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How To Draw Circuit Schematics In Protel Autotrax

When it comes to contributed projects or circuits, there are few things more frustrating than finding the circuit has been drawn (apparently) by "a thumbnail dipped in tar" - or near equivalent. Here's an easy way to make them look good!

by Rick Walters

Not only do poorly presented circuit diagrams increase the likelihood of errors, they also make it more difficult to understand the basic circuit operation.

And if those at SILICON CHIP cannot understand it, how are readers going to?

The Editor will be much more impressed by a neatly laid out diagram with standardised symbols, all components at right-angles and all the components in scale.

Click for larger image
Which one looks better? This one or the one on the right? Unfortunately, the example at left is a positive masterpiece compared to some which we see!
Click for larger image

How do you do it?

Many years ago Protel had a circuit drawing package called Schematic. Unfortunately it was less than acceptable – the frustration and poor results with this program prompted me to think about an alternative.

The one I use might sound a little unusual at first glance. It’s the Protel Autotrax PCB (Printed Circuit Board) layout package which of course is intended to lay out PC boards. But I find gives excellent results when drawing circuits – and as a bonus is quite easy to use.

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