Learning Eagle

Well, after putting it off for months, I’m going to finally try and learn Eagle.

I just went through the Sparkfun tutorials on Eagle. Pretty cool. I wish Adobe or Apple could spend 6 months redoing the Eagle UI. Damn thing looks so Windows it makes me barf. Also, the usability is circa 1980. That said, what it does is awesome and the fact that there are free/low-cost versions is even better. Way to go Cadsoft!

A couple things I’ve learned through trial and error. Most of these will be obvious to anyone who has used it, but for a beginner it wasn’t so obvious. I’ll update this list as I learn more.

  • Traces cannot overlap with pins. When you draw traces, they should but to the pin.
  • Don’t close the layout window when in the schematic view. If you do, they get out of sync and you either have to get them in sync by hand or toss the schematic and create a new one (which is what I did).
  • “ERC” command is nice to show you obvious errors.
  • Deleting auto-route traces. Type “Ripup” in the command window. Left-click on the track or click “Go” to remove all the auto-routes.
  • Use the “Net” command and not “Wire” to draw connections. Net always puts the lines on the Nets layer, whereas Wire can put lines on any layer.
  • “DRC” Design Rule Check – checks for clearance and sizes of traces.
  • To rotate an object 45 degrees clockwise, type “rotate R-45.” To rotate 45 degrees counter-clockwise, type “rotate R45.”
  • Load in the Sparkfun.dru file. They have obviously made lots of boards, so their defaults for spaces etc.. should be fine for me :-)
  • To remove a package from a library, open the library by double-clicking on its name. Then type something like “remove qfn16.pac.”
  • To copy a package from a library, open up the library you want to copy from then go to the package in the other library and right-click “Add to Library.”
  • tCream is the top layer is for the stencil.
  • tPlace is the top silkscreen layer. Set this layer to pure white in the layout panel so you can see what will get printed easier.
  • tDocu in the layout is mainly to see the outlines of chips. Won’t get printed.
  • To make a ground plane, draw a polygon. Use the “Name” command to name it GND. Click the ratsnest button to see it.

More to come as I learn more….

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