@VBH "I like the fact that you can use color in your symbols to create visually meaningful circuit designs. "
Agree, this is a very nice feature of TinyCAD. Makes it easy to find your way around a very dense schematic by adding color and wide line width to wires, and the "find text string" feature is very useful for locating signal names and reference designators. Circuit functions can be explained to others through signal highlighting in various colors, even logic states (red = HI, blue = LO, dotted = pulse) can be shown directly on the schematic wires and used to decode gate outputs.
Another nice feature is the rulers which help with simple mechanical scale drawings. Which I do find disappointing is that when an object is created using shapes (lines, arcs, circles, rectangles) there is no "group" function that combines the shapes together - the object can only be moved/copied/flipped/rotated by first drawing a box around it. Maybe this feature could be added by the ongoing support team.
This is true, but if you ever update a component footprint or silkscreen, have fun getting that propagated all the way through including all the instances of that part. Coming from a Mechanical background, something like this would be considered completely unacceptable.
The machine schematic sector is full of very expensive tools. We used to use Via Wiring Diagram (which was bought by AutoDesk & become AutoCAD Electrical, now about $5K), but felt it wasn't worth it to keep up with the various yearly fees. Then our licensing server died and we moved to Win7-64, so Via WD is now dead and I've spent too much time looking at solutions.
Unless your schematic is really simple, I don't recommend using straight 2D CAD (AutoCAD or its clones, etc).
I took a look at using Eagle PCB schematic editor and quickly decided it wasn't a good fit.
Of the expensive vendors, I was most impressed with IGE+XAO and Aucotec Engineering Base; both are ~$3K for the limited entry level package + annual maintenance. However, we're very likely to move to Radica Electra, which is ~$1K with free support (no annual maintenance) -- I haven't had time to do my "due diligience" first (download the trial version and make sure it works for us).
Other affordable / semi-affordable schematic products I found included Elwin (29 euro), CADprofi (400 euro & up + AutoCAD clone), PC Schematic (limited free version), and WS-CAD (looks like ~$1K and up, plus annual maintenance) . They weren't good matches for us, but they might work for you.
@Aeroengineer ...The fact that changes do not automatically propagate through the entire design. It is rather tedious and error prone when trying to update something. ...
It's still easier than one of the higher end programs that I've used where you have to produce a net list from the schematic then do a compare to generate a change file which you can finally apply to the PCB... At least DipTrace has an update from schematic feature that eliminates several error-prone steps from the process.
I know that both DipTrace and DesignSpark PCB allow for that. I am almost sure that all the others that I mentioned will also allow for that as well, I just do not yet have any experience with these packages. I will soon enough.
I have been using DipTrace, and I do like it for it being intuitive. There is one thing that I really do not like, and I consider a fatal flaw. The fact that changes do not automatically propagate through the entire design. It is rather tedious and error prone when trying to update something. That aside, I can say that it was a package that I was able to pick up and have a board designed in under a week of an hour or so after work.
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