PCBs are the basic building block of any electronic device out there. Even compact and small devices like smartwatches feature printed circuit boards. These boards are crucial in connecting all electronic components in a circuit. The manufacturing process of PCBs starts from the design process. PCB design is the first crucial stage in PCB manufacturing.
PCB design software helps electronic engineers to design layouts for a printed circuit board. Therefore, engineers leverage the software to work on the design process. Also, PCB design software is commonly used by PCB designers and engineers involved in product development. PCB design is usually integrated as part of other design software.
What does EAGLE Offer?
There are several PCB design software available out there and EAGLE is one of them. EAGLE means Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor. Also, it is a special PCB design software that offers design automation of circuit boards and electronics EDA.
It has almost everything needed to carry out a simple to complex PCB design. It is an ideal platform to start your PCB design. However, this software has some special features that make it standout.
EAGLE is one of the go-to-PCB design software due to this feature. Also, it offers support for hobbyist and first timers. Whether you want to import a sensor into your design or you need to study the design of an Arduino circuit board, EAGLE has got you covered.
Another great feature of EAGLE is that it can run on anything. Also, this software can run on Mac, Linux, and Windows. This is a feature that is rare in other PCB design softwares.
EAGLE is almost free. The freeware version of this software offers enough utility to design any board in the SparkFun catalog. Also, if you want an upgrade, it will cost more.
EAGLE doesn’t take much space on your hard drive. Also, this software requires disk space of 50 to 200MB. In terms of space, it is better than other advanced tools that may require 10+GB. Also, the installer can be about 25MB. Therefore, you can install it immediately after downloading.
Irrespective of EAGLE’s benefits, it also has its drawbacks.
How to Download and Install EAGLE
One interesting thing is that EAGLE can be free for users. Also, the free download is ideal for hobbyists. It is a Personal Learning License you can use for personal use. However, there are some restrictions you need to know when utilizing the free version:
The maximum size of the PCB design is 80cm2 of PCB real estate. This is actually big enough for users. You can still work well even if your design is a big Arduino shield.
- It allows just two sheets in your schematic editor
- It allows two signal layers. You will need to upgrade to the single-user Fusion 360 license if you want to work with more layers.
- Also, the Personal Learning License is only ideal for personal and non commercial use. If you will end up selling the design, you will have to integrate the single-user EAGLE license.
Despite all these limitations, EAGLE is still a great piece of software for PCB design. Engineers could design a great part of their boards by using the freeware version.
The Control Panel of EAGLE
If you are opening EAGLE for the first time, the first thing displayed is the Control Panel view. Furthermore, this Panel links all other modules in the software. Also, the control panel features six separate trees.
User Language Programs (ULPs)
These programs are scripts written in the User Language of EAGLE. Also, you can use them to automate processes like importing a graphic or generation a BOM.
Libraries are ideal for storing PCB footprint and schematic symbol. Also, they usually feature a group of parts. For instance, the atmel.ibr stores Atmel AVR devices.
Here, each of your projects is arranged into a project folder. Also, projects often comprise board design, gerber files, and schematic window.
You can use script files to customize the user interface of EAGLE. All you need is a click to assign key bindings and set the color scheme.
Design Rules (DRU)
A PCB design must meet certain riles before sending it to the fabrication house. Also, design rules are a set of rules for your PCB design. Here, you will find DRU files.
The CAM processor can help you open CAM jobs. This will help in creating gerber files.
How to Use the SparkFun Libraries
EAGLE features a great list of part libraries. Also, you can explore these part libraries in the Control Panel view. There are several libraries in there which are dedicated to specific parts like NPN transistors or resistors. Also, the part library is an amazing resource. However, it can be overwhelming. For instance, if you are just adding a through-hole electrolytic capacitor, you will need to sort through the dozens of libraries which will help to find the right thing.
You can utilize the SparkFun EAGLE Libraries, rather than utilizing hundreds of default libraries. The SparkFun EAGLE libraries include parts that have been used in designs. Here are important instructions on how to install and utilize the SparkFun libraries rather than the default ones.
Download SparkFun Libraries
The newest version of these libraries is in GitHub repository.
Update the directories window
After downloading SparkFun libraries, click on the Options menu and then click on Directories. Also, the directories are a list where EAGLE looks when it populates objects in the tree view. You will need to include a link to the directory in the libraries box. Both linkedin data and both twitter data can be of help.
You will notice two folders added to the Libraries tree. One of the folders is the SparkFun Eagle Libraries.
Configuring EAGLE’s User Interface
The user interface of EAGLE is customizable. From the layer colors to back ground color, you can customize anything in the user interface. Also, you can modify several things to match your preference. Customizing your interface to your preference can make PCB design much easier for you.
Both quantcast data and both double click data are necessary when configuring the interface. Also, it is very easy to make changes to your user interface when using EAGLE.
The background color is one of the elements you can customize in the user interface. It is always the first adjustment users make to the UI. Usually, the background color is white. This doesn’t always fit in with the several colored layers needed for board design. Therefore, a black background is preferable.
To change this color, go to options and choose User interface. You can set the background color inside the layout box. Also, you can set it to black or any other color.
Adjust the grid
Another element you can easily adjust in the user interface is the grid. Sizes and dimension are core aspects of your PCB design. You can turn on the grid to have a visible reminder of the dimension and size you are working with.
Run the scripts
Scripts are a streamlined means of configuring your interface quickly. All you just need is a click of button. Also, you can set up all key binds and colors automatically. Also, you can share the script files.
Steps in Creating PCB Design using AutoDesk Eagle
Create a new project
To create a new project, click File – New-Project. After this, you can name the project. Then, right click on the new project you have just created and click New-Schematic. Also, you will need to name your new schematic.
Include parts to the schematic
Click on the “Add” button then you choose the parts you want to use. Then, you would have inserted the necessary parts for the project in the schematic.
Add connection between parts
Here, you will need to incorporate parts in the schematic window. You can do this by utilizing a command known as Net. Don’t utilize the wire command to make connections. The Wire command is ideal for cosmetic add-ons on the schematic. When using the Net command, start with a single click. Also, it is important to avoid dragging to start or double-clicking.
Also, you can begin anywhere. Right-clicking will change the way the net will move from one point to the other. Therefore, it is advisable to utilize the 90-degree angle form for much easier netting. Also, a single click after dragging the net will move it to the cursor spot.
Name the nets
You can easily use the Label command to name every net and they will display in the wire. After this, you can use the Name command once all the names become visible. This will provide the wires with names that help other engineers to understand the schematic board.
It is crucial to name and label the nets as it helps you when re-configuring the schematic wiring. Also, you will need to track each wire visually if the labels are inaccurate. Furthermore, labeling offers a clear view when looking at the schematic. It may also help you understand the wiring of the components.
Name parts with value
The Value command helps to label all resistors and capacitors with their correct value. Also, the Value command is close to the Name command. It is crucial to always keep your work organized as incorrect naming can cause a messy schematic. Navigating the board nets is a common activity in the design process. Therefore, the appropriate value will make the overall process much easier. Both facebook data
Check electrical rules
Eagle has a way of checking if there are any errors. The electric rule check (ERC) is a way of detecting if there are any problems. By running ERC, this PCB design software will check the output of the printed circuit board.
The following errors are common errors you might likely experience:
- Error (n): This is an error you need to pay attention to. This error can make your printed circuit board blow up after fabrication.
- Power pin: If you have a power pin error, this means there is a connection of different voltages of power. For example, if a 5V power supply connects to a 12V power supply line. This can cause failure. However, if the difference is small, you can leave it.
- Unconnected input pin: This is a bad error. However, if you can manually set the reference voltage, all will be fine.
- Warnings (n): Warnings aren’t as dangerous as the errors. However, they need some attention. Warning can display if you linked nets on both ends.
- Part (n) has no value: It is one of the simplest errors to encounter. This error occurs when don’t add a value to a particular part.
PCB layout editor
You can export the project in the board view once the parts connections and schematic are available. Export the project in board view by clicking File and selecting Switch to board. This will issue a warning that there is no existing board. Therefore, you will need to click Yes to design a new board according to your schematics.
Once you have created the board, you will view all parts on the left. However, you can’t drag out any parts from the PCB box area. You will need to set locations to all the parts. It is advisable you group all parts and move them in cluster groups. Ensure you move all parts far away to avoid breaking any design rule. Also, ensure you meet minimum unrouted traces.
Route the parts
You will need to use the Route command when routing parts. Also, a blue trace will be displayed at the airwire’s node. Meanwhile, if there is a display of red trace, you need to change the layer TOP to BOTTOM (blue). Also, click on another place to anchor a wire on the spot. To create a via between the top layer and the bottom, you can middle-click.
Why Use EAGLE PCB Design Software?
EAGLE is reliable PCB design software that offers new features that help with your PCB schematic layout. Also, this software provides enhanced functionality for PCB creation. For more than 20 years, EAGLE has been meeting the demands of design engineers across the world. This is because this PCB design software provides advanced functionality similar to expensive commercial software.
Design engineers opt for EAGLE because of the following benefits:
Easy to use
EAGLE features a flexible User Language Program that enables custom features like data export and import, simulation, and individual instruction sequences. All these features contribute to EAGLE’s ease of use. Therefore, it is highly preferred among design engineers.
Easy to learn
The user interface of EAGLE makes it easy to use for first timers. Also, this PCB design software offers free service support via devoted experts. Furthermore, EAGLE is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac. EAGLE’s interface offers a library that comprises several electrical and electronic components.
EAGLE is PCB design software that comes with some advanced features. Therefore, this enables PCB designers to link schematic diagrams, place component and route PCB. Also, this software features comprehensive library consent. Due to these features, EAGLE is the most popular PCB design software among professionals and hobbyists.
Design Rule Check for EAGLE
EAGLE features integrated design rule check (DRC). DRC ensures that the PCB design adheres to all rules and features no errors. However, mistakes might occur. You should ensure you resolve any issue completely. Also, it is normal to encounter many errors on the DRC check. The DRC check will accurately evaluate your PCB design.
Some common mistakes encountered in the DRC check are primarily related to shape, clearance, and distance. However, there are some common tabs you need to fulfill to achieve an appropriate DRC check. These include:
Distance: This refers to the distance from a routing to the edge of the PCB.
shapes: Shapes enable you to design pads with rounded legs. Typically, should have this by default.
Clearance: Clearance offers the PCB design software with data collected as per the room you want between the various electrical connections on the printed circuit board.
Restring: This controls the size of the through-hole pads/vias. It is advisable you leave it by default.
Using the best PCB design software is crucial for your PCB design projects. There are several PCB design software available today. However, EAGLE is one the best PCB design software available in the world today. A PCB designer needs personalized and relevant experience when using EAGLE files.
EAGLE can handle complex projects. Therefore, it is one of the most reliable PCB design software. Also, EAGLE offers advanced analytics methods for designing a circuit board. Both Adwords data and both onesignal data are crucial in PCB design. Both doubleclick data can collect behavioral data from a web page load.