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Old 27-01-2014, 07:10   #31
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Re: Schematic Software

Since I generally confine my computer use to open source systems, the CAD thing for me is more of a challenge. I've used DIA in the past. It works OK - and it let's a user create new library objects. Relatively speaking, it has a bit of a primitive/simple feel about it (I think that's the way it's meant to be). It seems that in the CAD world, there are the two extremes (one requiring a large investment in time to handle the learning curve, while the other one seems too simple and manually oriented to be much more help than paper and pencil).

"XCircuit" still uses the old X-only interface, leaving me with feelings of early eighties software nostalgia. "Electric" is an open source program, that requires a CAD type learning-time investment. It uses the old style X interface. Boat people might not find either of them especially exciting.

Then there's KiCAD. It's open source, and I'd say similar to Schmeldt, except that it's not an online application. I like the idea of being cut loose from the net for these things. It is fairly easy to draw the wiring lines with it, once you master the rhythm of the mouse gestures. (Click once to start, release, draw, click again to change course, release, draw, click twice to terminate wire).

The downside with KiCad is that it's geared towards the drawing of schematics with integrated circuit chips, like micro-controller and logic chips. Of all the libraries, only one is useful for the boat schematic. (It's called "devices" in the library menu.) It's a little short of what might be needed, having some various types of switches, terminals, fuses, breakers, and the like, but missing quite a few "electrical" components (as opposed to electronic). On the other hand, it lets you add your own drawings as components in your own library, fairly easily. (I added a resistor in a few minutes).

I kinda like KiCAD, but it may not be for everyone. Once you do your regular electrics, you can start on your new micro-controller circuit for your fancy auto-helm system! :-)
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Old 27-01-2014, 07:25   #32
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Re: Schematic Software

Also a user of open-source software and avoiding MS operating systems, I've used and liked XCircuit. I'll agree with the comment of the 80s era user interface. I kinda like it but it's not for everyone.

I never got hooked on KiCAD; not sure why. But where I've ended up (for the moment, anyway) is gschem.

The trick with any of them, I think, is how easy is it to create new parts. It seems that no matter what you're doing, the parts library will not contain what you need.
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Old 27-01-2014, 07:40   #33
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Re: Schematic Software

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Originally Posted by rev412 View Post
Also a user of open-source software and avoiding MS operating systems, I've used and liked XCircuit. I'll agree with the comment of the 80s era user interface. I kinda like it but it's not for everyone.

I never got hooked on KiCAD; not sure why. But where I've ended up (for the moment, anyway) is gschem.

The trick with any of them, I think, is how easy is it to create new parts. It seems that no matter what you're doing, the parts library will not contain what you need.
You've nailed it there. Haven't tried gschem, maybe I'll take a look. KiCAD seems like overkill at first. I can't believe how many different chips are available in the libraries to click/insert into drawings. But, one of the main authors is some sort of electrical engineering instructor (I think). Could be wrong there. The built-ins, while not extensive, would probably draw Alchemy's schemelt sample.
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Old 27-01-2014, 07:52   #34
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Re: Schematic Software

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Originally Posted by Sailor_Hutch View Post
You've nailed it there. Haven't tried gschem, maybe I'll take a look. KiCAD seems like overkill at first. I can't believe how many different chips are available in the libraries to click/insert into drawings. But, one of the main authors is some sort of electrical engineering instructor (I think). Could be wrong there. The built-ins, while not extensive, would probably draw Alchemy's schemelt sample.
Just to be clear, my schematic, such as it currently stands, is completely done by me in InDesign with no libraries. I just make a symbol if I need it. But I could stand to automate the process and to use more accepted symbols from real-life circuit diagrams.

I like Sandero's labelled circuits with the gauge legend elsewhere. It's stupid that I'm putting in red and black, etc. lines without reference to gauges or polarities/ground. I should just have dotted lines and letters to indicate the size of run. I'm unlikely, after all, to have more than 26 different polarity and gauge combos in play, even on a relatively complex setup.
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Old 27-01-2014, 08:15   #35
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Re: Schematic Software

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Just to be clear, my schematic, such as it currently stands, is completely done by me in InDesign with no libraries. I just make a symbol if I need it. But I could stand to automate the process and to use more accepted symbols from real-life circuit diagrams.

I like Sandero's labelled circuits with the gauge legend elsewhere. It's stupid that I'm putting in red and black, etc. lines without reference to gauges or polarities/ground. I should just have dotted lines and letters to indicate the size of run. I'm unlikely, after all, to have more than 26 different polarity and gauge combos in play, even on a relatively complex setup.
I think your drawing is fine. If you can make sense of it, you've accomplished the mission.

To add a note about the KiCAD program, I've seen numerous third party libraries that are available on various sites, and which supply more of the "electrical" side of things (versus electronic). I should also note that I got my KiCAD from the original sources (French) - and cannot vouch for the later editions. Actually, I'm not "vouching" for anything. I think the project was handed off to other developers. I haven't looked at their stuff, and cannot make any comments (good or bad) about them...
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Old 21-06-2014, 03:35   #36
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Re: Schematic Software

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Matt,

Try this; ExpressPCB - Free PCB layout software - Low cost circuit boards - Top quality PCB manufacturing
It's free software for prototype PC boards but there is a simple schematic drawing option that's very easy to use. There are pre-drawn symbols for switches, fuses, relays and so on but you can also make up your own symbols.
<snip>
Found this thread while searching for a "butt" simple and free tool. Am only doing this one project so don't need CAD and all that.

I d/l'd a few different tools and they all have the same limitation - lack of "custom" components.

This one looks like it's gonna work for me. I have had it for less than 24 hours and created the attached custom components in about 3 hours as I came up the learning curve.

I have also learned to ungroup their objects and use parts to make mine - that's sorta how I did the LED.

If you are nit for scaling You won't love this - compare my fuse to my battery - LOL. But I am only doing a schematic not plans.

If there were two three things I'd want is ability to color the lines and the ability to drag to scale and rescale created objects - not hard to add and a big miss. Oh - and the ability to color fill rectangles and circles. Oh - OK four things - Add a triangle tool - triangles have to be made from straight lines.

Once you create an object, that's it. Size appears to be stuck.

The trick I learned is to work in milimeters and zoom way in. I set grid to 1mm and snap to grid to .1mm to make better and smaller objects.

So does anyone have any custom objects they built and want to trade? I have a list of some more I am planning to make but thought - hey maybe someone wants to swap component libraries and save some time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post

Have a look at SmartDraw they have electrical libraries, you can import from other libraries, or build your own. Learning curve isn't to steep. To many other options to list. It's a fair price.

Lloyd
I accidentally downloaded this (thought it was free but only 7 day trial and 3 prints) - It has a ton of object libraries and some other neat features - like flag a wire to carry from one page to the next - but Marine library is very limited and you still have to create objects - If I'm gonna do the work I'm not gonna pay $200 bucks.

Crime scene library is kinda cool - LOL

I also cheated them a bit - I pasted every Icon they had that I liked into a sheet and printed it. Now I am making them in express sch. The printed size is exactly as Expressch makes it when you set the expresssch page up in A4 and mm scale. Just count the dots to get the icon exactly right.

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Thank you all, great suggestions, I will look at each.

Looking forward to posting my proposed schematic, there a few areas I know I will need help with.

Matt
Did you decide on one? How's it going?
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Custom Clatalog.pdf (13.5 KB, 55 views)
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Old 21-06-2014, 23:23   #37
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Re: Schematic Software

I tried just about all of the applications suggested, though not in any great depth.

In the end, TinyCad won me over, partly as it was free, but mainly because it was easy to understand. It actually reminded me of a circuit logic application I used 20 years ago at uni.

HOWEVER, I have had to put all boat projects on hold for a few months thanks to work commitments and the need to finish off some jobs at home, so after installing the software I have not actually used it, though I have Nigel Calder's book beside the bed and I delve into that from time to time. I hope to hit the ground running in a month or two and will post the proposed schematic then.

Matt
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Old 22-06-2014, 00:27   #38
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Re: Schematic Software

2

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Old 22-06-2014, 04:27   #39
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Re: Schematic Software

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Old 22-06-2014, 05:05   #40
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Re: Schematic Software

I had the same sort of issue & found a solution which is a Mac app called ElectricDesign.

For me it works well, has lots of standard electrical symbols as well as electronic ones & you can make your own.

I found the learning curve a lot easier than the commercial appns.

The link is;

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/elec...66488201?mt=12

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Old 22-06-2014, 05:08   #41
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Re: Schematic Software

Try this if you have a mac.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/elec...66488201?mt=12
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Old 22-06-2014, 05:34   #42
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Re: Schematic Software

I use an old DOS program at work. Great program, but they are really behind the curve for updates to new systems. Produced at Purdue. WIntek's Hiwire II, great, simple to use and intuitive. I haven't found anything easier in 20 years, but if my computer crashes I am SOL.
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Old 22-06-2014, 06:01   #43
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Re: Schematic Software

Expresssch is turning out to be pretty good.

The attached is about 12 hours work but that includes time to make all the custom components.

I have had to move stuff around as I fit pieces together. Had I been doing this by hand I am sure I wouldn't get this quality and I am sure it would have taken longer.

For example I started with the batteries at the left edge of the page and started working to the right. The alternator was originally to the right of the engine plug. Then I made solar panels and when I went to place them I realized it would get messy.

I highlighted the whole mess a dragged it to the right, Then I highlighted the alternator and decided "charging sources" would all be on the left. So a dragged it over there. The wires stay attached and you just move the corners around to make them lay right.

I also found manually setting the grid to 1mm and snap to to 0.1mm allows high precision especially when making wires straight and making components.

It's definitely not done - The white space above the alternator will be for the charger and A/C and there is more to add at the Nav station. DC circuits will be on a separate sheet.
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Old 22-06-2014, 06:10   #44
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Re: Schematic Software

Another vote for good old Visio. Low learning curve, easy to use, lots of predefined objects.
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Old 22-06-2014, 06:36   #45
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Re: Schematic Software

Revisions is where this software will really earn its keep.

While schematically OK I realized I could better represent how the Charge controller and ACR would hook up to the ground bus.

I "flipped" the bus reconnected some wires and am happier with the sheet.

10 minutes versus redrawing the whole thing by hand!
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File Type: pdf Relax Lah! Schematic.pdf (51.6 KB, 35 views)
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