Design Spark PCB vs Eagle CAD

Does anyone have experience with Design Spark PCB?

I’ve been using the Freemium Eagle CAD, but now I want to panelizing my boards to a 10x10cm size.

They are 2 different software no? You can ask the fab house to panelize for you or there’s actually tutorial on how to do it online for EAGLE.

Yes they are different software, but I am going to for a small qty run and they panelize 2 layer boards. The DesignSpark PCB actually imports eagle pcs and schematics. I tried this out yesterday.

1 Like

I highly recommend the open-source, awesome free complete PCB software package known as KiCad. I have used it, and as reviews have said, it’s just a little harder to use than ExpressPCB; the tutorials are good for getting started. What drew me to KiCad over DesignSpark, etc. was DesignSpark’s mess of registration and login every time you start the program (for what??) KiCad outputs in a number of files, including the industry-standard Gerber…and it is not tied to any particular boardhouse.
In addition, KiCad is available for all of the more common platforms. Fedora? :white_check_mark: Linux? :white_check_mark: Mac OSX? :white_check_mark: Windows? :white_check_mark:

1 Like

Hi, I actually came here due to my interest in mBed modules and while searching got led to the Photon module and then here! So background over, but I would like to comment on DesignSpark PCB which I have been using since V3 mainly for Proof of Concept designs in the science area such as electrochemical measuring systems. Eagle I found too restrictive on both board size and commercial restrictions for the free version and KiCAD I just didn’t get the hang of the interface especially when I came back to a design months later are writing the code.
DesignSpark PCB I have found meets my requirements, easy to use (and now has ECAD a great library) and have stayed with it. I actually support the forum as the user ‘Boss’ and have learnt a lot in doing that and made some good friends.
As for registration, you only do that the once, so that should not be an issue.
It also has ODB++ and Gerber output so you can also use which ever manufacturer you wish.
So as said for what is essentially an unrestricted package and free it’s well worth a try.
See you on the Forum!

What I was referring to was the requirement to log-in to a DesignSpark account every single time you start the program, not to mention the ads you have to close. Maybe that’s just my experience–I didn’t get any much farther than that before uninstalling it; YMMV.

That may have been a misunderstanding as there has never been a requirement to log in to your DesignSpark account that is completely separate from the software, you do have to set up an account once which gives you access to the forum, and is used to access the online library, but that’s all.

If you were having to login and activate your actual software each time, then this was a firewall or proxy server issue which I have seen some post on the forum about, this from memory tends to affect some company users and they supply the Url’s that IT need to add for correct access. I’m a small one man business, so don’t have that type of issue.

There is only one advert window that you have to click to close or follow for more info, but that’s all. Sometimes the advert is quite useful and is always design related so not really an issue in my view for a free unrestricted product, and you don’t get any adverts after that.

As an example of my experience, I was already registered at the DesignSpark home page, I downloaded and installed V7 at launch last year. Completed a registration form (which had most of the entries filled from my web account) and job done. When I launch DSPCB I get one advert window which I read or close and then have unrestricted access to do my work. It remembers my DesignSpark account so I do not have to login at all to access ModelSource.
When I updated to a later release, it picked up all my registration details transparently and ran perfectly from there, so no further registrations or login since last year and just one click to close the advert.

Remembers your DesignSpark account so you don’t have to login? Well, if DesignSpark is logging in for you, guess what: you’re. . .logged in. And that’s precisely what I was referring to. It’s just a little unnerving to me to use software that requires you to login to an account to use the software. If I hit the “cancel” button (I refused to enable auto-login), the program closes. Basically, if DesignSpark should disappear, their software is unusable. And about the time a login is required, I feel like they’re tracking me really closely.

Actually…at the time, my only Internet connection was via a slow (limited) Wifi hotspot from my phone. As it’s not possible to use DesignSpark offline, it was pretty much useless. (Yes, I’m aware that there are some references to hacks, patches, etc.) Next!

If you like DesignSpark, by all means use it. I’m just happy that there’s enough choices that everyone can have their own favorite :wink:

It remembers my DesignSpark account so I do not have to login at all to access ModelSource.

That’s the optional online library only where you can select and download components from, that only requires login, not DesignSpark PCB.

All versions up to V6.1 (still available) never required internet access after you registered (without any hacks etc.), in fact I have PC without internet that I run 6.1 on with no issues. Just not connected as I wanted one PC without the internet and AV overheads and it’s remote in my workshop.

I think V7 requires to connect to internet every 60 days to check for updates and download the next advert. But I’m always connected so haven’t explored that.

As you say everyone makes there own choice.