Most of us intricate pros and cons would go for an option which is cheaper. This is nothing but a general human tendency to do things. However, it doesn’t really take us too long before we realize how the cheaper one serves but only half our purpose. The same thing can happen when you buy PCB design software randomly without putting much thought into it. So, that should be the first thing to avoid. Electronic Design Automation tool can be a little tricky to choose, especially when you are not a pro in it.
However, you have to fix upon something that has all the required latest features which will help you design your board in the most exclusive manner. Added to that, make sure that all the components in there have the option of customization so you can add your uniqueness to it and it can serve all your needs without restriction.
What are the essential features that you should search for?
When you choose ECAD software, you probably want any cheaper one. You do the trial or first go through any intermediate offer. You do not want to spend loads on your software which will help you design your PCB. Whenever you choose particular software and pay for it or even get it for free, you do not know or they do not even make you aware of all the things that they would not be able to provide. However, when you proceed gradually on this task, you realize that certain features are actually necessities rather than optional. So, in order to avoid making mistakes or being ignorant, these are the following features that you can try looking for:
- You need the feature of advanced via design if you have a purpose of designing high-speed boards. For this, you would need things like back-drilling, microvias, blind and buried vias etc. So make sure you have them before choosing one.
- Although free tools attract you more, but the space onboard is quite limited with them. Therefore, check if space is enough or not.
- Layers are very important in designing, and most of the free tools in the market restrict you from using several layers. You would probably want to use software that’s more professional and prone to molding.
- In embedded systems, the PCBs need to have proper 3D modeling. Before selecting any software, check whether or not the enclosure is fitted inside the boards.
- Softwares that are good at designing can act like GPS when necessary. Programs that are available in cheap would not let you reduce the length or preserve signal integrity. Therefore, differential pair routing is important.
- Power Delivery Network Analysis or PDNA does the signal analysis program for you. Now, you can do that all by yourself. Except it’s easier if the software does it for you.
- Now, these are the basic features to look for when you are deciding on software.
Adding your own flavor
Who wouldn’t want a thing where personal touches can be added? The software for free design download, for instance, has a whole set of customizing toolkit that you can try. Now you do not have to wait for the developer to add on to the features list.
All-rounder design software
You would never want PCB design software that has only some of the features and uses another for other features. The thing about free tools is that different ones have different advantages. While they have some a friendly interface, they lack features. Others with a few advanced features have really a tough interface.
So, it’s better to use the software that has all the possible features and is an umbrella solution to your problems. Another issue is, there are software that use third-party tool which enable you “plug in” but the interlink does not really work. You spend the time fixing the bug. Also, often external tools change the overall design which you had actually planned.
You should go for PCB design software that can provide you with the features without making you go broke. Free products often make you lose your productivity since you aren’t introduced to all the features and also end up with a major waste of your time. But choosing the right one can get you the right features at the right time.