In the past, it could take a lot of time to design a printed circuit board even before the first prototype was made. The design process, which is where much of the work is done, is complex. There are many factors to consider when designing PCBs, but technology has started to make some aspects of this easier. PCB layout software, in particular, has the potential to help save time, money, and frustration on the parts of the designers.
Let’s look at some of the biggest benefits of using high-quality PCB layout software for your designs.
Reduce the Complications of Design
As mentioned, designing a printed circuit board is not easy. There are many elements that need to be considered during the construction of the board and it gets complex rather quickly. Using quality PCB layout software helps to strip away those complications. Everything is digital and can be changed, updated, and manipulated quickly and easily. It becomes easier to keep track of everything you are doing during the design process. Many find that using PCB layout software helps them to work faster because they know that they can change things so easily if needed.
Find and Fix Errors Early
When you are using PCB software, you will likely find that you are making fewer errors. This is because it is easier to keep track of what you are doing, and software can look for compatibility problems and errors. It can point out those errors and, in some cases, even offer fixes. By finding these issues early and fixing them, it means that you will be able to move on to production faster than you would have otherwise. It also means that you are not going to be spending money making prototypes, or a run of thousands of PCBs, that have errors.
Save Time and Money
Because you are working in a digital space, it also means that you are saving money on your own materials. You can create the board virtually, test it in the virtual space and have it double-checked, and then order a prototype to use. Because the software helps to reduce complications, it means you are not spending as much time with back and forth on the design process. You can fix the errors faster, which means you can move ahead with an order to create the products you need. You are saving time and money by using PCB layout software.
Try New Ideas
Working with PCB layout software also means you are capable of thinking outside of the box with your design ideas without any risk. You can create a design and test it virtually to see whether it will work or not. This gives designers more freedom than they might have had otherwise.
What Should You Look for When Choosing PCB Layout Software?
- Cost: Today, there are many options on the market for this type of software, but you need to be sure you are choosing an option that will provide you with the results you need. One of the first things that you are likely to think about when it comes to choosing software will be the cost. This is natural. Whether you are a solo hobbyist creating your own PCBs or you are a large company that is in need of PCBs for new devices you are making, price is important.
The truth of the matter is that the prices for software can vary. There are some options that are quite expensive, and most people do not want to spend $1,000 or more on software. Fortunately, there are free options, as well, such as PCB Artist. Keep in mind that cost does not mean quality. An expensive piece of CAD software will not have the capabilities of free software that was designed specifically for PCBs.
- Features: Regardless of which type of software you opt for, you will want to be sure that you are choosing an option that has all of the features you need. Compare the software you are considering to the other choices on the market to see that it has what you require. Does it offer Gerber format files? Does the software provide design rule checks and support? Does it offer integrated schematics? Will it have a library manager? How large is the library? Can you create the types of PCBs that you need with the software or not?
- Ease of Use: Additionally, you will want to have software that is easy to use. Some software will have a steeper learning curve than others, but it should not be so complicated that you have to spend weeks trying to figure out how to use it correctly. The software should offer a guide to help you get started. If the company offers video tutorials, it is even better.
Once you have the software, you will want to familiarize yourself with it by using the guide or the tutorials previously mentioned. Do this before diving in and trying to create an important PCB design. This ensures that you will have a good understanding of how to use the software and where to find various features when you start using it for PCB design.
Make PCB Artist Your PCB Layout Software Choice
There are many options on the market for CAD software that could be used for PCB design, and there are some specifically made PCB layout software choices available. With all of those options, why should you choose PCB Artist from Advanced Circuits? One of the major reasons is the fact that the software will not cost you a thing. We offer free software, so you can easily design quality PCBs that will work well once they are manufactured.
Take the time to check out the features of our free PCB software including more than half a million parts in the library and the free technical support we offer. Whether you are new to the field or you have been creating printed circuit board designs for years, this will soon become the first piece of software you consider when you are designing a new PCB.