Capture your inspiration or create user frustration?

May 12, 2017 | 01:00
Capture your inspiration or create user frustration?
Capture your inspiration or create user frustration?
Since inspiration may strike anytime, you'd better be ready and so Arrow and Cadence teamed up to bring to us a free, cloud-based version of the famous OrCAD Capture tool allowing people to do schematic capture whenever they feel like it and wherever they are as long as they have access to a tablet, phone or PC with a good Internet connection.

From the website: “This is the real deal, not some hacky drawing tool from a company you've never heard of. This is the same OrCAD Capture everyone's been using for years.

OK, so I gave it a five-minute test-drive (I am an impatient kind of person). First create an account, which is really easy, then check if it is possible to save a design to my PC. No? So users will have to redo their design if they want to do more than just produce an Arrow bill of materials? That is not very useful, now, is it?

Let’s check the Help. Pretty succinct, it does not mention the possibility of saving a design locally; only storing in the cloud is supported. Here we also find a short list of other limitations from which we learn that OrCAD Capture Cloud is actually the same as OrCAD Capture Lite. “This is the same OrCAD Capture everyone's been using for years.” Yeah, right.

The introductory video tells us that any part from the huge Arrow catalogue is available for use in OrCAD Capture Cloud, but this is, of course, not the case. Searching for a part will get you a good amount of information on that part, which is nice, but clicking the Place button will probably more often than not result in a dialog saying, “Part symbol not available in Arrow server”. This is only to be expected, but it kind of takes the speed out of the process of quickly jotting down your inspiration.

As might be expected, not every part from the Arrow catalogue is available in OrCAD Capture Cloud

I find tools like this very frustrating. They promise a lot and in the end you just wasted your time. In short, for me, and for now, a pencil and a piece of paper, any piece of paper, remain the preferred way to capture my inspiration (without having to give my email address to anyone [yes, I know, you can use a fake one]).

Other component distributors too try or have tried to get your email address in return for a design tool. Up to you to decide to use them or not. You might want to try SchemeIt from DigiKey, MultiSIM Blue from Mouser or DesignSpark PCB from RS Components (this is actually a realy good tool). AVNET (owner of Farnell/element14) no longer has a tool after AutoDesk bought Cadsoft (Eagle).
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