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May 18, 2024, 01:25:02 am


SMF - Just Installed!

Eagle and Kicad

Started by Phil, May 04, 2016, 07:13:37 am

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I saw that you make quite a lot of PCBs using Eagle and I wondered if you have also used Kicad and what you think about the two? I've never designed a PCB before and looking to do my first one and having looked at both, I find the UI horrible on both and quite unintuitive, but I guess I need to get used to them!


Andy Brown

I've been an Altium Designer user for many years and a few years ago I did try Eagle because it's free and it would have been good if people could directly use the designs that I create. Unfortunately I hated Eagle and went back to AD. Maybe I'll try KiCad one day but to be honest AD is so good and I know it so well that it would be difficult. Maybe the free online Altium Circuit Maker would be a better option. If you can live with the 'online' part then you do seem to get all the good bits of AD.
It's worse than that, it's physics Jim!


I find that ALL PCB board software I've tried has difficult to learn and infuriating user interfaces, the only thing you get to choose it which set of boneheaded decisions you have to live with :P

I want to to make a PCB for my reflow oven controller so I've been looking at various bits of software.
I tried Eagle free version. I couldn't get on with it. Nothing seemed to work as I'd expect and I really just found it hard to use and gave up eventually. I was also concerned for future use about the board size limitations on the free version, and the cheap pay versions didn't seem to resolve that for me.

I tried Altium Circuit Maker after it was suggested here. In many ways it's very good. It's fairly simple to use and probably has the easiest to learn user interface. There are a number of things about it I didn't like but mostly a matter of taste. What really broke it for me though was the online stuff. I wanted to use it on my laptop when traveling as well as on my main PC and without internet access you just can't. Also, on more than one occasion it just stopped working. Components I could find in the online search tool were there one day and not there the next, at least I couldn't find them. Sometimes it would find NO components and then two hours later be working again.

Eventually I tried kicad. I like this the best. It takes a little time to learn to use it but I found that once I put the time in to learn the user interface it was the easiest to use for me. I think Circuit Makes is easier to get into, but after 10 hours of use both are about equal. There are some issues though. I gave up using the component library. The parts are not the ones I wanted, and frankly the library system is incomprehensible. But it's pretty easy to make my own components for the schematic and layout and I only have to do it once ever for each component.

So I'm using kicad now.  it has a lot of rough edges like some commands only working in opengl render mode and some NOT working in opengl render mode with no reason or explanation but I like it best out of the ones I've tried and hope to have a board made soon.


Thanks for tips. I tried both Eagle and Kicad. I hated them both, but was able to at least place components using kicad so it was marginally more intuitive.

Both seem to have been written by sadists who are trying to inflict maximum pain via the UI.

I'm half way doing my first ever PCB. I will post it on here for comments before I try sending it off for manufacture.