In recent years, PCB design is no longer confined to professional PC based PCB design software. Often monopolized by a few major vendors, PCB design solutions has seen growing offerings in various PCB layout design online tools. While these may seem convenient, especially for hobbyist and small businesses, there are certain points worth considering before starting your PCB design online.
Of course, the primary factor that attracts designer to try out PCB layout design online tools is the steep difference in cost compared to professional software. Most of the conventional software requires one-time purchase of the license and can be a burden to smaller companies or hobbyist. Online based softwares are usually available on a monthly payment basis, which is more affordable to sign up.
Let’s not forget that the primary purpose of a PCB layout software is to create an accurate design. It should be the best tool that enables a hardware designer to save time. It will be pointless if you could get free PCB layout design online tool that produces unreliable results. The online tool also needs to at least match leading professional software in terms of component libraries and intuitive routing as these are time-saving features important for a business.
3. Value Added Services
The operational model of an online PCB design tool is very different from their PC based counterpart. Most of the online vendor do provide additional services or resources such as PCB manufacturing, assembly or component sourcing. Since you’re going to get your final product assembled, it’s important to select a company that provides the best values in these complementing services.
While not a decisive factor, the strong presence of an online community using the particular online PCB design tool indicates the reliability and trust amongst its user. Besides that, a growing community is beneficial for hardware designers as a platform to share knowledge and build professional networks.