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Just after finishing my multicolor RGB controller shield for Arduino, I came across Fritzing, a program that lets you convert your breadboard prototypes into a physical PCB. Since I got one design working at hand, I decided to give it a try. The process is very straightforward.

First you simply put all the components in the breadboard view. The parts library contains most common parts, and you use wires to connect them – exactly the same as you would do on your physical prototype:

Fritzing - Breadboard viewNext you can switch to schematic view where you can check if all the connections are correct:

Fritzing - schematic viewFinally you go to the PCB view and layout your parts on the board. Then you need to route all traces, and while Fritzing does quite a good job with auto-routing, it is worth to spend some time and review the design. In my case I was able to eliminate all the jumper wires – needed otherwise because currently Fritzing supports only single-sided PCBs.

Fritzing - PCB view In my case I designed the board to fit as an Arduino shield. As you can see it consists of a 12V voltage regulator circuit for external power source and ULN2003 converter to drive two RGB outputs.

After you are happy with you can save it in multiple output formats. For me the the etchable PDF format was especially handy because I could print it as a paper prototype and check if all the physical parts will fit properly.

Fritzing also offers a website where you can upload your projects along with any additional documentation, images, and source code. You can find my project page here: http://fritzing.org/projects/multicolor-rgb-led-controller-shield-for-arduino/

On top of that, starting with January 2010 they start a Fritzing Fab Service, and produce the real, physical PCBs. In preparation for this, they selected 24 projects and made them manufactured. I was very happy that my design was selected as one of these projects.

I got my board short after Christmas, and it looks very professional (at least for me :-)):

And here is the final product:

P1150499

As a geek I always wanted to hack the hardware like this, but at the same time I was intimidated by my little knowledge of electronics. So its truly  amazing how much can be done with such simple tools, and how much I learned in past half a year since my good friend Marcin Ksiazek introduced me to Arduino. For me it’s just the essence of the Arduino phenomen – perfect combination of open source hardware, software and the community.

On the side note, I’m bit upset that the same didn’t happened with the .NET Micro Framework, because I think on the software side it has even greater potential (like you can write and debug your code in Visual Studio you know and love). And although I think making the platform open source is a great move, the hardware costs are the biggest barrier right now. Especially if you consider using it for few hobby projects (I don’t know what’s the pricing looks like for mass production).

I will be exploring .NET Micro Framework shortly so stay tuned.

Posted on Monday, January 4, 2010 1:36 AM Electronics , Arduino | Back to top


Comments on this post: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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Nice write-up Szymon!
Left by Markus Ulfberg on Jan 04, 2010 4:34 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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I think on the software side it has even greater potential (like you can write and debug your code in Visual Studio you know and love). And although I think making the platform open source is a great move, the hardware costs are the biggest barrier right now. Especially if you consider using it for few hobby projects
Left by attraction marketing on Oct 16, 2010 9:58 AM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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I am still not sure I could build one myself. I guess I have lot more to learn.
Left by anita777 on Oct 16, 2010 6:36 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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I have designed my first PCB in 3rd semester and It was a cool experience.Now a days I am busy in photo gallery creation in HTML.
Left by Lindaclare on Oct 21, 2010 9:19 AM

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Interesting article man. I always follow your blog because it is full of attractive information about various things. I really like reading this entry about the fritzing and other systems because I have known so many new facts about it indeed. It is really great that I have noticed this entry. Thanks a lot one more time for sharing this informative article.
Left by online sex shop on Dec 10, 2010 5:02 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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Designing of printed circuit boards is much easier with fritzing software. I really I appreciate this software.
Left by viagra kupit on Dec 10, 2010 11:25 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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I used to build pcb's. After reading this article, i might try building some more.
Left by home exercise routines on Dec 16, 2010 11:23 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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Thank you, very great sources. It helped me a lot!
Left by niche pour chien on Dec 24, 2010 7:33 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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The post or your creation is just amazing, thanks for sharing the idea... rolls royce phantom hire derby
Left by rolls royce phantom hire derby on Dec 27, 2010 11:55 AM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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It's so tough to encounter right information on the blog. I realy loved reading this post. It has strengthen my faith more. You all do such a great job at such Concepts...can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do.
Left by Touch Screen Laptop on Dec 27, 2010 7:30 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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Hope you had a wonderful Holiday season and are ready for one of the best years ever! I for one envy people like you that can take apart and put back together such things as I have a hard enough time painting my toe nails.
Left by Jackie on Jan 01, 2011 6:28 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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amazing post, great design and thanks for sharing the idea, i appreciate your work....
Left by hummer limo hire derby on Jan 05, 2011 2:56 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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WOW, the post is just awesome, great design and thanks for sharing the idea, i appreciate your hard work...
Left by limo hire bradford on Jan 06, 2011 8:38 AM

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I will try to make my own pcb design so that I can build a power supply. thank you for this post by the way.
Left by RotoShave on Jan 07, 2011 4:30 AM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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Thanks to you for that new script for me. This is a great post, thanks to you I got this information. I appreciate your work, the post is really helpful and it have so many new valuable things to learn. Thanks for sharing this article. Pretty good post.
Left by Fabric duct on Jan 10, 2011 12:55 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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I have always wanted to learn how to do stuff like this but never found the time or people to teach me. Maybe one day I will dive into learning this but who knows!
Left by Asian on Jan 11, 2011 8:50 AM

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great post and creative ideas. I am happy to visit and read useful articles here. I hope you continue to do the sharing through the post to the reader. and good luck for the visitors site
Left by Fabric duct on Jan 15, 2011 4:45 PM

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This was exactly what i was searching for. Have been fighting for a while to do this, thanks for have posted.
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Left by Online Bingo on Jan 21, 2011 8:15 AM

# It has always a nice rhythm
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Dude. I am not much into reading, but somehow I got to read lots of articles on your blog. It’s amazing how interesting it is for me to visit you very often.
Left by ossf on Feb 02, 2011 4:25 PM

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Left by Callaway X-24 Irons on Mar 08, 2011 8:48 AM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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Fritzing is a useful tool for some things. However it also appears to be a crutch for people who want to avoid using proper documentation techniques such as traditional circuit schematic diagrams. Fritzing makes a nice pretty picture, but by definition it cannot include many critical details. For example an image of a TO92 or a TO220 case tells you nothing about WHAT the device is or even whether the pinout is correct. It also seems to lack critical
Left by home brew kits on Mar 16, 2011 12:32 PM

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I've never come across Gritzing before, it's quite impressive.
The fact that it's open source is even better!!
Left by Microcoders Electronic Design on Mar 27, 2011 11:18 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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I have learned so many things from this post as it helps me very much. I bookmark the post for further reading. Nice post.
Left by Black Diamond Earrings on Mar 30, 2011 8:17 AM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck.
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Left by austin defense lawyers on May 20, 2011 7:08 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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Great stuff here about PCB using Fritzing. The information and the detail were just perfect. I think that your perspective is deep, its just well thought out and really fantastic to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts down so well. Great job on this. refroidisseurs d'eau
Left by refroidisseurs d'eau on Jun 09, 2011 7:32 PM

# re: Designing my very first PCB using Fritzing
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I am doing same project in college. This blog is very informative for me. I get lots of information about the prototype. Thanks for giving the knowledge of convert prototype.
Left by funnywomen on Sep 01, 2012 12:34 PM

# Informative Post
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The post or the blog about PCB using Fritzing is just amazing, thanks for sharing the wonderful topic. The page is contains desired information for my need and it is solved now. Thanks for posting something worth reading. penny stock trader
Left by Cristopher John on Jun 10, 2013 2:56 PM

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Hey, nice article, only it doesn't explain much that is relevant. I wanted so much for some help from reading this, but unfortunately, it wasn't.
Left by whatismyname on Dec 13, 2014 11:28 PM

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EasyEDA offers schematic capture, spice simulation and PCB design – including Gerber download – for free. https://easyeda.com/
EasyEDA also offers low cost PCB manufacture and assembly.
There is a large amount of open projects on it. Users can access to Open Source modules developed by thousands of electronics engineers. https://easyeda.com/explore
Left by Feather on May 13, 2016 9:16 AM

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Another free PCB design software EasyEDA also equipped with powerful schematic capture, mixed-mode circuit simulation and PCB layout function. https://easyeda.com/
The software environment allows you to design schematic. Check operation by circuit simulator. When you make sure the circuit function is good, you can create printed circuit board with the same software.
On the website you can find and use many projects and electronic circuits made by others because they are public and open hardware. There is a useful tutorial explaining the main features of the tool, which makes it easy to drive. It also has some pretty impressive import (and export) options. For instance, You can import files in Eagle , Kikad , LTspice and Altium Designer , and export files in .PNG, or .SVG.
Left by Feather on May 16, 2016 5:29 AM

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