Kicad

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BennehBoy
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Kicad

Post by BennehBoy » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:57 pm

I've downloaded kicad with a couple of intentions:

1) so that I can layout my project on stripboard more efficiently - I found a great tutorial for using kicad with stripboard.
2) so that ultimately the same schematic could be used to have a custom pcb built, but only if it looks like there may be some volume of production.

I had originally started to play about with fritzing but found some things that really made it a pain to use - specifically components are rendered in isometric 3d so they obscure areas of board.

One of the great things about fritzing was the availability of parts, I had a maple mini, SSD1306's, TSSOP to DIP adapters etc readily available.

I'm having trouble finding these, or generic items with similar pinouts for kicad. Could anyone point me in the right direction?
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RogerClark
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Re: Kicad

Post by RogerClark » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:09 pm

There is a Eagle symbol for the maple mini on leaflab's repo, and Its possible to convert to kicad.

see. http://hackaday.com/2015/12/27/eagle-to ... made-easy/

Failing that, you may have to make a library symbol, which is not that hard. I had to make a symbol for a bluetooth chip yesterday, but its been months since I last made one. So I had to follow a youtube tutorial as a refresher.

I also found a kicad symbol generator online, which will make a gemeric schematic symbol with the right number of pins, and you can easily edit the data file with a text editor to put in the correct names for the pins.

I am currently looking for a pcb footpint maker ( perhaps there is one online somwhere) as I need a footprint for a 73 pin SMD device. Actually I think the footprint is probably the same as an 80 pin, with some pads omitted, but Im not sure at the moment

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BennehBoy
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Re: Kicad

Post by BennehBoy » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:45 pm

Cool, thanks.
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racemaniac
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Re: Kicad

Post by racemaniac » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:03 am

RogerClark wrote:There is a Eagle symbol for the maple mini on leaflab's repo, and Its possible to convert to kicad.

see. http://hackaday.com/2015/12/27/eagle-to ... made-easy/

Failing that, you may have to make a library symbol, which is not that hard. I had to make a symbol for a bluetooth chip yesterday, but its been months since I last made one. So I had to follow a youtube tutorial as a refresher.

I also found a kicad symbol generator online, which will make a gemeric schematic symbol with the right number of pins, and you can easily edit the data file with a text editor to put in the correct names for the pins.

I am currently looking for a pcb footpint maker ( perhaps there is one online somwhere) as I need a footprint for a 73 pin SMD device. Actually I think the footprint is probably the same as an 80 pin, with some pads omitted, but Im not sure at the moment
Here is the library generator i use: http://kicad.rohrbacher.net/quicklib.php
it includes naming pins and giving them functions :)

and for footprints, kicad has everything on board i think? with bitmap2component you can use a scanned image as template to start from, and then with the component editor you can add pads to it. made my own micro sd card slot footprint like that. (and i'm a total kicad noob ^^).

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Re: Kicad

Post by RogerClark » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:20 am

@racemaniac

Thanks

Thats the schematic symbol generator I found, but I'd already created the symbol I wanted, before I found that site.

I've been struggling to make a footprint for a "AQFN73 7 x 7 mm package" but I think I have now created a basic footprint that will be good enough to do basic routing with.
Its for this device https://infocenter.nordicsemi.com/index ... _frontpage

But I'm not sure of the pad size, and whether it should be identical to the pad on the device, or bigger of smaller.

I also need to work out in KiCad how to do the heat extraction dots that are usually under these sorts of packages

Actually I may need to put via's under it if routing is difficult, but I won't know that until I start to route

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BennehBoy
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Re: Kicad

Post by BennehBoy » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:10 pm

Really useful stuff guys, many thanks.
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RogerClark
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Re: Kicad

Post by RogerClark » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:59 am

Just to continue this active thread about KiCad

I seem to have run into a problem with creating a KiCad PCB symbol.

Its an SMD part,

Image

But looking at the reference PCB designs which use this part, they seem to be able to have a SMD pad which is also "Via" to a pad on the bottom of the board, so that the inner set of pads can be tracked on the base of the board.

I looked in KiCad, and as far as I can tell this is not possible.

I tried setting the layers to All Copper Layers, one of the pads, but I get an error message saying this isnt possible

I tried the "Connector" type instead of SMD but that doenst support it either

The only pad type that seems or support this is "Through hole" but that requires a drill size.

So I guess I'm going to need to do this a different way, and in the PCB layout, run a short track from the inner pads to vias under the chip.

Not ideal but I guess its better than nothing.

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RogerClark
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Re: Kicad

Post by RogerClark » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:15 am

And another KiCad problem

PCB seems to have something which stops me placing tracks, when the distance to objects is small, I suspect this is some sort of preference, but I'd rather it just warned me when I did an error check, rather than preventing me routing the track in the first place

racemaniac
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Re: Kicad

Post by racemaniac » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:18 am

RogerClark wrote:Just to continue this active thread about KiCad

I seem to have run into a problem with creating a KiCad PCB symbol.

Its an SMD part,

Image

But looking at the reference PCB designs which use this part, they seem to be able to have a SMD pad which is also "Via" to a pad on the bottom of the board, so that the inner set of pads can be tracked on the base of the board.

I looked in KiCad, and as far as I can tell this is not possible.

I tried setting the layers to All Copper Layers, one of the pads, but I get an error message saying this isnt possible

I tried the "Connector" type instead of SMD but that doenst support it either

The only pad type that seems or support this is "Through hole" but that requires a drill size.

So I guess I'm going to need to do this a different way, and in the PCB layout, run a short track from the inner pads to vias under the chip.

Not ideal but I guess its better than nothing.
i'm still new to all this PCB stuff, but any via will require a hole i think? but you indeed have things like plugged/tented/... via's which all do something to fill/hide that hole. I assume it's something like that you want to achieve, but i don't know how you'd do that in kicad.

racemaniac
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Re: Kicad

Post by racemaniac » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:20 am

RogerClark wrote:And another KiCad problem

PCB seems to have something which stops me placing tracks, when the distance to objects is small, I suspect this is some sort of preference, but I'd rather it just warned me when I did an error check, rather than preventing me routing the track in the first place
that's in your configuration of the tracks (and vias): you also declare the minimal clearance they have to other tracks/vias. and while dragging you see the extra help lines around the tracks you're dragging to see if you're coming too close to another track or via, and if you do, it'll refuse to place it.

tbh i quite like that :). after completing my first pcb, the DRC didn't complain about anything, since the tool didn't allow me to make errors :).
but if the clearance is too big, you can always go to the configuration of your tracks to reduce it :).
otherwise it feels like you'll just dig a deep hole for yourself by not respecting the rules you've set. you'll maybe fit 5 tracks a bit too close to eachother in some place, and then when doing DRC see only 4 tracks will fit there, and you'll have to do major changes to your routing to fix that >_<.

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