I have been designing PCBs for around 8 years now. My first experience was with OrCAD 9.x. OrCAD is very powerful tool and widely used in electronics industry. However, somehow, I was a little tired of it as it seemed to me based on old technology. Working in the schematic capture section was not very easy and layout was even difficult. Components library creation could easily lead me to head scratching.
It was some 3 years back. I was really looking for a software which is easy and just does the job. One day I found Diptrace. I learned it very quickly as it was very easy. The user interface was very intuitive and seems to be a really modern interface built-in “this era”. The PCB layout was also very easy, nothing less nothing extra, just every necessary tools available there. The component and footprint library creation was also very easy. Most importantly the cost of software was affordable. It increased my efficiency and reduced the headache of PCB design.
Diptrace has very good import/export options. One of the great option is Route-> Electra/Specctra Interface-> Export Autoroute DSN and Import Autoroute SES. I use this option for complex designs to export my unrouted board to Specctra, which is a great autoroute tool, route in it and import back the SES file into Diptrace for fine tuning. This is one of the great features of Diptrace I really missed in Eagle.
There are, however, a few things which I wish could be improved.
- First is to improve the 3D viewer section. The graphics rendering should be improved to make it look more closer to the real PCB.
- Diptrace currently does not support built-in 3D object creation, which I think, can be a big bonus.
- The third and last is the back annotation. There come times when we need to design the layout first and schematic later. In this case Diptrace is not going to help you much.
All in all, Diptrace is a very good tool for beginners as well as experienced engineers. It saves times, makes PCB design an enjoyable experience and does the job which you expect from a professional designer.