I've listed below 60 or so ECAD packages with URLs and brief notes, with an emphasis on amateur/hobby use. They're obviously a very mixed bag in terms of capabilities, full version price and popularity. Most of them include schematic drawing. Many include PCB design (a few with auto-routing). A few incorporate simulation. I'm happy to consider amending this if others want to send me details of other packages in similar format.
I don't make any claims to put much effort into maintaining this page, so please check suppliers' websites to be sure of the latest details. Prices in particular are likely to be out of date. I've shown these as 180USD or 100UKP for dollars and pounds respectively.
Hobbyist, East Grinstead, West Sussex, UK
For the design and analysis of electrical transmission lines and directional couplers of totally arbitrary cross section and an arbitrary number of different dielectrics. Although not a PCB or simulation program like almost all other entries, included on this page as it's likely to be of use to radio amateurs, professional RF engineers, students and academics.
Schematics, simulation (SPICE 3f5) and PCB layout.
"...complete board-level design system... integrates schematic entry, circuit simulation, PCB layout, autorouting and mechanical device management...unique wizards". Program is now entirely free.
Win2K, NT, XP. Thriving Yahoo group.
For anyone searching for the old freeware DOS version of same name, that still appears available from Protel at http://www.protel.com/resources/downloads/index.html (I think even earlier version was called EasyTrax?)
"Analog simulator ... includes 3,000+ parts from manufacturers." From 99USD.
Also B2 LOGIC "Digital circuit simulation & analysis tool with circuit editor". Demos cannot save and print and are limited to a certain number of components in a circuit. Trials are fully functional but are limited to 30 days use.
Boardmaker2 is a DOS-based, dongle-protected CAD for PCBs, schematic capture, basic auto routing options. Very easy to use but now somewhat outdated. Boardmaker3 (now with integrated schematic capture is Windows-based, all singing/dancing. Demos available of both.
Free version "allows use of all features up to 250 pins, using manual routing only. The application requires Window 95/98 or Window NT... Note that all libraries in CADint PCB free version are cut down to a minimum, to speed up the download process." Approx. 10.5 MB
Schematic and routing. No demo/evaluation, but can download 'Entry Level Brochure' (244Kb). "Complete PCB Design On The Desktop. CADSTAR is Zuken’s Entry Level Solution ...runs under Windows NT, Windows 98 and Windows 95 operating systems."
"Includes schematic editor, symbol editor, symbol library, plotting program, & utilities." 1,000USD entry? UNIX evaluation version available.
Chipmunk is a collection of software tools for Unix systems and OS/2, one of which is called Log. Log includes both full-featured analog circuit simulation package, Analog, written by John Lazzaro, and a unit-time-delay digital circuit simulation package, Diglog, written by Dave Gillespie.
"Written entirely in Assembler Language by Hardware Design Engineers (not utility programmers), CIRCAD boasts the highest run-time performance of any PCB CAD package on the market today. Schematics, netlists, circuit boards, and gerber plots are all at your fingertips awaiting your beck and call. For the more advanced users, CIRCAD even has a "reverse engineering" feature that enables you to start with a scanned image of a PCB and work backwards to the schematic." Download version available.
See also Donald Miller's Cardamom, which adds simulation capabilities to Circad.
"Includes full Schematic Design and Capture, full interactive Symbol Editor, professional Printed Circuit Board Design and Layout, and Automatic Routing." Free demo.
"... a printed circuit board design program ... Features include an integrated autorouter, netlist import, Gerber photoplotter support, and design rules checks. It is intended for hobbyists, and small businesses." 82USD. Downloadable limited version for trial. Schematic companion program also available, purchased separately, or in a bundle for 104 USD from NorthStar Solutions.
"...allowing you to design, simulate and output your printed circuit board designs. Exceptional ease of use and tight integration means you'll spend less time learning the software and more time designing... all the features of professional, high-end software at a fraction of the cost." Student Version, same as CM 6 with the following limitations: Max 50 devices per design (any type); Device library limited to 1,000 models; Symbol editor and Macro feature disabled; PCB netlist export limited to TraxMaker format; Technical support limited to fax and email only.
Technical Support is virtually non-existent, so it's just as well that paper and on-screen Help is relatively good.I'm a user of CM 2000 myself.
No simulation. Demo version limited to 256 pins. Includes autorouting. Extensive libraries, plus "...you can draw anything you like". Approx. 9MB download (7 floppy-sized files).
"Draw, save, edit and print complete, professional circuit diagrams using powerful features like bussing, multi-level Undo/Redo, and automatic gate packaging. Use the library of common 74XX and discrete symbols provided or create your own libraries using the built-in symbol editor. Send compact circuit diagram files to friends or colleagues over the 'net. They can get their own free copy of DesignWorks Lite to view, edit and print the circuits."
PCB Layout with manual route and 'rip-up and retry' autorouter; Schematic, with export netlist to PCB. ComEdit pattern editor; SchemEdit component editor, to draw parts and attach patterns to them. Shareware from 145USD and freeware with a 250 pin limit. Also unlimited 30-Day trial of the professional versions: DipTrace Full: 495 USD, unlimited pins, unlimited layers; DipTrace Standard: 295 USD, 1000 pins, 4 signal layers
"Schematic capture and more..."
"... easy to use, powerful and affordable schematic capture and printed circuit board design"
Available also as a free version (only two layers, max dim 100 x 80 mm) with the full library, autorouter and the like, aimed squarely at the hobbyist. Runs on Linux and Windows platforms.
"Integrated Schematic and PCB design environment· Four Product Variants· Easy to use· Outputs professional manufacturing files· Shape Based Copper Pour· True Split/Partial Power Planes"
"... fully operational EDA design system which will actually produce maufacturable outputs...includes a Schematic Capture module, a PCB Layout module, a Gerber Tranlator Module and a robust set of Library symbols and footprints. An abrieveated [and hopefully spell-checked] users manual is also provided in PDF format." This LITE version has net, pin and board size limits.
"EDWin is totally integrated CAD/CAE software packages..." [sic]. Demo available. Full versions from 165UKP (260USD) @ Dec 2002.
Free download. "The Electric source code distribution contains code written in C, which can be compiled and run on UNIX (all variants), Macintosh (system 7 or 8), and Windows (9x/NT/2000). In addition, the distribution includes the user's manual (in HTML) and supporting data files (libraries, samples, etc.)" Looks a bit tricky to set up on Windows? Full Windows version approx. 175USD.
"ExpertPCB II for MacOS costs 1695USD per seat. A competitive upgrade is available for 995USD." Limited demo version.
EZRoute2000, from Bill Jenkins, is the completely re-written 32-bit version of EZRoute Pro, for all Windows platforms. Includes schematic capture, interactive symbol editor, libraries, pc board editor, 1000 shape pad table, gerber output and viewer. Free demo CD also includes about 80Mb of other useful material.
The gEDA project was started because of the lack of free EDA tools for UNIX. Originally its objective was a full GPL'd suite of Electronic Design Automation tools, including electrical circuit design, schematic capture, simulation, prototyping, and production. But WoItek SkulskÏ advised me 18th May 2002 that PCB design was dropped in favor of a separate PCB program called PCB. Details of that below, as received from DJ Delorie, 14th June 2005
PCB is a Unix/GTK application that does PCB layout, with autoplace, autoroute, and auto-optimize. Output is PS for home brew or RS-274X for commercial production. License is GPL, with no limit on layers (recompile if you want more than the default 8), or on board size (32x32 inches).
"...the most powerful analog and mixed-signal simulation toolset on the market... sets the industry standard for accurate, easy-to-use, and feature rich SPICE software with state-of-the-art technology at a price affordable by ANY budget."
Student version IsSpice4, "... the same as the production version. However, IsSpice4 will only accept SPICE netlists with fewer than 20 top-level components... Simulator: Circuit Size Limited to 20 main circuit (top-level) elements, special limitations are applied to subcircuits... The key difference between the demonstration version of ICAP/4Windows and the ICAP/4 Students version is that ICAP/4Students comes with a much larger library of models (900 vs. 75+), full product support, and a printed manual."
Free, open source program designed and written by Jean-Pierre Charras,
a researcher at LIS (Laboratoire des Images et des Signaux) and a teacher
in IUT de Saint Martin d'Hères, France.
Includes Schematic entry, Board editor, Gerber Viewer, Footprint Selector and a Project Manager.
Runs under LINUX and Windows (XP or 2000)
PCB CAD/CAM software with 200 pin demo version for free download.
LochMaster 3.0. Developers tool for strip board projects. Useful functions for designing, documenting and testing a board. Features like auto-generation of components lists, a connection test, an editable library with a large number of symbols and components, etc.
A 2.1 MB demo is downloadable.
Interactive circuit design tool intended for teaching and learning digital logic. "Includes a full schematic editor with bussing, multi-level Undo/Redo, interactive connection tracing... coupled with the unique, interactive digital simulator."
"MATLAB is a high-level technical computing language and interactive environment for algorithm development, data visualization, data analysis, and numerical computation. Using MATLAB, you can solve technical computing problems faster than with traditional programming languages, such as C, C++, and Fortran."
There is now also an add-on for MATLAB for RF behavior (network
parameter, noise, non-linearity),
And a Model-Based Design platform
with two add-ons:
These all have student versions, from the following pages:
"Micro-Cap 7 is an integrated schematic editor and mixed analog/digital simulator that provides ainteractive sketch and simulate environment for electronics engineers."
At 4,000USD, it's hardly in the hobbyist market, but a limited demo version is available.
I recall Electronics Work Bench (EWB) used to be the name of the package. But now it's the name of the company, and the schematic package itself is now called Multisim. Schematic Capture, Simulation & Programmable Logic
You can download the Multisim V6 Demo for Windows 95/98/NT (large - msmdemo.exe is 22.5MB). Full version approx. 1,000USD?
Also: UltiBoard PCB layout and UltiRoute
autoplacement and autorouting.
Another downoad source at http://www.interactiv.com/html/demo.html
“With Capture and Schematics. 28 MB. Also available from same page or a click away is the R8 Eval version. These all have limited part size and functionality. But PSpice is THE choice of professionals for simulation. "PSpice is the de facto standard for analog and mixed-signal simulation... includes a powerful and robust simulation engine and works with Orcad Capture or PSpice Schematics in an integrated environment..."
Free MAC PCB CAD/CAM software.
"The latest release is Version 0.99b2, built January 14, 2001... During the public beta testing period, I am providing current versions of the Osmond PCB application and documentation for the adventurous on a free trial basis. The application is fully functional and not crippled in any way."
"...small printed circuit board cad package... three programs: an autorouter, a board viewer, and a board printer." Free limited demo version.
Expensive ECAD for professionals. Trial version limited to 30 days.
"... full schematic-to-PCB linking, comprehensive manual and
interactive placement and routing tools, shape-based autorouting,
integrated component library management, versatile documentation and
design annotation support, and powerful board signal integrity analysis
built in, etc."
Free unix PCB editor. "...free software for making printed circuit board layouts. It has many features and is capable of professional-quality output. pcb was orignally written by Thomas Nau of University of Ulm, Germany, and is now maintained by harry eaton of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, USA."
" Design your circuit with PC Logic's schematic capture program—This easy to learn program is an ideal front-end to PC Logic's Circuit Layout PCB editor. Schematic capture should have always been this easy!"
Low cost PCB CAD software. Limited demo version, PCB Editor DEMO V3.0 (900 KB)
Low cost PCB CAD software. You can download limited demo version.
"... Microsoft Windows application (see PCB Designer Requirements) that enables you to design masks for printed circuit boards. It's main goal is to make this process as easy as possible... ideally suited for use in educational establishments, for the home hobbyist and for small businesses." 49UKP (77USD). English and French language libraries included in both full and demo versions.
CAD/CAM software for schematic and routing. You can download limited demo version. "In the limited version of PCB elegance all the functionallity is available, except the design limited is set to 200 pins."
Expensive, professional use. 30 days free trial available.
Low cost CAD/CAM software. (Shareware). Limited demo version. I tried it a couple of years ago and personally found its interface very hard work.
"... a single Editor solution for Schematic Capture, PCB Layout, Wizard driven component creation, and Mechanical drafting. You don't need to use three or more packages with different interfaces - We do it all in one very easy to use EDA Editor..." Lite version for 50USD.
From same stable as EasyPC, so easy/intuitive. But targeted at professionals, with prices 1,200 to 6,000UKP, (1,800 - 9000USD). Fully functional demo (up to 100 pins) downloadable.
"Qcad 14.1 is a complete electronics design software running with Windows 95/98/NT operating system. It includes schematics and PCB design, and a state of the art autorouter together with a post-routing optimizer. Depending on the features and pin capacity, Qcad is available from just 59USD."
Poor web site - no details of Quick Route as at 14th Feb 2001.
PCB CAD/CAM software. Limited demo version (no saving facilities).
Free schematic capture software for Windows. (Alfa version). "Ability to import SDT and OrCAD Release IV schematics. Can use directly either .LIB or .SRC libraries. No design size limitations. Export EDIF netlist"
"SmartSpice uniquely provides vendor compatibility with major Spice vendors and platform compatibility between UNIX and PC platforms... compatible with HSpice, PSpice and Berkeley Spice. Designs completed under HSpice and PSpice can be re-simulated without modification."
Excellent software with some advanced features from long-established UK specialist. Includes schematic entry and simulation. Entry level for version 3 was 495UKP / 775USD (about to go up again for release version 4). Free demo version (8MB download) might be quite adequate for many hobbyists. "Only a handful of device models are supplied, sufficient to run the example circuits."
"... Cheap, No Shit!, a GUI xspice, unlimited component, mixed-mode Windows simulator with Schematic Capture, waveform display, FFT's and Filter Design...computer locked, unlimited node, student version for 20 bucks"
Two-level schematic editor & PCB layout; reverse-engineering capability; imports a netlist & represents it schematically. 300USD entry?
Schematics and Spice. Comes free (to promote Linear Technology SMPS products). Author, Mike Engelhardt:”…useful as a stand-alone, unlimited, high-performance SPICE with integrated schematic capture. It runs Pspice models faster and more reliably than Pspice.” Download self-extracting zip file from above URL. Updated Jan 2003.
Limited demo version available.
"For a LAYOUTER the migthyness of the
functions is most important... TARGET 2001! ... is a Schematics /
Simulation / PCB / Auto Router and EMC-Analysis package in ONE SINGLE
PROGRAM and all project data in ONE SINGLE PROJECT FILE (real time
forward- and back-annotation). You can have schematic and the PCB
together on your screen or work in different projects at the same
Now at version 13.
"Analog, digital, symbolic, RF and mixed mode circuit simulation...virtual and real-time measurements...advanced Spice and S-parameter models, user defined components, hierarchical design, ERC." Free trial demo available.
"Freeware. Schematic editor for Win9X, NT/2000/XP.
Nice clean diagrams which print well. Export of Protel and other format netlists for PCB layout programs."
"For Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000. An affordable integrated computer-aided circuit design software package offering advanced native mixed-mode mixed-signal analog/digital/behavioral simulation based on the industry standard SPICE program."
"Ultiboard is a powerful, yet easy-to-use PCB layout and routing program..." Limited demo version available. Ultimate also supplier for Multisim, UltiROUTE and UltiCAP.
Just like a PCB layout program, VeeCAD takes a schematic generated
netlist and assists you to build a layout - but on stripboard. The usual
design tools are provided: netlist import, component definition,
component positioning, wiring and connectivity check.
Free and Commercial versions for Windows.
"...integrated 32-bit analog, digital, mixed signal schematic design and circuit simulation program, ... at a fraction of the cost of other simulators." Inexpensive at 99 USD for the personal version, and there's a free download of the demo.
Available free up to 256 pins, with various capacity options thereafter (details in Pricing on the web site). Its available for Windows 95 to XP, and Linux. You can download the whole thing, including the tutorial and a range of libraries and interface modules from either URL above.
CAD/CAM software for schematic and routing. Can download limited demo version. Patch on site allows Windows XP support. Starts at 250USD?
Marc Whitney reports: “Quite buggy…documentation confusing.”
"Creation of printed circuits for Windows 3.x, 95, 98 ou NT... translated into English, Spanish and French... includes automatic routing. A view in pseudo 3D makes it possible to have a good idea of the side circuit."
No print facility in evaluation version (600 KB). Full version 30USD or 20UKP.
"There are drawing programs, and there are schematic capture programs... Rarely is the output of a schematic capture program really suitable for publication; often it is not even readable, or cannot be scaled... XCircuit is my UNIX/X11 (and now Windows, if you have an X-Server running) program for drawing publishable-quality electrical circuit schematic diagrams and related figures, and produce circuit netlists through schematic capture... XCircuit is flexible enough to be used as a generic program for drawing just about anything, and is competitive with powerful programs such as "xfig". It is especially good for any task requiring repeated use of a standard set of graphical objects, including architectural drawing, printed circuit board layouts, and (my personal favorite) music typography..."
"The developer is Italian, but there is a page in English, describing ZenitPCB Layout as "...a flexible easy to use CAD program, which allow you to realize your projects in a short time ...completely freeware for personal or semi-professional use, limited to 800 pins, that is the border line, between the hobby and professional jobs.""
Last updated: September 30, 2010