2 Replies Latest reply on Aug 13, 2015 2:23 AM by jimhook_uk1

    CircuitStudio - first impressions

    mafofolus

      Hi everybody.

       

      I would like to share my first impressions after one day playing around with the CircuitStudio Version 1.0.4 Build 41208 (14day eval).

       

      Just to know me better: I use the Altium Design 14.3 at work and I have a  "Altium Designer - Advanced" certificate. I used the Orcad CIS/ Allegro package, Target 3001, and at home I use normally Design Spark, but I want get rid of it - as I want a tool which doesn't differ to much with the thing I use regularly at work (in design/library/ui philosophy). Just the price tag of the Altium Designer is to high for me. So here it come the CiricutStudio with a price tag I may could afford.

       

      I will use AD for Altium Designer and CS for the CircuitStudio ...

       

      The installation and getting the license was very easy The first feeling was very common to the AD just with an ribbon and smother colors My SpaceMouse Pro works as expected and after looking into the system settings(I think these are a subset of the AD ones I start with making my own library i like to have my own libraries and I used the WE-SHC 20x20 Part from Wrth Elektronik(Part number  3610320536103205 as an sample component(link here WE-SHC Shielding Cabinet - Product Catalog Passive Components) as Würth is providing a Step Model to most of its parts and the Footprint is more ambitious as there are 12 Pads with the same net and 4 pads are not standard pads as those are brackets.

      At the time a had created the library I marked in the Library Options as Integrated Library Format "Original" instead of "CircuitStudio" in the hope I could do some footprints at home an use them at work. I had to change back this options as when compiling the integrated library I got an very uninformative error that the library could not been written. So I think I had to bring a AD library from work to home and then I could edit this one with use in the AD - have to try this.

      Back to the footprint. The first very annoying thing is that if you use the the key "p" for placing you just alter the ribbon to the project section, but not to the place menu. In fact there seems to be no other option than to use the right mice button to get to the place menu. Very unpleased for me. Next things I stumble up one was instead the "VF" keys I need to press CTRL-PgDown for fitting. Okay, but there is no "jl" for Jump Location only jumps for Origin and Component Reference. So I need more steeps to place a pad right. But more sucks as I don't got the HeadUp Display not to shown up - the Shift-H is displayed as Short Cut in the Shortcuts Overview, so it should be there - and I didn't got a delta view of the coordinates (its the same in the normal PCB Editor, no HeadUp but it is in the Shortcut list). For Pad placement I thing this is very uncomfortable.

      Next silly thing for me is, there is no place 3d body in the right click place menu - only in the ribbon and only if our are in 2D mode - in 3D mode this ribbon entry is grayed out. There are no tools for placing 3D bodies as in AD, so only mice could be used, as in the properties (like in AD) only the body hight and rotations could be altered directly but not one simple x or y coordinate.

      Last thing in Footprint editor - normally I set my Overlays 0,15mm away from the pads - this is very easy with the HeadUp display and the delta view. Here I Painted the line as usual direct to the pad, select the line and than catch the outer point of the line to move it back 0,15mm, as there is no delta view I look at the left lower side of the window where the coordinates are display, but right in the moment I click left this coordinates changes from the mice position to something else I did not understand and so I must use the property dialog to manually enter the right coordinates.

       

      In the Schematics or SCH library view I now see that the grid could be in 1, 2.5 or 5mm, from AD I was used to a Grid of 1,5 or 10 something. So I'm unsure if the parts still will be fit with AD parts. BTW: CS is still ignoring the system wide convention I have for "." and "," - the same as in AD, which sometimes got me frustrated.

      One thing I missed - there is no substitution for "VD" - view document. So much more "work" to do on the mice the get the full document into view.

       

      After placing my part on the schematic sheet and annotating them I searched a hole while to find the Update PCB Document - it is located in the "home" ribbon under the Project button (why not in the project ribbon?).

      As I created the PCB without a template the PCB was predefined something big - so I used the Redefine Board Shape - but there seems to be a bug, because until you don't use edit Board shape you have two pcbs in the view - even in 3D.

       

      BTW: Could anybody explain to me how I can scroll the Shortcut List e.g. while I move an component around?

       

      Next step will be doing more components and some routing. May I will add them here.

       

      To sum up my first impression: I need to save more money to get an AD, as time is money and with the CD I need more time to do things precisely as I need in AD.

       

      Regards, Andy

        • Re: CircuitStudio - first impressions
          rcolman01

          Hi Andy - nice review.

          Have you made any further progress in evaluating CircuitStudio? Would love to hear more of the same as you get into component creations, new projects and routing etc....

          • Re: CircuitStudio - first impressions
            jimhook_uk1

            Hi,

            I have just finished (almost) evaluating CircuitStudio. I went through the full design cycle for a PCB I already designed and I have to say I am impressed it is very good, it took a while to find a few of the features but now I'm really impressed and pretty certain I will be buying it. However, the software fell over at the export STEP, the board I created caused "Catastrophic Failure", so there is a problem with this part of the software for sure. So if any Altium guys are reading this thread I could do with some help, apart from that great tool.