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know of a good free circuit designing software? Answered

Hi everyone, I looking for a free electronics circuits design software that I can use in the classroom with high school kids. I had a play with circuitlab  which is pretty much perfect for what I need, just started showing the kids and, now it wants payment to continue. Had a look at 123D circuits again the video looks great but it doesnt seem to work anymore. Also tinker cad circuit doesn't want to play either. Fritzing and eagal cam is a bit hard for the kids to learn as they only have the class for a few weeks. It just has to be easy to use and be either online or compatable with mac computers.



Best Answer 1 year ago

KiCad is being used professionally at the place I am currently interning. It's nice, I have yet to really play with it though. What's nice is that is an open-source EDA.


EasyEDA is cloud-based, and is more elegant in appearance, and IMHO has a smaller learning curve.


Following the "easy and noob friendly" and graphically-appealing path, I would also recommend checking out fritzing, which appears to be geared towards creating virtual arduino projects.


There is also a free version of Altium (Altium maker) however there is a lot of hate for Altium in general, too. I never used it, I have found EasyEDA which is enough for me. :)


If you just want a decent fast circuit simulator (no PCB cad tools), LTspice is great and free. Spice simulations are widely used and accepted by all of the above software.

The Easy EDA software does what I need thanks Max

It has to be said. A pencil and gridded paper. I doubt your students are producing multi layer PCBs

Understanding what the components do is far more important than knowing how to use any particular CAD system.

Cheap too.

Yes, understanding things at a fundamental level is very 20th Century. Lets pretend that mastery of a CAD system is understanding.

I think you're being optimistic using the word "mastery"!

Sadly most modern 11 to 16 education is like a river an inch deep (understanding) and a mile wide (general experience) - life isn't like that. Like university and A level education Life tends to favour depth of understanding and comercial experience.

Yes, I struggle to see how they can understand what's going on whilst abstracting the process to a CAD package.

As a teacher, albeit retired now, I managed to teach 1000,s of students electronics using paper and pencil, when they progressed to making PCB's we used good old indelible pen on copper boards. Making them with a mask was just a demo. Actually the larger majority of circuits were built on strip board, cheaper and much more convenient.

There aren't any marks in the Uk electronics exam system for making a PCB, it is just messy and takes time.

The one thing I was very keen on though was that they understood the basic principles and could manipulate Ohms la, and fault find. When they progressed to using microprocessors building the circuit was trivial and programming became the learning feature.

With the advancement of very cheap microprocessors it is very hard to justify building complex discrete component circuits.

If your budget is so tight it won't stretch to buying a suitable system then I suggest pencil and paper is a very good option. Who knows, the students may even learn to draw straight lines as well.

During over 28 years as an electronics engineer I never had the need to make a PCB, I did however need to fault find and understand basic principles to work out what I needed to do.