Switching from Eagle to Altium Designer
Free PCB design software has its place in the design world, especially if you are new to the design process. But not all design software is created equal, and free software cannot compete with other options when it comes to available feature sets. Some expensive design programs fail to offer a consistent feature set and segment these features into multiple workflows, forcing you to adopt different management strategies for every device. Instead, try using integrated design software to design your next PCB.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
A fully unified PCB design package with the best design tools in a single interface.
Bargain basement-style PCB components programs can help you get up and running quickly. You’ll be able to get your design out of your head and onto your computer screen, bringing you that much closer to making your electronics dreams a reality. All of a sudden, your dreams could turn into nightmares once you discover your software doesn’t include the critical features you need to finish your design, or when a paywall blocks you from completing your new device.
Settling for a free design program and hoping everything works out in the end leaves you vulnerable. You might find yourself in a situation where you can’t finish your design without buying a new program or finding compatible free software that offers the features you need. Inconsistent feature sets force you to learn multiple workflows in different programs, killing your productivity and creating a risk of compatibility errors.
Instead of using budget design software and crossing your fingers, working in a unified design environment gives you access to the best features with consistent workflow in a single interface. Other design platforms might claim to be unified, but they still separate features into separate modules and force you to adopt ad-hoc workflow and management strategies.
All PCB design programs come with a price tag, even if that price tag says “free download”. Even if you don’t have to pay anything for the program up front, you’ll end up paying later in lost productivity, lost time, and lost sanity as you try to get your PCB design software to perform simple design rules functions.
When critical design functions aren’t included in your free program, you’re stuck finding a workaround using another program. Worse yet, you’ll be forced to upgrade to a premium version just to finalize your design, leaving you feeling swindled. Even though you might be able to devise a complex workaround involving several programs, you’ll inevitably be asked to pull out your credit card and buy a subscription if you want access to all your design features.
Use the Best Design Software to Build the Best PCBs
Not all PCB design programs are created equal. Some features that you need to complete your board or that are helpful for other design tasks are not present in free PCB design programs. You’re left looking online for another free program that can complement the functions that are missing in your design software. This inhibits your workflow and leaves you searching for multiple programs that might not be compatible.
- Free software isn’t always free. A low price tag on the front end control panel can cost you later in lost time, difficult workarounds, and incompatibility with other design tools.
Learn more about the pros and cons of free design software.
- Mechanical and electrical design used to segmented. But now, ECAD/MCAD integration into a single interface helps improve productivity and eliminates the need for multiple programs.
Learn more about design software that unifies ECAD and MCAD.
- Keeping track of communication between multiple CAD tools with a convoluted workflow can lead to unnecessary errors.
The wonders of design integration in Altium Designer
Modern electronics design can be a complicated beast. A single project can require input from engineers, PCB designers, mechanical designers, and manufacturers. Everyone needs to have consistent, standardized information in an intuitive interface. Your PCB design software can play a critical role in streamlining collaboration among design teams.
Collaboration is aided when your design software generates consistent documentation with standardized format in a single environment. The right design software helps formerly segmented teams design the best devices with ease. This is accomplished with tools that unify features needed by each team in a single design interface.
A proper schematic editor and layout editor will enable a circuit board to be printed with ease. Make sure your user interface suits your needs and contains the layout, components, schematic capture, and any manufacturing output file that your printed circuit requires. Circuit design, after all, is made significantly easier with cad programs that enable it.
The Best PCB Design Software Makes Collaboration Easy
Collaboration among design features gives everyone on your team access to consistent information and thorough documentation. Free software does not include collaborative features, forcing you to use ad-hoc management strategies and creating the potential for unnecessary redesigns and updates. The right design software helps align teams that were formerly siloed, like mechanical and electrical design teams.
One might naturally wonder why MCAD and ECAD capabilities should be integrated into a single platform. If you’re building a new device with complicated packaging, your electrical and mechanical designers should be able to get a realistic 3D view of your device without resorting to exporting and importing between programs. Working in a single environment enhances collaboration among design teams and saves your organizational sanity.
- Altium Designer includes useful tools that let you import your designs from other programs. Don’t let switching to a new software platform halt progress on your designs.
Learn more about migrating from Eagle.
- 3D design and verification of PCBs through MCAD and ECAD integration gives you a full view of every aspect of your device.
- PCB design is about more than just electrical design. You’ll need to account for mechanical constraints on your board packaging, especially with multi-board and rigid-flex design.
Multiple design tools in a single interface
It can be especially annoying when you build a great PCB, only to find that critical features you need to verify the functionality of your device are not present in your design software. You’re stuck looking for other tools that can pick up the slack, fighting compatibility issues in the process. Simple tasks like defining simulation models, component footprints, and copper fill outlines need not be annoying or repetitive.
When all these tools are built into a single interface with a consistent design engine and workflow, you won’t get stuck using difficult features or moving between programs. Only Altium Designer offers the best design features in single, consistent interface. These tools are built using a rules-driven design engine, ensuring consistent communication between all your tools. You’ll be able to spend more time designing and less time fiddling with incompatible programs.
Build the Best PCBs With Altium Designer
When you need to build a PCB for your new electronic device, you need the latest and greatest design tools all in one place. Altium Designer gives you access to the critical features you need to get your next PCB up and running without being blocked by a paywall or using multiple programs. You’ll have everything you need to visualize your board, manage multi-layer boards, simulate critical functionality, and build deliverables for your manufacturer.
You’ll also have the freedom to adapt Altium Designer for use with your specific design application. The design rules engine can work with customized rules and constraints, and the comprehensive data management tools ensure consistency across large design teams. Best of all, you won’t be tied down to working with a particular manufacturer. Your deliverables are generated in a standard format that can be used by any manufacturer.
- Altium Designer includes a useful tool that lets you import your designs from other programs. Don’t let switching to a new software platform halt progress on your designs.
Learn more about migrating from Eagle.
- Integrated 3D visualization tools help you get an accurate view of your PCB and help you design mechanical packaging.
- Multi-board and rigid flex design are two important areas that require realistic 3D visualization. This can only be provided by integrating ECAD and MCAD capabilities.
Learn more about multi-board design in Altium Designer.
Altium Designer takes all of these tools and many more, packs them into a single software platform, and presents them to you in an intuitive interface. You won’t have to switch between multiple programs just to get your designs up and running. You’ll have the power to build the latest and greatest PCBs in the least amount of time when you work in the best PCB design environment.
Switching from another program to Altium Designer might seem like a huge leap. Thankfully, Altium includes tools that allow to convert your existing projects into Altium’s format. You’ll also have access to resources like the AltiumLive forum, webinars and podcasts from industry experts, and a knowledge base with plenty of useful design tips and examples.
You can save yourself plenty of time and headaches when all of your critical design tools are built to work together in a single interface. The tools in Altium Designer are built on a rules-driven design engine, ensuring your next PCB will work as designed. Don’t take the easy way out and use free design software that claims to integrate design tools. Instead, try Altium Designer.