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Editable "subcircuits" or similar in Eagle?? [message #169356] Sat, 11 February 2017 16:46 Go to next message
messages@element14.co
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Registered: March 2013
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Greetings Eagle experts.I've done a couple of boards in Eagle, but consider myself a novice. I do have quite a lot of experience in EDA (full custom asic) and there are some things that I feel *should* be possible in the world of PCB design, but seem difficult/impossible with Eagle. Perhaps eagle isn't the best tool for the job? I have a multichannel driver design that has a repeated output stage (repeated 32 times). Obviously I'd like to design it once and step-and-repeat it. That alone seems clumsy, at best.  What I would really like is to have that block as some kind of "subcircuit" so that if I tweak a component value, say, or alter the layout in one block, it automatically propagates through the other copies. The intent would be to wire the subcircuits together at some other level in a hierarchy. This seems obvious and very desirable (to me). Is such a thing possible? Is it possible in other PCB tools? I do this type of hierarchical design/layout in IC design all the time so it seems likely it's common in PCB design too... Am I just being dense?Doug
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Original article at https://www.element14.com/community/message/215706?tstart=0#215706
Re: Editable "subcircuits" or similar in Eagle?? [message #169357 is a reply to message #169356] Sun, 12 February 2017 02:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
messages@element14.co
Messages: 525
Registered: March 2013
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Hi Doug, Welcome to Element14! What you are wanting to do sounds completely sensible to me, it's how I would try and do things like that. In EAGLE you can do what you want to an extent but not completely. For example, you can use modules in the schematic so you can define a module once and instantiate a number of copies of each module in the schematic and they'll appear in your board. They'll have unique reference designators but not in the way you may like. Basically you get the refs as defined in the module with a prefix for each module instance. But in the layout each module instance needs to be individually placed and routed still. In V8 they now have a new design blocks feature which may help with this but I am not 100% sure as I haven't used it yet. I think it'll get there, they're going in the right direction at least, they need more work on their hierarchical design implementation still though I think, especially in the board. Best Regards, Rachael
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Original article at https://www.element14.com/community/message/215709?tstart=0#215709
Re: Editable "subcircuits" or similar in Eagle?? [message #169358 is a reply to message #169356] Sun, 12 February 2017 02:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
messages@element14.co
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Hi Rachel, Thanks for the reply. I'm glad to see I'm not I'm not entirely losing my mind, but I'm very disappointed that this can't be done. For me, it just seems insane to replicate layout work again and again, and then to have to try to make sure changes are made properly to each instance. In particular, I'm thinking of the layout. The schematic is easier to slap together, but layout changes are tedious. Maybe PCB design doesn't call for this sort of thing terribly often, but it is something I would really like...   Do you know if any other PCB design tools have this capability? I'd rather spend the money now to get something more capable and avoid the re-learning process.Cheers!Doug
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Original article at https://www.element14.com/community/message/215710?tstart=0#215710
Re: Editable "subcircuits" or similar in Eagle?? [message #169359 is a reply to message #169356] Sun, 12 February 2017 02:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
messages@element14.co
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Hi Doug, PCB design does call for this and the exceedingly expensive really high end tools like Altium Designer and Mentor Graprice Expidition Suite probably do this exceeding well but you will be paying an awful lot of money for these tools and they are very complex to set up and use. I think the the new design blocks feature may do a lot of what you want in Eagle so I don't think it should be out of the running. It's a brand new feature in v8 and I haven't had time to try it yet so can't give a difinitive answer. Autodesk are investing heavily into adding new features rapidly so I suspect it will be getting a lot of new functionality in the coming months so it's probably a reasonable choice if you are ok with the subscription model for licensing.  Best regards, Rachael
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Original article at https://www.element14.com/community/message/215692?tstart=0#215692
Re: Editable "subcircuits" or similar in Eagle?? [message #169360 is a reply to message #169356] Sun, 12 February 2017 03:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
messages@element14.co
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Hmm, maybe I should look at version 8 in due course.  I'm not sure about the subscription model. It will depend on how much, of course, but I'm also a bit cautious of investing a lot of time in a tool in the hope it gets better... Right now, I can't justify a $25/year seat, or whatever the serious tools cost. It seems there should be a middle ground where the tool is stable and fully capable, but maybe doesn't have all the fanciest auto-optimizations etc. I don't think Eagle's at that level... I think I might spend some time poking around with KiCad to see how I like it. I don't think it can do what I want either, but I'm curious to see how it compares with Eagle. Doug
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Original article at https://www.element14.com/community/message/215727?tstart=0#215727
Re: Editable "subcircuits" or similar in Eagle?? [message #169365 is a reply to message #169356] Sun, 12 February 2017 11:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
messages@element14.co
Messages: 525
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Doug McKnight wrote: Hmm, maybe I should look at version 8 in due course. I'm not sure about the subscription model. It will depend on how much, of course, but I'm also a bit cautious of investing a lot of time in a tool in the hope it gets better...I think it's worth looking at the freeware version of v8.0.1 which has just been released. Have a look at the design blocks feature and see if it does what you want, I think it might but I'm not 100% sure how well it works yet. Doug McKnight wrote: Right now, I can't justify a $25/year seat, or whatever the serious tools cost.Altium Designer, Mentors Expedition and Cadence Allegro all cost in the order of £10K or more initially and then several thousand more annually for ongoing support and software updates. The high end tools are exceedingly expensive and are usually only affordable by bigger corporations. Doug McKnight wrote: It seems there should be a middle ground where the tool is stable and fully capable, but maybe doesn't have all the fanciest auto-optimizations etc. I don't think Eagle's at that level...I think this is where Autodesk are trying to get with Eagle. I've done quite a lot of boards in Eagle now but have also used the Mentor Graphics tools and from an ease of use point of view for me Eagle wins hands down. Where it currently lacks are features like push and shove routing (I believe this is on its way), and routing high speed busses like DDR3 you don't get the same features to support you and make it easy, etc but generally you can do almost anything in Eagle that you can do in the higher end tools. I do believe Eagle will get a lot of additional functionality fairly fast now, we'll have to see how well the new features perform but the support team are always listening to feedback and they now have the support of a large development team behind them so they can listen to feedback and get it incorporated more quickly than previously. Doug McKnight wrote: I think I might spend some time poking around with KiCad to see how I like it. I don't think it can do what I want either, but I'm curious to see how it compares with Eagle.DougWell you need to evaluate all the tools to see which is best for you. KiCad may or may not do what you need but from what I have read it is getting better with all the investment from CERN and it is free so it's worth a look but back to your very first point: Doug McKnight wrote: but I'm also a bit cautious of investing a lot of time in a tool in the hope it gets better... And that's exactly what you'll be doing with KiCad too I think. Best Regards, Rachael
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Original article at https://www.element14.com/community/message/215730?tstart=0#215730
Re: Editable "subcircuits" or similar in Eagle?? [message #169369 is a reply to message #169356] Sun, 12 February 2017 13:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
messages@element14.co
Messages: 525
Registered: March 2013
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rachaelp wrote: Doug McKnight wrote: Hmm, maybe I should look at version 8 in due course. I'm not sure about the subscription model. It will depend on how much, of course, but I'm also a bit cautious of investing a lot of time in a tool in the hope it gets better...I think it's worth looking at the freeware version of v8.0.1 which has just been released. Have a look at the design blocks feature and see if it does what you want, I think it might but I'm not 100% sure how well it works yet.Ok so I have just had a look and the design blocks feature basically uses pre-saved schematic / board files which then get imported into the current schematic, adding new sheets for each copy of the block and inserting a copy of the layout into the board. So, if you wanted to tweak the block you'd need to remove and re-import the block for the design(s) you were using it in, it's not going to allow you to update one copy and all the rest automatically update unfortunately. Best Regards,Rachael
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Original article at https://www.element14.com/community/message/215733?tstart=0#215733
Re: Editable "subcircuits" or similar in Eagle?? [message #169374 is a reply to message #169356] Sun, 12 February 2017 19:19 Go to previous message
messages@element14.co
Messages: 525
Registered: March 2013
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Hi Rachel,Yes, it seems like Eagle is maybe heading in (what I think is) the right direction. I will remain interested. However, it seems that it can't do real hierarchical design and the modules may just be an aid to "cut and paste" style of reuse(??).I'm not sure I'll bother with the free version for now. It only does 2 sheets, which doesn't really allow for testing these features. The cheap version is limited to a smallish board but might be worth playing with to see how things work. I did play around with KiCad last night. I haven't delved into the board layout yet, but the schematic editor does seem to handle proper hierarchical design. I pretty quickly got my design done with a three level hierarchy. Even if the board layout is clunky cut-and-paste, at least the schematic editor seems to do things they way I consider right. Doug
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Original article at https://www.element14.com/community/message/215786?tstart=0#215786
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