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Anyone know of a good, very basic, cheap electronic sketch pad?

flippineck

Sep 8, 2013
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They say a picture paints a thousand words. Often find I'm trying to describe something in words where a simple circuit diagram would be far preferable.

Finding it hard though, to effortlessly come up with a quick diagram on my PC (Linux OS) when the need arises.

There's a million solutions, gimp, mobile phone photo, scanner, etc etc but everything I've got or have come across is a bit of a faff, and ends up turning what should be a 30 second excercise into an hours job.

I was looking on ebay for something simple & found this, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/333741909709

It'd be great if it had a USB lead and could just shoot an image file straight to the PC desktop. Unfortunately it seems to lack that feature :-(

Surely there must be something out there that does that.. no need for anything fancy, all that's required would be monochrome line art instigated by a ballpoint pen, or stylus. I'm imagining something you could place a sheet of plain A4 on, draw a circuit, press a button, and find a .jpg image of your original on the desktop ready to upload to a forum post.

Anybody use one / able to point me to one?
 

Harald Kapp

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Schematic entry using such a pad is imho not efficient. I know no one in the profession who uses such a pad.
Have you considered a CAE program for your PC? For example KICAD which is available for Linux. You can use it for simply drawing schematic diagrams. Or go on and create our own PCB from the schematic. Even create a 3D view of your board virtually.
Kicad is free.
 

flippineck

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Thanks. It's listed in the package manager on my system but won't download at the moment. Soon as I've got the download issue fixed I'll give it a try :)
 

flippineck

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Wow, that program's a keeper :) Thanks for that.

It's more complex than what I had in mind, but I was able to get it to produce some worthwhile output in half an hour of playing with it. It's going to be worth spending the time to learn how to use it properly.
 

bertus

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Nov 8, 2019
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Hello,

Also the standard kolourpaint for KDE can be used for sketching:
http://www.kolourpaint.org/
In OpenSuse the linux I am using it is the standard paint program.
I am using version 21.08 for making the schematics I post.
The schematics symbols I take from this sheet:
Electrical_symbols_library.png

Bertus
 

flippineck

Sep 8, 2013
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Kolourpaint installed easily from my existing sources using the Muon package manager. That's another good solution, thanks :)
 

Harald Kapp

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While you can use both to draw a diagram, there's a huge difference between using a CAE program (e.g. Kicad) and a paint program (e.g. Kolourpaint):
  • You can create a layout from a CAE schematic, not from a painted image.
  • You can create a parts list from a CAE schematic, not from a painted image.
  • You can move around components in a CAE schematic dragging along the connections. You can't do that in a paint program.
  • You can do all sorts of design verification (electrical checks) in a CAE program. You can't do that in a paint program.
  • You can trigger a circuit simulation of the schematic from within a CAE program. You can't do that in a paint program.
A paint program may at first glance seem to be the quick fix to getting your sketch into a computer. But design ends there. A CAE program on th eother side has a steep learning curve, but entering a schematic is only a starting point for further design activities. SO why not start with the real thing?

Of course, it's up to you. Entirely.
 
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