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Fritzing diagrams have been used in a few questions.

enter image description here

I must admit, they look nice, and will certainly be helpful when you're wiring up your solderless breadboard. But you hardly can read resistor values, and even with the label "BS170" you don't know which pin is which without looking at the datasheet. This doesn't have the value of a schematic, where a trained engineer can read the circuit's function. In that sense I'm against Fritzing, and would much more love to see a schematic.

Here's another one I found on the 'Net:

enter image description here

To be clear, this wasn't posted here on SE. But one day it will. This is absolutely useless if the ICs aren't labeled.

How do we look at Fritzing? Is it OK, or can we ask from posters to show a real schematic? My answers: Without a schematic not OK, and yes, we want a real schematic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Useful issue, thoughtful to bring it up before hand. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Jun 11 '12 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Make a feature request to embed fritzing? ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Jun 11 '12 at 17:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - Hey, if we're getting CircuitLab it will at least have connection dots! Implemented this morning. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jun 11 '12 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ yes, clabacchio was really happy. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Jun 11 '12 at 17:07
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I never heard the term "Fritzing diagram" before. They are at least neat and reasonably clear for what they are trying to show, but are no substitute for a schematic.

They should not be banned, but people must learn to post appropriate information. These diagrams show physical hookup, which could be useful and appropriate in some cases. Schematics show the circuit, which is something completely different.

There is no problem here unless someone thinks one of these diagrams substitutes for a schematic. In that case they should be publicly ridiculed, tarred and feathered, and downvoted to oblivion, after a polite comment asking them to supply a real schematic of course.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Nice :-). "There is no problem here unless someone thinks one of these diagrams substitutes for a schematic." Agreed. Again. +1 \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jun 11 '12 at 12:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I want to upvote this except for the publicly ridiculed part. A polite comment asking them to supply a real schematic is all that's required. If they don't, and you can't be bothered to decipher the diagram, then just move along to a different question. \$\endgroup\$ – endolith Jun 11 '12 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith, you hold a valid point. I still voted because of the polite comment term, but I think some users have different standards for polite. This is why closing is a feature. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Jun 11 '12 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith: Geesh guys, lighten up. I thought it was obvious this was a joke. Do you really think I meant tarring and feathering too!? \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Jun 12 '12 at 11:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop: 10k+ users don't make jokes, everything they say is truth. Read the FAQs \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jun 13 '12 at 7:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd say arduino.cc/en/uploads/Tutorial/arduinoisp.png being way more useful than a regular circuit diagram. As anything, use it for its strengths. In this particular case it does help when you are familiar with the pinning of an Arduino, but these are printed in the image too. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Jun 14 '12 at 7:25
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They are nice looking, and may be acceptable, but for sure they are in no way better of schematics. They look more like the breadboard equivalent of a layout.

And they'd never pass the Olin test.

Fritzing also supports schematics, so requesting their use is legitimate to me.

I'd say no to those diagrams, but kindly explaining to the poster that a schematic is better (so no downvotes or rude manners).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh: down, for me. See edits \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jun 11 '12 at 9:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ What! Are rude manners no longer allowed?? \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jun 11 '12 at 11:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh: don't worry, only in this context :) \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jun 11 '12 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't Fritzing automatically generate a schematic too when making a bread-board diagram? It should be relatively easy to just export the schematic from it too. \$\endgroup\$ – AndrejaKo Jun 11 '12 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrejaKo: I think so. That's why I think the breadboard diagram is silly to post. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jun 12 '12 at 6:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have not used the actual software, but I've read that the software creates a schematic while you do the layout - much like any serious schematic editor / layout tool does. Therefore, for newbies, I would say it's a pretty good tool; and it shouldn't be a problem to ask for a schematic. Moreover, using the tool, I guess you learn that you need the often-forgotten stuff like power rails... \$\endgroup\$ – zebonaut Jun 12 '12 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ The generated schematic is akin to screen you are left with when you hit "create PCB from schematic" on any well done EDA tool. You have to drag and drop schematic parts to make any meaningful connections, or use the "auto-circuit-router", which often creates jagged lines and what have you. I assume it is not good enough to do this automatically as you breadboard so it is left as an option to the user. May have improved in last year. \$\endgroup\$ – Kenny Robinson Jun 16 '12 at 21:00
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I found the specific diagram used in this example in its context i the questiin concerned to be of immense value. It told me things about the expected pinout, how the resistors were REALLY used (assuming they had followed the diagram), I had no problem reading the resistor values. Overall it allowed a much greater degree of certainty in what was happening and being asked than is often or usually the case.

Schematics are of course good - but it is not unusual for a user to provide a diagram which is incorrect relative to what is actually done.

IC types are of course "useful" but the biggest defect with those diagrams is their lack of detail. Posting at a decent size should be mandatory. I find these a really useful tool to use along with all the other tools. The more the better.

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I think they're pretty ridiculous without a schematic and, if applicable, datasheet links.

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Fritzing is somewhere between the schematic and a photograph of the actual circuit. But I think we would be much better served with schematics and the photograph.

The photograph will show assembly errors and incorrect assumptions. Beginners will attempt things like unregulated supplies, missing or improper capacitors, ignoring wattage ratings, etc. A good photograph will prevent wasting everybody's time, and we can maybe stop someone from hurting themselves with a really dangerous circuit.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh: I think that photograph has only one meaning ;P \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jun 14 '12 at 7:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @clabacchio - On SE, you never know! :-) \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jun 14 '12 at 7:26

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