circuits.io is a new promising looking free circuit editor in your browser. I has browser based schematic and board layout. Circuits.io promises to be an in-your-browser circuit design tool, that makes it fun and easy to design, share and produce electronic circuits. It plans to revolutionizing electronic design and building with open hardware community on the web.
Wired article Belgian Hackers Let You Build Circuit Boards on the Web tells that the rise of low-cost, hacker-friendly electronics is fueling a new wave of hardware hobbyists. Using programmable boards like the Arduino and dirt-chip computers like the Raspberry Pi, you can build almost everything. Belgium startup called a Circuits.io wants to take this trend even further. It wants to give you the power to build your own custom circuit boards (a task that has been expensive and difficult for hobbyists to do earlier). Also incompatibilities between different EDA applications have made it difficult to create common open source libraries for circuit boards.
Circuits.io offers a web-based circuit board design system made especially for hobbyists (=simple to use) complete with library of open source component designs. Hardware hackers will be able to “fork” existing designs — that is, make their own copy that they can modify and share. And the company will also offer a print-on-demand service for circuit boards. The company founder Schrauwen says the online editor and the open source libraries will always be free to use — the company will make money through its print-on-demand service.
On my short testing the schematic editor seems to work as expected. I also tried the circuit board editor. With it it was pretty easy to make small modifications to existing circuit board plans. I also found out that this is not a completely ready design package yet when I tried to add a new component to schematic and then tried to get the board updated to match it, I could not not find a way to do that properly. The component was places on the board, but the traces to it were messed up in a way I could not fix with on-line editor. Maybe with bigger modifications the way to go at the moment would be export plan, edit with some other EDA tool and import back (at leas in theory, I have not tried that). Another minus I found is that this tool is promised to work completely on Chrome browser only. Anyways promising looking tool, but needs to be developed. You can follow the development on Twitter.
Circuits.io isn’t alone in its mission. Upverter is a web-based schematics designer and online community, and Fritzing is also trying to make it cheap to produce PCBs. It seems that his open source electronics movement is just getting started.