Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

Ben Delarre shared his story with Make about the origins and future of Circuitbee, a service that allows you to embed schematics on websites.

Have you ever designed an electronic schematic then wanted to share it on your blog? Or wanted help improving your circuit on a forum? Ever peered at a tiny/massive image of a circuit on a website and wondered why on earth there wasn’t a better alternative?

We have. Back in 2010 we were working on our first major electronics project, the Illuminatrix, an array of 256 RGB LEDs that were to show animations created by people all over the world at the Burning Man festival. It involved using a lot of technology we’d never used before, so we weren’t quite sure about our circuit designs.

We tried posting on blogs and forums trying to explain our schematic and the problems we were having with it. This proved more difficult than we expected: describing a circuit in words is really hard, so we tried to post an image of our schematic instead, and our schematic project files.

This involved a lot of messing around with capturing JPEGs of the schematic and uploading all the project’s symbol libraries and schematic files. But of course people willing to help didn’t necessarily have the right software, or the JPEG was too small to read usefully, or too large to post on many of the forums. We thought that there must be a better way to share schematics, to discuss them, and to show them to people while writing about them. It turned out there wasn’t anything out there that would help us do this, so being the ambitious fools that we are we set out to create it.

CircuitBee is like YouTube for your circuit schematics. You upload your Eagle or KiCAD schematics, we crunch the numbers and create an online embeddable version of your schematic. You can pan and zoom, and mouse over components in your circuits for more details .

We’re still at an early alpha stage right now, so you’ll have to forgive any hiccups we have going forward. But you can get started immediately by visiting Circuitbee and signing up for an account. Then simply upload your schematic files, any associated library files, and let our servers do the hard work. Within a few minutes your schematic should be ready to embed on your site or forum.

Eventually we plan to add lots more useful features like downloading original schematic files, searching for components within schematics and adding notes and annotations to your circuits. We want to make it easier for all of us to communicate our circuit design ideas and to help each other improve our designs.

We hope to make CircuitBee into the most useful service for hobby electronics enthusiasts, so we’re going to keep the service free for as long as we can. We’ll need your help to reach our goals though, so please let us know what you think of the site, what needs improving and what else we can do to make learning about electronics and sharing your designs easier than ever before.

Circuitbee

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.


Related

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    firefox (at least versions 6 and after) sure don’t like the javascript sent from http://c.circuitbee.com/  consistently got the full lock up with “script on this page maybe busy …not responding” error.   blocked just the circuitbee.com site from running javascript (makezine.com remains ok) and all is well  …[shrug]

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi, have to say we didn’t test this on FireFox 6+. We developed it on 4 and 5 though so we know it works there. Thanks for the feedback, we’ll look into this ASAP.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Hi again, we’ve just ran a test with the latest FireFox 6 beta and can’t find any problem with it. Do you perhaps have plugins installed that might be conflicting? Any more info you could give us would be appreciated. Thanks.

      1. Anonymous says:

        just the very popular flashblock and ad-block that are de-rigueur for sane browsing; other than that, it’s clean.  it also happens with an alpha 8 version of firefox; but then that’s pretty unstable anyway. good luck folks! (…javascript is ….messy)

  2. Nancy Loozi says:

    In light of the recent news on the damage hair extensions can cause, Salon Confidential have the answers: no more glue and no more damage. Salon Confidential have developed a unique range of synthetic hair extensions which excel in quality and choice and are ethically produced.

    Queen Latifah, winner of Grammy, Golden Globe and SAG awards, has partnered with leading retailer HSN for the exclusive launch of the Queen Collection, her first lifestyle brand.
    On August 27th, she will debut a unique fashion collection of apparel, handbags and outerwear, and will later introduce a clip in hair extensions line.     .

    Clip in hair extensions are a good way to give your current hairstyle a new lease of daily life. They can adjust the duration, Full head cheap hair extensions  add quantity and give you a totally distinct appear speedily and effortlessly.
     

  3. In my code says:

    Works very well for me, I’m on an Opera/Linux x86 setup =D

  4. An HTML IMG tag works even better to embed a schamatic in a web site because it’ll display on anything and requires no silly accounts.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Charles, for simple schematics thats definitely true. But if you have ever tried to work on a mid to large scale design you will find that a readable image of your schematic is far bigger than you would want to embed in your website. CircuitBee tries to solve this issue, where you need to be able to zoom in/out and pan around a design. We have lots more features to come yet which should also make this more useful.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Hi Charles, for simple schematics thats definitely true. But if you have ever tried to work on a mid to large scale design you will find that a readable image of your schematic is far bigger than you would want to embed in your website. CircuitBee tries to solve this issue, where you need to be able to zoom in/out and pan around a design. We have lots more features to come yet which should also make this more useful.

  5. John says:

    What problem does this solve, exactly?  If you’re using .JPG files to save schematics, that already suggests you haven’t thought things through very far.  There’s nothing wrong with plain old img src tags, but you need to take the time to create thumbnail links to the full-resolution image, and you need to use a lossless format like .PNG.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi John,

      CircuitBee isn’t about saving schematics long term but about sharing them. As you say you could create a full resoltuion PNG, and a small thumbnail, but then if users will find it harder to compare the text of your discussion with the image you have provided.

      Thumbnails of circuits are rarely readable, or even useful in any way at all other than to show the general complexity of a project. While full resolution images are also somewhat unusable since they only generally show in the browser at one zoom level, and the browser does not provide many useful tools for zooming in/out of the design, panning around it, or telling you what things are in the schematic.

      With CircuitBee we aim to make that part of sharing a schematic much easier – associating the discussion of how the schematic works and is designed, with the design itself. We plan to add search capability to the embed, allowing users to find specific components within a design so that when trying to read a discussion about a particular issue they can find that component easily. There are lots of other features we can add to the embedded schematics that will make discussing the work people have done a lot easier, as well as other features on the main site which should help us reach this goal.

      I hope that explains a little better what we’re aiming to achieve here.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Hi John,

      CircuitBee isn’t about saving schematics long term but about sharing them. As you say you could create a full resoltuion PNG, and a small thumbnail, but then if users will find it harder to compare the text of your discussion with the image you have provided.

      Thumbnails of circuits are rarely readable, or even useful in any way at all other than to show the general complexity of a project. While full resolution images are also somewhat unusable since they only generally show in the browser at one zoom level, and the browser does not provide many useful tools for zooming in/out of the design, panning around it, or telling you what things are in the schematic.

      With CircuitBee we aim to make that part of sharing a schematic much easier – associating the discussion of how the schematic works and is designed, with the design itself. We plan to add search capability to the embed, allowing users to find specific components within a design so that when trying to read a discussion about a particular issue they can find that component easily. There are lots of other features we can add to the embedded schematics that will make discussing the work people have done a lot easier, as well as other features on the main site which should help us reach this goal.

      I hope that explains a little better what we’re aiming to achieve here.

  6. I think this is a great idea, and I can’t understand all the people here and on Hack-a-Day who can’t see how/why this would be really useful. I suppose because they are all fixated on your initial graphics and can’t see why the social side would be valuable. So ignore them, and keep up the great work!

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great! | acompanhantes morenas

  8. Melissa says:

    For this kind of thing, I love DigiKey’s SchemeIt–it’s a free online software. You can learn more about it: http://www.digikey.com/techxchange/thread/4311