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Best visualization tool for PCB design.

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Full Member level 2
Feb 14, 2008
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Hi !

I have moderate size schematic assembled in Proteus ISIS 7.7. ~50+ components some smaller ICs and one 40 pin MCU + 16x2 char LCD + USB.

Is to build a prototype PCB. First off prototype (DIY method). Then a print file for mass production.

Purpose of goal:
To test, analyse and debug system (device PCB).

First of all i like to use some visualisation tool likely 3D (like Eagle 3D or ARES all i know) to create a baseline of component placement and looks of PCB board to match casing.
What do you prefer to use? I like to hear your opinion.

I like to use as components on prototype as close as possible components to final design. Unfortunately i do not have much experience about this kind of process (PCB design for mass production). I want to order components that im not sure about like LCD and ports, choices from many sources.

What is your opinion or way to do thins kind of task?
To maximize "tru hole DIP or "surface mount" SOIC componets?
To use use COG LCD or BIG one?
How to manage POWER MOSFETs H-bidge with main control (+5V) part.
opinion and experience based issues that i have difficulty of solving.

I appreciate Your help and contribution to my problem.
Thank You in advance!
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About electric CAD for design, I suggest you to test Diptrace (DipTrace - Professional Schematic & PCB Design Software).
IMHO it is much better than many competitors, it offers very nice features and the latest release candidate has a good 3D visualisation system. Anyway, you can try it for free so you can check if it's ok for you.
As for your other questions, whenever possible try to use components of the same type - either al SMD or all thru hole. If you mix them, automatic mounting could cost you more.

I use the IDF interface, but as well as PCB software (Cadstar) I also have a full 3D system (solidworks).
one caveat with 3D visulation, it takes a lot of computing power to handle 3D effectively. Most PCB layout software will run reasonably well on low spec machines, once you start handlin 3D you need a well speced machine.

As for me DipTrace 3D works great

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