PCB Design Software

I'm interested in PCB Design Software for creating industrial automation boards and embedded boards for my personal use, so this page reflects those interests. In other words, I'm not interested in high end software.

Some of the free commercial PCB software has limitations, so please check.

Best for Automation PCBs

If you don't have an electronics background and aren't fearless, then most of the available software is not ideal, because it's too complex.

Right now, I'd recommend looking at either KiCad or Eagle PCB first because of the size of their communities, which means lots of help and tutorials are available via searching and such. When I get time, I want to experiment with some more programs.

Other Directories

There are a lot of PCB programs out there, and I'm not interested in listing them all, so here are some more directories:

Open Source Software

  • KiCad
  • gEDA
  • Fedora Electronics Lab a Linux distro that comes loaded with many EDA tools including gEDA and KiCad. You can use it with a Windows PC as a live DVD or with a VM (VirtualBox, VMWare Player, etc).

Free Commercial Software

  • Design Spark PCB
  • Eagle PCB Light Eagle PCB Light is very popular. Limitations are:
    • Non-profit use only
    • Schematics limited to 1 page
    • Board size limited to 100mm x 80 mm (4" x 3.2")
    • Board limited to 2 signal layers (top, bottom)
    • Support limited to e-mail or forum (no phone or fax support)
  • CircuitMaker
    • New program from Altium
    • Currently, looks like all PCBs have to be open source, with no commercial option available (yet...)
  • MultiSIM BLUE
    • PCB design and fabrication, from NI with Mouser sponsorship
  • Orcad Lite
    • Limitations in number of nets, number of components, etc
  • pcbWEB
    • Appears to similar in approach to DesignSpark PCB, sponsored by DigiKey

PCB Fab House Software

Software that's tied to a particular PCB prototype board maker, but offered for free. I prefer not to be tied to one PCB vendor, but this approach can be simpler (no Gerbers to create).

On-line ("Cloud" or Browser) Software

Last modified 3 years ago Last modified on Oct 21, 2015 12:38:30 AM