There are several software packages for designing circuit boards in today’s world. As the electronic world advances, so is PCB design. More advanced boards are needed for manufacturing compact and powerful electronics. The process of PCB manufacturing usually begins with PCB design.
Some PCB design software packages are very popular among PCB manufacturers. These software include Eagle, OrCad, and Altium Designer. However, there are other software packages that offer great results. Also, it is advisable that hardware entrepreneurs and starters start with a less popular PCB design package like Geda and DipTrace.
Although these two software packages aren’t as popular as some other software, they offer great features. Altium is expensive and as such, few engineers opt for this software. Most PCB developers like freelance designers, entrepreneurs, and hackers usually can’t afford this software. Therefore, there are other power, yet cheaper alternatives like DipTrace and Geda. In this article, we will consider DipTrace Vs Geda PCB.
What is DipTrace?
DipTrace is affordable, powerful, and easy to use PCB design software. It is suitable for hobbyists. Also, DipTrace provides advanced features that help to create complex or simple multilayer PCBs from schematic to manufacturing files.
Also, this software features four different modules. One of the modules is for PCB layout while another is for schematic entry. Another module is for creating new components and the last module is for creating new landing patterns. Also, these modules are schematic capture, PCB layout, component editor, and pattern editor.
The schematic capture is a PCB design tool that offers support to multi-level and multi-sheet hierarchical schematics. Also, this tool allows you to convert circuits to a PCB. Spice export and verification enable full project analysis.
The PCB layout module features shape-based autorouting, 3D previewing, smart manual routing, and advanced verification. Class-to-class rules and net classes can define design rules. Also, DipTrace offers a design process which produces reports of errors on the fly before making them. You can preview the board in 3D and export for any mechanical CAD modeling.
Also, this module ensures great quality of final design by comparing source schematic and verifying net connectivity.
The component editor module designs schematic symbols for components that are not in the library of components. Also, this module features pad numbering and bulk pin naming features that enable a designer to create multi-part complex components with several pins.
The pattern editor creates PCB landing patterns for components that are new. Also, this module features 3D modeling. 3D modeling enables designers to preview the boards with attached components at any design stage.
Benefits of DipTrace
DipTrace is the first intuitive CAD software that offers advanced features like:
- Smart manual routing tools
- Multi-sheet and hierarchical schematics
- High-speed signaling
- Manufacturing output
- Advanced verification and real-time DRC
- Shape-based autorouter
- Wide export/import capabilities
- Real-time 3D PCB preview and STEP export
- Good support and tutorials
Disadvantages of Using DipTrace
DipTrace has got its own drawbacks despite the benefits it offers. Also, the main drawback of this PCB design software is that it is not as standard as Eagle or Altium. For instance, you may want someone to design your PCB layout. This is quite challenging when using DipTrace.
When outsourcing a PCB layout in DipTrace, you will need to export the schematic to a PCF file. After that, you will redraw the new software package manually. Although DipTrace can import PCB layouts and schematics from Orcad or Eagle, it can’t export to these formats. This is because most PCB design software packages make export to another package difficult since they don’t want you to opt for another package.
What is gEDA?
gEDA is a PCB design software package used for electronic design. Also, it is an EDA (electronic design automation) application suite. gEDA is commonly used in printed circuit board design. gEDA applications is collectively known as gEDA suite.
gEDA is a great tool for schematic capture, PCB prototyping, electrical circuit design, and PCB production. Also,the gEDA project provides free software applications for electronics design. This PCB software design is highly preferred among PCB manufacturers.
gEDA is an open-source software package that feature several tools. The centerpiece of gEDA is gschem. Gschem is a schematic designer. Also, this PCB design software allows you to draw electronic schematic with the gschem tool. The electronic schematics describe the structure of a circuit.
Furthermore, these schematics comprise symbols. Symbols represent different components of the circuit and are usually obtained from a library. Also, networks represent the connection between components. gEDA features gattrib. Gattrib is a program for editing the attributes of a component. Furthermore, this PCB design software features a library of functions known as libgeda to manipulate schema and symbols.
The netlist in this software offers a flexible and sensitive utility that help to analyze the schemas to produce some results. Also, gEDA can produce BOMs and DRC reports for our schemes. There is a gsch2pcb that helps to streamline workflow.
Components of gEDA
gEDA as a design suite features the following tools:
gaf means gscheme and friends. It is the authentic gEDA project tool the team created. Also, gaf is a subset of different crucial tools. The gEDA development team maintains these tools. These tools include:
- gschem is the primary circuit schematic capture program of gEDA. Also, gscheme features a compact user interface with several functionalities. You can draw schematics on the workspace. The different quick access buttons on the user interface allow easy use of the tool. Furthermore, the tool captures all connections and components drawn.
- gEDA suite helps to store the schematics’ netlists for more operations.
- Gnetlist is a program that generates netlists of different connections and components utilized in the schematic creation tool. Also, gnettlist supports over 20 netlist formats.
- Libgeda is a library collection for gnetlist, gsymcheck, and gschem
- Gsch2-pcb forwards annotations to the layout tool.
This is the major PCB layout program of gEDA. PCB as a component of gEDA is suitable for use across all major platforms like Windows, Unix, Mac, and Linux. Also, the tool offers several features like check design rules, trace optimizer, and schematic/netlist import.
This is the gEDA’s gerber file viewer. Also, gerber is the major data format for circuit board design operations.
NgSPICE is a PCB stimulator ideal for digital mixed-signal circuits. This tool is easy to use and understand and as well as compact.
Icarus Verilog is a simulation and compilation tool written in Verilog data. It is a tool for source codes. Linux is the main target platform. However, it is compatible with some similar operating systems.
DipTrace vs gEDA PCB – Comparing the Difference
DipTrace and gEDA are both PCB design software packages. However, there are some differences between these software packages. DipTrace comes in different prices for various packages. The cheapest version is the DipTrace Sarter is available for 75 dollars. DipTrace Full provides unlimited signal layers and unlimited pins for $895.
DipTrace versions all feature humongous parts library. Also, gEDA offers huge libraries of components. gEDA is more expensive than DipTrace. DipTrace is budget friendly and as such, it is ideal for hobbyists and freelance engineers. The user interface of gEDA is more intuitive than DipTrace.
DipTrace feature four important modules for PCB design. gEDA features several components like Gerbv, gaf, and NgSPICE. These components are all crucial in ensuring good PCB design.
Some Crucial Criteria for PCB Design Software
There are diverse PCB design software packages available. Some packages don’t offer the feature you need. Therefore, you need to consider some crucial factors when choosing PCB design software.
Ease of use
This is a critical feature when choosing PCB design software. DipTrace is a great software package in terms of ease of use. Integrating this software for your PCB design will help a lot. With DipTrace, you can start designing your PCB as soon as possible with a minimal learning curve. You don’t need to waste time learning how to use the software. Also, Geda is a good choice too. Geda features a nice interface for both beginners and experts.
DipTrace is one of the most affordable PCB design software packages you will ever come across. This software is just half the price of Eagle or one-eight of Altium’s price. Geda is a good option when considering budget-friendly software. DipTrace offers a low or no barrier to entry since you can start with its Starter version.
Both Geda and DipTrace feature huge libraries of components. Also, a large library is crucial since designing new components can lead to errors that any verification tool won’t capture. However, you will need to design some custom components regardless of the package. Although Eagle and Altium offer huge libraries, DipTrace and Geda feature extensive libraries.
The gEDA and DipTrace PCB design software packages are very efficient and make PCB design easier. When it comes to DipTrace vs gEDA PCB design software, both software packages are ideal for use. This is because they offer a good user interface which makes it easy for beginners to understand how the software works.