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Autodesk Eagle overview

We will go inside and have a look at Autodesk Eagle and its components.

Tag: Project 200a Autodesk Eagle overview.

Project resources

  • Sketch: None;
  • Libraries: None;
  • Other attachments: None.

What is EAGLE?

EAGLE is electronic design automation (EDA) software that lets printed circuit board (PCB) designers seamlessly connect schematic diagrams, component placement, PCB routing, and comprehensive library content. You can get more info about it here.

PCB layout software for every engineer. Bring your electronic inventions to life with a complete set of PCB layout and schematic editing tools, library content, and community-driven features.


Schematic editor:

  • SPICE simulator. Quickly test ideas and validate circuit performance with SPICE simulation methods.
  • Modular design blocks. Drag and drop reusable design blocks between your projects, complete with synchronized schematic and PCB circuitry.
  • Electronic rule checking. Validate your schematic design with a complete set of electronic rule checks, so your schematic can stay on track.

PCB layout editor:

  • Real-time design synchronization. All changes stay automatically in sync between your schematic and layout, so you can focus on the creative process.
  • Intuitive alignment tools. Precisely arrange and order PCB design objects with a complete set of alignment tools.
  • Push and shove routing. Adhere to all your design rules while the adaptive interactive router pushes and shoves your PCB traces.
  • Obstacle avoidance routing. Route complex PCB layouts and maneuver around your design to easily get your trace to its destination.
  • New routing engine. Create PCB layouts quickly. Explore tools for loop removal, cornering, and via placement while routing.
  • Design rule checking (DRC). Control your design flow and avoid unexpected surprises with fully customizable PCB design rules and constraints.

PCB library content:

  • Managed online libraries. Worry-free libraries are ready for your next design. Find and place parts dynamically linked to our growing catalog.
  • 3D PCB models. Don’t rely on luck to fit your board in its enclosure. Accurate 3D models enable the PCB to fit the first time.
  • Complete components. Out-of-the-box component libraries include symbol, footprint, 3D model, and parametrics.

Online PCB community:

  • One-click make. PCB manufacturing without the headache. Push complete outputs to the hub, connecting with your manufacturer directly.
  • Fusion 360 integration. Design the PCB object directly in Fusion 360 and synchronize bidirectional changes to your PCB design seamlessly.
  • User language programs (ULPs). Enhance usability and capabilities with one of the scripts or programs created by the vast online PCB community.

How can I get and install an Eagle PCB software?

Just go to website download and install it. Please note that the free version of Eagle is limited version for hobbyists with a Fusion 360 for personal use subscription and include 2 schematic sheets, 2 signal layers, and an 80cm2 (12.4in2) board area. Even if you’re designing a big Arduino shield, you’ll still be well under the maximum size. You need to choose your operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux) too. It was the Eagle version 9.6.2 at the moment when this overview was prepared.

Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install

You will need to create your account after installation and click on verification link sent to your email.

Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install

Click on Verify email button. Type your email address, password and click on Done button.

Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install
Eagle PCB download and install

You can login now.

Starting Autodesk EAGLE First Time

1.Click on shortcut on your PC desktop

Eagle PCB software

2.The Autodesk EAGLE PCB software will start to load.

Eagle PCB software loading

3.If you have an issue when launching/executing Autodesk EAGLE, the application, for example:

  • Starts and crashes/closes automatically after a few seconds at the splash screen.
  • Only the initial/start EAGLE screen/logo is displayed, then it disappears, and no other window opens.
  • No EAGLE task appears in the Windows Task Manager.
  • A small start window appears (picture with “Autodesk” in the lower left corner) and closes again immediately, which hinders any login or configuration possibilities.
  • Cannot go online because the login window does not show.

In some instances, the main/loading program window is displayed blank with the title Control Panel EAGLE 9.x (OFFLINE)  and then no action can be performed.

The Control Panel EAGLE 9.x (OFFLINE) issue

The causes can be:

  • Faulty DLL associated with the system and/or the program (Windows Event Viewer may indicate that the “Eagle.exe” crash resulted from faulting module “LIBEAY32.dll”).
  • Graphics drivers issues. 
  • Email used to log in might have backend issues. 

There are several solutions to fix these issues:

a. Rename LIBEAY32.dll file:

  • Navigate to “C:\EAGLE 9.x” and find the file “LIBEAY32.dll”.
  • Rename the .dll by appending .bak at the end of the file name: “LIBEAY32.dll.bak”.
  • Launch Eagle again, the program should open with no issue. 
Rename LIBEAY32.dll file to fix issue with Autodesk EAGLE
Rename LIBEAY32.dll file to fix issue with Autodesk EAGLE

b. Manual DLL file replacement

  1. Download the ZIP archive suitable for installed OS from Total Commander Win Tools.
  2. Unarchive the downloaded files.
  3. Create back-ups of the files “libeay32.dll” and “ssleay32.dll” from the directory “C:\EAGLE 9.6.2
  4. Replace “libeay32.dll” and “ssleay32.dll” from the directory “C:\EAGLE 9.6.2” with the corresponding files, unarchived in step 2.
  5. Restart EAGLE and sign back in.
Manual DLL file replacement to fix an issue with Autodesk EAGLE

c. Open EAGLE with the “eagle_SW_OpenGL.bat” file

  1. Go into the EAGLE installation directory.
  2. Start EAGLE by double-clicking the “eagle_SW_OpenGL.bat” file.
Open EAGLE with the "eagle_SW_OpenGL.bat" file

d. Sign in to EAGLE with another email

  1. Request your Account manager to go to the Autodesk Account.
  2. Unassign the EAGLE license (or Fusion 360 – depending on the entitlement) from the email you are currently using.
  3. Assign the license to another email.
  4. Log in in EAGLE using the new email assigned. 

Note. If this works you can either use the new email or check with Autodesk Support the reason why the access to EAGLE is not granted using the first email.  

Sign in to EAGLE with another email

e. Additional activities that might help:

  • Make sure to update video drivers to the latest offered by the graphics card vendor.
  • Make sure that Lavasoft Software is not installed on the machine.

Exploring the Autodesk EAGLE Control Panel

The first time you open up EAGLE, you should be presented with the Control Panel view. The Control Panel links together all modules in the Autodesk EAGLE software.

Autodesk EAGLE Control Panel

You can see the EIGHT separate trees in the control panel:

  • Libraries store parts, which are a combination of schematic symbol and PCB footprint. Libraries usually contain a group of related parts.
  • Design Blocks are the perfect tool if you need to reuse either an entire design or just a small piece of it. The choice is ultimately yours. The best part of this new feature is the EAGLE real-time forward annotation. So if you place a design block in your schematic, it’s going to automatically show up on your board layout. Everything remains in sync at all times.
  • Design Rules are a set of rules your board design must meet before you can send it off to the fab house. In this tree you’ll find DRU files, which are a a pre-defined set of rules.
  • User Language Programs are scripts written in EAGLE’s User Language. They can be used to automate processes like generating bill of materials (bom.ulp), or importing a graphic (import-bmp.ulp).
  • Scripts can be used to customize the EAGLE user interface. In one click you can set the color scheme and assign key bindings.
  • CAM Jobs can be opened up by the CAM processor to aid in the creation of gerber files.
  • SPICE models. SPICE is a computer simulation developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It’s one of the most widely used simulation programs that allows engineers to simulate the behavior of circuits. Why bother with simulating though? By testing how a circuit will perform in action, you can catch errors early in the design process before they manifest in your prototypes. SPICE simulation makes this happen through the use of SPICE models and a netlist. The netlist defines how pins are connected on your schematic. Models contain text descriptions of a component’s values, which can then be used by the SPICE engine to simulate behavior mathematically. Models for simple components can be simple one-line descriptions. Complex multi-part components will often have models with hundreds of lines of information. Unless you plan to use a library in Eagle that already has spice compatible parts, then you’ll need to download SPICE models yourself. Thankfully there are plenty of component manufacturers who provide SPICE models to download on their websites. Remember when searching for SPICE models that there’s a difference between PSpice and SPICE. PSpice is a proprietary simulator owned by Cadence, and many PSpice models are not compatible with standard SPICE simulators. To avoid any confusion, always stick to downloading SPICE3 (the latest 3f5) or SPICE2 models, as they are all versions of the good old Berkeley SPICE.
  • Projects. This is where each of your projects are organized into a single project folder. Projects will include schematic, board design, and possibly gerber files.

If you select a file in a tree, information about it will appear in the right-hand portion of the window. This is a great way to explore libraries, project designs (EAGLE comes with some fun examples), or to get a good overview of what a script’s purpose is.

Autodesk EAGLE Control Panel

1.Customizing the User Interface

EAGLE’s user interface is highly customizable. Anything from the background color, to layer colors, to key bindings can be modified to fit your preference. Better tailoring your interface can make designing a PCB much easier.

The background color of the board editor can be changed from white to black as white background doesn’t always meld very well with the array of colored layers required for board design. Go to Options menu and select User interface to change background color.

The background color of the board editor can be changed in Autodesk EAGLE

Inside the Layout box you can set the background to black, white, or a specific color.

The background color of the board editor can be changed in Autodesk EAGLE

As you can see there are other options in this popup window, but it’s recommended do not adjust any until you have more experience with the Autodesk EAGLE software.

We also recommend to turn the grid on in the board editor. Dimensions and sizes are so important to the design of your PCB, having some visible reminders of size can be very helpful. To turn the grid view on, click the  icon near the top-left corner of the board window (or go to View menu and select Grid). Switch the Display radio button over to On. We’ll also make the grid a bit less fine by setting the Size to 100 mil (0.1″) and Alt to 50 mil (0.05″).

turn the grid on in the board editor of Autodesk Eagle
turn the grid on in the board editor of Autodesk Eagle

2.Opening and exploring the project

EAGLE is packaged with a handful of nifty example PCB designs. Open one up by expanding the Projects tree, for example Arduino Mega 2560 Reference Board. From there, under the examples folder open up the arduino project by double-clicking the green icon (or right-clicking and selecting Open). Opening the project should cause two more EAGLE windows to popup: the board and schematic editors. They should be used together to create the finished product that is a functional PCB design.

Opening a Project and Explore in Autodesk Eagle
Opening a Project and Explore in Autodesk Eagle

The schematic editor (below) is a collection of red circuit symbols which are interconnected with green nets (or wires). A project’s schematic is like the comments in a program’s code. It helps tell the story of what the board design actually does, but it doesn’t have much influence on the end product. Parts in a schematic aren’t precisely measured, they’re laid out and connected in a way that’s easy to read, to help you and others understand what’s going on with the board design.

Opening a Project and Explore in Autodesk Eagle

The board editor is where the real magic happens. Here colorful layers overlap and intersect to create a precisely measured PCB design. Two copper layers – red on top, blue on the bottom – are strategically routed to make sure different signals don’t intersect and short out. Yellow circles (on this design, but they’re more often green) called “vias” pass a signal from one side to the other. Bigger vias allow for through-hole parts to be inserted and soldered to the board. Other, currently hidden, layers expose copper so components can be soldered to it.

Opening a Project and Explore in Autodesk Eagle

Keep both of these windows open as any changes made to the schematic are automatically reflected in the board editor. So, whenever you’re modifying a design it’s important to keep both windows open at all times. If, for example, you closed the board window of a design, but continued to modify a schematic. The changes you made to the schematic wouldn’t be reflected in the board design. It is bad. The schematic and board design should always be consistent. It’s really painful to backtrack any changes in an effort to reattain consistency. So, you should always keep both windows open!

There are a few ways to tell if you don’t have consistency between windows. First, there’s a Lightning Bolt Symbol (🗲) in the lower-right hand corner of both windows. If it’s green, everything is groovy.

Keep both of these windows open in Autodesk Eagle

If it’s magenta, a window’s probably closed that shouldn’t be. Second, and more obvious, if you close either of the two windows a big, huge warning should pop up in the other:

Keep both of these windows open in Autodesk Eagle

If you see that warning – STOP and get the other window back open. The easy way to get either a board or schematic window back open is by clicking the Switch to board/schematic icon  SCH BRD (also found under the File menu).

 Switch to board/schematic icon  SCH BRD in Autodesk Eagle
 Switch to board/schematic icon  SCH BRD in Autodesk Eagle
 Switch to board/schematic icon  SCH BRD in Autodesk Eagle

3.Navigating the View

This is a subject that’s usually glazed over, but it’s important to know how to navigate around both of these windows.

To move around within an editor window, a mouse with a scroll wheel comes in very handy. You can zoom in and out by rotating the wheel forward and backward. Pressing the wheel down, and moving the mouse allows you to drag the screen around.

If you’re stuck without a three-button mouse, you’ll have to resort to the view options to move around the editor views. All of these tools are located near the middle of the top toolbar, or under the View menu. The zoom in    and zoom out    tools are obviously handy. So is the Zoom select tool    which alters the view to your selection.

Navigating the View in Autodesk Eagle

4.Running Scripts

Scripts are a much more streamlined way to quickly configure your interface. With one click of the button, you can automatically set up all of your colors and key binds. Script files can also be shared, and run by anyone. From Scripts tree go to examples folder and right-click on any script then select Open or if you want to execute select Execute in Schematic and Execute in Board.

Running Scripts in Autodesk Eagle

If you want to download and use any script, first download it, then unzip it. If you want to run the script then in the board window click on the Script icon (or go to File -> Execute Script). In the file browser, select the script file you just downloaded and unzipped.

Running Scripts in Autodesk Eagle
Running Scripts in Autodesk Eagle

5.How to start New project

Go to Projects tree and select Projects. Right-click and select New Folder for your project, give it a name, for example Project-1, then right-click and select New Project and give it a name, for example project1. You will need to add schematics and board to your new project

How to start New project in Autodesk EAGLE
How to start New project in Autodesk EAGLE

6. Libraries

EAGLE has an impressive list of part libraries, which you can explore in the Control Panel view. There are hundreds of libraries in here, some devoted to specific parts like resistors, or NPN transistors, others are devoted to specific manufacturers.

How to start New project in Autodesk EAGLE

Wrapping up

We have learnt about Autodesk Eagle and its components.

If you need more information on PCB and design, check out Printed circuit board and terms used in connection with PCB design and manufacturing

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