New Site for Sharing EAGLE Libraries -- Need your input!

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Over the past month, a small group of open-source hardware folks have started building a web site to help the community search, share, and manage all of our EAGLE parts libraries. We've been motivated by the fact that it's difficult to find libraries that contain parts we'd like to use, and even if you do find a library, there's no way to know whether the part is correct without wasting a lot of time examining and verifying it yourself.

SparkFun has done an amazing job sharing their own in-house library, but we think there's a lot more that can be done to increase the quality of library sharing and reduce the amount of duplicated effort in the community.

In short, we want to make it easier for everyone to be building awesome designs without wasting time in the minutia of drawing up every part from scratch.

With this goal in mind, we'd like to hear from you, the community, to find out what sorts of features you'd like to see (and if you're interested at all).

So we've put together a short survey:
http://bit.ly/libdepotsurvey

Here's the current overall idea of the site:

  • Users upload EAGLE parts libraries they would like to share.
  • Users can search for parts and add them to their own "collection"
  • The site builds a custom library from your collection for you to download and use
  • You can keep your collection updated easily through GitHub
  • Each part will have a web page where users can provide feedback about that particular part from the library. Commenting and rating the quality and correctness of the library part, whether they've used it in a working design, etc.
  • Library providers can also keep their parts updated/bug fixed through GitHub (like SparkFun currently does)
Further down the line, we will probably tackle the sharing of DRC and CAM files (with specs for various fab houses and processes).

The site itself is:
http://www.libdepot.com
Right now we're just serving a landing page where you can put yourself on the mailing list. We're still working on the mechanics of the site, but we'll be launching in June.

What do you think?
Would you use a site like this?
Would it be beneficial to the community?

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Quote:
What do you think?
Great idea!
Quote:
Would it be beneficial to the community?
It will absolutely be a great help to the EAGLE newbie and other hobbyists.
Quote:
Would you use a site like this?
No, probably not. I don't use Cadsofts site either.
The risk of a "bad" library is too great (mixed pins, bad footprint, incorrectly part naming e.t.c.). It has happened a few times, and having a board porked up because someone else can't draw shit, isn't much fun.
With experience, it takes little time to create your own part and you're then sure it's 100% correct (yes? ;-). This time is basically equivalent to the time it takes to properly check all details of a part from someone else.
Perhaps a field/checkbox indicating that the part has been proven to be correct in a product/prototype, would be a good thing.

/Jesper
http://www.yampp.com
The quick black AVR jumped over the lazy PIC.
What boots up, must come down.

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I think that I am with Jesper on this one. It sounds great. But, I rarely use use any of the standard parts for anything other common resistors, capacitors, and DIP logic.

For one thing, I hate the "recommended" pin layout of complex parts with power all on one side and I/O on the other. For micros, especially, which pin I use for what depends on where that pin is, physically, on the package. I want that, right up front on my schematic. So, I make my own, even if there is already something there.

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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Quote:
I want that, right up front on my schematic. So, I make my own,
I can move my pins to anywhere I want to make it easier to layout the diagram logically. So I can have a "standard" layout for a schematic part but each diagram can be different depending on the resources used.

But I don't use Eagle...Isn't this kind of thing a very basic function of a CAD package?

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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In Eagle, the pin locations are fixed once the part has been created.

One exception to this is often used with connectors and multi-gate logic. There, the practice is to use one gate or 1 connector pin per "gate" and add multiple gates. I find this even worse, because which gate I use for what purpose depends on where it is physically located in the package. Having free gates to move around, at will, give no guidance about what goes where to optimize the layout.

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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While it sounds like a good idea, I kinda have to agree with Jesper and Jim.

In the time it takes to confirm the pinouts are correct by having to look it up to begin with where is the time savings?

Although I am not an Eagle user, I can see similarities in the trepidations I would have getting a decal from an open source library for what I use.

With regard to part creation, I keep a generic parts library of the various pin densities for DIP, TQFP etc, and when I have to create a new part, I call up the generic pinout, add the pins and properties and SAVE AS. does not take that much time, and if it is wrong I know who to flog

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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I'd like to jump back in, here, because the OP may find these comments to be quite negative. I hope that you understand who they are coming from. All who have posted, so far, are active circuit design engineers. Our standards for what is OK and what is not are probably not the same as hobby or occasional users.

Thus,. while we may find the proposed site not so useful, other users may find it the best thing since sliced bread. Its all in your perspective.Personally, if I did not have the skill or confidence to do it myself, I'd probably be absolutely delighted.

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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+1

I did not take Jim W's perspective, and he is 100% correct. When I got started I relied on others generosity with cad decals and such since we did not have the internet back in the days of cassettes.

So, with that being said here might be a more constructive idea. Why just Eagle? Why not make the site multi platform instead? An area for Eagle, and Area for PADS, areas for the freeware packages like EasyPCB or ExpressPCB etc.

Now THAT would bring together a huge community(and attract advertising revenue as well ;) )

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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I think it would be useful for someone who doesn't use Eagle a lot. I find, if I haven't been using it for awhile (a couple of weeks even), the user interface learning curve in general, and in particular, for creating/modifying parts is daunting. I get all kinds of messages telling me why I can't make some change because some part I'm not even using has one of its pins in use in some other universe or something. It's a pain in the butt getting back up to speed on all the silly gotchas.

In such a case it would take me much less time to verify an existing part's pinout than it would to build my own.

Greg

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I think it's interesting because I hate searching or building package layouts. Something of the shelf would be really nice, at least when it's reliable.

I always build or at least check the part myself. And yes we use Eagle professionally. It's easy to use and cheap. Not every electronics company needs ultra complex boards with 10.000 layers and and a million components with micrometer pins.

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ka7ehk wrote:
I'd like to jump back in, here, because the OP may find these comments to be quite negative. I hope that you understand who they are coming from.

Don't worry, Jim. We remain undaunted. ;-)

jesper wrote:
The risk of a "bad" library is too great (mixed pins, bad footprint, incorrectly part naming e.t.c.).

You hit the nail on the head, Jesper. That's really our #1 motivation for building the site. #2 is probably increasing and encouraging sharing, but without confidence in the quality and correctness of shared parts, it doesn't matter how many libraries people are posting... it's all worthless.

You mention that you can't afford the risk; I would even argue that it may be a bigger risk to the hobbyists and those just starting out in this field. They may not have the skills to easily verify a part and then they may spend enormous amounts of time in frustrating debugging when they can't immediately recognize where the problem is in the prototype system. And then they get to come bug you on the forum with their confusing and misguided questions. ;-)

My point being, while a part mistake may be an annoyance or a money loss to you or me, it may discourage a beginner from even continuing to learn about PCB design.

We're working on trying to figure out exactly what you mentioned: providing verification. It's a bit of a challenge. If one user checks a box and says "Yes, this part is verified in a working design," how do we know that's really the case? Does it require multiple votes? Maybe a reputation system? A picture of a physical PCB with the chip sitting on it?

We're not completely sure what the answer is, but we are sure there is an answer. And that's part of why we're starting this conversation... maybe some of you have suggestions?

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I have a vague recollection that when element14 took over Cadsoft that they said that they (Si) would be creating Eagle libraries for all of the parts that Si sold. Or was I just dreaming?

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Eagle not.
Diptrace yep.

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I think a searchable, shared, managed, and rated EAGLE parts library is a great idea. Unlike most of the folks who seem to have posted so far, I'm just a hobbyist with this stuff. So far, I've only had 2 PCB designs made by a professional fab house, both from my designs using CadSoft EAGLE. I took my parts from the CadSoft, Atmel, and SparkFun libraries. As mentioned in my 'Silkscreen Over Pads' thread, I've also learned to edit parts in EAGLE, but I'm still a rank amateur in overall EAGLE use. But I'd love to see more parts/libraries available, especially if they have some authenticated rating method as you suggest.

Wondering aloud here.... I generally know who I trust on the AVRFreaks forums and can always browse previous posts of unknown users to rank them on the "blathering idiot ... genius" spectrum. This makes me think that it would be nice to have some way (like a sticky thread on AVRFreaks?) to associate a poster on AVRFreaks with their login (assuming one would have to log in to comment/rate parts) on your parts library site. The idea is that I can "transfer the trust", so that I know that if/when a respected poster on AVRFreaks says that they've successfully used revision-controlled version x.y of your library's part template, I can pretty confidently use (that revision of) that part without excessive risk. Other forums (non-Atmel MCUs, etc) could have a similar "trust transfer" thread/mechanism. IMHO, that would leverage the power of AVRFreaks and other forums to everyone's advantage.

As limited as it might be, I'd happily contribute feedback on parts libraries with my own information (success/failure, comments, suggestions, etc).

Frankly, given the popularity of EAGLE and its cross-platform support, I'm surprised that more manufacturers don't make EAGLE templates for their parts readily available.

Glad to hear what you guys are considering, 'Pulsar27'. Thank you for your efforts in this direction! I really hope it comes to fruition.

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valusoft wrote:
I have a vague recollection that when element14 took over Cadsoft that they said that they (Si) would be creating Eagle libraries for all of the parts that Si sold. Or was I just dreaming?

I don't think I've seen a direct mention of that plan, but Premier Farnell (the parent company of element14) did make a lot of talk about supporting the community. To be fair, they have done some things, the biggest of which is changing the file format of EAGLE to XML so that third-party tools (like us) can work with their files. But very little else has changed. They added a button to Eagle to link into their parts system and added Farnell part numbers as an attribute for many parts, but it's more of a marketing/sales move than anything else.

I haven't seen them make any significant move to improve the overall state of the built-in libraries or encourage sharing.

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Must have been just another manifestation of my CRAFT disease ...

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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The reason most people have difficulty with EAGLE is that, let's face it, it's an antiquated weirdo user interface completely integrated in a weird way onto itself. It's not Windows. It's not Mac. It's not UNIX. It's more like AutoCAD on crack mixed with the original DOOM level editor.

The idea of a big parts deposit is great, but like others above, why limit yourself to EAGLE? All you really need is enough community MVP's for this or that software that can privately review uploads before they are allowed to be downloaded at large.

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hugoboss wrote:
It's more like AutoCAD on crack mixed with the original DOOM level editor.

Haha, yes, that is a pretty fair assessment of EAGLE's user interface design.

For better or for worse though, it's currently the most widely used among hobbyists and the Maker community. Despite its learning curve, it's what open source hardware people are working with to share designs. And that's the community we're targeting. The goal is to help those who can benefit the most.

If you're already using Allegro, Altium, PADS, etc. you don't have nearly as much of a need for this sort of sharing.

hugoboss wrote:
The idea of a big parts deposit is great, but like others above, why limit yourself to EAGLE?

Simple answer: we're not.

No one is saying it's going to be "limited" to EAGLE, but we have to start somewhere, and that's where we've decided is the most useful to start. Once we've got that down though, we're certainly interested in adding other formats (especially open source ones like KiCAD).

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hugoboss wrote:
The reason most people have difficulty with EAGLE is that, let's face it, it's an antiquated weirdo user interface completely integrated in a weird way onto itself. It's not Windows. It's not Mac. It's not UNIX. It's more like AutoCAD on crack mixed with the original DOOM level editor.
I'm really not trying to start a flame war, but . . .

There are often different ways of doing things in EAGLE. Some Windows-like and some definitely non-Windows. For example, to select an area, you can make a series of left clicks (non-Windows) OR you can click-drag-release (Windows).

The EAGLE implementation of cut and paste use to drive me crazy. Every time I used it, I'd forget how it worked. This has been fixed in EAGLE 6.0.

Copy works with a single entry or combined with CTRL works with a "group". Yeah, definitely non-Windows.

Yeah, EAGLE's still not perfect but it gotten much better. Yes, there's a learning curve, but, there's a good tutorial. In my opinion, the redeeming qualities far outweigh the any remaining user interface shortcomings.

Don

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Anything that promotes the continued use of eagle should burn in hell.

Can someone please make a converter for footprints from eagle to anything else?

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@toalan: you have not been looking hard enough. It is easy to export from eagle and there are scripts for many formats.

I would use such service only if it is integrated in Eagle. Online component selector should be a part of the "add component" dialog. Otherwise, it's still a great idea, but the trouble of downloading something and adding the library is just nnnnngh! it's too much to handle when you're itching to do your design. Oh well, I would use it anyway I guess.

The Dark Boxes are coming.

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toalan wrote:
Anything that promotes the continued use of eagle should burn in hell.

Can someone please make a converter for footprints from eagle to anything else?

Why? Up till now I haven't seen a PCB program with the facilities of Eagle and it's price.

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Quote:
Why? Up till now I haven't seen a PCB program with the facilities of Eagle and it's price.

Haters gonna hate. Most people who badmouth Eagle didn't really bother to learn the basics. On a second thought, I would really love to see something fresh. I watched detailed reviews of DipTrace and no thanks, not even if the free version was free-er. I honestly tried to use KiCad, but no thanks. gEDA/PCB, as ugly and scary as it is, is actually not that bad but it's hardly useful for anything more complex than a blinkenled/arduino project, even though there are internet heroes who do pretty large designs with this package.

The Dark Boxes are coming.

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svofski wrote:
Quote:
Why? Up till now I haven't seen a PCB program with the facilities of Eagle and it's price.

Haters gonna hate. Most people who badmouth Eagle didn't really bother to learn the basics. On a second thought, I would really love to see something fresh. I watched detailed reviews of DipTrace and no thanks, not even if the free version was free-er. I honestly tried to use KiCad, but no thanks. gEDA/PCB, as ugly and scary as it is, is actually not that bad but it's hardly useful for anything more complex than a blinkenled/arduino project, even though there are internet heroes who do pretty large designs with this package.

This is a list of my gripes:

-Before 5.5, eagle would crash on a regular basis. After 5.5, it hardly ever crashes.
-A 2 layer board, with about 100 components, about 10x5 cm will bring the zooming and panning function to it's knees.
-No persistent DRC. My routine is; layout a track, hit save (used to doing that since older versions used to crash alot) then run DRC. I get around that by playing with the stop mask value so to give me visual cues as to spacing.
-Copy and paste, I heard it is cured now. But that issue has been ongoing since forever and only now they get around to fixing it.

These PCB program makers should all get together and make a unified standard for footprints. It should be upto the component makers to issue out footprints for their chips and us end users should be able to download their footprints and use them in any pcb package we want without any effort. Component makers can put in extra info for each pin, such as alternate pin functions, warning about decoupling caps, maybe right click on the pin and it brings up the PDF manual of the chip with the appropriate section already highlighted.

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I do not disagree with your gripes, except maybe for crashing — it crashed maybe once in 6 years that I'm using it. Eagle feels really antique. I can't complain about the speed, but it's the artisan grade layout tools, DRC included, they feel old. But still, my only real gripe is the 0805 resistor footprint in the standard library. I really want to do some very bad unnatural things to whoever made it and to all those people who insist on keeping it there for all these years despite all of the complaints from the users.

The Dark Boxes are coming.

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Also

For through hole ICs there are generic DIP footprints in the stock library, but for SMD chips there is no generic footprint in the stock library. Sometimes I just want to do a very quick layout and see if the stuff works before making my own footprints.

Is there a command to bind the layer view, for instance
I typically want 3 or 4 views to quickly switch between:

-top+bottom+dimensions+stop+tnames+unrouted
-just unrouted
-top+bottom
-just top
-just bottom

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I really have only one gripe with Eagle. Its the order of the actions. Tell it to copy, then select the thing to be copied. Modern GUI (driven by Apple and M$ and Linux mavens), you select the item, then specify the action.

I use the Mac version and I cannot say that it has crashed once in 5 years.

Don't know what toalan means by DRC not being "persistent. I can set up criteria, including trace spacing, minimum hole sizes, and such, and it remembers all that just fine through the life of the project.

Yes, the GUI is antiquated. On, the other hand, it works. I would rather spend my time laying out a board than struggling with a new GUI.

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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ka7ehk wrote:
Don't know what toalan means by DRC not being "persistent. I can set up criteria, including trace spacing, minimum hole sizes, and such, and it remembers all that just fine through the life of the project.

Modern PCB layout software has dynamic DRC checking, it normally would not let you pass a trace where DRC does not allow. Eagle lets you paint all you want but then you're presented with a ton of errors.

The Dark Boxes are coming.

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I'm very interested in better layout software at the same price of Eagle. Any suggestions? I worked with a very good layout software but it has 1 downturn: a zero too much in the price.

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Here's a couple of lists of useful and not so much PCB design software.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Com...
http://www.olimex.com/pcb/dtools...

I'm rather curious about
http://www.suigyodo.com/online/e...
It's free and open source and screenshots look cool, but it appears to be windows-only and I have never heard of anyone using it. Not having anyone to ask questions to is sad.

The Dark Boxes are coming.