Altium have decided to release their PCB design tool CircuitMaker as open beta. It will be available worldwide to all interested electronics designers, electronic makers and the hobbyist community as a free software offering. Anyone interested in participating in the open beta can register now at the CircuitMaker website.
The open beta testing program allows anyone to download and begin using CircuitMaker today and become part of a growing electronics design community where designs can be shared and collaborated on. The company anticipates that this open beta process will also provide feedback and input to help refine CircuitMaker and make it a useful design tool for designers in the maker community.
Altium CircuitMaker now Open Beta – [Link]
D4p0up shared his open source soundcard oscilloscope in the project log forum:
Here is a tool that might help some of you in your DIY activities : WaveWatch, a soundcard oscilloscope 100% made with Processing.
I’ve just released the 1.3 version, making it a very credible, user friendly and totally open source alternative to existing soundcard scope systems, so that it’s worth sharing it !
It’s got all the features you’d expect from a standard scope,
configurable Triggering (single/Auto),
time and voltage measurement,
markers with delta calculation
Wavewatch, a soundcard oscilloscope and waveform generator – [Link]
EAGLE users have long asked for a simple 3D export that would allow them to cross their designs from the electrical realm into the mechanical realm. The current crop of solutions have suffered from either limited applicability or generated a format that wasn’t widely accepted among mechanical CAD tools. The purpose of this blog post is to inform users of a new tool that can finally fulfill this long requested need.
CadSoft has partnered with SimplifiedSolutions Inc. to create the IDF-to-3D tool.
How to generate 3D output with EAGLE and IDF-to-3D – [Link]
Rohit Gupta has written a Python command line tool to merge several PDFs generated by Eagle into one for easier printing when using toner transfer method. He calls is BoardMerge and you can download it from Rohit’s website. [via]
BoardMerge Python tool merges Eagle PDFs files – [Link]
Cabe Atwell @ eetimes.com:
There’s nothing better than “free” when it comes to just about everything, even PCB software. Just because some software is more expensive doesn’t make it better than some of those free PCB packages found on the Internet. In this round up, we will take a look at some of the past popular platforms that are still consistently being supported and updated. One criteria… some sort of update has to be present on the software’s support website in the last two years.
First on our list comes from Mirko Bruno Sortini with his ZentiPCB platform, which features several freeware programs to help users design their own PCBs. ZentiCapture allows users to quickly and easily design schematics using an easy-feature tool set, which allows users to place parts (component symbols) using the orthogonal locking and snap to pin. Once the schematics (in netlist form) are finished, they can then be ported over to ZentiPCB.
10 free PCB CAD programs – [Link]
DipTrace is a sophisticated schematic and PCB layout software. I had it installed on my computer for over a year but have never really used it. Since I needed a super simple PCB for some 78XX / 79XX type linear regulators, I decided to use this opportunity for my first steps with DipTrace.
DipTrace offers different prices for different packages. The cheapest version, DipTrace Starter (300 pins, 2 signal layers), is available for $ 75. DipTrace Full offers unlimited pins and unlimited signal layers for $ 895. All versions of DipTrace come with a humongous parts library and 3D models for a large amount of general purpose parts. In case a part or footprint is not included in the libraries, DipTrace offers both a component editor and a pattern editor for custom parts.
I needed a super small PCB for 78XX type voltage regulators. This mini project was perfect for my first steps with DipTrace. Please be aware that this article is going to be extremely coarse as it is supposed to be a general overview of the DipTrace software. The functionality of this software is rather complex as this is a professional design tool. More detailed articles will follow.
PCB layout design with DipTrace – An overview – [Link]
PICsim emulates a microcontroller PIC16F628/16F877A/18F452 and periferics such as USART and timers, the simulator architecture permit easy implementation of external elements in c language. PicsimLab is a realtime emulator of development boards.
PICsim – PIC microcontroller simulator – [Link]
SAN FRANCISCO and MINNEAPOLIS, January 26, 2015 — Punch Through Design, a hardware and software development firm that brings Bluetooth Low Energy hacking to the masses, has released the Windows Bean Loader, the first-ever wireless Arduino programming app for Windows users. Using the loader app, Windows-based developers and hobbyists can easily upload code to their LightBlue Bean and experience the power of Bluetooth Low Energy, without cables or a physical connection to the LightBlue Bean.
“The LightBlue Bean represents a new method of wirelessly interacting with prototypes and projects; says Colin Karpfinger, founder and CEO, Punch Through Design. Previously, only Mac OS X and iOS users could program their Beans, and now we are extending that functionality to Windows users.
The full-featured app, available from the Windows Store, fills a void for Windows-based developers and DIYers looking to create smartphone-controlled devices.
Windows Bean Loader Enables Wireless Arduino Programming from Surface Pro Tablets – [Link]
by Dave Young @ element14.com:
A ULP (User Language Program) is a feature designed into EAGLE to allow users to generate their own processes to automate tasks that would otherwise be tedious and time consuming. While most users know that this functionality exists, very few want to write their own script. A casual user would have to dump far more time learning the system and designing/testing their code than just completing the task at hand.
EAGLE ULPs Every User Should Know – [Link]
The first approximation is based on a modification of an expression developed by Wheeler; the second is derived from electromagnetic principles by approximating the sides of the spirals as current-sheets; and the third is a monomial expression derived from fitting to a large database of inductors (and the exact inductance values).
Single layer Planar spiral coil inductor calculator – [Link]