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General suggestions or questions about the SparkFun Electronics website
By bsodmike
#17842
Hiya,

I was wondering what program SFE uses to draw the schematics and lay the PCBs in?

Cheers,
Mike
By reklipz
#17845
Im pretty sure it's Eagle by CadSoft, don't quote me on that though, I think olimex uses them too...
By bsodmike
#17846
Tbh I doubt it. I've been using Eagle for years and everything looks different. I'm pretty sure it's something else...HRM!
By bsodmike
#17850
"I'm pretty sure Sparkfun does all their drawings using Protel. At the very least, that is what they use to make PCBs."

Olimex, SFE don't. The schems @ SFE are via Protel too then (obviously)...

Shame it costs so much - seems better than Eagle...
By reklipz
#17873
for more than 14x the price, it ought to be.
By MGP
#17954
It's at least 14x better than Eagle... 8)

I have used Protel for my consulting business for years and luckily I "bought into" the program before it became outrageously expensive. I think I only paid $1995 for Protel 99SE as they had a special "upgrade price" for registered Orcad users. The regular price at the time was $4K-5K, already out of reach for a lot of people -- even "professionals".

I've tried almost every under $20K EDA package out there and I like Protel (Altium) the best (based on useful features, schematic entry and manual routing tools, quality of output and ease of use). I have nothing personal against Eagle but almost every aspect of the program is crude and unpolished compared to Protel/Altium. But it does work and it's at a price most people in all of their market segments can afford. So I understand why people use it...

It's a shame Altium thinks they are selling workstation-grade tools now and have bought into the "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-so-it-must-be-worth-$10K" mindset. Their basic schematic entry and PCB layout tools are really excellent. All the other crap I can live without.

I have been telling them for years they should sell a version that just does schematic entry and PCB layout (like Eagle Professional) and sell it for $1995. They would sell a ton of seats. But alas, I suspect it would cut into their sales of $10K seats for suckers that will pay that much just to use the schematic entry and PCB layout tools.
User avatar
By sparky
#18474
Most of the older SFE schematics are Protel. All Olimex schematics are Eagle I believe. Our newer products (starting around May of this year) are Eagle based.

I used Protel SE for a couple years, then DXP. Finally, we looked into the Altium suite. $12k was what we were quoted and was way too much.

We moved to Eagle. It was like learning a new language. Once I learned the verbs though, it does everything I ever asked of Protel, only faster. I (heart) Eagle. Protel had lots of problems, bugs, etc. Eagle is crude yes, but stable. And once you get over the learning curve, Eagle is pretty slick. And I think it was $1200 for *3* seats ($400 per license)! Not too shabby.

I dream of posting the SFE eagle library someday. Just gotta find some free time.

-Nathan
By Caffeine
#18640
DXP2004 is many thousands of times more stable than 99SE, but yes the price is steep...
By MGP
#18642
I've never had any stability problems with Protel99SE SP6, in fact I can't ever remember it crashing while working on a design (Schematic or PCB).

About the only problem I have with it is that it doesn't play well with Adobe Acrobat, but this manifests itself as Protel99SE hanging on exit. Killing the process with task manager fixes that easily. I just don't run Acrobat and Protel99SE at the same time anymore.

I've heard that AD6 is a big improvement on DXP2004 too. They've finally done enough SPs that it's usable without too many bugs and workarounds.

I'd like to upgrade but I just can't see coughing up ~$6-8K to upgrade for the few new features I'd really like to have. For what I do -- lots of schematics and manual PCB layout -- Protel99SE continues to work well.
By Caffeine
#18643
Well, AD6 is just DXP2004 SP4 anyway :)
By MGP
#18644
yeah, more or less... but you can't have a big price increase without a name change!

:lol:
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