Circuits are the most basic and integral part of every electronic device and hence anyone belonging to the electronics field has to get acquainted with their designing and development. In such a situation, these software allow everyone to learn and design circuits for both educational and professional purposes.
Here is a compilation of some online & offline circuit design software that are quite popular among the designers and hobbyists.
1. Zenit PCB (FREE DOWNLOAD)
Zenit PCB is excellent software for designing electronic circuits with the use of various components. It is meant to be used for semi-professional projects as it imposes the restriction of using up to 800 pins. There is a black colored board with a grid on which components can be added with a right click. Another click on the parts option will provide access to a library of the parts. Besides, a click on the placed components will reveal their properties on the left side panel.
The project can be saved in .ZSC format and one can also take out a copy in the form of a printout. Moreover, the project report can be exported in TXT format including the project name, author, number of parts, pins, etc. There is also a user guide in PDF format in the help menu.
2. KiCad EDA (FREE DOWNLOAD)
KiCad is a free software suite meant for electronic design automation (EDA). It’s a cross-platform circuit design software that is compatible with all the operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. It is available with three tools namely schematic editor, PCB layout, and 3D Viewer which let you design the circuit by adding and editing components, decide the layout of the PCB and then have a 3D view of the prepared circuit.
The components offered in the software include Microchip, Display, Audio device, Memory, Power, Transistor, etc. additional components like wire, ground, junction, and bus can also be chosen. Besides, there is a PCB Footprint Editor for adding footprint to the PCB and two more tools namely Bitmap2Component converter and a PCB Calculator.
3. Fritzing (FREE DOWNLOAD)
Fritzing is an open source circuit design software which is meant for the Windows users. It is an initiative that aims at making the electronics accessible for everyone and can be used for Arduino prototyping as well as for designing PCBs. It is an ideal tool not merely for the hobbyists but for the non-engineers for learning, designing and sharing the knowledge of circuits.
The components available with Fritzing are resistors, ICs, switches, gates, diodes, junctions, wires and so on. The file can be saved in .FZZ format and the users can even add a note or rotate the PCB board. It also enables the user to export the designs as PDF or image. Also, there are different modes to view the design namely breadboard, schematic, PCB and code. Lastly, there is a Help page to provide assistance in case the user faces any difficulty in the designing.
4. Easy EDA (online)
EasyEDA is a free web and cloud-based EDA tool suite which doesn’t need any installation. It is an integration of a powerful schematic capture with a mixed-mode circuit simulation and PCB layout in a cross-platform environment. It can be used by a wide array of users including students, educators, hobbyists, and engineers.
This software allows users to create and edit schematic diagrams and PCB layouts, simulation of analog and digital circuits along with the option of manufacturing PCBs. Some other features offered by the software are- creation of Bill of Materials, Gerber and pick or place files as well as documentary outputs in PDF, PNG and SVG formats.
5. TinyCAD (FREE DOWNLOAD)
TinyCAD is yet another open source and free of cost program for the Windows users. It is offered with complete sign symbol libraries alongside tools like schematic capture and PCB layouts. The circuits can be designed with the help of following components like logic gates, relays, capacitor, diodes, switches, power sources, and microcontrollers. Further, there are wires, text, symbols, and shapes for finalizing the connections of the circuit.
The users can also print their designs and publish them through the copy paste function in the form of a document, or save them as PNG bitmap image or the web. After getting done with the design, the file is saved in .dsn format.
6. Proteus (PAID)
Proteus is a paid tool for EDA available for different platforms including Windows, MAC, and Linux. It allows the users to create and deliver PCB designs with a highly professional appeal. It’s claimed to be a complete software package meant for the engineers. The software carries a built-in STEP export and a global shape based auto router as a standard facility. Moreover, there are more than 785 microcontroller variants for the simulation.
It has got modules like schematic capture, microcontroller simulation, PCB design and 3D verification. Since its paid software, the users can buy it many configurations, depending on the size of designs and the need for microcontroller simulation.
The standard feature set is available for purchase at $487 whereas the Professional Feature set is offered at $1,642.
7. PCB Artist (FREE DOWNLOAD)
This is free of cost PCB design software that offers top PCB layout capabilities along with Live Technical Support. The users can also avail features like “Multi-Page schematic and “Netlist Import.” Another advantageous feature is that it contains a components library with more than 500,000 parts. Some of these components are EEPROM, Relays, LEDs, diodes, switches, capacitors, and other ICs. The designed files are saved in .pcb format and there is even an option named order now for ordering the designed PCBs
8. Circuit Maker (FREE DOWNLOAD AFTER SIGN UP)
Circuit Maker is desktop-based online software that helps in designing circuits on Windows. The users have to first sign up on the website and then they can launch the application. This software needs an internet connection to work and hence the designed circuit is saved online rather than on your device.
An interesting feature of this tool is that it carries a collaboration facility which lets you work in teams. The user can add members and then they can work in collaboration on the electrical design project. After the completion you can either release the design to be viewed by anyone or you can submit it so as to be shared with the team members.
9. Free PCB (FREE DOWNLOAD)
It’s open source PCB design software that is meant to be used in the Windows system and supports up to 16 copper layers and board sizes of up to 60X60 inches. The users can also apply footprints and utilize the feature of Design Rule Checker.
The list of components available with this software includes the likes of resistors, capacitors, connections, transistors, ICs, LEDs, and connectors. The Project menu holds Parts option which reveals all the parts in the circuit with information and then the Nets option are used to view all the connections.
10. Eagle (PAID)
Eagle stands for Easy Applicable Graphical Layout Editor and its free version can be availed to design circuits for non-commercial purposes. It’s compatible with all operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Linux and offers 3 modules which are- Schematic Editor, Layout Editor, and Autorouter.
The users can build circuits using components like optos, filters, comparators, diode, symbols, supply, opams, etc. Further, clicking on each component reveals the attributes like name, symbol, property, etc. Besides, the user can right-click on a device and apply functions like rotate, delete, and copy. The Eagle circuit drawing and bitmap files can be imported while the net-list, pin-list and part-list can be exported.
It has 5 versions named Standard ($69), Premium ($820), Ultimate ($1640), and Premium LS ($575), and Ultimate LS ($1145).
11. ProfiCAD (FREE DOWNLOAD)
This software has been designed to draw electronic diagrams, schematics, control circuit diagrams and can also be used to draw other kinds of technical diagrams. The components found in this software are namely LCD, measurement devices, circuit breakers, diodes, resistors, indicators, rheostats, house electrical devices and so on.
The grids available on the workspace enable the user to create hassle-free diagrams which can be saved in .sxe format. One can also preview and print the design directly from this software. It integrates modern programming and advanced optimization which in turn demands less disk space and also fits in your budget.
12. Logisim (FREE DOWNLOAD)
Logisim is a free of cost as well as open source tool for designing and simulating digital logic circuits. It is very helpful in learning about the basic concepts of logic circuits as it offers an easy to use toolbar interface. One can find the following list of components in this software:
Filed Under: Arduino, Tech Articles