17 4 / 2013

Circuits.io is growing up

Circuits.io has been an easy little electronics design tool in the browser, but some feature were missing to allow for it being used on bigger projects. Today we release a dozen new features lifting it up from being this nice little editor to a serious competitor.

Let’s start with the schematics editor. We now highlight a net when you hover over it, making it much more easy to understand more complex designs. You can select a net and easily disconnect devices or remove the whole net. Furthermore, the user interface has a more intuitive wiring process. But the biggest one is that we support cut and paste, making it easy to design bigger schematics where similar components are often reused.

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The PCB editor now supports 45 degree rotations, allows to flip devices to the other side of the board, change the width of exisiting tracks and vias, and highlights terminals during routing, making it much easier to route advanced boards. Via sizes are now automatically calculated to have the same copper section as the tracks they are connected to. Furthermore, we added a feature that allows to measure track widths of existing nets, and of the net you are currently routing. This is critical when designing high fequency boards where wire lengths needs to be matched. 

Something specific about circuits.io, which you don’t find in many other tools, is that the PCB wires and devices are actually connected, even when moving them. This makes it much more intuitive and less error prone to move already routed nets and devices. In the past however, this sometimes led to unexpected wire movement behavior. This has now been much improved. Wires will move as far as they can under the current routing contraints, and then detach, showing a live ratsnest line.

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We also added the ability to switch footprints of devices, even if they already were routed. This enables you to design the schematic first using the general concept of the device, and only at the layout phase decide on which footprint you want to use. The default devices that show up in the toolbox all have been updated to be available in many industry standard footprints.

Last but not least, we added the ability to easily do multi layered circuit boards, a must for more advanced designs. This allows to have ground and power planes in the inner layers to avoid crosstalk and improve power stability, or just gives you more layers for very dense routing. Switching to specific layers is as easy as pressing 1, 2, 3.

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We are quite excited with the big leap forward, drastically increasing the complexity of what you can design on circuits.io. But we are even more excited about a couple a really big improvements we will announce soon. We’ll keep you posted.

Happy hacking!

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