Upverter 2.0 Launches

Disclosure: I currently work at Upverter

We’ve featured Upverter here in the past. At that time, the EDA tool was capable of collaborative schematic capture. Today, Upverter is launching version 2.0 of their tool which includes many new features allowing for end-to-end electronics design.

Upverter now has a PCB editor, allowing you to manufacture your designs. They are working with PCB manufacturers to make it easy to choose a fab and submit design files. Other new features include a Spice based simulation engine allowing in-browser simulation, and product lifecycle management features to help manage your project’s bill of materials.

When we last looked at Upverter, it was just a tool for creating and sharing schematics. With today’s launch, the tool can be used for designing electronics from start to finish. Since Upverter is free for open source projects, it will be interesting to see how hackers use it.

You can check out a tour of the new features. Any thoughts on using a cloud based EDA tool? Let us know in the comments.

41 thoughts on “Upverter 2.0 Launches

  1. I smell a huge vendor lock-in issue. Sure, it’s the way they have decided to make money out of it, but: as soon as Upverter goes out of business, all your schematics are useless for ever.

  2. Nice. I hope “working with PCB manufacturers” stays on the high road. Seems like with the predecessors (desktop CAD with vendor lock-in) that kind of thing turned into a “dis”-service for users.

  3. … They have a four-way junction in the schematic on their front page. That’s like a C++ IDE featuring GOTO statements in its promotional material.

      1. It makes it confusing. It can be difficult to tell if there are two isolated signals crossing over or a single 4-node junction. Better to move one of the nodes over and create 2 3-node junctions and remove the possibility of misreading it.

      1. I agree with @PVanecek, on your original schematic it may not be confusing. I have seen a pdf printout of a schematic which did not print the junctions. Also second or 3rd generation copies they can become unreadable. It is standard practice at my company to break those apart.

      1. OCD satisfied ^_^

        In all seriousness though, it’s an issue that most people are not aware of unless they do both schematic capture and PCB layout, then have a costly net error due to a four-way junction.

        I’ve encountered issues with four-way junctions when importing schematics from other packages such as Protel 99 or Orcad into Altium Designer. The problem is especially apparent in Altium because it will not throw a DRC error for schematic junctions being off-grid. (eg, junction at [15.00001, 15] rather than [15,15])

        In most packages, three connections (wires, pins, etc) are required to form an automatic junction dot. If one of the four wires is off-grid slightly (even by 0.00001 units), then it may result in the wire being on a different net than the others, but still displaying a junction dot that appears to connect all of the nets.

        Although the slightly off-grid nets can occur during schematic imports, they most often come into the process by using symbol libraries that are not clean, or by a complete lack of a symbol library. (I’ve yet to work for a company with a clean symbol/footprint library.)

        Alternatively, when importing schematics from older packages that use manual junction dots, a slightly off-grid junction dot, will result in the vertical trace being on a different net than the horizontal trace.

        The problem is not present in all packages, but it’s present in enough of them to warrant avoiding four-way junctions.

  4. I could very much see myself using, but only if there is a way to export the work I do using the service to common file formats (I haven’t yet checked for that feature). Lock-in is an overriding danger with things like this.

  5. Hi guys, Ryan from Upverter here.

    Every design can be exported in to an open JSON file format[0], which contains all of the information about your design. There is also an open source tool on Github[1] for converting from the JSON format into various other vendors’ formats.

    I hope that addresses any concerns about vendor lock-in.

    [0] http://support.upverter.com/customer/portal/articles/553504-documentation-for-open-json-format
    [1] https://github.com/upverter/schematic-file-converter

    1. Bug report here:

      Using newest chrome:
      When I drag the top horizontal line of the test design(my first design) away from the initial location and then back again, javascript hangs.

      Hope you can reproduce and fix.

  6. I love the look and feel of these online schematic editors. I wish kicad was as fluid as upverter and circuits.io. Maybe I have an old fashioned mindset but I feel underwhelmed by these services. It seems to me that you could make a kick ass 555 timer board but that’s about it. Even if you can export these to another format how about editing the files on a local machine with no internet or heaven forbid when upverter takes a dive.

  7. This looks really promising, and I’m glad to see you can export your designs. Also, checked out the pricing options, and they’re not so bad either.

    I’m gonna try laying out a more complicated example and see how I like the workflow. Thanks for posting!

  8. In my experience, by far the most important aspect of a circuit CAD is component footprints. I can find no mention of them in the tour, and I’m not going to register just to find out. Does this have hundreds of thousands of components in its library like other CADs?

    1. It does have thousands of components. It also makes it easy to import parts from octopart.

      The library of footprints is pretty sparse right now. It’s relying on croudsourcing to build a library of footprints. They provide a standard footprint generator that makes common footprints simple.

      I’ve had to put in a number of components and footprints myself, but as the community library grows, I’d expect it to rival other libraries.

  9. I find it interesting that just the other week, HAD was having a go a kickstarter submissions for being shameless plugs, and then going and posting this.
    Not that it doesn’t look good! I just think it’s curious.

  10. I was wondering who got hired… Hope you’re having fun Eric.

    Cool stuff, a little overdue but cool, will try it out soon.

    I’m glad you guys took your time (kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to contribute or even beta test), you’ve come out very polished in comparison to another online PCB editor that also just publicly released a few days ago.

  11. $299/month per seat for Business license?
    I hope Is this a typo.
    A full Eagle professional 10-user license with Layout, Schematic and Autorouter costs $4920, and compared to Upverter, has an ROI of 2 months.

    What does it buy you over the $7/month account?

  12. I gave it a test run and I think it has good potential. I’m worried that most of the shared components in the database are incomplete and use the wrong schematic symbol. Why does a 2 pin resistor look like a rectangle? Is there a way to vet the parts so that they can be trusted?

    I can see this being used for tutorials and small projects.

    1. The rectangle is the standard international symbol. As opposed to a wiggly line.

      See also: Countries using Metric vs. U.S. Units (which are not the same as Imperial, hence space craft crashing into Mars…)

      1. If there was a time when people were willing to accept software that defines the “right” way to do something, it has long since passed. Said differently, the existence of a standard is not a mandate to use it. Imperial style is as valid as any other. Anyone — the lone programmer or the former monopoly — that foists a particular view of “right” on users does so at their own significant (business viability) peril.

        Oh, you might have also added “See also: Countries that don’t use the $ symbol for their currency” — that would be an equally ridiculous assertion.

      2. There’s something to be said for config options to allow you to specify your symbol of choice for any given component/part. Then, on export, you could choose to produce versions that follow the convention of whatever country or profession (or custom template) you wish. Seems easy enough to set up image substitution like that.

      3. The Eagle bundled libraries have “US” and “EU” versions for some types of parts. Euro style resistor symbols are available as well as the squiggly line. It does mean a duplicated library.

      4. @Trevelyan

        I was under the impression that the squiggly line represented real resistance while the rectangle meant impedance.

        sorry I keep clicking on “report” by accident instead of “reply”, my bad

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