Some free software is worth the price!

Re-entering amp design mode has meant having to generate schematics, which has never been something I could do well in freehand. When I was still at Logitech, I could use my OrCAD license for tube projects as long as I could provide the vacuum tube (valve) library, but those days are gone and I’ve had to look for an alternative.

A little searching led me to KiCad — a totally free EDA tool suite (from folks at CERN!) that even has library parts for a few common tubes/valves. It’s easy to use, and has library parts for most anything you’d need in a tube amp. The weakest library (for tube stuff) is the transformers, but there are reasonable ways to get around that (see my next Beamer schematic).

Now I’m trying to make myself plan a proper layout, but since I don’t use PCBs that’ll be in a 2D mechanical CAD program. I’ve just started to get serious about it, but LibreCAD looks promising…

2 thoughts on “Some free software is worth the price!”

  1. Mark!
    Great to see you back in the amp game and keeping the c word at bay! I’m now in the Austin Texas area and also trying to get the old soldering iron fired back up. Since we last exchanged parts I came across a dozen or so premium Tektronix branded high end 6AU6’s, called 8×45… x is the number I don’t remember but they are for sure super selected 6AU6! Would love to send you a couple gratis, send me a mailing address when you get a chance.

  2. LOL! A couple of months ago I was taking ‘inventory’ and was embarassed to find I still haven’t designed anything with that 12DW7 you sent me ages ago! That tube swap was right before I stepped away from the valves — did my 6AU6s end up in anything interesting?

    I still have quite a supply of 6AU6s, but haven’t done any shuffling in years. I really should, since the Decimator and Highway 86 are the ones that I play the most (i.e., home alone, recording) and both have 6AU6s up front.

    email soon…

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