A PCB design automation tool and software were created by the Australian software company Altium. It is currently the most popular and well-known program in the electronic design business. Also, it includes a schematic PCB module and an auto-router. It also includes pairs for differential routing.
Additionally, it facilitates the turning of the track length as well as 3D modeling. It offers a variety of software engines and editors for electronic product development. It aids in managing processing, compiling, and editing. This program also offers X2 integration. Since the environment is completely adjustable, one can arrange the workspace to suit the situation.
What are the Features of the Altium Designer?
The following are a few strong characteristics offered by the Altium Designer:
- Turning of the track length and 3D modeling
- Powerful Data Management Tools;
- real-time transparency and cost estimates
- Modern technology for routing,
- Cutting-edge as well as rigid support for flex board designs
- Flexible tools that help in managing release
Altium Designer supports and provides all of these functionalities inside a single design environment. It is designed to offer the highest productivity possible.
Additionally, Altium Designer’s unified functionality allows for easy transfer of design-related data from one of the design stages to another. The learning curve could be enhanced with the aid of its plethora of features in order to boost productivity.
It specifically aids engineers and scientists in keeping up with all facets of electronic design procedures.
After many attempts from developers, this software now offers a unified and single environment for designing. Because of this, Altium Designer is currently a widely used tool for designing PCBs.
This also includes a collection of libraries that are a haphazard assortment of various functional parts and models. However, how the user arranges the parts or models in a library is entirely up to them. Libraries are typically organized around the device suppliers, for example, a library per each type of micro-controller that a business employs. There are several different Altium library types, including:
- Schematic library (the simplest library and typically the model library)
- PCB library (being used in storing footprints of 3D models)
- Integrated library (composition of PCB and schematic library)
- Database Library (Useful for the insertion of the design components in the data of the company)
There is a streamlined Altium license mechanism that enables the program to be used in the most effective and efficient manner possible. By using this technique, licenses are distributed to the appropriate users. This system offers two different kinds of licenses. Its web-based licensing mechanism is at the top. Customer accounts are integrated into it. Users who have this license can use the software on any PC or computer without having to verify it, and there is also no need for extracting or copying these license files in order to activate the product.
Four different kinds of licenses for Altium are available. These include:
- On-Demand License (Observes the release and use system. The client’s computer will be able to acquire an on-demand license after logging in.
- Standalone License (you can obtain this license through the extraction or copying of the license files).
- Viewer License (This is connected to the Altium account of the user.) Users can access software without a license thanks to it. Also, you cannot access the license through the dashboard.
- Private Sector License (This is adopted by the Altium Infrastructure server. This offers remote software installation as well as license management.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Altium Designer
The advantages are as follows:
- It is simple to switch between a 2D or 3D body based on the requirements of the design.
- It enables the use of STEP models.
- Mechanical data could be integrated into a specific design to keep track of the 3D models;
- It can assist in updating previously recorded designs, resulting in increased efficiency and organization in the development and design of PCB.
- You can resolve issues in 3D models in order to see which mechanical adjustments and other changes suit your system.
- Data sharing with MCAD systems is simple.
- Created to satisfy the requirements of any engineer who creates electronic products. Furthermore, it is a more advanced technology offering better value.
- It offers a great circuit board layout editor with nourished behavior and control.
This software has the following drawbacks:
- With its default settings, a schematic of medium-size results in numerous specious warnings.
- Because it is a big piece of software, startup times can be lengthy.
- Slow file access when using a network, if possible.
- Altium has many restrictions, making it challenging in routing the designs.
- The auto-routers ‘restrictions
- It offers less features than similar programs and software
- The costliest EDA software, making it unaffordable for SME’s.
Price of Altium designer
The starting pricing for Altium Designer is 295 euros. There are two different license types for this software:
- Perpetual License: Starts at 2 685 euros and includes a standard subscription for updates.
- Time-Based License: This is the subscription model, starting at 295 euros.
You can test an Altium product out using the Free Trial edition of Altium Designer. Also, you only need to complete a brief form to create a new registration. You will be sent an email in return with access to the Free Trial.
What is Eagle PCB?
Eagle stands for Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor. This program aids in electronic design automation.
It enables electrical designers, in particular those who create printed circuit boards, to seamlessly integrate several PCB’s schematic layouts. Along with PCB layout, library content, It aids designers to determine optimal functionality, and component replacement. Depending on the use, this software is either cheap or completely free.
Premium Features of Eagle
Every engineer can now have reliable designing. By delivering improved printed circuit board layout, various contents from pre-designed libraries, various tools for schematic editing, as well as community-driven features, it enables designers to translate their approaches and vision into reality.
Professionals that desire limitless board space and go beyond the bounds of circuit board design have been specifically targeted by Eagle premium.
The schematic sheets are about 999 in total, with 16 single and plane layer counts.
There are several new features included within the Eagle Premium. These are listed below:
There is a new automatic router being installed. As a consequence, the procedure is complex, and fewer transition boards get created than with algorithms employed in earlier or competing software. Less manual contact is required from the user, and the cost of the boards is ideal.
For Eagle Premium, hierarchical designs were created to handle such large schematic designs into small functional pieces or blocks. These designs will subsequently be distributed to different team members. In the end, an integrated design would arise from the team’s collaborative design work.
Additionally, this design could be repurposed by using designs from one block in another.
A block’s face in an (IDF) file displays the maximum component dimensions, such as height and length. IDF files for circuit boards can now be uploaded into the Eagle Premium. When it comes to compatibility, just mechanical programs work here.
Users can now be entertained by Eagle Premium’s 7th version thanks to its updated interface and graphic design. New, self-explanatory icons and graphics have been added. Users can now choose between a classic or a modernized icon style.
PCB Eagle Library
With Eagle software, pre-installed as well as out-of-the-box libraries are both available. Various pre-designed symbols, components, parts, footprints, and 3D models are covered by the libraries of the Eagle PCB.
Additionally, there are numerous worry-free libraries available online on its website. A board’s design is an extremely time-consuming process that can require 8 to 12 hours of the designers’ effort. Eagle provides libraries that give users access to parts and components that have already been created, saving designers the time and effort of creating a variety of new components. Additionally, the user can use the library to search for and place a part. With Eagle PCB libraries, design engineers may ensure perfect fit of a board in its location without depending on luck.
Regarding licensing, this software’s system was typical with upgrades and few improvements 25 years ago. Eagle has since joined the Autodesk family that boasts a superior development team. Also, a specific method exists for ongoing updates. Users of this system can receive frequent upgrades with lots of improvements.
Eagle’s family is supported round-the-clock by a system. Additionally, the software is now affordable and available to everyone thanks to monthly and yearly packages. Customers can choose between three license types: free, per month, and yearly. Monthly and annual eagle licensing fees vary. Additionally, free license has less restrictions.
The key performance elements of the EAGLE licensing package are listed below in case you don’t know about it. However, if you currently own an Autodesk software, including such Fusion 360, you will be familiar with the subscription version.
- Ability to choose your preferred subscription model. There is no requirement to pay for software you are not using on a regular monthly as well as annual basis.
- Automatic updates save a lot of money because they are sent without human intervention.
- Making jobs with no restrictions. A broad range of capabilities are made possible by the most recent advancements used in this software.
The performance of the most recent Autodesk EAGLE version has improved when it comes to manufacturing models for the PCB layout, editing design schematics, and utilizing many already completed projects. With variation 7.7, the production process has been improved. Updates are released often and regularly.
Limitations of Eagle PCB Free Version
These are some restrictions on the software’s free version:
- A small board area. For the free version, the user is restricted to a specific area. Only the dimensions of 100 x 80 mm can be changed in the PCB design.
- Only two separate layers may be used in the free version.
- The inability to use several sheets in the schematic editor is a huge restriction in the free edition.
- The free edition is also limited to email or team help.
- For individuals who are interested in learning it or are hobbyists, there is a free version available. Free versions are only permitted for non-commercial uses.
What is the Price of Eagle PCB?
Choose from one of the three Autodesk FUSION 360 membership plans to access the full edition of the EAGLE Premium.
Three alternatives are available:
- Three years
- One year
- One month
Fusion 360 package also includes:
- Reporting of Product Usage gives you the option to view the product usage data by specific users.
- Autodesk Drive allows you to share data between projects.
- Security and administration – two-step verification
- Shared Views – Workflow views that can be viewed by authorized users;
- Support service: Online assistance is available 24/7.
Standard, Education, Enterprise, and Premium are the four distinct varieties of Eagle Premium.
Eagle vs. Altium: What’s the Difference?
- When comparing the two programs, Eagle offers more capabilities for team collaboration or integrated design. In terms of projects that are hardware-based, Eagle offers better alternatives, although Altium’s user interface is more dependable and potent.
- When it comes to cutting-edge features, Altium provides numerous additional and better ones than Eagle, like digital processing of high speed.
- Altium’s design rule checking is also far more trustworthy than Eagle’s. Altium has advanced accommodation and routing for the radio frequency.
- When it comes to cost, Eagle is less expensive than Altium. Eagle offers three different modes. There are far fewer limitations in the free version as well.
- Another problem with Eagle is how hard the library handling is. Handling libraries and creating custom components is significantly simpler in Altium.
- Eagle is a far better alternative for simulations over Altium with the inclusion of Fusion 360.
- One drawback of Altium is that it can only run on Windows, but Eagle Premium can work on any operating system.
Which is preferable, then, depends entirely on your needs and available funds. Therefore, if you have the money, Altium is the right alternative to think about. However, Eagle could be a perfect option if the consumer has financial restrictions.