KiCad MasterClass March 2016


#1

MPU9150 Library Symbol


#2

So, here’s a brief text wrapup of the KiCad workflow (there are much better guides and videos - just google it up).

Start New Project
SCHEMATIC CAPTURE

  • Open EEschema to build your schematic
  • Make page settings and ensure grid is set to 25mils or more
  • Place components using the bundled libraries
  • (side step - build your own symbol using the library editor)
  • Connect components using Wires
  • (Junctions are added auto-magically, but look out for connection snafu’s)
  • Place Net Name labels to make it easier to decipher schematic and help during layout
  • Annotate the schematic (Reference Designators)
  • Edit and add component Values
  • Run ERC - Electrical Rules check
  • Create a NetList
  • Save, and often.

FOOTPRINT ASSOCIATION

  • Run CVpcb from within EESchema
  • (you could have Footprint Library issues, related to fp-lib-table, due to Kicad trying to pull libraries from github).
  • For each component, select the appropriate library, and then the footprint to make the association
  • Save and Close
  • In EESchema, make a fresh Netlist
  • (side step - build your own footprints using the footprint library editor)

BOARD LAYOUT

  • IMPORTANT - Decide Units (mm/inch) and Grid density before starting, and stick to it throughout.

  • Pressing Space Bar at any location will reset the co-ordinate systems (dx, dy) relative co-ords to 0,0

  • Selectively view or hide specific layers or Render elements using the check boxes on the right side of the Layout Editor

  • Import the Netlist

  • Click the icon that says “Mode Footprint : Manual and Automatic movement and placement” to enable it.

  • Context click on the jumble of footprints, and select “Global Spread and Place >> Spread out all footprints”

  • This spreads out the stack of parts.

  • Click the icon that says “Mode Footprint : Manual and Automatic movement and placement” to disable it.

  • Place parts around by Moving (M), Rotating ®, Flipping to top/bottom (F)

  • The “Rat’s Nest” are the white wires that indicate where the tracks need to be connected to.

  • Draw the Board Outline on the “EDGE CUTS” layer using the “GRAPHIC LINE” option. Edges can consist of Lines, Arcs and Circles, but must be completely enclosed (water-tight) without any over laps.

  • Create Design Rule Classes for different track widths/via sizes/clearances and assign nets to classes.

  • Connect tracks, placing them on Top (Page Up or +) layer or Bottom (Page Down or -).

  • When placing a track, use a “VIA” (V) to jump from Top to Bottom or vice-versa.

  • Often, use “EDIT >> Clean up tracks and Vias” to do what it says.

  • Also, use DRC (Design Rules Check) to refresh the layout.

  • Once Track layout is complete and DRC reports no errors, take time to review your layout and design.

  • Next, work on the Silk screen / Text Legends. Make text sizes/direction uniform. add any additional descriptive text, Hide/Un-hide elements etc.

  • If required, Add “FILLED ZONES” and “KEEPOUT AREAS”

  • Place “DRILL AND PLACE OFFSET” and “GRID ORIGIN” at the lower left corner of the outline of your board.


#3


#4

Just wanted to share the board which Anool helped me make in Kicad. Its a simple LM386 based amplifier circuit for cranking your headphone output.


#5

Is KiCad better than eagle CAD and other eda please help which one is the best


#6

I won’t say Eagle is better, but it’s popular, for sure. Which seems odd. I’ve been doing PCB design since 1980 and have gone through every tool/design process along the way. With that background, Eagle is one of the most non-intuitive EDA packages I’ve ever come across. I’ve tried using it, and was never comfortable using it. I’ll never ever use, or recommend Eagle. KiCad comes with the advantage of being Open Source. Besides, it has a comprehensive feature list, with more being added constantly. Add to that the backing from CERN (the Large Hadron Collider folks) who are pushing out even more improvements to KiCad, and it’s a no-brainer.