Schematics in Inkscape

There are many software options out there for schematic capture. Often, software that isn’t truly designed for drawing schematics is used. Examples of this would be simulation software like LTSpice, EDA software like Altium, Eagle, Allegro,…

However, vector graphics software can be an interesting alternative. They allow for exporting your files as vector graphics. They also require less expensive software compared to professional CAD packages – the file formats are standardized and can be opened on free software such as inkscape.

Like any other software you use to design schematics, you usually do need to take some time to get your library going. However, once you start getting in the flow, I find that it is a very effective way of designing your schematics. I can get good results quite fast, that look quite good. Below is an example of a set of switches for a control input.switches

 

Or below the power input for a project I’m working on – with reverse polarity protection on the system as well as individual diode protection for the batteries:

 

reverseprotect

I’m still working on getting a good library going. I started out with an example I found on wikipedia – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Electrical_symbols_library.svg

However, I had some issues with it, so I modified all my components. The library did give me a good starting point.

I’m interested in seeing where it will go. A few downsides are:

Due to the freedom the software gives you (it doesn’t have any understanding about what you are drawing, unlike purpose designed software), you have nothing that checks what you are doing.

The most major downside to me seems to be the fact that it can’t export net-lists to import into something like your favorite flavor of SPICE or PCB capture software. Still, I think it’s a very attractive alternative for drawing schematics neatly.

I will have to see how it progresses. Once I am somewhat satisfied with my component lib (basically just a .svg with the parts in it) I’ll look at sharing it here.

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