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70 comments

good stuff (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887086)

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

Ads? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887114)

I thought these were on the side bar?

Why oh why (2)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why oh why (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887160)

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.

Re:Why oh why (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887336)

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?

Re:Why oh why (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887406)

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'.

Re:Why oh why (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887504)

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"

Re:Why oh why (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#36891594)

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.)

Re:Why oh why (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887342)

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 that file as a regular old linkable file.

again, I'm not sure what problem the author is trying to solve other than 'insert the web' where it really does not belong. oh, and insert ad revenue or other nasties. nope, no thanks. 'inserting the web' into my design stuff makes little sense since I only give away control, in that directly, not keep it!

not every thing needs a 'plugin' on the web, dammit. stop making fake solutions to non-problems!

Re:Why oh why (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888682)

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.

Re:Why oh why (1)

KreAture (105311) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889354)

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 and load a proper one that works while giving you searchability and zoom in the schematics too.

If anything this is to justify the whole new web crappola. In all fairness, it is development and change for development and change's sake. Nothing more. It creates work as buisinesses get orders from "upstairs" to port their solution to yet another new solution. Hopefully they will be done before they need to go to the next one.

Re:Why oh why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889570)

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.

Because it doesn't work. "Please wait... Loading schematic 0000000014" with a perpetual little animated semicircle is not actually a schematic. An IMG tag is superior to whatever they are trying to do.

Re:Why oh why (4, Informative)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why oh why (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887304)

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?

Re:Why oh why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887370)

Quite the forward thinking expert, aren't you? I mean, if YOU can't think of a reason to do this, there surely must be no reason, right?

Re:Why oh why (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887442)

But if you can come with something idiotic and asinine, it must be a good reason, right? This is the consequence of cheap universal computing power. Every idiotic, moronic turd can become real.

Re:Why oh why (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887424)

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 can be printed, and is available as an export from any CAD program you care to use.

The one use case where a tool like this could excel would be for schematics in which the components have a lot of metadata. For example, a schematic for an IC in which you can embed data about each transistor without having to clutter the page by printing it all. But that doesn't seem to be possible for this tool as it exists right now.

Re:Why oh why (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888418)

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.

Re:Why oh why (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887472)

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.

Re:Why oh why (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888658)

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!

Re:Why oh why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889416)

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.

Bingo. The AFP stuff is getting ridiculous. Want to "embed" schematics? Use an image tag, not Another Fucking Plugin. Make the image a clickable link that takes the visitor to your wonderful la-la land if you must.

just tried it; not sure its a great idea (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887522)

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.

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887534)

sorry, but I can't get behind a JS solution when its not at all needed.

I think you're preaching to the choir with an increasing number of folks on slashdot -- more and more I see commenters here mentioning noscript. Naturally, the forces of darkness from CmdrTaco to Hixie are going to ignore sane calls that, unless you're writing a web application that couldn't possibly work without script, it should be relegated to progressive enhancement!

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888496)

I'd be wary of using a browser *without* noscript. But noscript is a whitelist mechanism -- you allow what you trust. It's turned off for Slashdot, for example, but I wouldn't google something and wander around with scripting enabled for everything. If only because you don't know how much horsepower you're going to need on a webpage you've yet to enter (with 14 different libraries, logging scripts, sniffer scripts, ad network scripts, etc.). If you want something to work, you say so explicitly. It doesn't mean you eschew all javascript.

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (1)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888056)

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 Rectifier, Boost Converter, Control System, ADCs, Filters, etc). This makes it trivial for someone to look at your schematic and rapidly identify errors. It makes it simpler for *you* to rapidly identify errors!

Just follow these four simple rules and your schematics (pretty much regardless of software used to make them) will suddenly appear to be fairly professional (if not perfect). For examples, take a look at this. I'm not an EE by any means, but the more you separate functionality into logical blocks and limit your size with frames, the closer it looks to "professional".

http://saikoled.com/lightshield/ [saikoled.com]
http://saikoled.com/lightbrick/ [saikoled.com]
http://web.mit.edu/neltnerb/www/artwork/design.html [mit.edu]

(for the last link, some fairly complex schematics are shown in the "New Schematics and Diagrams" section. The ones near the top are duplicates of what I published on the other website.)

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36888122)

Those links pretty much just reiterate the problems described in TFA. The embedded images are tiny (can't even come close to reading them), and clicking them takes you to a huge (2952x2202 pixel) PNG image.

Actually it had nothing to do with the problem you described, and everything to do with the problem I just described. Either too small, or too big. This zooms and pans, which solves it pretty well.

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (1)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 2 years ago | (#36900654)

The problem I was talking about is where a schematic with 50 parts on it is a giant rats nest of stuff all on a single page that someone then tries to fit onto a single page/monitor, making extensive panning and zooming necessary to understand what's going on. Following the rules I outlined prevents that problem by making it so you can simply print out the images on a normal sized piece of paper and find everything completely legible (and similarly with most monitors).

The problem that you are talking about is one that can be solved with any moderately competent image viewer. Even firefox's automatic image scaling is perfectly capable of handling it, within reason. If that's all that this javascript tool accomplishes, then it is incredibly sad how slow it is. On my computer it hangs for a good 20 seconds when trying to zoom in or out, and god forbid I try to drag the image. Surely a better tool for dynamic image viewing already exists -- the one on amazon.com seems to work fine, after all, for the same task.

And yes, the PNG image is 2952x2202 pixels, but it's also 70kB... this isn't exactly an unwieldy image. And if it were a vector graphic or pdf, it'd probably be even smaller. I only chose not to do that because there is less support for it in browsers... like how I can't open PDFs inline in firefox very pleasantly.

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889860)

Wait, wait!! I get it ... this is the fake review, right?

(http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/07/26/2245245/Cornell-Software-Fingers-Fake-Online-Reviews)

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36891512)

> Use named nets and labels on nets instead of actually connecting wires between parts (except for trivial connections like capacitors).

Interesting... non-EE here too, so take this with a grain of salt, but I often find that this rule is overused (IMHO). Takes this circuit for example: http://c.circuitbee.com/build/r/schematic-embed.html?id=0000000023&internal=1&fullscreen=1

Now separation into logical blocks totally makes sense to me. But seriously, a LED between the "LED" net and GND wouldn't spring to my mind as a separate logical block. At least they didn't make the resistor another "logical block".

Same for JP3. Same for BUZZERSMD2. Not so JP4, because the connections would become messy.

On a related note, it would be nice if the net names were links that move the screen to the "other side" (dunno if this schematic style allows >2 connections to a net, but then that would be the exception, not the common case).

Re:just tried it; not sure its a great idea (1)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 2 years ago | (#36900590)

If it had labels for logical blocks, I think that the schematic you linked to would be perfectly legible. A bit overkill, but at least it's not messy. What if there were two LEDs? Three? Four? There is definitely a limit where no matter how obvious the connection is, it increases legibility to use named nets.

The youtube of... (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887156)

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.

Re:The youtube of... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887296)

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.

Re:The youtube of... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887606)

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.

Re:The youtube of... (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887708)

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.

Re:The youtube of... (1)

kdkirmse (801423) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888008)

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.

Re:The youtube of... (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888586)

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, at which point there's a higher chance they'd have problems with an MCU that contains code, than a dedicated solution. Obviously, if the component count is doubled by using dedicated ICs, I'll explain this to the client and have them make the decision.

If you're working on a project where you know who's going to maintain it (possibly only yourself), then sure, PICs all around. But there are still many scenarios where dedicated ICs are the better choice.

Re:The youtube of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36891056)

"Actually I'm a huge microcontroller fan"

Just use a heat sink. You have more important things to do. :')

Re:The youtube of... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888700)

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...

Re:The youtube of... (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887626)

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 using that part. Sometimes the datasheets' typical use cases are not exactly what you're looking for, even though you're quite certain it's the part you need, but what other people have done with it may be more along the line of what you're doing.
Then again, a google image search tends to lead to those as well.

Re:The youtube of... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887948)

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.

Re:The youtube of... (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889740)

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.

Re:The youtube of... (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888116)

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.

Re:The youtube of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36891836)

... why I fail at live.

And at spelling....

IP Blasphemy! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887196)

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 rocketeer, not a terrorist or a redneck

Re:IP Blasphemy! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887300)

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.

It's great for sharing schematics. (1)

Zoson (300530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887326)

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.

Re:It's great for sharing schematics. (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888000)

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.

cool: can you expand it? (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887402)

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.

Re:cool: can you expand it? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887650)

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?

Re:cool: can you expand it? (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887972)

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 project together, using existing boards, so they're all sending schematics from their respective packages back and forth and at some point someone has to redo the whole project practically from scratch in one tool or figure out how to import all the other schematics into one package. I'd say 15% of my time is spent merging schematics from different commercial packages, and having something that would help handle this problem lower in the food chain -- in the Eagle/KiCAD/gschem/LTSpice world -- would mean people working there wouldn't have the same frustrations and could use the extensive collections of OrCAD schematics that exist online.

Re:cool: can you expand it? (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890154)

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 direct vendor part number or company-standard part number) used for the bill of materials, and of course a PCB footprint reference.

Interconnects between boards need to be defined fully and documented in some standard way.

What definitely doesn't happen is that Group A does a board in Altium Designer and passes the design files off to Group B who use OrCAD and want to import the design into that package. Such translations fail more often than not. There are library translation problems, database problems, all sorts of issues that make such translations problematic. If Group B really needs to work on the design in OrCAD, then need to make sure that their library has all of the symbols, all of the footprints, all of the other data to make it happen, and oftentimes it's easier to simply recapture the schematic in the other tool that to expect the translated schematic to generate a netlist that the translated PCB design won't choke on.

Anyways, my point is, I guess, that as long as the source files are available, as well as a viewer, then that's the best thing for schematic sharing when the friends' only need is to look at schematics and PCB artwork. If you need to actually modify the designs, you need the proper design software and probably the original library.

Re:cool: can you expand it? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890458)

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.

Not useful, and has some major downsides. (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887496)

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.

Re:Not useful, and has some major downsides. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36887902)

You mean 'the YouTube of circuit schematics' is a hosting service? Damn, I thought it was a file format, just like YouTube.

They have Terms of Service, not a EULA. You know, just like damn near every legitimate site does.

Services may become pay over time? So fucking what? IF they become pay, then you can make a decision on whether what they are charging is worth it. Whining about what MAY happen is just being a dick.

They plainly say that it is at the very early stages of development, and that they do intend for you to be able to download the original file.

Re:Not useful, and has some major downsides. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36893862)

it's sole purpose is to make blog postings more fancy. nothing more.

Cool idea (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887684)

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.)

Upverter (1)

Leif_Bloomquist (311286) | more than 2 years ago | (#36887874)

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.

Re:Upverter (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889106)

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 libraries also need to be consistent. You want all the pads designed with uniform design rules, or you have problems in board fab. So a Q/A operation and standards are needed. (Open Circuits says "Please also note that we guarantee that there are some messed up footprints in this library.")

Digi-Key manages to collect the data sheets for almost everything they sell. Maybe someone will do that for PC board footprints and simulation models and make them freely available. It probably won't be CircuitBee, but some vendor of parts or boards.

Can't print nor download. BAD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36888150)

You can't print the schematics, you can't download the schematics.

You will be at the mercy of the service.

Furthermore the service may prevent you from seeing something. They have the control.

It's very bad to restrict your stuff to this service. They'll just hold your data captive and will be in control of it.

This started with a good idea (share schematics), but ended up being an evil data sink with you providing them with free work. Allow print/export and it's OK.

Re:Can't print nor download. BAD! (1)

circuitbee (2421960) | more than 2 years ago | (#36891710)

Print and export are planned, this is in no way a data sink! We'll be adding export to any format we can get the specifications for (few of them sadly), and Print is definitely on the way.

I don't want to get laughed at (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36888214)

I can go for uploading your "stupid" video to youtube and making an ass of your self, because, at least you were not trying, you were just caught in a bad moment. If I am going to upload a schematic to some website, it is going to be something that I have thought about, and the thought of beeing flamed in the same way as in here is enough to keep me from posting anything.

CircuitBee author - ask me anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36888666)

Hi all,

Wow, quite a lot of discussion here. So many things to say.

Just to clarify one thing, this is an Alpha release. We're really early days, and I'm the only coder on the project thus far.

This project is really aimed at hobbyists right now, professional level tools aren't really in the hands of people learning electronics or playing around with it during their spare time. CircuitBee is really aiming to make it easier to actually discuss and iterate circuit designs so all the makers and hobbyists out there can effectively teach each other.

We're planning to add hot linking to components and specific points within the design from within our comment stream, so you can write about something and actually show people what part of the circuit you are discussing (rather than having to tab around looking at a giant PDFs or JPEGs to find the component that was mentioned). We're also hoping to implement annotation features, version history of schematics and perhaps project forking and comparison. We will of course be offering download of original source files as well.

For those of you mentioning the other schematic tools out there, such as OrCAD, gschem, Altium and all the other pro tools. We would love to support them, just as soon as we can find specifications for the file formats, or have the time and money to buy them and work with their scripting languages. We don't aim to replace the tools you work with, just make it easier for you to share and discuss your work with anyone - no matter the tools they work with.

I hope that answers some questions for people. As the comment subject says though, Ask Me Anything.

Re:CircuitBee author - ask me anything (1)

circuitbee (2421960) | more than 2 years ago | (#36888692)

Gah, can't claim a post I've already written I guess...anyway, just for those that might think the above is a fake or something I thought it best I sign up.

Re:CircuitBee author - ask me anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889184)

as soon as we can find specifications for the file formats

Don't hold your breath.

A hobby project of mine is a little like this (1)

Mortimer82 (746766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889372)

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 schematics in a standard format which many existing tools can import into the game's save file.

The reason for doing it in javascript was that people with a few spare minutes, even at places like their work, could look at and play with the schematics, without needing to download the file and open it separately in some program which they may not even have installed. It "just works" on any browser which has support for the canvas HTML element. Although it's not very friendly to them yet as I have made no attempts to optimise it yet, it actually already works to an extent on iOS's Safari and reportedly on Android devices as well.

What I found interesting about the project in the article is that they made it embeddable, something I have already considered for my own simulator. One merely includes a javascript file reference on their forum's HTML, and users on that forum could embed schematics which could be fiddled around with right there in the forum post, in much the same way Youtube videos can be viewed right there in a forum post.

My personal little amateur project is immensely simple by comparison and needs a lot more work, but interesting to see other people have similar ideas.

Re:A hobby project of mine is a little like this (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889864)

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.

Re:A hobby project of mine is a little like this (1)

Mortimer82 (746766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890094)

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 their own personal options, as configurable options is my next biggest priority. I then plan on implementing importing and copy/pasting which will then be followed by a way to show a gallery of "components" available for import. Sideview editing and more block types is also a huge priority, in fact I have so much planned, but only so much time.

On top of it all, I am cleaning up and refactoring some of the earlier code to make it easier to manage, by myself and possibly others. My job has nothing to do with programming, I have no formal training in it, this is my first attempt at anything in javascript and this is by far away the biggest programming project I have ever undertaken, so there has been *lots* of learning needed along the way, resulting in some less than ideal code at times.

All that being said, it's been an immensely rewarding and fun experience, especially when you see other people get excited about something you have made and making active use of it.

Thingiverse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36890826)

Thingiverse does it MUCH better

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