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HOW TO design easily a prototype PCB

Developing often small prototypes, and hating 'proto' board, I was looking for a easy to use PCB design software. My dream was to find something where I could quickly 'design' the board but also develop my own componants if needed. The final purpose was to be able to print the result on a ink jet printer (in my case a HP Photosmart P1000) and on transparency films. By adding two copies of the same print, I obtain very good, dense 'films' to be 'insolated' in a 2x20W TL home made box. (4 min at 20 cm. from the TL's on usual PCB).

The best application I found is a freeware developed by a French, Bruno Urbani. This small software is really easy to use, developped by a person who knew how ennoying it is to develop a board. At least it is my opinion :-)

The freeware is called TCI 3.1. It installs easily under Win98,ME or XP (I tried...) . The 'full' package is composed by TCI itselve and Empreinte (footprints) which adds more footprints for more componants.

The Freeware is in French, but so easy to use that it would not be an obstacle. Do not forget also that it is free...

You can get TCI here and Empreintes here

Visit also the site of B.Urbani. You will find, among others, a friendly schematic design software, developed with the same philosophy than TCI.


Olivier de Broqueville October 2003