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What is KiCAD?

KiCAD is a Cross-Platform and Open Source Electronics Design Automation Suite. It includes a schematic editor for creating and editing schematic designs, a PCB Editor for making professional PCB layouts with up to 32 copper layers, and a 3D viewer which can be used to inspect the design in a 3D form. Unlike Eagle, KiCAD is entirely free, and no paywall is needed to use some of its features.

What is ORCAD?

ORCAD is the EDA software developed by ORCAD in the late 1980s. It is as old as protel,but it is worse even than Protel. However, ORCAD’s principle enjoys great fame in the industry since its friendly user face, simply operation fuction, and strong function of simulation. Based on the input of the schematic diagram, a powerful component information system is added, which can be used to create, track and authenticate components, which is convenient for the reuse of the optimized library and the existing component library. Comparing to DX designer, I vote for Orcad. But DX designer has a better management function, better-integrated environment.

What is PCB Artist?

Advanced Circuits is the leading PCB manufacturer with the industry’s largest active customer database and best on-time shipping record. Their PCB Artist is a reliable software tool for electronics engineers looking for an intuitive, easy to use solution. Electronics engineers also choose PCB Artist because it helps save time and money.

Key Features:

  • Components Library of more than 500,000 parts
  • Free Gerber format files
  • Integrated schematics
  • Parts list reports in CSV
  • Design rule check error report and between selected items

What is DipTrace?

DipTrace is one of the most affordable and simple programs available, ideal for hobbyists but less suitable for professionals or complex schematics.

If you’re looking for something basic to get a 2-4 layer board made and some thru-hole or bulky surface mount components or are just starting out, DipTrace is a good start. It’s very intuitive with a low learning curve, but is limited in ability.

DipTrace features include:

  • Schematic capture with components linked to a library, an electrical rule check, and some importing/exporting functionality to trade files between other CAD programs.
  • PCB layout with a project menu linking the library, schematic, PCB, and a pattern editor, drag ‘n’ drop placement, fanout for BGAs and such, and an auto-router that works fairly well. It also has some 3D features if you decide to use STEP files.
  • A decent library editor that allows creation of patterns, schematic components, PCB footprints, and even 3D models.
  • Good support and tutorials available. It’s popular enough that if you have a question, chances are someone else had the same question and it can be looked up in an online forum.

What is PartSim?

PartSim is a free and easy to use circuit simulator that includes a full SPICE simulation engine, web-based schematic capture tool, a graphical waveform viewer, and Digi-Key that runs in your web browser. PartSim consists of an integrated Bill-Of-Materials manager that lets you assign Digi-Key Part Numbers to your models.


  • SPICE Simulator
  • AC/DC/Transient Sims
  • Waveform Viewer

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