, @10:00PM (6 children)

      by BananaPhone (2488) on Monday February 12 2018, @10:00PM (#636847)

      Give it time. LibreOffice was built in a day either.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday February 12 2018, @10:07PM (5 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday February 12 2018, @10:07PM (#636849)

        Not a great comparison. LibreOffice descends from StarOffice, which was commercial software; it wasn't a hobbyist project initially. Also, LO has far wider appeal than EDA software, since most desktop computer users want an office suite. Finally, KiCad has been around for many years now, it's not new by any stretch.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @10:57PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @10:57PM (#636864)

          I switched a friend to kicad and he switch a few people at a maker club, even if the target audiences differ the technique behind the gospel is the same

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:15AM (1 child)

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:15AM (#636984)

            I doubt it: different crowd. The "makers" tend to be much younger and more liberal, and not experienced engineers who generally are a bunch of Randian libertarians who think Free software is "communism" or similar.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:21PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:21PM (#637185)

              It saddens me that pseudo libertarianism is as close as the older engineers can get to decency. Guess all the jokes about social ineptitude were right.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @11:33PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @11:33PM (#636874)

          StarOffice [started as] commercial software

          Yes, StarOffice started out as closed-source stuff.

          It was written by a single individual, Marco Börries, for an 8-bit system.
          He later ported it to other platforms.
          It took him a year before his thing was incorporated, and I can't find any evidence which says, at that point, that he had any additional employees.

          In the meantime, StarOffice and OpenOffice have passed through the hands of multiple owners.

          LibreOffice, OTOH, has -always- been FOSS--as was its direct antecedent (OpenOffice) and has always had the same foundational ownership.
          I'm guessing there isn't a single developer of LibreOffice who doesn't use the suite and that all of them want it to get even better.

          Not a great comparison

          Hmmm. KiCAD was initially a project of Jean-Pierre Charras, a French academic.
          The suite has always been FOSS.
          Its developers receive their income via entities other than the KiCAD project and, in many cases, those are entities who use the software (e.g. CERN).
          Again, ISTM that the devs are also users and want the software to improve.

          -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @11:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @11:53PM (#636883)

          I guess the LHC is a kind of hobby

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Joe Desertrat on Monday February 12 2018, @10:58PM (5 children)

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Monday February 12 2018, @10:58PM (#636865)

      Among professionals, it's even worse, as from what I've seen, hardware engineers (esp. American ones) are generally big fans of Windows and proprietary tools and turn their noses up at Free software.

      To their minds they generally don't have to pay for it out of their pockets, or it is a business deduction if they do. They are going to fight any change to what they use tooth and nail...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @11:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @11:51PM (#636882)

        [Users of proprietary tools] are going to fight any change to what they use

        Good luck with that, guys.
        The big fish swallow up the little fish, then stop supporting and/or make obsolete the wares of their former competitors.
        ...particularly in the ECAD market.
        I saw it repeatedly in the days I was reading sci.electronics.design|sci.electronics.cad.

        ...then there are license changes.

        In a previous story, the comments at TFA had a guy whose company didn't allow machines with work product on them to access any network.
        Installs|updates were done via disks and data transfers were done via sneakernet.
        The new Cadsoft-cum-Autodesk paradigm requires an internet connection to periodically phone home to verify the license.
        For that guy, that broke compatibility with the proprietary wares.
        Foot, meet bullet.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:05AM (3 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:05AM (#636973)

        No, I'm not talking about what they use at work, where you're right, they don't care much because their employer is footing the bill. I'm talking about what they do for their at-home projects. These people, by and large, are just not supporters of or interested in Free software. Strangely, they even think Windows is a great platform for doing serious engineering work...

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday February 13 2018, @06:17AM (2 children)

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 13 2018, @06:17AM (#637016) Journal

          So you get your produce designed using the opensoure software.
          Then you want to ship it to China to get it replicated.
          Nobody over there knows a thing about KiCad.
          You get to redo it in what the industry wants.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @07:59AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @07:59AM (#637042)

            Wanna bet?

            ...and there are standard file formats that you give a PCB fabrication house e.g. Gerber.
            KiCAD produces those just fine.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:20PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:20PM (#637183)

            You don't know what Gerbers are, do you?

            I've been sending KiCad-designed boards to China for many years now.

  • (Score: 2) by morpheus on Tuesday February 13 2018, @12:16AM (2 children)

    by morpheus (1989) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @12:16AM (#636896)

    I have not used KiCAD much, just a couple of times but I have used PCB a lot and I tried to use Eagle. For my personal projects I have a rather long development cycle so the ability to document and change formats is paramount. Both KiCAD's and PCB's formats are exceptionally well documented, everything is scriptable. Eagle is probably workable but I cannot imagine working on something for three years only to lose all my work or get it locked away from me by a version change or the new OS upgrade and the lack of a new license. The Eagle guys play with words when they say that 'nobody promised lifetime support'. I do not need a lifetime of new features but if you sold me something that has bugs (without workarounds) make sure you fix them and above all, if I switch to a new computer and a new version of Linux, I expect to bring all my software with me. The car analogy they give falls short is multiple respects. Finally, having worked with Eagle a few times (admittedly a long time ago) I did not find it all that convenient, although it was a notch above terrible. I admit, I have fixed a few bugs in PCB by hand so I did not shy away from the dirty work.

    I would not even mention that this whole 'cloud' craze is pure greed and one would be insane to trust that these companies would not abuse (especially Autodesk) the ability to hold your work ransom to their licensing schemes. Ok, there, I did mention it ...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @01:49AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @01:49AM (#636927)

      Useful app; descriptive name (more or less); very difficult to Google up, however.

      Originally developed by Thomas Nau for the Amiga.
      Later, ported to other platforms.
      Development/support subsequently taken up by Harry Eaton.
      At one point, it seemed that DJ Delorie was the prime supporter.
      Early page; [archive.org] Last page there was in 2007. [archive.org]

      It has since become part of the gEDA "suite".
      (One assumes that you use gschem for schematic capture.)

      .
      this whole 'cloud' craze is pure greed

      Amen.

      and one would be insane to trust that these companies would not abuse

      Amen.
      Over a decade ago, Cadsoft put DRM in their stuff which punished folks who weren't aware that they had done anything wrong.
      The company wouldn't help legitimately licensed users recover and, of course, they said nothing about this in their license.

      I've previously mentioned [soylentnews.org] at some length the revelations of Markus Zingg back in 2006. [electrondepot.com]

      For me, proprietary software lost its luster long ago.
      Time and again, I've found that the people in that business are just slime.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:07AM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:07AM (#636976)

        Time and again, I've found that the people in that business are just slime.

        Aren't most people?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @01:39AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @01:39AM (#636924)

    https://olimex.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/this-is-fosdem-2018/#comment-29471 [wordpress.com]
    Is the Bazaar dead? Only Cathedrals with source from now on?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:07AM (#636935)

      The KiCAD leadership notoriously has zero inclination to compromise

      I notice that he didn't mention what his alternative might be.
      (The subjects of gift horses and mouths occur to me.)

      ...and that steadfastness sounds a lot like a particular Benevolent Dictator for Life. [google.com]

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Tuesday February 13 2018, @01:56AM (5 children)

    by crafoo (6639) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 13 2018, @01:56AM (#636932)

    KiCAD is one of those open source projects that made me a believer in the whole concept. It's very good. I've designed PCBs with it and had them manufactured. Double-sided, with solder mask and silk screen. Starting from their schematic editor, and doing some pad definitions and editing as needed. Maybe not much to a pro, but I'm mostly a self-taught hobbyist. It's incredible how good this software is. I'm curious if autorouting will be a thing, or better integrated?

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:11AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:11AM (#636939)

      So, you're saying that at some point you've seen an autorouter that was worth a hoot in hell?

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:11AM (1 child)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @04:11AM (#636979)

        If you think you can efficiently hand-route an extremely complex board by hand, in a reasonable amount of time, I have a bridge to sell you. And routing a board with high-speed signals by hand is pretty infeasible, as you have to control trace lengths precisely.

        I've used the FreeRouter that KiCad links to, and it works pretty well. Of course, I end up making lots of hand edits to it, but the autorouter is good for doing a first pass.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @06:39AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @06:39AM (#641660)

          I've used the FreeRouter that KiCad links to

          Today, Hackaday has put up a notice:

          Friday Hack Chat: Trusting The Autorouter [hackaday.com]

          Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging [hackaday.io]. This Hack Chat is going down Friday, February 23rd at noon, Pacific time. Want to know what time this is happening in your neck of the woods? Here, look at the neat time zone converter thingy [timeanddate.com].

          Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

          You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

          In the comments there, PWalsh started a subthread on FreeRouter. [hackaday.com] Comments run from

          took a *lot* of work!

          to

          [set up] freeroute on ubuntu 16 in about 10 minutes

          Some "intellectual property" wranglings were mentioned as well.

          -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by EETech1 on Tuesday February 13 2018, @07:19AM (1 child)

        by EETech1 (957) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @07:19AM (#637032)

        I used the eagle autorouter for my quickcircuit prototype board layouts, and once you priced the features to get the results you wanted, it wasn't half bad. It was very useful to show you areas of the board that could use further optimization in the component placements!

        So, it was useful for pointing out that if you just moved these couple things a little bit, all these other things would go a whole lot smoother!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @06:42AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @06:42AM (#641662)

          once you priced the features to get the results you wanted

          Today, Hackaday has put up a notice:

          Friday Hack Chat: Trusting The Autorouter [hackaday.com]

          Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging [hackaday.io]. This Hack Chat is going down Friday, February 23rd at noon, Pacific time. Want to know what time this is happening in your neck of the woods? Here, look at the neat time zone converter thingy [timeanddate.com].

          Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

          You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

          In the comments there, [hackaday.com] Beef says

          unless you are laying out something really complex[,] it often takes more time to set the stupid thing up than just do it yourself. otherwise you get crazy stuff like traces running off the pcb and 10 billion [vias]

          Pat says

          For more complicated stuff, I route most things by hand, because I have yet to come across an autorouter that understands the concept of "do your best"

          D00med says

          the autorouter [...] failed miserably. It wasn’t able to route a number of traces and used over 2x the number of vias vs noobish me manually routing traces

          elmesito says

          I have 20+ years professional experience as a “human-router” and I can only but agree with some of the comments.
          Over the years[,] I have tested the autoroute features of the main professional layout tools, and have noticed a distinct improvement; [that said], they still require a lot of time setting up, such as the paths were the traces are supposed to go, and the other rules, which effectively turn the autoroute feature in something that is very manual, and definitely not for the beginner

          -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

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