64 November 2017
>>>YOUR ELECTRONICS QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE BY N&V READERS
#2 There are a number of programs
available. One popular one is Eagle
PCB. However, I prefer a program
called Dip Trace ( diptrace.com) for its
ease of use and capability. Both Eagle
and Dip Trace have free trial and low
cost limited versions. Good Luck with
#3 I would highly recommend
SprintLayout 6.0 by Abacom.
Although not free, it will run you
around $50, has no limitations on
board size or components, and is
It is very well supported by
Abacom, has a very easy license
arrangement, and you can install
it on as many PCs as you own as
long as it is only used on one PC at
any one time. It has many powerful
features and is the easiest PC layout
software I have ever used (and I have
used dozens both personally and
professionally). You may download
(except for the save function) from
the site listed here. I don’t believe you
will be disappointed.
The usual discalmer: I have no
financial or other interest in the
company that produced this software.
I am just a very satisfied user. They
also have several other excellent
electronics and mechanical design
software at a very reasonable price.
#4 I have been using Dip Trace
( www.diptrace.com) for over 10 years
and have found it to be very easy to
use. There is a free copy available for
download where the only limitation is
the number of pins. I have also found
that www.oshpark.com has very
reasonable prices for circuit boards.
You can zip the DipTrace build files
and upload them directly.
#5 I'm just a few miles from
you here in Shelby! I, too, despise all
cloud-based software. I do not trust
the cloud with my data.
I have been using Eagle CAD
ever since it was shipped on 3-1/2”
floppy disks and I have never had a
single problem with it. The software
has recently been purchased by
Autodesk, but it seems to still be the
same offline version as before.
There is a subscription for
commercial use, but the free version
has always been enough for me. This
will run on Windows, Mac, or my
personal choice, Linux. Plus, if you
run Ubuntu, you can still find the
old pre-Autodesk version still in the
Other Linux programs include
KiCad, Eeschema, and Fritzing,
although I think this one may be too
basic for your needs. I'm sure others
can suggest Windows solutions.
#6 Eagle from Autodesk is what
most folks use. There is a free version
to do a small board. KiCAD is the
open source alternative.