The two most important aspects considered in hardware design and manufacture are time and cost. Normally, when designing a product, you will want to get it to the market in the shortest time possible and at the cheapest cost. One way of ensuring this is by using a simple PCB design tool such as EasyEDA.
What is EasyEDA
EasyEDA is an online-based PCB design tool. It allows you to design your schematics and PCB without having to download and install any software on your computer. You get to work on your designs online using a web browser.
If you have used a PC-based PCB design tool before and enjoyed its vast array of features, you may wonder if a web-based design tool matches up to it. Well, surprisingly enough it does. There are many things about EasyEDA that make it the perfect tool for your PCB design needs. Let’s have a look at some of them.
EasyEDA is online-based. This feature gives it several advantages over the traditional PC-based design tools. For instance, the software is usually hosted on servers that are directly managed by the EasyEDA Company, so any software updates are done automatically. This ensures that you have access to the latest features all the time.
Access to your projects is not limited to one computer only. Your projects will be stored in the cloud, so you can access them from any device that has a web browser. This way you can work on your projects from any place, thus increasing your efficiency and reducing the time it takes to finish designing your PCB.
Simple is not a word that most beginners use to describe PCB design software. This is because there are usually many tools and features scattered all over the software interface that are not easy to understand. EasyEDA has changed this, by having a very simple design that is easy to figure out.
Most of the things, such as libraries, projects, custom-made parts, packages and shared files are accessible via a simple drop down menu at the top left side of the software interface. This makes it easy for you to navigate through the software regardless of whether you are beginner or pro. Therefore, you won’t waste a lot of time trying to figure out where something is or scouring through tutorials to find a simple feature.
In addition to having a simple interface, EasyEDA also provides information on the different tools and features. This information is provided through tooltips, when you hover the mouse pointer over a specific icon, and also in an elaborate tutorial page that explains every feature in detail. Therefore, you can learn the ropes in the shortest time possible and dedicate more time to building your project.
Testing is a very important step in PCB manufacture. However, it is not always the easiest thing to do. In most cases you have to physically assemble your circuit on a breadboard or perf board before doing the actual tests. The process takes a while and will in most cases delay the design and manufacturing process.
To solve this, EasyEDA is designed with a circuit simulation tool that allows you to see your circuit in action before developing it into a board. All you need to do is add a probe to the circuit and run the simulation. This will save you a lot of time and makes the design process easier.
Open Hardware Resources
Nowadays, most DIY PCBs are based on open source hardware. Therefore, some parts of the custom made circuit are copied directly from the open-source board designs. When using the traditional PCB design software, you have to download the schematics of the open source board so that you can gain access to some of the parts you need.
When using EasyEDA, there is no need for that. That is because some of the open source board schematics are available in the software. So, all you need to do is select the parts that you want to use and copy them to your schematics. Better still, you can edit the open source board schematics of your choice to match your requirements. This saves you a lot of time and effort.
When using EasyEDA it is easy to share the work you are doing with other PCB designers. This is beneficial in several ways. For instance, it allows you to work on your PCB with a team of developers and easily track the progress. Moreover, if you are working on a PCB by yourself, you can get suggestions and comments from other experienced PCB developers on how to improve your design.
Sharing your work also helps grow the open-source community. If your PCB is based on open-source hardware, it is only fair that you give back to the community by sharing your designs, experience and expertise with other open-source enthusiasts. EasyEDA makes this an easy process, as it provides a platform where you can interact with other developers and help them or learn something from their designs.
Importing and exporting files from one PCB design software to another is never an easy task. In fact, most of the time PCB designers are forced to redo schematics that were drawn using a different design software. This is because sharing netlists among different design tools is a complicated procedure.
You don’t have to worry about that when using EasyEDA. It allows easy importation of files from other pcb design tools such as Altium and Eagle. Therefore, you can easily continue working on your project on EasyEDA, regardless of which design software you had initially used. This also enables you to share previous PCB projects that you had done using other PCB design tools.
When working on a simple PCB design, you may not always want to start by creating the schematics. EasyEDA makes this possible by allowing you to lay out your board directly. However, this is only advisable for small and simple projects. Using this feature, you can greatly shorten the development time.
Have you ever finished designing your PCB and wondered where you could have it manufactured? Well, you are not alone in this. Many beginners usually don’t know how or where to order their PCBs and spend a lot of time scouring through the internet looking for PCB manufacturing companies. EasyEDA eliminates this problem by assisting one to order their PCB. You can place your order as soon as you are done with the design process. Moreover, the ordering process is easy and if you don’t understand anything you can refer to the PCB order tutorial that explains everything.
It is also good to note that you are not expressly expected to order your PCBs on EasyEDA. If you already have a PCB fabrication house in mind you can simply download the Gerber files of your PCB and send them to the fab house. Moreover, EasyEDA allows you to export your PCB design to PDF. So, you can produce the PCBs yourself.
EasyEDA provides the users the capacity to download the Gerber files,which are free to download and can be used with any PCB fab house: there’s no tie to EasyEDA. You also can export to PDF file and print it to make the PCB yourself.
Managing your design files gets complicated with the more designs you do. The same goes for version control. EasyEDA makes that easy for you. It manages your design files and provides an interface where you can view them all in chronological order. It also groups them in different categories, such as favorites, shared designs, modules and components among many others. It also gives you access to your cart and shows your order history. This way you can stay on top of things without breaking a sweat.
How to Use EasyEDA for Your Projects
EasyEDA can be used for all PCB design projects. The only thing that you need is a web browser and an internet connection to start off. Most of the libraries that you will need are already available in the software and if the part you want isn’t there, you can create the library for it.
You get to save your projects online and you can decide whether to share them or not. Moreover, the sharing settings allow you to limit the kind of access you give to the people you have shared the project with. If you are unsure about something, you can ask other developers in the forum or get ideas from projects that have been shared by other people.
What Could be Better With EasyEDA
So far, EasyEDA seems to have everything you would ever want in a PCB design software. However, there are some few things it lacks such as a 3D viewer. Some of the PC-based PCB design tools, such as Eagle and Altium, already have this feature and it is important in visualizing how your PCB will look like when fully assembled. The EasyEDA team is already working on this feature and it should be out in the near future. Meanwhile, if you really need this feature you will have to use an alternative software.
My Verdict on EasyEDA
EasyEDA has roughly all the features that the traditional PC-based design tools have. In addition to this it is online-based and has a simplified interface. This gives you the ability to work on your projects anywhere around the globe, regardless of whether you have your PC or not. Therefore, if you are a PCB design newbie looking for a simple tool use or a professional who needs versatility and efficiency, EasyEDA is the design tool for you.