First steps

In this short tutorial you will learn how to open an existing EAGLE layout file and you’ll navigate the 2D viewer canvas and inspect some parts and signals. Let’s get started.

When you first start Copper you will be presented with this nice welcome screen:

Downloading and loading your first PCB

We suggest you download the same file we used in this tutorial. Please browse to this web page and download the EAGLE files at the bottom of the page: Sparkfun Freesoc 2.

On the right side is a list with the recently opened EAGLE layouts. If you are starting Copper the first time this list will be empty. Just click on “Open another EAGLE layout file” in order to open the standard Mac OS X file open dialog.

Load the downloaded Sparkfun Freesoc2 board you just downloaded (SparkFun_FreeSoC2_v11.brd). Perhaps you will have to extract it in the first place. Please note: You can open the .brd, .sch or the .cop file (later added to the same folder by Copper).

Zoom In and Out

Copper will load the PCB into a new window. You should see the above window. As you can see the canvas view shows some weird values all around the available space. It’s quite common that values do not get positioned on the PCB with the same accuracy as labels. So, before we start we want to get rid of these value labels.

On the right side of the window you see the Inspector. When a new window is opened Inspector starts with the PCB tab, which is exactly what we want. In this tab Inspector shows some details to the board like it’s size and name, and a list with all layers typically shown by Copper. You find an entry named “tValues”. Uncheck the checkbox of this layer and the values will hide in the canvas.

Take your some time to show and hide various layers. It’s basically the same as in EAGLE.

As you can see there is some space left in the canvas. Let’s zoom the board using the control buttons at the bottom of the canvas viewer:


Using these controls you can zoom in and out. Use the most right button to zoom the board to it’s maximum size within the canvas view without being cropped.

Navigation and Selection

After playing around with the zoom and layer controls you should already have noticed that parts and signals get highlighted as soon as you move your mouse over them.

Scroll the board with the Trackpad, Magic Mouse or by using the scrollbars in the Canvas Viewer.

When you hover over a signal or part a small tool tip will be shown with it’s name and value (parts only). If you click with the left mouse button while hovering a signal or part it will be selected. Selected signals and parts are highlighted in Canvas View and the Parts/Signal Browsers. Inspector will only show details in Part and Signal mode if something is selected.

Please Note: Copper divides strictly in parts and signals. Meaning that you can have two selections. One it for parts, the other one is for signals. You can select a signal at the same time you select a part. The idea behind that is that this allows for future detailed analysis (not implemented yet).

However, clicking on a “free” point in Canvas, i.e. no signal or part below it, will deselect everything.

Adding Real Parts

Now is a good time to attach real parts to your PCB to get a step closer to manufacturing.