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  #1  
Old 05-06-2019, 11:35 PM
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N546RV N546RV is offline
 
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Default Schematic software/KiCAD symbol library

OK, sort of a two-part question. I'm continuing to get rigorous about electrical design, and wanting to put together some nice quality schematics for planning and documentation purposes.

I first tried a few different online generic diagramming tools that offered electrical symbols (draw.io and LucidChart), but I've found them both to be subpar for really serious work. The symbol libraries aren't great (though this can be worked around), but more obnoxiously, they both seem to suck at properly handling connections between components. I end up having to carefully manually place wires/lines between components, and at that point I might as well just be using a generic graphics program.

So I'm now looking into using software specifically designed for this purpose. Some research this morning led me to both Autodesk Eagle and KiCAD. Both of these are designed for PCB layout, and so are a bit overkill for basic schematic design, but I kinda feel like the functionality it useful to me. Eagle is a subscription-based thing, and free is always better. Seems lots of Eagle users defected to KiCAD when the subscription model took over.

At the moment I'm playing with KiCAD, and so far the only downside I see is that all the built-in symbols are things you'd put on a PCB. Mostly not bad, but I'm pretty sure I'll end up making my own symbols before I'm done. It's just stuff like contactors, alternators, etc that are missing. Maybe someone knows of a good add-on library for KiCAD that includes stuff like this? If not, I'm probably going to work up my own library with aviation components and make it public on Github or something.

Finally, before I commit too hard to KiCAD, any other alternative software I ought to be looking at? Options are bit constrained for me since I'm a Mac user. (though I could run stuff on my virtual Windows machine, but that's just painful to use for anything but simple stuff)
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2019, 03:39 AM
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Default Fritzing?

I played with this a bit, and it looked good, but I dropped back to draw.io since it seemed to be fine for my basic layout.

http://fritzing.org/home/
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  #3  
Old 05-07-2019, 04:03 AM
TASEsq TASEsq is offline
 
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I drew up a smoke system using this and found it very good - didnít seem like it had that many symbols but maybe there are more that can be installed? (Not sure).

https://www.expresspcb.com/expresssch/
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  #4  
Old 05-07-2019, 04:33 AM
GeoffP GeoffP is offline
 
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Default BricsCad or Qcad pro

I've tried both of these programs on my Mac, with varying success. Bricscad is much more like AutoCad in terms of functionality (and ease of use in my opinion), but QCad does have some electrical parts libraries that can be downloaded and used.

Perhaps you can search for .dxf files of the components you need, and try importing them into whatever Cad program you use.
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  #5  
Old 05-07-2019, 06:47 AM
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Should you end up using expresspcb/expresssch, here is a starting point: http://www.vx-aviation.com/sprocket/...ec/schematics/

You want the .sch file, but all of the individual pages are in .pdf as well.

V
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  #6  
Old 05-07-2019, 07:13 AM
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N546RV N546RV is offline
 
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Fritzing looks interesting, going to check that out. expresssch definitely looks interesting (or at least Vern's example schematics are beautiful) but appears to be Windows-only.

I want to like KiCAD but in some ways it's too precise. I don't need each item on the schematic to be a highly specific part #, I'd be happy to just use a generic symbol and label part specifics. But having KiCAD pretty intelligently attach leads between items is nice. Maybe I'll find a happy medium one of these days.

Also, I wonder if I could have already drawn all my electrical stuff by hand in less time than I've spent futzing around with various tools.
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  #7  
Old 05-07-2019, 12:06 PM
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Default just draw it

Quote:
Originally Posted by N546RV View Post
...

Also, I wonder if I could have already drawn all my electrical stuff by hand in less time than I've spent futzing around with various tools.
Exactly why I just went with Draw.io.
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  #8  
Old 05-07-2019, 04:08 PM
MJarreau MJarreau is offline
 
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Default Sent PM

Philip,

Please check your PMs.

Mike
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  #9  
Old 05-07-2019, 06:52 PM
TASEsq TASEsq is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vlittle View Post
Should you end up using expresspcb/expresssch, here is a starting point: http://www.vx-aviation.com/sprocket/...ec/schematics/

You want the .sch file, but all of the individual pages are in .pdf as well.

V
Hi vern - awesome work!

Did you find most of the components you needed were i the program, or you had to draw up some yourself? How did that go?
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2019, 12:43 AM
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N546RV N546RV is offline
 
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Well, after trying a couple other things, I ended up deciding that I really like KiCad. Probably overkill, but oh well. I tinkered with the symbol editor and found it not that hard to use, and went ahead and created a couple generic components. Going to move forward with serious design in KiCad and see how things go.

As mentioned before, I'm putting my symbol library out there for anyone else who wants to use it. Contributions are welcome as well, since my library will necessarily end up only really having the things I use in my drawings.

https://github.com/pclifton/kicad-aircraft-components
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