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Sharing Electronic Schematics 70

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the schematics-2.0 dept.
derGoldstein writes with a blurb in Make about Circuit Bee. From the article: "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."
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Sharing Electronic Schematics

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    soon to be declared IP violators and terrorist tools of-course by the closest to you government.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought these were on the side bar?

  • by BSAtHome (455370) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @02:04PM (#36887128)

    Why would you want a service that takes the crap out of your browser (it is slow) for something that you can do so easily with a common "export" function?
    What is wrong with a png image? Or what about a pdf file? At least those would be easy to print.
    I guess I miss to see the purpose of that web2.0 thingy and prefer plain old formats.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      PNGs and PDFs aren't easy to import back into your design software. I don't know if this format is, but it would be stupid if it wasn't.

      • by BSAtHome (455370)

        But, if you are already uploading the schematic for all to see, why not simply upload the source files next to them and create a little thingy called a link? Why take a detour through a third party?

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          They say they are looking to add other capabilities, like searching by components. It would be pretty cool if you could say 'here are some components I have, what have people done with them'.

          • They say they are looking to add other capabilities, like searching by components. It would be pretty cool if you could say 'here are some components I have, what have people done with them'.

            Geek imports all the contents of his junk box into the system, then asks "What can a make out of this?"

            System replies: "A toaster"

            • by RockDoctor (15477)
              Robot AL-76 has an interesting use for a toaster.

              (Oh gods, am I going to have to find a link for that? I fear so! For the uninitiated amongst you, be ashamed [wikipedia.org] and hand your geek cards in at the door as you leave.

              Now.)

        • by mmclean (29486)
          If you give “third parties” some advertising revenue they will create jobs.
      • you share the library element files with people. its how its done and I'm not sure there is a real problem here. I see this advertisement as a solution *looking* to solve some imaginary problem.

        you publish the library files and those are loaded into eagle once; or when they get updated by the author. just like a software library, not all that different.

        then the circuit you are working on that uses that part in the library refers to it. this is a separate file from the library element and you can share t

        • Ok, so you're obviously in the EE field. Haven't you ever discussed a circuit on a forum? Haven't you seen the links to huge PNGs/JPGs or PDFs that you have to open in a new window/tab (and then wait for the PDF reader to load)? This doesn't require you to *install* anything, just to have a browser. If you encountered this "in the wild", and knew nothing about it, you'd get the idea in a few seconds. It doesn't require anything from you.

          I guess I'm saying I don't see why you'd object.
          • by KreAture (105311)
            Not true.
            This new web crap has the opportunity of brilliant DOS attacks on both servers and your machine.
            You can easily bog it down so it becomes nearly unusable with a linked ad or a poorly written snippet trying to utilize thet silly canvas.

            It is, as mentioned before unnecessary and a solution to a non-existant problem.
            If your pdf reader takes time to load, I suggest you try something proper like windows, or upgrade your computer.
            You may also want to unload that silly pdf reader from the third party
    • Re:Why oh why (Score:5, Informative)

      by LordNimon (85072) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @02:08PM (#36887170)

      Are you aware that Eagle and Kicad files can be used by layout tools and by companies that manufacturer the boards? You can import the file into your tool, merge the circuitry with your existing design, and then export the whole thing to a manufacturer. Printing the schematics is not what this is about.

      • by BSAtHome (455370)

        That is why we export drill files and Gerber files from the PCB design files (not the schematic).

        But the purpose is apparently sharing of the schematic. So, you can upload an image for viewing, but also the /source/ for others to use. Why would you need a client side monster webscript?

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        I still don't see the purpose here.

        If you want to share the actual schematics in a usable form, then just upload the file itself. This tool isn't so great for that, considering that it only supports two fairly minor formats. OrCAD and Altium are way more common. Maybe Eagle and KiCAD are popular for pure hobbyists, but even so, I don't see why you wouldn't just share the file.

        If you just want to share a picture of the schematic, then a PDF with a working text search is arguably a better option, since it

        • You can embed more than one schematic in a page. If you're on a forum and want to compare circuits and gradually change/modify them, this is far better than PDFs. Right now the most common method(at least in my experience) is to attach a large PNG, which you have to open if a separate window/tab.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They thought of that, obviously:

      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.

      JPEGs were either too small to be readable, or too large to be conveniently embedded. This is embeddable, but unlike a JPEG it is pannable and zoomable.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Because that's not the purpose. If you want to print it, then get the raw file.

      This is intended for easy display. Go to the story and test out the embed. It controls much like Google Maps, except it contains a colorized schematic. ... Pretty damn slick!

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @02:07PM (#36887154)

    I do hardware and firmware work and have lately been doing some eagle board level layout.

    a lot of people don't use just one pkg. eagle is not bad for pcb layout but some friends I work with use another pkg to draw the schematic. your system would probably not handle this kind of split development.

    the javascript - well - not a big fan of it, to be honest. more and more, JS gets caught in adblock/noscript filters and its too much work to unblock you. just being candid about J. just don't like it. its usually overly complex, a support headache and not at all friendly to static style postings.

    people want to download the eagle files (or other) and use them directly. this works ok enough; I'm not sure I see value in a 'pan around' read only kind of web extension. to do anything real, you HAVE to load the file (source) into the editor and use the actual program.

    I also want to be able to click on an image and save-as easily. JS code just fights that.

    sorry, but I can't get behind a JS solution when its not at all needed. its just getting in the way and I see no need to have to fight with websites just to do circuit and board level collab.

    • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

      I also want to be able to click on an image and save-as easily. JS code just fights that.

      Actually - you're wrong there; this is drawn on an HTML5 canvas element. Right-clicking allows you to view it as a PNG or save it to your hard disk. It really is as easy as you described.

      You could even pretty easily code up something that would allow selection of a region of the canvas for saving, instead of the whole thing.

    • Yeah, I definitely agree with this. This seems to be a solution to the problem "how can I make illegible and amateurish schematic drawings more readable without learning anything?"

      Use a frame that limits the total schematic size to a standard paper size. Use named nets and labels on nets instead of actually connecting wires between parts (except for trivial connections like capacitors). Put lines in your schematic that separate logical blocks of your schematic. Label logical blocks with a title (AC Rectifie

  • In true YouTube fashion, I just can't wait to read the witty comments of 10 years olds on why my choice of microprocessors is worse than theirs and that's why I fail at live.

    • by MacTO (1161105)

      The YouTube of ... electronics. So it'll be 50 year olds telling you that your microprocessor based solution reduces to a 555 as well as a handful of capacitors and resistors.

      • A 555 and a handful of capacitors and resistors is significantly more expensive than an 8 pin PIC controller with internal RC clock. All you need is the PIC chip itself, and it replaces the whole messy 555 circuitry.

        555 chips are bush-league in the first place. It's a part for chumps to use, because it's ALWAYS more expensive than a dual op-amp (dual op-amps are a penny or so.) When you see a 555 in a chip you know someone clueless was involved.

        • Thats great if you only need a few but good luck when you are dealing in quantity. Want to program 10,000 chips? Even if you used ICSP you still need a connector or contacts of some sort.

          Engineering is using the right tool for the right job. The 555 has been in production for so long for a reason and it can't be purely for hobbyists.

          • by kdkirmse (801423)
            You can purchase many microcontrollers preprogrammed at the factory. The PIC is one such example. With low cost parts like these assembly is going to be a significant cost. The 555 may have been the best choice in the past but it has a lot of issues of its own. Reduced supply voltages, low power requirements and limited board space is likely to drive a designer to use something else.
            • I'm a huge PIC fan. Actually I'm a huge microcontroller fan. These days, almost every new project I start working on *begins* with choosing an MCU. Having said that, if I'm designing a narrow-purpose board for someone, I'll always look at a non-programmable solution first.
              MCUs can reduce cost, complexity, component count, etc., but if you're making a "black box" solution, then you have to consider that maybe down the line either the client or someone else will want to modify the function of the project, a
          • by X0563511 (793323)

            So? Make the contacts leaf sprints underneath a socket-shaped receptacle. put a bunch of chips in place, drop the "lid" down, and there you go. When you're done, lift the "lid" and they pop right up.

            If you're programming 10's of thousands of chips, you either figure something like this out, already have a machine or tool for the process, or have no idea what you're doing and a miracle got you to the 10's of thousands stage...

      • it'll be 50 year olds telling you that your microprocessor based solution reduces to a 555 as well as a handful of capacitors and resistors

        and don't think it wouldn't!
        http://www.555contest.com/ [555contest.com]

        now get off my lawn :(

        Back on-topic... the idea of the site is okay, but it seems too limited in scope (why only schematics?), too limited in possibilities, and too much in search of a problem for it to actually be the solution to.

        At least one comment here was interesting, though.. search by parts, pop up schematics u

      • I've been guilty of that a couple of times, and I'm only 30, and don't work very intensivelly with electronics.

        One of those times I had to add an OP-AMP.

      • by mrmeval (662166)

        While the 50yr old is counting the digits on his bonus check for bringing the project to completion on time and under budget.

        Just had a clueless noob engineer not bother testing their CPLD solution to upgrade an old products hardware quite enough. It caused the first run of a product to be hastily recalled.

        Come to find out the 50yr old who retired early had a debugged solution sitting in the design files that used a couple of logic ICs, a clock generator, some capacitors and a transistor.

    • Whatever MBA that wrote the phrase "The youtube of..." or "is like YouTube for..." needs to be tarred and feathered.
      User-content
      Web2.0
      Online Sharing
      Whatever floats your boat. But if you have to explain this site to people by using the phrase "it's like YouTube", then your audience 1) doesn't really understand the Internet, and 2) is way WAY too mentally handicapped to use schematics of any kind.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do you hate America so much?

    More on topic, for hobby level stuff why is PDF so hard for sharing? Now, understand I don't do EE. When I do, it usually involves a pencil and graph paper, and some really ugly wirewrapped stuff that's probably going to end up on the wrong end of something exploding or accelerating from zero to near the speed of sound (or visa versa) over very short time periods. There are plenty of free CAD programs, and plenty of free PDF printers.

    *call off the DHS, I'm a high power rocke

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you just want to look at a schematic, PDF is fine. If you want to do something useful with it (generate a PCB layout, create a BOM, etc) then PDF is pretty much useless.

  • I know a schematic has to be out there, and I don't want to make one myself. Where do I go? Now I'll check Circuit Bee before wasting time searching for one on google or making one myself.

    • There are only two problems with that. One is that the site does not have a search engine. The second one is that google will include the site at its results, and I bet that even if the site does implement search, google's will stil be better.

  • OrCAD has about 60% of the schematics entry market in the professional world, according to friends who work at Altium, so it'd be awfully nice to add OrCAD to this. Likewise, I use gschem (which I believe can interact with KiCAD) so what I'd love to see is a way for this to be turned into a schematic exchange site.

    • Perhaps the fine folks at Altium can provide a free copy of OrCAD to the developers and/or the documentation needed.

      In 'the professional world' would anybody even be allowed to share their schematics?

      • Altium's a competitor to OrCAD, which was a separate company until it was bought by Cadence. Both Cadence Allegro (higher-end professional schematic/layout tool) and Altium can import schematics made in OrCAD, to be used in their respective layout tools, precisely because OrCAD is so widely used.

        And yes, in the professional world, people *constantly* share schematics, because one company uses Mentor Graphics' PADS, another uses OrCAD, a third uses Altium, and the three companies are trying to build a proje

        • by Bassman59 (519820)

          re: Sharing schematics. I see what you were getting at, regarding building a system out of multiple boards designed using different EDA packages. The Good News is that you can get viewers for OrCAD, Altium Designer and PADS, so you don't need a license to install the full-up software just to view schematics or PCB artwork. The viewers are important, because the symbols on professional schematics include lots of metadata that are needed to actually build the board. There's a part number of some sort (either

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        Perhaps the fine folks at Altium can provide a free copy of OrCAD to the developers and/or the documentation needed.

        I think the folks over at Cadence might have something to say about that.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @02:38PM (#36887496) Homepage

    It's a hosted service, not just a file format. You have to sign up for their service, which comes with an overreaching EULA [circuitbee.com], one which includes both "circuitBee reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify or replace any part of this Agreement" and "Optional premium paid services such as extra storage or additional editing features are available on the Website." So more features may become pay services over time.

    All it lets you do is look at the schematic. Looking at the examples, there doesn't seem to be any way to extract a netlist, board layout, or a bill of materials. You can't even get the original file that was uploaded. So it doesn't help you make the thing. (But you can "share it on Facebook" or "send it in a tweet".) The system seems to reflect a complete misunderstanding of what schematics are used for. "Order all the parts from Digi-Key" or "design and order PC board" features would make sense. "Share on Myspace", which they actually have, indicates complete cluelessness.

    What would be more useful would be a Javascript viewer for some standard netlist formats. Then you could take your existing Eagle file, or whatever, and make it easier to view.

  • Once they add some more features like the download of the original files and stuff this could be a great tool for DIY electronics bloggers.

    In the meantime, if I weren't such a terrible coder, I'd make a Wordpress plugin that: uploads your Eagle files to your site, creates a Circuitbee embeddable, and places the embeddable and download links right there in your post. (Or something like that.)

  • The description reminded me of Upverter [upverter.com], which is a web-based circuit design tool that lets you collaborate and share schematics. CircuitBee's less interesting as it's display-only, but has its place.

    • by Animats (122034)

      Upverter has some of the right ideas, but not enough user base for their concept of a "crowdsourced parts library" to be useful. They're still way ahead of CircuitBee.

      With the better electrical CAD packages, you get a good parts library [activeparts.com], including the PC board layout and maybe a SPICE model for the part. The major commercial library has 2 million parts in it. There are open source parts libraries [opencircuits.com], but the contents tends to be somewhat random, since it's just what people happened to upload.

      Parts librari

  • Shameless self promotion here, but since my project exists for some of the same reasons and because it's also in a javascript, I feel it's considered relevant to this article.

    It's an an attempt at a schematic editor and simulator for Minecraft's redstone circuitry, written in javascript: http://mordritch.com/mc_rss/#1166 [mordritch.com]

    The goal was to make it easy for people to share their ideas or solutions to problems easily on forums, as one can just link directly to schematics. It supports uploading and downloading sch

    • Neat stuff. You should add some example circuits, maybe near the "Load Schematic" you could add "Load Examples" or something. To get people familiar, possibly add examples of known logic building blocks like an n-bit adder, or a select-logic-gate circuit, or maybe a counter.
      • Yes, it could potentially be an excellent teaching tool, it has occurred to me I could potentially make a "tutorial" system built into it, to introduce people to basic redstone concepts and then later different kinds of logic gates and components. The quicker short term solution though is to make a gallery of components.

        Right now there are lots of things I need and want to do. At the moment I am working in implementing proper user accounts, so one can find all their own uploaded schematic and also save thei

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