Thursday, August 7, 2008

gschem vs. kicad

I have officially given up trying to use gschem. I can place components (and even create new symbols), but I have had no success connecting pins with wires. It is possible that I am an idiot, but I don't think I have to go too far out on a limb to claim that gschem isn't the most user-friendly of programs.

Fortunately, there appears to be a nice alternative called kicad. The problem of parts I need (e.g., ATtiny2313, ICM7212) not being in the default symbol library is still an issue, although some web searching did eventually turn up symbols for the parts I needed.

Update: I was able to connect VCC on the ATtiny2313 to +5V! I'm going to tentatively say that kicad rocks.

6 comments:

Sanjay Mishra said...

Did you try using the n command in gschem? I just started playing with gschem and find it very intuitive more so than some of the commercial EDA packages that I use.

Shaunak said...

Agree with the first comment. Although gEDA's work-flow isnt exactly neat, it is very powerful.

And gschem does beat a lot of much more expensive schematic capture software out there.

David Hovemeyer said...

I have since switched back to using Eagle CAD. The issue is actually not so much that Eagle is better or more intuitive than gEDA or kicad, but that there is a lot more support for novice circuit board designers in the form of tutorials, libraries, board services, etc. In particular, SparkFun has excellent tutorials, a good part library that covers most of what they sell, and CAM support for their cheap board service (batchpcb.com). I was able to successfully design a board this summer and have it manufactured. I think this would have been a far more intimidating process using gEDA or kicad.

Andras said...

I recently submitted my design (produced by gEDA) to batchpcb and didn't have any problems. All I had to do is rename the Gerber-files:

#!/bin/bash
#
# Rename PCB generated Gerber files for BatchPCB
#
rename 's/front\.gbr$/top/' *gbr
rename 's/back\.gbr$/bot/' *gbr
rename 's/frontmask\.gbr$/tsm/' *gbr
rename 's/backmask\.gbr$/bsm/' *gbr
rename 's/frontsilk\.gbr$/slk/' *gbr
rename 's/frontpaste\.gbr$/gtp/' *gbr
rename 's/plated-drill\.cnc$/cnc/' *cnc

David Hovemeyer said...

@Andras - that's good to know. I'll think about trying gschem/pcb next time I do a project.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa said...

I started out doing PCB's with PADSdemo. I used it for many years. Then I found Eagle. It was very good and available for Linux.
After a few years of doing software only I wanted to do boards again. I searched through the internet and found KiCad, geda and of course Eagle. KiCad en geda seem very powerful and free of charge. Yet I am seriously considering buying the non commercial version. I just cannot get used to all the power of KiCad and Geda which is undocumented and very hard to use. So, for me, Eagle is the way to go. Despite the fact that I somehow like the other too.