1.5 More Information
One of EAGLE’s greatest advantages is the staggering amount of information available. No matter what problem you face, it’s likely that someone has already encountered it and found a solution. In addition to this book, here are four sources of information that I highly recommend.
EAGLE is maintained and released by CadSoft, but in 2009, CadSoft was acquired by Premier Farnell PLC, a distributor of electronic components. That same year, Premier Farnell created element14, an online community to provide support for circuit designers. This community has grown significantly over the years, and each day its forum receives hundreds of designers asking and answering questions. In addition, it provides a library of documentation and videos related to electronic design.
EAGLE isn’t the only topic discussed at element14, but the subforum devoted to EAGLE support is one of busiest places on the site. Here, users ask questions ranging from routing issues to library entries to converting file formats to those used by other tools. Richard Hammerl, a chief technician at CadSoft, frequently answers questions, which means the subforum is nearly as good as full professional support.
In 2003, Nathan Seidle founded SparkFun Electronics to “make electronics accessible to the average person.” This site sells development tools and kits, such as Arduino boards, and it also provides articles related to electrical design. The list of tutorials includes SMT soldering, programming, robotics, and of course, EAGLE. Nathan Seidle has written a series of articles that discuss EAGLE, and SparkFun provides its own EAGLE scripts, programs, and CAM Processor jobs.
The SparkFun forum is very active and its subforums discuss topics as diverse as wireless/RF design, GPS projects, and shipping times for fabrication facilities. In the PCB Design Questions subforum, many EAGLE users submit questions and receive answers.
If you search for EAGLE and PCB or CadSoft on YouTube, you’ll find many YouTube videos devoted to explaining EAGLE usage. Some may be out of date, but taken as a whole, they provide a friendly introduction to this complicated topic.
Last but not least, I recommend CadSoft’s main site. CadSoft provides a great deal of documentation on EAGLE, but in general, you can find the same documentation inside EAGLE’s top-level doc directory. One major point of interest is the Downloads link, which makes it possible to download additional libraries, ULPs, and actual EAGLE projects.