Pcb Layout Software

Written by Adam Blau
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There was a time when only the most advanced engineers and designers had the tools of circuit board design at their fingertips. The rest of the population had to settle with handmade, crudely-etched circuit boards and breadboards in order to develop a prototype. Innovation was somewhat stifled; in order for a layperson to attempt designing a complex circuit board, he or she had to connect components to a relatively unwieldy surface, particularly when compared with the slick, efficient boards of professionally-manufactured equipment.

What's more, there was a time when these circuit boards would often be tested only to reveal faulty design problems. The only true way to test the effectiveness of a circuit would be to create the board and make sure that it worked the way it was intended to work. As you might imagine, this became a fairly costly and time-consuming proposition.

Bringing PCB Layout Software to the Masses

An extraordinary vault forward in computer development, combined with a similar leap ahead in design software, has ensured that extensive design procedures are no longer the exclusive domain of the elite engineers. Nowadays, anyone with an average home computer can use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create effective and efficient printed circuit boards (PCBs). It is even possible to find free and feature-packed PCB layout software for most computers. This software can be used in conjunction with internet-based PCB fabrication plants to produce inexpensive and effective prototypes of electronic equipment.

Oftentimes, PCB layout software can do more than simply lay out your design. Some applications go so far as to supply realistic virtual testing environments; that is, you can test whether or not a circuit will function properly without the design ever leaving your computer screen. Such innovation in CAD has made PCB design and engineering cost-effective enough for even the most frugal of inventors and designers.

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