Electrical Schematic software


#1

Does anyone use a software for creating electronic schematics for their teams? I’ve used National Instruments Mulitsim for my own personal and work projects, but I wasn’t sure if there was any out there that might be more user friendly. Or that is more cost effective. I know some have also used Solidworks Electrical, but I haven’t dived into it much myself.


#2

I’ve never used electronics schematics programs because they’re usually more trouble than they’re worth for FRC. CAD (Cardboard Assisted Design) is generally more than good enough for this.

Cut cardboard in the shape of your electronics panel, and the sizes of the electrical components. Tape the components onto the panel and draw lines between them for wires. You can move the components around and redraw the lines until you get the best layout. Usually takes less than half an hour, and no need to install or learn any complicated programs.

EDIT: I realized I assumed you were talking about laying out your electronics panel, not designing a circuit board. Maybe that was a faulty assumption.


#3

For Project 691 Robotics, we train our students on how to use MS Visio and have standards on how Electronic schematics should look and what information should be included.


#4

For actual schematics and PCB design, I’m a fan of EAGLE (pre-Autodesk, CadSoft versions). For harnessing diagrams, I believe 3476 has had good luck with RapidHarness.


#5

For Project 691 Robotics, we train our students on how to use MS Visio and have standards on how Electronic schematics should look and what information should be included.

Do you have a link to those standards, if they are shareable to the public? I would love to have that as a resource myself.


#6

Thanks for Rapidharness btw. I love the look of what I see in the promotional material, and the cost is just right for an FRC Team :wink:


#7

Echoing Ari, it isn’t worth the trouble to set up an electronic CAD program to do FRC schematics. While a true electronic CAD program such as Altium, OrCAD or KiCAD can “rubberband” the connections, one would have to first create a schematic symbol library with all the components you are going to use. The components with a lot of connections (RoboRio and PDP) will be problematic to make so that all of the connections fit in a symbol of a reasonable size (yes, I have tried). You are better off using a generalized drawing program such as Visio or a 2D CAD program such as AutoCAD and only showing the connections that you use in each robot.

EXCEL spreadsheets can be used to document wiring harnesses, even in professional environments. Google Sheets would work too.


#8

I’ve done robot wiring diagrams in Power Point, using connectors of appropriate color and width. The key step is to make three tiny squares and group them together to be a PWM port, and make a bunch of copies.