Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to select a good PCB design software?

PCB design automation is essential in today's market competition. Even if it is not for selling design design professional want to know the best PCB design software for research for example. While small design can be completed with open source software, larger and complex design requires high accuracy, high performance software. In the PCB design process routing is perhaps the critical part that designers constantly focus on. Many PCB has auto router feature but often it does the provide the optimum path. And what is design automation if this part of work cannot be automated? Modern PCB software does take great deal of work load from the designer.

So how to select a good PCB design software?

Most of the PCB design software provides schematic design, simulation, PCB design, auto routing features.

A typical PCB CAD software vendor offers demo. The demo software has demo license and one should use it to exploit its strength and weakness. Once you have the demo software, you should look into couple of things as follows.

hole in pcb

Check the demo board but don't rely on that. Instead think of it as the best you can get from the software if the software really functions are advertized. Because the vendor always would, should and do provide their best PCB design to demonstrate the software capability.

Now what really matters and the things one should watch in the application is the Auto Routing program, the EMI and thermal technological support and restrictions, the accuracy of the wire frames, the units accuracy, the number of PCB layers it can support, the export to other CAD software, the CAM support. Another important selection criteria is the library support, the parts and documentation, how footprints have to be created, the simulation capability for the parts.

You don't want to spend time on debugging your design once you buy the PCB CAD. You want to have the PCB CAD automate most of the design work with high accuracy as much as possible.

See schematic and PCB design tutorials

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