Even though Autodesk acquired CadSoft EAGLE back in June of this year, the popular CAD/CAM still produces software under the original company header; they’ve recently released an update to their PCB design suite that brings several new features and does away with a few others. First, we will breakdown what each version offers at their respective price-points and then delve into what’s new with the latest revision of CadSoft EAGLE 7.7.
It should be noted the new revision does away with the 30-day trial and you will need to update to version 6 if you are running older software in order to get 7.7., however it’s a free upgrade. What’s more, the data structure is different, meaning if you edit a file using 6.X or later, you will no longer be able to edit that file using version 6.0 or below. With that said, let’s see what each version of EAGLE 7.7 offers beginning with the free edition on up.
1: EAGLE Express (Free version)-
This is the free version of EAGLE and provides the bare minimum for PCB layout and editing and comes with CadSoft’s Schematic, Layout and Autorouter apps for designing circuits and PCBs. Additional features include 2 X Schematic sheets, 2 X Signal Layers, and a 100mm×80mm Routing area. This version is non-commercial and free to use for a single person.
2: EAGLE Standard-
This version is identical to the Free version and still retains the core apps, including Schematic, Layout, and Autorouter. Additional features include 2 X Schematic Sheets, 2 X Signal Layers, and a 100mm×80mm Routing area. This is a commercial version and costs $69 per license per user.
3: EAGLE Maker-
Appropriately named and priced, this would be my pick. This version provides a bit more features than the previous two offerings and includes Schematic, Layout and Autorouter as well as 99 Schematic Sheets, 6 X Signal Layers and a 160mm×100mm Routing area. This version is non-commercial and costs $169 per license per user.
4: EAGLE Premium-
This version is identical to Maker and includes the core apps of the previous versions: Schematic, Layout, and Autorouter, as well as 99 Schematic Sheets, 6 X Signal Layers and a 160mm×100mm Routing area. This version is commercial and costs $820 per license per user.
5: EAGLE Ultimate-
Ultimate also features the core apps — Schematic, Layout and Autorouter — but the additional features give users access to 999 Schematic Sheets, 16 Signal Layers and a 4000mm×4000mm Routing area. Of course, this is also a commercial version and costs $1,640 per license per user.
6: EAGLE Educational-
Educational is identical to Maker and Premium in features- Schematic, Layout and Autorouter as well as providing 99 Schematic Sheets, 6 X Signal Layers, and a 160mm×100mm Routing area. What makes this version different is it’s available for free to academic institutions and schools who want to use the platform as an educational tool and therefore requires an .edu (education) email extension to use. This version is also non-commercial.
(See more about pricing after this link)
Moving on, let’s take a look at what features and changes were included in the new 7.7 update, which include several notable functions such as Net Names on Tracks, an integrated Make automated function button and an MCAD exploration button. We will cover the new functions first before delving into the additional features and bug fixes-
1: Net Names on Tracks-
A handy tool that gives you net name overlays on various PCB tracks, which allows users to identify which track is connected to a specific net and displays that name along the length of the path of that particular route. This function is engaged automatically, however it can be turned off if desired. Additionally, you can enable an option in Net Names on Tracks to display the signal and pad names (among a host of other options) on the routes as well if the need arises.
2: Make button-
This is a great feature that essentially auto-readies your PCB designs for manufacturing. Located in the PCB editor, pressing the Make button will automatically generate all the necessary outputs need to fabricate, assemble and test your design and then uploads it to your Circuits.io private account. Users can then share their designs with others or save it directly to their PC as well as send the design directly to Othermill for manufacturing using the XML file format.
3: MCAD button-
This function takes your PCB design and sends it the ECAD.io website where you can view, manipulate and edit the PCB in 3D. What’s more, users can import designs from ECAD and export them to MCAD using a host of file formats including STEP, Parasolid and OBJ. Users also get access to library components that can be used to edit designs as well as gain access to example projects and even create their own custom BOMs and manufacturing reports.
Rounding out the EAGLE 7.7 update includes miscellaneous improvements such as increased visibility of scrollbars for Linux (OSX 10.8 or higher, silently ignoring double references to a signal contact when loading a PCB file and switching the file locking option off by default (can be turned on in options). It also includes a CAM Processor that automatically checks the Process Job is only running partially if there is more than one section.
Bug fixes are numerous and include fixing crashes in 64-bit versions of EAGLE when loading drawings from older formats, fixed a regression regarding the compression method when exporting an image to the TIFF monochrome format and added a check for identical pinrefs when loading schematics to avoid possible crashes. They have also incorporated more UI advancements, fixed issues with the USE command and much more, all of which you can learn about in detail here).