Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My two cents for Eagle CAD

I've been using Eagle CAD freeware version for my SuSE Linux Enterprise ed and here's some of my opinion.

Eagle's Up Point
Let's start with the good one.

It runs on Linux =) I guess I'm the only weirdo in SE Asia that use Linux for my daily live (from watching DVD, programming Java, AVR, until creating my PCB). I've seen so many EDA in Linux, but none of them that's really supported (I mean professionally supported, not just user mailing-list supported). So, I guess CADSoft is the ice breaker for Linux professional EDA.

The next best thing about this software is there's a lot of user made library out there. You can even download it from CADSoft's site. So, if you're lazy enough (like me), you can always count on the nice people over there, who's willing to share their hard work with you.

Eagle's Downside
Now, here's the downside of this program.

The PCB that was generated was not as smooth as Protel / OrCAD version. Their concept of attached-to-grid is limiting your PCB artwork a lot. So, if you have components with 0.3mm and 0.2mm, don't expect that your artwork will be perfectly aligned with the pins.

This is an example of my PCB artwork that's generated by Eagle CAD. The yellow circle shows the part that's crooked.

The other downpoint of this software is that you can only design for one schematic and two layers. For most of the hobbyist, it's enough. But, it also means that you cannot use those shinny new ARMs or AVR-32 MCU.

If you don't intend to use any advanced 32-bit MPU/MCU, or any FPGA with multiple schematics and layers, Eagle is sufficient for you.

If you want to use Eagle CAD as your primary EDA for your professional work, it's an ugly choice because most of the time, you will need multiple schematics: It's easier to read.

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