EAGLE (Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor) is an ECAD program produced by Cadsoft in Germany (American marketing division: Cadsoft USA). It is very commonly used by private electronics enthusiasts, because there is a very usable free demo version for nonprofit use and is available in English and German. Cadsoft has released versions for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
EAGLE provides a schematic editor, for designing circuit diagrams and a tightly integrated PCB layout editor, which automatically starts off with all of the components required by the schematic. Components are manually arranged on the board, with the help of coloured lines showing the eventual connections between pins that are required by the schematic, to aid in finding a placement that will allow the most efficient track layout.
It also provides a good autorouter, which once the components have been placed will attempt to automatically find an optimal track layout to make the electrical connections. It does not always manage to find a way of routing all the signals, although it permits manual routing of critical paths such as power and high frequency lines before letting the autorouter handle the other connections.
EAGLE is very popular with hobbyists because the free demo is able to create usable PCBs. (Free ECADs from some companies are crippled so that they won't save or won't print.) The only limitations of boards made with the EAGLE demo are: 2 copper layers; a maximum size of 80mm x 100mm (½ Eurocard)(~3in x ~4in). The demo version of the schematic editor module can only create single-sheet schematics.
The licensing structure for the commercial version is very flexible. In order to use the demo version to make commercial products, it must be licensed for $49 USD. If more is needed, it is also possible to license the required extra modules (schematic capture, layout, autorouter) separately and simply purchase more if needs change.
Changes in Version 5.2
- The "Technologies" combo box in the "New/Change Attribute" dialog now lists the name of the current technology.
- Changed the behavior of the ATTRIBUTE command in case no coordinates are given in the command line, so that the value of an existing attribute can be changed via the command line.
- The DRC now reports supply layers, that are not contained in the layer setup of the Design Rules, as "Layer Setup" errors.
- The SET command can now be used to set parameters of the eaglerc file.
- If you don't like the way unprocessed polygons display their edges (as dotted lines), you can change this with the command SET Option. Draw Unprocessed Polygon Edges Continuous 1 The edges of unprocessed polygons will then be displayed as continuous lines, as was the case before version 5 (however, they will not be highlighted).
- The commands CUT, DRC, ERC, ERRORS, EXPORT, GROUP, OPTIMIZE, PASTE, PRINT, RATSNEST, UPDATE, USE and WRITE are now "transparent", which means they no longer terminate a previously active command like MOVE etc.
- The layers are now drawn in a sequence that properly reflects the actual resulting board. For instance, the bottom placeplan is drawn first, then the signal layers from bottom to top, then the top placeplan. This sequence is reversed when printing mirrored.
- Added a note to the online help of the PAD and VIA commands, saying that the shape only applies to the outer layers (in inner layers the shape is always "round").
- Parts on the board are now shifted into the allowed area of the Light or Standard edition, respectively, if they extend outside that area after a REPLACE, CHANGE PACKAGE or UPDATE operation.
- Fixed unexpected wire fragments in CAM Processor and PRINT output.
- WARNING: All EAGLE versions from 4.90.1 to 5.1.1 contain a bug which, under rare circumstances, may cause unexpected wire fragments in the CAM Processor and PRINT output, which may lead to short circuits. These wires are not visible in the editor window and are not reported by the DRC. This bug is fixed in version 5.2.0 (and since version 5.1.2, respectively). Please switch to version 5.2.0 as soon as possible. Windows users should also make sure they use the latest version of the command line version eaglecon.exe, which is automatically generated from the eagle.exe during installation. You can determine the actual version of your eaglecon.exe by calling
- See the UPDATE file that comes with the installation archive for a list of fixes.