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VeeCAD first impressions (Read 11100 times)
Anding
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VeeCAD first impressions
May 8th, 2007 at 12:59pm
 
Hello, I am a new user of VeeCAD.  What a cool piece of software this is!  Roger, I am really impressed with the thoughtfulness of how everything works  Smiley

Just for fun, some ideas came to mind as I worked through the tutorials....

Resistor colour coding.  The commercial version operates in colour, how about displaying the resistors with their actual colour bands?  For workability, we could assume everything with an R designator is a resistor, and have the tolerance the same for all the resistors in the same project, say 10% as the default.   Would be really neat and helpful when printed out on paper for constructing!  Grin

Online circuit design exchange.  Users can upload their own circuits as VeeCAD projects and Roger might even put up some fun ones like FM radio transmitter, etc.  Free browsing and download, with credit to original designers.  See if some magazine article authors who advocate stripboard in their designs would make a VeeCAD project for it, upload to the database, and refer to it in print.  Overall plan would be to build a community, drive website traffic (and sales!), and convert free version users to commercial version users, since the uploaded circuits would look much better in colour!  Wink

Add-on pack of component outline libraries.  Granted it's so easy and fun to make your own, but I'll bet many commercial verson users would pay another $10 for a library of the 200-300 most common outlines all ready and waiting  Smiley

3D rendering.  Ok this one is just suggested as a programming challenge to Roger!!!  How about rendering an image of the finished stripboard design in 3D?  The educational version of Multisim does this for breadboard and it's pretty cool.  It would need some 3D outlines of the most common components made with Maya or the like.  Rendering code is not so tedious these days with packages like Blitz3D (http://www.blitzbasic.com/Products/_index_.php) or Microsoft XNA (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/directx/aa937791.aspx) ;   Cheesy

All the best,

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Roger Lascelles
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Re: VeeCAD first impressions
Reply #1 - May 9th, 2007 at 11:59am
 
Thank you so much for the encouragement.  And the fresh ideas which are completely new to me.  What a great product manager you'd make, with all that energy and creativity!  VeeCAD would be truly beautiful.

Since VeeCAD only makes pocket money, I don't have time to build in every idea.  All the same, I do want my users to make suggestions, because some are so worthwhile or easy to build, that I can put them in.

It can be months or years before some ideas get implemented.  Sometimes a restructuring suddenly permits a number of new features.  All suggestions are kept in a list and reviewed periodically.  So your ideas and request do make a difference.

I could make a new forum where you can post circuits and layouts - would that help?  What do others think?  I don't have time to prepare project info myself.

Roger
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Anding
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Re: VeeCAD first impressions
Reply #2 - May 9th, 2007 at 2:48pm
 
Hi Roger,

Thanks!  I never thought of being a product manager...  but I would certainly enjoy it  Wink

Today I built my first project circuit in VeeCAD.  I'm trilled with it - your NET ERRORS button really makes it easy to get the circuit on the board with confidence.  Smiley

Of course I realize that the new feature wish list is just that.  My suggestions were (are) purely in the spirit of wanting to contribute to this great software, and I quite understand that many will never make it due to constraints of time and choice.

But anyway, here is four more born of my experience in laying out my first circuit today!

1.  CRTL-CLICK to select text.  It's awfully easy to pick up the text label instead of the component, yet I like to leave the text switched on to see what component is what.  How about in select mode, a straight mouse click _always_ picks up the component as a whole, but CTRL-CLICK picks up just the text?

2.  Leaded components polarity toggle.   In outline mode it would be nice to be able to switch whether the little bar is shown near pin 1 or 2.  When I export my diodes from EW9, for some reason they show up on VeeCAD with the little bar at the opposite end.  Anyway, a toggle would be nice to correct that or just as preference with odd/speciality 2 pin components

3.  Arrow keys to move selected components.  Would be great to just press the arrow keys to shift the selected components one hole at a time (very sure feeling compared to mouse dragging: one press, one hole)

4.  Colour code component types in commercial version.  To clarify the layout, how about the option to be able to have different colours for different componet types.  Effecitively we already have this for wire links compared with everything else.  The next logical step might be a separate colour for breaks (they are on the other side, after all!), and maybe then other compenent types (R, C, U, etc.) in different colours?

Hope some of the above may be of interest, but quite understand if not!

All the best,

Andrew
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jakobkapelj
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Re: VeeCAD first impressions
Reply #3 - Oct 7th, 2007 at 10:21pm
 
I have just used VeeCAd for the first time myself for two different projects.  I'm glad I found this tool, project would have been a nightmare laying out from scratch without cad.  Very impressed, nice simple interface, easy to use, and easy to sketch component outlines. 

I did notice too that the diode's were pointing in the wrong direction, I imported netlist from Altium Designer DXP 2004.

One design idea that I would like to suggest is in the manipulation of resistors and capacitors:

It is incredibly handy to be able to dynamically change the lead lengths of resistors, however it would be fantastic if you could place resistors diagonally.  Maybe by holding the ALT key, instead of the lead snapping to nearest horizontal/vertical hole inline with axis of part, the lead could snap to the nearest hole, letting the resitor be say, 3 across, 1 up. etc.   

That would also be very handy with capacitors to, as I usually use a side by side power rail, and place caps with 200 thou between leads across supply rail, in a 2 across, 1 up placing.  I have just made a custom footprint for it, however it would be handy to maintain the radial outlines you have for capacitors. 

Great Program!!!

Jakob.
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Roger Lascelles
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Re: VeeCAD first impressions
Reply #4 - Oct 10th, 2007 at 5:02am
 
Jakob - welcome the forum

The leaded (diode and resistor) parts mark the pin 1 end.  To mark the cathode, set the cathode as pin 1 on the schematic.  Simple - or crude, depending on your point of view!  Radial outlines also mark pin 1.  Should I add an option for leaded and radial parts to select No mark/Pin1 mark/Pin2 mark?  Its another setting to confuse the user.  I suppose I should add it.

A heavy duty stripboard program should be able to handle angled parts, but V2 series VeeCAD code  can't be adapted for it.  Personally, I don't miss angled parts, and I like the challenge of making a compact layout through discovering efficient placements.  Swapping a few parts can save space.  However, when you're forced to it, angled parts can squeeze in a tighter layout.

We really need a freeform component editor for drawing any part shapes.
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