Pcb Design Software

Written by Serena Berger
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While many complex and multi-layered PCBs require the design talents of an electrical engineer and experienced technician, there are many basic PCB design projects which can be accomplished by a software package. The same software professionals use to help them solve some of the problems of designing any individual PCB may be sufficient to design a less complicated PCB in its entirety. In many ways, designing a PCB is an intricate puzzle--making a certain number of elements fit in the smallest space possible without crossing or meeting where they should not. A computer program can execute this challenge faster than a person--but generally you need a person who understands the design and the specific needs of the project to review the computer's design and modify it for optimal performance.

Attributes of Good PCB Design Software

You can find PCB design software with an intuitive interface--one which is similar to the Windows format with a toolbar familiar to any Windows user. Your software should be able to print to any standard printer, if that is important to you. Functions such as unlimited customizable colors may be optional for you, while unlimited layers and a large drawing area are probably requirements. You can get a drawing area about a meter wide, and then zoom in or out as you work.

Click and drag operation is the industry standard for design software. You can place your "pins" and then click on one and drag the mouse to the pin to which it should be connected. The trace will then be visible on your screen. Rotation is another crucial feature of good PCB design software. You should look for rotation to one tenth of a degree in order to be guaranteed the views that you may need.

Some PCB design software is linked to a manufacturer who can build your design. The software can be connected live to the manufacturer's server so that you can get a real-time estimate for the cost of the board you have designed. If the cost is acceptable to you, you can place an order then and there. You should also be able to get an estimate of the delivery date--which may well be within the same week.


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