Monday, February 6, 2017

Yet another dichotomy...

Yet another dichotomy...  After an email conversation with a couple of friends, I've learned that the world of free electronic design automation (EDA) is mainly divided into two highly polarized camps: those who like Eagle, and those who like KiCad.  Years ago I had some very unhappy dealings with AutoCAD (who owns Eagle), and KiCad is a CERN project – so for me the choice was easy.  I'm now a KiCad guy! :)

After downloading it, getting completely flubberblated, reading some tutorials, cursing whoever it was that designed their user interface, gradually coming to understand that the OSX version is way behind, I finally managed to actually create a schematic.  This is the touch sensor part of the mud room switch project I posted about yesterday.  I'll keep publishing these in sections, as I build and test them.  This part works just fine.  Vcc, BTW, is 5 volts.

In all the years that I've been building electronics projects, I've never before used a schematic capture program (or EDA of any kind, unless you count circuit simulators).  The closest I've ever come is using Visio with a component outline library.  That's really just a drawing assistant; it doesn't “know” anything about the circuit.  KiCad, on the other hand, can generate net lists (for SPICE, for example) and directly generate the artwork for printed circuit boards.  Most of the (eighty bazillion) online prototype PCB houses will directly take KiCad (or Eagle) files, so presumably it would be pretty darned simple to get boards made for homebrew projects.  One of these days I might actually try that, but this is not that day. :)

If anybody actually wants this schematic, I'd be happy to share it.  It would make more sense to wait until I've actually finished, though!