This Tutorial explains how to export Eagle designs and import them into DesignSpark PCB.
Eagle designs (Schematic and PCB) can be imported into DesignSpark, as can symbol, footprint and component libraries.
Supported Versions of Eagle
DesignSpark supports Eagle V5.x plus older versions back to V4.01 and V4.11. ULP files are supplied with DesignSpark and are used to export from Eagle format into an Intermediate ASCII format. These files are used as the import into DesignSpark by simply then opening them.
Both Schematic and PCB designs are exported in the same way from Eagle using the same menu options and ULP mechanism. The only difference is that one ULP file is run on Schematic design and the other run on the PCB design.
To export an Eagle design into an ASCII file
- Start Eagle from the Task bar or from a desktop icon if you have created one.
- From the Project Manager, select the Open option from the File menu.
- Under Open >, choose Schematic or Board (PCB). This will depend on the design you wish to convert.
- Locate the folder and file you wish to convert.
- Select it and click Open.
- The design will be displayed in the Schematic (or Board) editor.
- You now need to convert the design to an Intermediate ASCII file format.
- From the design editor toolbar, select the ULP icon (just under the Options menu item).
- A Run window will open. From here, select the appropriate ULP file supplied for DesignSpark.
- You will have to navigate away from the default Eagle ULP folder and locate the DesignSpark/EagleULP folder under which you will find the DesignSpark ULP files listed.
- For a Schematic design, you will need to select the SchematicToIntermediate.ulp file.
- If converting a PCB design, select the PcbToIntermediate.ulp file.
- Once selected, click the Open button.
- Choose the folder and file name of the intermediate file. By default, the folder and filename chosen will be for the folder and filename of the open Eagle design.
- If you open and convert a Schematic design, the file extension will be .eis. If you opened a Board (PCB) file, the file extension will be .eip.
- Click Save. The intermediate file (.eis or .eip) is written and will now be ready to import into DesignSpark.
- Depending on the design size, the ULP file may take a few moments to run.
- Watch the status bar at the bottom of the Eagle design, it will show you the progress as it runs. Once completed, the status changes to Run: SchematicToIntermediate.ulp: finished
Importing Eagle Designs into DesignSpark PCB
Now you must take the Intermediate ASCII file created in Eagle and import it into DesignSpark.
To import an Eagle design into DesignSpark
- Run DesignSpark
- From the File menu, select Import
- Locate the folder that contains the intermediate file and select it.
- A small dialog will appear from which to add a file name and choose a Technology file. This dialog will be the same for a Schematic or PCB file except it will automatically reflect the detected design type.
- Choose a file name or leave the name currently pre-set to the imported design name.
- Unless you know what you’re doing and have specific requirements, choose [None] as the technology file name. One is not mandatory for the conversion.
- Click OK to import the design.
- DesignSpark will redraw the design on the screen. This is now ready to use and edit as you wish.
- Remember to save the design using the Save option from the File menu.
Limitations on Design Transfer
You should find that most designs should transfer to DesignSpark without any issues. However, there are a couple of limitations in Eagle to be aware of, as they may result in apparent errors in the corresponding DesignSpark PCB design.
The Spacing rules (clearances) defined in an Eagle PCB design are not accessible to the ULP script, so they cannot be transferred to DesignSpark. If you find that Design Rule Check in DesignSpark flags up many more errors than you would expect, you should check the settings in your Spacings in the Design Technology dialog. These should be edited to match the original settings from Eagle.
It is possible in Eagle to ‘end’ a track before it reaches the ‘connect point’ of a pad. On transfer to DesignSpark this kind of track will show up (on the screen and in Design Rule Check) as an ‘unfinished track’. This is not necessarily a problem, as the Design Rule Check will still check for completeness of the circuit as long as the track touches the pad, but you may again see more DRC errors than you might normally expect. These can be manually edited if you wish to remove them.
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