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Fritzing for Schematic and PCB Design

Fritzing is a completely free Circuit Design program available across all popular operating systems. The program was designed to support hobbyists, hackers, artists and makers (and all creative minds) in taking the step from concept to prototype to production. We found that it doesn't just provide that, but it does so in such an easy to grasp the way that we have decided to use it in-house at Core Electronics. Fritzing enables us to easily document and produce electronic circuits for tutorials and projects and personally I love using it. It's worth noting that Fritzing is an open-source hardware initiative meaning it's free for all users, however, any donations made to them via their website helps a great deal in the furthering development of the platform. So dig deep people!

A screenshot of Fritzing displaying the Raspberry Pi and a circuit of leds, etc

How do you use Fritzing?

  • You take your working prototyped circuit setup, your bird’s nest of jumper cables and your attached peripherals and head right into the breadboard view of a new fritzing sketch.
  • Once there you can drop-n-drop any number of parts from the “bins” of parts (See under Parts section on the right-hand side of the workspace). If the exact part you are using doesn’t exist in the parts bins, you can adjust its properties in the Inspector menu. Failing that you can add your own part to the ‘mine’ bin and share it with the community!
  • When you have all your parts placed in your workspace, you can import any microcontroller you might be using as well. Particle, rPi, Arduino and Intel boards are all supported, plus a bunch more.
  • Connect up the relevant parts with jumper wires by clicking and dragging on the component legs.
  • When you create a replica of your circuit in the breadboard view of Fritzing you can transition between breadboard, schematic and PCB views. Jumper cable and breadboard connections will be represented as faint traces within these two views and the AutoRoute function can be used to fill them in.
  • You can now export your ‘sketch’ in a number of ways:
    • As an Image (PNG, JPG, SVG, PDF)
    • As an Etchable PDF, SVG or Gerber file for production
    • Generate a List of Materials (.html file)
    • XML and SPICE netlist generation
  • At this point, you can go ahead and make your own circuit board or choose to utilize the Fritzing FAB service to produce a bunch of professionally made PCBs and have the shipped to you.

Why would you want to use Fritzing?

An image of some example PCBs that were made using the Fritzing Fab service

Breadboards are great for prototyping, but if you have had any experience with them the word temperamental might come to mind. Wiggling jumper cables and components around to make sure they are still in contact with the board every time you move your circuit isn’t the greatest solution.

If you know your circuit works and you’re ready to make a more permanent circuit a reality, Fritzing will be the perfect tool for you to use.

The clear, vectorised graphical representations of your circuits created in the breadboard view are perfect for sharing your prototyping circuit in a clear and sensible way online too. 

If we have your attention and you want some more info, check out some of our more in-depth tutorials on Fritzing including:

Fritzing is a completely free Circuit Design program available across all popular operating systems. The program was designed...

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