Welcome to the Guided Tour through the EAGLE Layout Editor!
This tour will take you through all the major steps from drawing a schematic over routing the board to finally generating your CAM data – and beyond!
Drawing the schematic
The basic steps in drawing a schematic with EAGLE are:
- Place the part symbols
- Draw buses
- Draw the nets
- Move and edit
Checking the schematic
After you have drawn your schematic you should perform an Electrical Rule Check (ERC). The ERC points out errors like
- Open input pins
- Nets without pins
- Conflicting outputs
Creating the board
Creating the board from a schematic is one of the easiest tasks with EAGLE.
The Board command creates a new window with all the parts arranged next to a default board outline.
All the nets from the schematic are shown as airwires.
Placing the parts
The Move command allows you to pick up each part and move it to its desired position. You can also move entire groups of parts.
The right mouse button rotates the current part or group.
The Ratsnest command recalculates the airwires.
Routing the signals
Manual routing is done with the Route command.
You simply pick up an airwire, adjust the angle with the right mouse button, and select the layer with the center button.
Vias will be added automatically as needed.
You can also let the Autorouter do the routing. This will be shown later.
Editing the board
At any time you can
- Move, Rotate and Mirror objects
- Change parameters
- Split wires etc.
And you never have to worry about messing up things, because you have the most powerful Undo/Redo function at hand, which undoes 100% of every editing command (unlike other programs, which limit you to the last delete command or so).
EAGLE comes with an optional ripup&retry Autorouter, which is user configurable through cost factors.
It can route conventional as well as SMD layouts on up to 16 layers and is fully integrated into the layout editor.
Checking the board
The Design Rule Check (DRC) points out errors like
- Minimum distance violations
- Drill Size Violations
- Minimum width violations
Errors are displayed graphically and can be easily accessed through the Error command’s popup list.
Fine tuning the project
Designing a PCB is never a true straight forward job.
For example, you might want to add an additional capacitor to your board. With EAGLE’s online Forward- and Backannotation you can simply select the schematic window, add the capacitor and connect it. Simultaneously you can see the part and signals being added to the board window.
And it is just as easy to swap pins and gates, change names or draw additional connections. And as always, any editing function you use can be 100% undone thanks to EAGLE’s outstanding Undo/Redo function.
Creating copper areas is done with the Polygon command. It allows you to draw the outlines of an area and assign it to a specific signal. The Ratsnest command then calculates the exact shape of the copper area.
Unlike other programs, which implement copper pouring by subtracting layers from each other, EAGLE actually calculates the entire shape of the area. It therefore can detect orphaned areas (which are not connected to the signal, like in the lower right corner of the example).
Producing CAM data
The CAM Processor allows you to create the data you need to manufacture your PCB. It can produce data for drill stations, photoplotters, Postscript machines and pen plotters.
You can easily adapt the CAM Processor to your specific output device, because all devices are defined in a user editable device definitions file.
The EAGLE User Language gives you full access to the internal data structures. With its C-like language you can write your own programs that access your design files and create virtually any output you might need.
Whether you want to create a simple customized part list or go all the way to connecting a specific simulation program – EAGLE’s User Language has the potential to do it!
Defining library parts
Although EAGLE comes with a full set of part libraries, sooner or later you will have to define your own library parts.
With the fully integrated part editor this is an easy task, you simply
- draw the symbols
- draw the package
- put it all together in a device
Well, we hope you enjoyed this brief tour through the major features of EAGLE.
Now that you’ve seen how easy it can be to design your PCBs with EAGLE, wouldn’t you like to check out this program a little more?
Take a look at our fully functional* Freeware version, or contact your local dealer to order EAGLE right away with a 30 day money-back guarantee**.
* Some limitations regarding the board size, number of layers and number of schematic sheets apply.
** Only available in the USA and Canada.