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Old 03-12-2019, 12:42 PM
keitht keitht is offline
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: coupeville wa
Posts: 174
Default Electrical Schematic Capture Software

Getting to the point in the build where I need to get my electrical schematics into shape (from the back of the envelope scribblings) and looking at something better than Visio 2003. I ran across KICAD - it is a open source schematic capture and PCB design tool and while it has some interesting features is pretty straightforward to use and has a comprehensive library of components suplimented with the Digikey library of parts. It runs on Mac,Windows PC and Linux, and the price is right. Worth taking a look if you dont have a current copy of Autocad or the Solidworks schematic capture tools.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:38 PM
drtgraves drtgraves is offline
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Gallatin TN
Posts: 33

Ive been using tinycad the last few days. Free. Easy to draw/
14-499 221RV reserved
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:29 PM
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wjb wjb is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Half Moon Bay, CA
Posts: 1,120
Default Use a schematic capture package

For a long time, I had access to an industrial-grade schematic capture package (Altium), but not when I started my RV7 electrical system. I decided to go with Visio since I didn't want to go through the tedious task of making all the symbols for all the component (connectors, pin numbers, etc) or did I want to spend any $$$.

However, now that I'm at the other end of the job, I would do it over with a basic schematic capture package. Though the schematics aren't as "pretty", one of the most useful things you can get from the capture package is a netlist of connections. This is super useful when you're running wires through the ship and routing them to the correct boxes. I had to basically do a manual version of this to make the install efficient. The schematic capture packages do it for free, and maintain it for free.

Find your favorite free version (kicad is good) and spend the time up front; it will pay off in the long run
Bill Bencze
N430WB RV-7 @KHAF, Flying 100+ hrs
VAF 2021 donation happily made
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:55 PM
rv7charlie rv7charlie is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pocahontas MS
Posts: 3,888

One possibility:
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:43 PM
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vlittle vlittle is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Victoria, Canada
Posts: 2,370

Originally Posted by rv7charlie View Post
+1 on that. Have done all my aircraft schematics using expresssch.

As for KiCad and Eagle... despite developing the precursor to Eagle in the early 80's for integrated circuit design (with a grad student named Corina Lee who wrote the VAX simulation extraction) on a Calma GDS-II system, I hate it. KiCad is better but buggy.

There is no more exquisite torture than learning a new ECAD system... but expresssch is easy.

V e r n. ====
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Last edited by vlittle : 03-12-2019 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:45 PM
keitht keitht is offline
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: coupeville wa
Posts: 174
Default Schematic capture Tools

Thanks for the link to Expresssch. Downloaded it and gave it a try. Very intuative and easy to use took me less than half the time for doing the same schematic in kicad and that was straight out of the box. None of the ? features? of kicad - which is good. Will make the switch to Expresssch.
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:06 PM
Paul 5r4 Paul 5r4 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Foley, Al
Posts: 630

Does anyone know if the express sch will work on an iMac?
Paul Gray
Foley, Alabama
N729PG..... 500+ hrs
RV 7A, Lycoming 0 320 D1A, Sensenich FP propeller
VAF supporter $$$
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:19 AM
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KRviator KRviator is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sydney, Aust.
Posts: 849

Digikey's SchemeIt is another option, free and online. I did my schematic with it in a few hours.

Once you have tasted flight you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return - Leonardo DaVinci

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RV-9A - Finished on 10th February 2016 after 4 years, 9 months and 19 days! The 1020th RV-9 flying.

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Old 03-13-2019, 09:08 AM
AdamB AdamB is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Fremont, NH
Posts: 279

Originally Posted by Paul 5r4 View Post
Does anyone know if the express sch will work on an iMac?
Don't think so. It's a windows application only.
You could run it in a Virtual machine though.
RV10 - #41687
N56AB Reserved
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:14 AM
SabreFlyr SabreFlyr is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Marion, IN
Posts: 304

I had decided to just go ahead and use a drawing package that I was familiar with (Canvas Draw for Mac) to avoid the learning curve of an unfamiliar CAD program. But I guess I don't understand what a "netlist of connections" is. Is it somehow better than following a trace on your schematic?

I also didn't see having a library of electrical and/or electronic components available would be an advantage. I didn't figure that a significant percentage of the devices wired into an airplane would exist in such a database. I presume that many such devices would have to be created by the user.

The only advantage that I saw was not having to redraw connections when a component was relocated in a schematic.

Please help me understand where I'm wrong and why it's worth the learning curve.
Ray Dosh
LJ45 driver
RV-14 #140212
Empennage completed
QB wings 95% done
QB fuse in progress
Marion, IN MZZ
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