914 Clone and studio
914 clone, Eagle v. DipTrace...I decided mid stream I wanted to migrate from Eagle to something new. A thread on the SDIY list got me thinking again about the offerings and some of the frustrations I have with Eagle. Eagle has been a great capture/layout system, but I've been more and more frustrated with some of its core operation and workings.
One package which came up was DipTrace. I gave it a look and like it. It's got a few oddities, but seems to be well supported, with reasonable pricing even for the full unlimited version, and full featured, more than I'll ever need for the 2 layer synthesizer circuits I do. And, very important, PCB-Pool, who I use for PCBs, accepts DipTrace format directly.
I've already found that editing/creating parts is as easy if not more so than in Eagle. Schematic capture is intuitive, PCB layout is also nice and the auto place is nice for a first go at least. A nice feature is you can hand place components which have to be in certain areas, the the auto place will put the other components around trying to minimize the signal length. Again, for the simple stuff I'm doing maybe not needed, but also works nicely and saves some time. There are some quirks I'm finding, like selecting which labels to display and placement, but I think I can make it work.
In the end, I bought a license and will be migrating my future work into DipTrace. The Steiner stuff is pretty fixed and I don't plan on any modifications. But if needed, I can export the Eagle schematic or PCB and bring it into DipTrace. Not the ideal, but a workable solution should the need arise. I'll also output all the Eagle designs into Gerber files for future proofing. This is something I tested quite a bit before I decided to buy.
That leaves the 914 clone I was doing a bit in limbo. I had already laid out one PCB and had two schematics completed. While I can import the schematic and even the PCB into DipTrace, I found that there is still some work to make the schematic useable. At this point, I think I will probably just start over in DipTrace. The schematics are really pretty simple for this clone and then I'll be able to make use of the enclosed and custom libraries I've got in DipTrace.
My time line for PCB prototypes is now a couple of months out at least. I need to learn DipTrace, double check the schematics, etc. but, I'm excited to get it done. I still intend to build two, one with inductors for everything and one with GIC simulated inductors.