I would just like to thank the people at DipTrace for allowing me to update to a version of their PCB / Schematic software that supports creations with more pins.
I’ve been using DipTrace for years and after outgrowing the basic free version, upgraded to a non-profit version that allows my creations up to 1000 pins per design. Over the years this has only once been a bit of a limitation when I designed a large backplane with 10, 96 way connectors plus other components. Fortunately in this instance I could opt for 5 slot boards and connect them together.
Yesterday however, whilst working on my new tic-tac-toe project, I blew the 1000 pin limit, and not by a small amount either; I’m going to need around 1500 pins (I’m soooo pleased I don’t make and drill my own boards any more). Anyway, if you check out the DipTrace website they do offer special pricing discounts for non-profit users. So I sent them a grovelling email, included a link to this website, to the project I’m working on and asked them to show pity on a poor, and basically broke hobbyist… and they came back with a very reasonable upgrade price. I couldn’t key my PayPal details in fast enough.
Couple of things worth mentioning about DipTrace.
I used Eagle many years ago, before they were acquired by Autodesk, and it was an OK product but I personally never took to it. I stumbled across DipTrace when it was mentioned in the electronics mag I used to read at the time and I’ve never really looked back.
You can do everything you would expect including creating your own parts (which is really easy), and the files it outputs are completely compatible with JLCPCB who I now use to make my PCBs.
There are some other benefits that I feel are worth a mention.
If I now create a huge board using my new licensing allowances, I can still put a copy of the design file up on my website, and readers can download and open that file using the free version of DipTrace. You can’t make any changes to the file if it’s metrics exceed your license capabilities, but you can still export the files to send to a PCB manufacturer or print the artwork if you want to etch your own boards.
The other thing that is very appealing is it’s a one off fee. DipTrace offer free updates for minor releases but there’s no monthly subscription fees. I’m really not a fan of the subscription model. It may work great for business but I may not get any electronics play time for several months at a time, so and I don’t want to be wasting money on a subscription I don’t need. I just feel happier knowing I have the original software, and even if the supplier disappears I’ve got the original installation files and so can still access my own creations whenever I want.
Would I design a 10 layer PC motherboard in DipTrace; probably not, but that’s not what we do; I’ve only just moved to double sided since I no longer make my own boards.
So, if you’re looking for a friendly but powerful PCB / Schematic design package I’d suggest you to give DipTrace a go. The free version is perfect for even modest creations.
You can find DipTrace here: www.diptrace.com
All the schematics and PCB designs on this website are made using DipTrace. Head on over and pick up a freeware copy and have a play.