Category Archives: Fritzing Software

276-150 in 0.8.1

276-150 stripboard

stripboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By popular demand, the RadioShack 276-150 stripboard has been added to release 0.8.1. However, you won’t find it as a separate part in the Parts Bin. To access it, drag-and-drop the regular stripboard part into your sketch, then find the ‘layouts’ drop-down in the Inspector and select the 276-150 option.

This may seem a little indirect, but here is the logic: our stripboard strips now run both horizontally and vertically (before they ran only horizontally). This means it’s now possible to cut/uncut strips into arrangements which we call layouts. The 276-150 is one of these layouts, but since we have had so many requests for it, we decided to “store” the layout with Fritzing so people don’t have to make it from scratch each time.

It would be easy to store other layouts with Fritzing. If you have a favorite stripboard layout that you think people would like to use, make the layout on a stripboard in a Fritzing sketch, and email the resulting file to info:at: fritzing :dot: org. In the email, tell us what part you’ve represented or why the layout is so useful. You may see that layout in a subsequent release of Fritzing.

Enjoy,

— Your Fritzing Team

 

New Design Rules Check (DRC)

compare drc

Hello Fritzing Fans,

We’re using images from a PCB design by Bob64 (who we thank for giving us permission) to illustrate the new DRC (Design Rules Check). On the left is the DRC from version 0.7.9 and earlier. In the middle is the same file using the DRC from version 0.7.10.  The image on the right is a close-up from the upper region of the middle image so you can see the new highlighting.

The new DRC has no trouble dealing with diagonal lines or rotated pinheaders. The tradeoff is that it is quite a bit slower than the old DRC (it puts up a progress bar while in process), but is much more accurate.

This means the results are much more specific, and we now display these in a modeless dialog. In other words, you can work with the PCB layout while the highlighting remains visible–you can see where you need to make changes, and make them on the spot. Here is what the dialog looks like after we run the DRC on the board illustrated above:

drc dialog

When you click on an entry in the list, the referenced parts are selected, thus making it easier to see where the problem is.

Hope you enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed building it.

Cheers,

The Fritzing Team.

New Parts Editor released

Hello Fritzing Fans,

We have decided to release the new Parts Editor in two phases. The first phase, included in the latest release (0.7.9), is already easier to use  and more powerful than the old Parts Editor, but you still have to do a lot of preliminary work using an SVG editor like Inkscape, Illustrator, or CorelDRAW. In the next phase we hope to eliminate much of the need to use these programs.

How to start

The new approach is very different from that of the old Parts Editor, and explaining that difference is the purpose of this document. The first big change is that you cannot create a new part from scratch–you must begin with a part that already exists. So the best thing to do is to find a part that is pretty close to what you eventually want. If your part is really different from anything else, then just to try to match the number of connectors. For example, if your part needs 39 pins, then start with a generic IC part, change it to a SIP (single inline package) and give it 39 pins. Though finding a part to begin with may seem like a burden, it will save you effort as you go through the process.

You can open the new parts editor by right-clicking a part in a sketch and choosing the ‘Edit’ option; choosing ‘Edit’ from the Part menu; right clicking a part in the Parts Bin and choosing the ‘Edit’ option; or using the Parts Bin drop down menu.

Six views

The new Parts Editor no longer tries to display everything in a single view.  Instead, it works like the sketch window which has multiple tabs with only one tab visible at a time.  In the new Parts Editor there are six tabs: Breadboard view, Schematic view, PCB view, Icon view, Metadata view, and Connectors view. As you might expect, the first four views are for the part images; the Metadata view is where you enter the part’s title, author, and other properties; and the Connectors view is for editing connector metadata, and for adding or removing connectors. For the latter, you just type in the number of connectors you want.

Loading new images

To load the SVGs for your part, switch to the appropriate view, and use File > Load image for view. As before, you can load SVGs in all views and gEDA .fp files and KICAD .mod files in PCB view only. To create an SVG for any view, you must use an external SVG editor (Inkscape, Illustrator, CorelDRAW, or a text editor) to layout the elements that will be used as connectors. The SVG example below uses <circle> elements for connectors.

Loading PNG or JPG images directly is possible, but since these become SVG images with only a single element, there is no way to place individual connectors. We also  discourage the use of PNG and JPG because these are raster-based rather than vector-based, so they don’t look good when scaled. If you still prefer to use PNG or JPG, we recommend that for now you open them in an external SVG editor and add connector elements there (see below for more about ‘connector elements’). Save the result as an SVG, and use that in the Parts Editor.  In phase 2 you will be able to add connector elements directly in the Parts Editor.

Since you have already begun with a part, it may be that you will only have to load a single image for a particular view–you do not have to replace all the images in the original part.

It is still necessary to prepare SVGs for PCB view by grouping elements in layers: copper0, silkscreen, copper1, etc. (Layering will be handled in the phase 2 parts editor.) The best way to understand the layers is to open up one of the core pcb svg files, For example have a look at the file crystal_hc49U.svg. Silkscreen layer has four while lines, the two copper layers share a pair of circles as connector elements.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<svg baseProfile="tiny" height="0.20306in" version="1.2" viewBox="0 0 46684 20306" width="0.46684in" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg">
    <desc>Fritzing footprint SVG</desc>
    <g id="silkscreen">
        <line stroke="white" stroke-width="1000" x1="1000" x2="45684" y1="1000" y2="1000"/>
        <line stroke="white" stroke-width="1000" x1="45684" x2="45684" y1="1000" y2="19306"/>
        <line stroke="white" stroke-width="1000" x1="45684" x2="1000" y1="19306" y2="19306"/>
        <line stroke="white" stroke-width="1000" x1="1000" x2="1000" y1="19306" y2="1000"/>
    </g>
    <g id="copper1"><g id="copper0">
        <circle cx="13736" cy="10153" fill="none" id="connector0pin" r="2750" stroke="rgb(255, 191, 0)" stroke-width="2000"/>
        <circle cx="32948" cy="10153" fill="none" id="connector1pin" r="2750" stroke="rgb(255, 191, 0)" stroke-width="2000"/>
    </g></g>
</svg>

Sometimes you will want to reuse the breadboard image as your icon image. There is a shortcut for this under File > Reuse breadboard image. You can also find the options: File > Reuse schematic image, and File > Reuse PCB image.

For certain parts–like a breadboard–there is only one view image. For technical reasons, you have to tell the Parts Editor this is what you want.  Use View > Make only this view visible from the current view (one of Breadboard, Schematic, or PCB) to make the part invisible in the other two views.

Undo, save, show in folder

The next big difference from the old Parts Editor is that undo is always available, even after loading view images. Furthermore, you can save your changes at any point and keep working–the new Parts Editor is less like a dialog and more like a full document window.

If you start with a core part (i.e. a part from the Fritzing distro), saving is equivalent to “Save As”. A new part will be created in your local storage area (explained below) and added to the “My Parts” Bin. If you are editing a custom part that was in a sketch, the part will be updated whenever you save (core parts are not updated). If you want the new part to display in the My Parts Bin the next time you run Fritzing, remember to save the bin (use the drop down menu at the upper left of the bin). If you start editing from a part in the My Parts Bin you have a choice between Save (which will overwrite the part), and Save As (which will create a new part and add it to the My Parts Bin).

On Windows the local storage folder is something like C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Fritzing\parts\user\, and SVGs are stored in C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Fritzing\parts\svg\user\. On Linux and Mac this would be ~/.config/Fritzing/parts/user/ and ~/.config/Fritzing/parts/svg/user/.

To find the SVG image for the current view on the desktop, choose File > Show in Folder. On Mac and Windows this will open a folder on your desktop with the SVG file selected. Under Linux you get the folder but no file selection (if anyone has advice about how to get selection to work, we would be grateful).

Associating a connector with its SVG counterpart

The next task will be to associate each connector with its counterpart in the SVG for each view. This is handled very differently from before. For an example, I am going to use images from a part created by Shunichi Yamamoto (who graciously gave us permission to include them in this tutorial, and who also helped beta test the new Parts Editor).

The new part will have 39 pins, so we begin with a Generic IC part and drag it into an empty sketch. There we use the Inspector to change it a to SIP and give it 39 pins. Then we open that in the new Parts Editor with a right-click.

starting up

Next we load the new breadboard image using File > Load image for view.  In the Tools widget at the upper right, you see a list of connectors. Choose one to make it the current or active connector. If it has already been associated with an SVG element, that element will display a marquee highlight. Since we are just starting out, we will choose pin1 which is not currently associated with any SVG element.

pin1

To create the actual association click the “Select graphic” button over in the Connectors widget. This basically puts you in a “mode” that lasts until the next time you mouse down. If you want to escape the mode, click anywhere outside the part or use the escape key. You can only make the association when you are in this mode (this keeps you from accidentally associating a connector to a graphic when you didn’t intend to).

In the mode, move your mouse over the SVG. As you do so, different SVG elements will highlight. It is often the case that any given mouse location can refer to multiple SVG elements (or groups of elements). Use the mouse wheel to highlight other elements above or beneath the currently highlighted one (in the z-order). If you are already on the bottom layer then the next wheel “downward” will make the element flash white; a similar white flash will occur if you are already at the top layer and wheel “upward”. In other words, the flash signifies you can’t move any further in the z-order in that direction.

Here are three highlights from the same mouse position, using the mouse wheel:

highlight1
highlight2
highlight3

The first highlight is the one we want so we mouse down when the wheel gets us back to that small rectangle. Now the element has a marquee to show that it is the current pin, and you also see the terminal point as a crosshair which defaults to the center. The terminal point is the place where a wire attaches to the connector.

assoc1

After associating pin2 and pin3 we have:

pin3

Adjusting terminal points

In PCB and Breadboard view the terminal point is usually the center of the connector so you don’t have to do any thing else.  But in schematic view the terminal point is usually near the end of the connector. So let’s go to schematic view.  We start with the original SVG image. Note how the connectors are already showing their anchor points. Pin3 is the current connector.

schematic

Now we load the new schematic image and start associating pins.

schematic2

Here is what the Connectors widget looks like with pin3 as the current connector:

tools1

Notice that since we have selected graphics for three of the connectors, those connectors are checked in the connector list.

You can use the buttons or spinners to adjust the terminal point. Here is a close up after hitting the W button, and clicking the X spinner twice (look at the pin marked ‘AN2’):

schematic3

You can also drag the terminal point directly by mousing down on it when its SVG element is highlighted.

Setting internal connections

An internal connection is when a two or more connectors in a part are already connected, for example the GND connectors on the Arduino UNO. You can specify and edit internal connections by clicking on the “Set internal connections” checkbox in the Connectors widget–it’s beneath the connectors list (you can see it in the image of the Connectors widget, above). Since we are talking about the Arduino UNO, here is what it looks like when Set internal connections is checked:

bus1

The green lines represent the internal connections. To remove an internal connection, right-click the line and choose “Remove internal connection”. To add a new connection, just drag a line out from one connector to another.

Known limitations

The following feature are due in phase two:

  • adding holes
  • mixing THT and SMD connectors–for now you must start with an SMD part to create a new SMD part, and start with a through-hole part to create a new through-hole part.
  • control over SVG element layering
  • direct manipulation of SVG elements
  • setting up parts with bendable legs.


Bye for now

That’s pretty much the phase one story. We hope you like what you’ve seen. Stay tuned for phase two.

Cheers,

— The Fritzing Team

Once-a-week production started!

»Users will never be able to get their own professionally produced PCBs in an affordable way!«

Not so long ago, this was what we heard when we talked about our dream of creating a closed loop from breadboard to product with Fritzing.

One year ago that dream came true when we launched our Fritzing Fab service. In a three-week cycle we collected the sketches from you, arranged them on a panel and sent them to our factory in Berlin. The first round consisted of 12 different PCBs from 9 users.

Today we are receiving so many orders that we are delighted to announce our new one-week production cycle! From now on we will send your orders to the factory to produce your layouts every week! Thank you very much for enthusiastically using our service!

Image of PCBs made with Fritzing Fab (black on white)

New Fritzing Release 0.7.5!!!

We are happy to present our new Fritzing release 0.7.5. It has a bunch of new features including the ability to have multiple PCBs in one sketch, using a brand new Arduino-Mega shield layout, new generic double row pin headers and much more.

Thanks to Alexander for translating Fritzing into Greek and to Josef for the Czech translation update.

Download for free on www.fritzing.org

If you don‘t know Fritzing by now:
With the Fritzing environment you can learn about and work with interactive electronics. We provide tutorials and our Fritzing software to support you and your project. Using the Fritzing software you can create PCB layouts as easily as drawing a line.

0.7.0 released – Fritzing goes beta!

With the release of 0.7 we are dropping the Alpha in favor of a new, shiny Beta. Why do we think the new version deserves this? Because we finally cleaned up two longstanding architectural flaws. While you won’t notice any difference when you launch the new version, these changes will make your work with Fritzing clearer, cleaner, and easier, not to mention whiter, brighter, and more sparkly.

fzz is the new fz

First, we are deprecating the old .fz file format in favor of the .fzz file format (formerly known as the “shareable” format). You can still load your old .fz files, but Fritzing will only save out .fzz files. The .fzz format is just a zip file that contains a sketch file plus any custom parts used in that sketch. Essentially the new “Save” is the old “Save as Shareable”. This change eliminates a number of prompts when you open and save files, and makes sure that custom parts always travel with the sketch they belong to–which used to cause a lot of trouble.

When a sketch containing custom parts is loaded, the parts are placed into a temporary parts bin, which is only available while the sketch is open. You can move parts out of that bin (for example, into the My Parts bin) if you want to use the custom parts in other sketches.

all views are now created equal

Second, all three views now behave in the same way. There is no longer an implied workflow that suggests starting with the breadboard view and then moving on to schematics or PCB.  In other words, the breadboard view is no longer the master–you can start working in any view and clean up the breadboard view later. In the old days this was very difficult because the breadboard view would get messy when you made changes in the other views.

This equality is achieved by making the breadboard view use ratsnest lines just like the other views. If you see a ratsnest line in a given view, it represents a connection you have made between parts in another view. If you always work in the same view, you will never see a ratsnest line. If you work across multiple views and see a ratnest line in a particular view, you can decide whether to lay out the connection in that view.

Fritzing 0.7 Beta

An important implication is that if you connect two parts by mistake–say by drawing a wire between them–and then delete the wire, the connection will be gone. But if those parts had also been connected in another view, when you delete the wire, the ratsnest line will be restored.

By contrast, deleting a ratsnest line means deleting the connection in all three views. Much of the time, this means that you will be deleting a wire between those parts. But it may mean a part gets disconnected from the breadboard in Breadboard view.  Or it may mean that a wire between different parts get deleted, because the connection represented by the ratsnest line is not direct–for example, if the ratsnest line is between A and B, but the actual wires are drawn from A to C to B. So be a little careful when you delete ratsnest lines–it may be safer to switch to one of the other views and do the deletion there.

smoother

Everyone around Fritzing HQ is saying how much smoother and more predictable it is to work with Fritzing 0.7.0 compared to earlier versions. We hope you will feel the same way. Watch out for one of Stefan’s Killer Tip videos to show off some of the 0.7.0 improvements.

Enjoy,

Your Fritzing Team.

 

New Release 0.6.4!

Hi everyone,

just in time for the season we deliver a new release to play with over the holidays. Even though it’s a minor release it comes with a lot of nifty new features:

  • The new parts bin navigation lets you easily browse through your part bins and has dedicated bins for some popular manufacturers.
  • Fritzing got much faster – especially on the Mac! We owe this speed improvement to the wonderful folks at Qt, who released the new version 4.8.
  • Parts can now be rotated freely in breadboard and pcb view. Just hover a selected part over a corner, then drag around.
  • Our generic ICs now provide a dedicated pin label editor to make it easier to create custom ICs. You can find it in the inspector window.
  • On your PCB, you now can decide if you like to have a ground fill (empty spaces are filled with copper connected to the GND) or just a copper fill (not connected).
  • In preparation for the new Super Upgrade Kit you can find new example circuits for 7 segment displays, shift registers, rotary encoders and much more.
  • Lots of new parts from parkFun (thanks Lionel, Nathan, Ryan, Robert), Snootlab (thanks Lionel and Lionel), from the Fritzing team (shrouded pin headers, ECB transistors, 3mm LEDs, Superflux LEDs, 5 band resistors, the Atmega 2560, SSOP 28 footprint, rotary encoder).
    We also finally managed to include some of the wonderful community contributed parts (fuse, low dropout voltage regulator, Atmega644, HCF 4067, RTC breakout, HEF 4094, RGB 3W Star, DB-25 connector). Thanks to Johan, Macgyveremir, Forvellos, Mike, SorkiG, Niclas, Kungfumachinist.
  • An updated Portugues translation -thanks Nuno!

Give it a spin!

Your little Fritzing elves

New examples

New parts bin navigation

New parts

New pin label editor

Dropping support for PPC and OS X10.4?

Dear Mac Fritzing Users,

With the advent of OS X10.7 and the soon-to-be-released Qt 4.8 (Qt is the underlying GUI framework for Fritzing), building for OS X10.4 and/or PPC will become an extra chore.  How many of you out there still need Fritzing to support these platforms?

Thanks,

– j

Comments from the old blog

  1. natm # 29. Okt. 2011, 21:52

    Lots of schools still have labs full of PPC kit, I wonder how many of them are using Fritzing?

  2. tuxilein # 5. Nov. 2011, 12:04

    I am still working on an old G4 MDD which is my primary workstation. Unlike maybe other users i am prepared to compile the software myself. I’ll be glad to help with building and compiling for Debian/Linux-PPC and Mac OS X/PPC if needed.

Fritzing gets the bends

bended wires

This is a screen shot from the Curvy Parking Assistant example sketch that comes with Fritzing 0.6.3.

What’s new is:

  • wires can be curved, or can be straight and have bendpoints, or both
  • many parts–such as resistors, capacitors, LEDs, and transistors–now have rubberband legs
  • rubberband legs can be curved, or can be straight and have bendpoints, or both

These features are only available in breadboard view. The rest of this post will explain how to use them.

Wires
Let’s start with wires.  As before, you can drag on each end of a wire, and it will stretch along with your mouse. You can drag out a bendpoint simply by mousing down somewhere on the middle of the wire and dragging.  Or you can add a new bendpoint by double-clicking somewhere in the middle of the wire, or right-clicking to bring up the context menu, and selecting the appropriate option.  To delete a bendpoint you can double-click it, or right-click to bring up the context menu.

Adding a curve to a wire is like dragging out a new bendpoint, except that you hold the control key down (Mac: command key down).  How the curve bends depends upon where on the curve you drag it.  To be specific, these are Bézier curves, which means that the curves are influenced by four points: the two endpoints, and two “control points”.  As you drag on a curve, Fritzing will display the control points to give you a better sense of what’s happening.   The image below is an example.

bezier

There is one control point at the end of the grey line and another control point at the end of the white line.  Since you can only affect one control point at a time, the white line shows which one is active–in this case the point controlling the lower bend.  The next image is the same curve, but now after mousing up from the lower bend and mousing down again and dragging the upper bend.

bezier2

By the way, if you prefer curvy wires to straight ones, you can set that as the default in Preferences.  So in that case, the normal drag behavior would produce curves, and to make a bendpoint, you would hold down the control key (Mac: command key).

Rubberband legs
A rubberband leg acts a lot like a wire with only one available end.  If you have a part with rubberband legs, each leg can be manipulated independently of the others.  Just as with a wire you can:

  • drag the end of the leg to connect it to a distant connector
  • drag out a new bendpoint
  • create a new bendpoint by double-clicking or right-clicking and choosing a context menu option
  • delete a bendpoint by double-clicking or choosing a context menu option
  • drag out a curve by holding down the control key (Mac: command key) as you drag

Another feature of rubberband legs is that it is possible to move the body of a part without disconnecting its legs.  For example, say you’ve dropped an LED onto a breadboard, and you want to change the position of the LED but leave it connected.  In this case, hold down the alt key (Linux: meta key) as you drag the part.  The legs will rubberband, staying attached to the breadboard as you drag the part body.

If you want to connect a rubberband leg to another part using a wire, then when you drag on the end of the leg, hold down the alt key (Linux: meta key).

That’s the rundown.

Enjoy,

— the Fritzing team

Fritzing Fab is finally here!

Fritzing Fab

Even though it didn’t take us as long as DNF, we are aware that we were a bit optimistic with our previous announcements. But now it’s finally here: Fritzing Fab is open for business!

You can now go to fab.fritzing.org and order a PCB directly from your Fritzing sketch. (Just use your Fritzing.org account to log in.)

We hope that you are pleased with how easy the process is. No long lists of parameters — no worries. The prices are very low, too, and the more you order the cheaper it gets.

This new video should also give you a taste how quickly you can turn your breadboard sketch into a sweet custom PCB:

With the opening of Fab we have now come full circle. When you look closely at the photo above, you can see that it is the realization of the original vision sketch that you can still find on our front page. 🙂

Why did it take us so long? Besides some technical issues, this is a bit of a risky undertaking for an open-source project like us. Because PCB production is only efficient when producing large quantities, this will only work when enough people are ordering. As with the starter kits, all profit goes back into the further development of Fritzing.

So let’s keep the fingers crossed and give Fab a try.

Comments from the old blog:

  1. isnoop #2. Aug. 2011, 19:26This is excellent! I can’t wait to use it in the coming months.
  2. Jürgen B #7. Aug. 2011, 20:03Hi, sorry, have i understand it right? An PCB with 100 x 160 mm will cost about 80,- Euro? I can not believe 🙁 I think, it will be much to expensive 🙁 Bey Juergen 🙁 http://www.loetseite.de
  3. André Knörig #9. Aug. 2011, 15:37Hi Jürgen, remember that this is the price for a single, individual PCB. And even though we are really small, this is actually still cheaper than the best known pooling PCB service in Europe — and the profit goes back into Fritzing. We’d be happy to learn how to offer an even less expensive service, while still delivering the same quality.
  4. darius #7. Okt. 2011, 13:14I read in the FAQ, that you might accept Gerber or eagle files at some point if enough interest raises. Is there a specific place where I can cast my vote for this?
  5. André Knörig #23. Okt. 2011, 09:54Hi Darius, You just did. 🙂