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You should not use Fritzing. It is a bad tool. This isn't a vi vs. emacs argument, either: Fritzing is like using a crescent wrench to drive a nail. Yeah, you can do it, but it's the wrong tool for the job.

Schematic capture in Fritzing is, in short, terrible. You can only draw straight lines between nodes in a schematic. Furthermore, the design philosophy of Fritzing schematics is, 'wires between pins' instead of nets between pins. That is, you can't 'tap into' a wire, like you could with a net. It's truly idiotic if you've ever used any other EDA suite.

You can't name connections in a Fritzing schematic.

You cannot rotate a part by right clicking, or through keyboard commands. Rotations must be done through a contextual menu.

For PCB design: the color for the top layer of copper is yellow, and the color for the bottom layer of copper is a slightly darker yellow. Compare that with something sensible, like Red and Green for KiCad, or Red and Blue for Eagle.

Despite conventional wisdom, you can create custom parts in Fritzing. No, I don't mean re-labeling pins on packages, like what the Fritzing tutorials tell you to do. You can create custom parts in Fritzing, but you have to use Inkscape, Illustrator, or another vector design program. Every other EDA suite can create custom parts without an external tool.

Regarding the last point: until very recently, the official Fritzing FAQ stated creating custom parts was impossible. That part of the FAQ has changed, but there are still no links official tutorials for -- or even links to third-party tutorials available elsewhere on the Internet -- on the official Fritzing site. I will assume from this the efforts for support and documentation are effectively dead.

There are several dozen other shortcomings in Fritzing, but these are the worst faults.

Fritzing is a good tool for what it is designed to do: create graphics of breadboard layouts. Unfortunately, that's the only thing it can do well. Anyone looking to design a PCB should look at literally any other software besides Fritzing. Do not use Fritzing.

I believe the authors of Fritzing have never used another EDA suite, and it shows. Recommending Fritzing to someone 'to make their first PCB' or 'to learn circuits' does them a disservice. Fritzing is a piece of software that should be expunged from the Internet.




Aw, Fritzing is cute. It's for the Arduino crowd. Fritzing is for projects that can be built on standard solderless breadboards. It's fine for that. The ceiling is low, but high enough for many projects.

Real EDA programs are terrifying to beginners. You start them up, and there you are, with a blank schematic and no idea how to get started. Fritzling is limited enough to be approachable.

It's like the experience hobbyists have when they encounter Digi-Key. You want a 1K resistor? Go to "digikey.com", and type in "Resistor". You get back "Chip Resistor - Surface Mount (508794 items), Through Hole Resistors (285766 items)". OK, try "through hole". A huge chart of options comes up. Select "1K". The options narrow: "2,261 Remaining". Yes, DigiKey offers 2,261 different 1K resistors. Select "Active" and "In Stock", and you're down to 299 remaining. If you know to select "Cut Tape" and "Bulk", meaning you don't want reels of components for an automated production line, you're down to 199. Select wattage ratings under 1 watt, and you're down to 124 options. You probably don't want the $50 ultra-precision 0.01% resistors, so set the precision to 1% or worse. 96 remaining, any of which would probably work on your solderless breadboard. Sort by increasing price. The cheapest resistor is $0.10 each, $1.62 for 100. "Stackpole CF14JT1K00, 1 kOhms ±5% 0.25W, 1/4W Through Hole Resistor Axial Flame Retardant Coating, Safety Carbon Film."

Compare Jameco. Go to Jameco.com, and type in "Resistor". The first search result is "CF1/4W102JRC Resistor Carbon Film 1k Ohm 1/4 Watt 5%". Jameco offers 5 options in 1K ohm through hole resistors, and they're different wattages. Less consumer confusion.

People have to start somewhere.


Saying a piece of software "should be expunged from the Internet" is a bit overly dramatic. I got real value out of the software. Most of the issues you mentioned sound fixable (e.g. color schemes of PCB layers, keyboard shortcuts to rotate a part), but I am sympathetic to flaws that can't be fixed no mater what because they are intrinsic to its low-level design. For me, the biggest issue with Fritzing is not its apparent (and I believe, fixable) flaws, it's that the project these days looks practically abandoned. I'm interested in contributing serious resources to the project to fix the fixable, but still trying to get a good handle on its intrinsically unfixable design flaws. Lack of a good parts editor is not an intrinsic design flaw (one can be created and integrated into the project), but perhaps "wires between pins" is an unfixable flaw? Likewise, I wonder if KiCad's UI/UX issues can be fixed...

(fwiw: I helped fix HealthCare.gov, so I'm not one to shy away from a challenge!)




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