Author Topic: I did it - switched to KiCad  (Read 18316 times)

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Offline hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #50 on: March 27, 2017, 07:23:05 am »
It is my utopia using the keyboard all of the time like typing. One of the annoyances of KiCad for me is having to use the mouse so much for things which I could use the keyboard for. And I don't mean the 'MS Windows way' of keyboard use - that is not pleasant or efficient for me.
I guess everyone has his own utopia  ;)

Why not than use a mouse only interface? (or as close as possible)


As per Karels post, because a good keyboard interface can be very fast and accurate (once it is learned).
Yes, but the point is, that this is for everyone different (that's why I said everyone has a different utopia)

Not sure what you mean? I accepted your point and agreed with it earlier. Then I simply answered your question - from my perspective naturally.

Most professional CAD and 3D programs I know of, are all mouse by default and keyboard shortcuts can be programed in such a way that in the end you can do most things by keyboard if that's your fancy.
Most companies I worked with most people just use the mouse with some basic shortcut-keys.
(another annoying part about KiCad is that they don't use default shortcut key combinations)
The whole point of this, is that it can be programmed to anyone's like.
That is what is missing right now.

Don't see how accuracy should be an argument.
If you want to be accurate, just use absolute values filled in.

I don't get the whole 'fast' and 'efficient' issue anyway.
On a decent board design that will maybe safe you 5% at MOST from the total hours spent.
If people think that's the way to safe time and money, they have a lot to learn......


Cool, lets just call it personal preference then.

 

Online james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #51 on: March 28, 2017, 02:47:06 am »
I don't get the whole 'fast' and 'efficient' issue anyway.
On a decent board design that will maybe safe you 5% at MOST from the total hours spent.
If people think that's the way to safe time and money, they have a lot to learn......

Given the amount of time spent on a typical layout, 5% represents a very significant savings.
 

Online b_force

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2017, 03:14:48 am »
I don't get the whole 'fast' and 'efficient' issue anyway.
On a decent board design that will maybe safe you 5% at MOST from the total hours spent.
If people think that's the way to safe time and money, they have a lot to learn......

Given the amount of time spent on a typical layout, 5% represents a very significant savings.
I said at the very most.
So not a general number at all!!!

In the projects I have done, managed and seen, it's more like 1 or 2% (or less)
You also have to put it into perspective. I rather run a team that is happy working with some kind of software (even if it's not the most efficient), than I team that's constantly complaining or is having trouble following the workflow.
(Reason why we skipped Altium a few times for example).

Besides, people should spend more time and effort improving working on a clever way.
These numbers are so extremely minor.

I don't see how on earth someone can actually say that 5% is significant??  :-//
Maybe statistics and physics work different in other types of the world?  :o
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Offline Deridex

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #53 on: March 28, 2017, 03:55:23 am »
I think the Hotkeys in KiCad are not bad at all.
I just took a few days to get used to it. And now i even catch myself trying to use em in Eagle at work  8)

Some people just use a "cheatsheet" at the start. But after a short time you probaly won't need it any longer.
 

Offline bson

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #54 on: March 28, 2017, 04:59:26 am »
Given the amount of time spent on a typical layout, 5% represents a very significant savings.
More importantly, workflow problems forces an engineer to focus on how to drive the tool rather than what they want to do.  It's a distraction that causes loss of train of thought.  Nobody cares about 5% of time, because in the end the old saying that we can't type faster than we can think applies, but breaking focus and causing loss of attention is very disruptive.
<This space intentionally left blank>
 

Online james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #55 on: March 28, 2017, 05:10:21 am »
Well it's all a matter of personal preference, I like having the option of using the mouse, but generally I get in the groove and use the keyboard for the majority of my interaction, and reaching for the mouse and hunting for the option I want in the GUI is what breaks my attention and interrupts my workflow. I grew up in DOS though and tend to use the command line frequently, I find it faster and more efficient, I recognize that not everyone does and that's fine but it works for me.

Similarly I've seen guys trying to program CPLD and FPGAs using the graphical schematic entry tool, sure it makes it easy for a beginner to get their feet wet and create very simple designs but beyond that it's tedious and only holds you back, taking the time to learn VHDL or Verilog is hugely more efficient even though at the beginning it is a steep learning curve that takes a lot of time and effort to learn but the investment pays off.



 

Online Bassman59

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #56 on: March 29, 2017, 03:47:14 am »
by copy/paste, I think we all think of something like : open two documents, select one item in a document, do copy, and paste it in the other document. it's been in our computer live for decades, but not in cad softwares and not in kicad.
No I was thinking of making multiple copies of one section of a schematic or layout.

Making multiple copies of one section of a layout is best done by putting that section in its own hierarchical sheet.

Making multiple copies of a section of layout is more complicated. Think of Altium's "Rooms." It's a feature Kicad needs, the developers know that, and I suppose the real issue is how to design the application to support this.
 

Offline boffin

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #57 on: March 30, 2017, 05:20:36 pm »
I think the Hotkeys in KiCad are not bad at all.
I just took a few days to get used to it. And now i even catch myself trying to use em in Eagle at work  8)

Some people just use a "cheatsheet" at the start. But after a short time you probaly won't need it any longer.

The one that I don't like is that it's
W - the schematic editor to draw a wire
X - the layout editor to draw a trace

why the heck are they not the same?
 

Online b_force

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #58 on: March 31, 2017, 01:02:39 am »
I don't get why to hit a shortut key in the first place.
Why not automatic drawing on every node?
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline Deridex

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #59 on: March 31, 2017, 03:39:54 pm »
The one that I don't like is that it's
W - the schematic editor to draw a wire
X - the layout editor to draw a trace

why the heck are they not the same?
I can't answer on that one. But it's true that some points of the user interface  might be questionable.

On the other hand: I still think it's possible to get used to it. And i don't think that you will find a EDA-Tool without some questionable points in the user interface.
 

Offline Warhawk

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #60 on: November 14, 2017, 08:07:01 pm »
All right, I've just finished my first board in KiCad. To my surprise it was easier than I expected. Some processes are rather unusual (libraries, vias stitching, polygon priorities) but possible. KiCad crashed two times when playing with polygons. This is as many as my Altium does per day. I am surprised how good the interactive router is.

Good night Eagle....

Online james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #61 on: November 16, 2017, 07:50:08 am »
That's a bit worrying that KiCAD is crashing. I've occasionally left it running for months at a time as I tinkered with various back-burner layouts a little here and there. I don't recall ever once having it crash but the version I'm using is a few years old now.

I wonder how that Eagle subscription thing is working out for them? I only personally know one guy still using Eagle and he's sticking with whatever version he had.
 

Offline Warhawk

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #62 on: November 16, 2017, 07:50:09 pm »
I would be also interested on some inside info about Eagle. Folks around switched to KiCad too and my formal department did not obtain a new eagle license either. I would say that a number of Kicad tutorials online and stable releases brought it closer to normal engineers.

Offline Rerouter

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #63 on: November 16, 2017, 08:13:26 pm »
I'm using 4.0.6, and one of my projects has been open in the background for at-least 2 months without crashing, (Cannot speak for 4.0.7),

The other nicity is that you can have multiple versions installed on a machine without conflict, the forward and backward compatibility has for the most part meant opening in 4.0.6 or the old 2103 stable version just works.
 

Offline hiperco

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #64 on: January 27, 2018, 12:11:44 pm »
I just recently started using KiCAD.  Overall I really like it.  The library management is clumsy/quirky, but overall its a great package.  (I had debated about learning Eagle, but now that its subscription based that was a non-starter for me).
 

Online james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #65 on: January 27, 2018, 06:06:05 pm »
Yeah KiCAD's library management is not my favorite, but every EDA I tried had some aspect that was clunky and annoying.
 

Offline ElektroQuark

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #66 on: January 27, 2018, 07:52:52 pm »
It's being improved. Version 5 will be a big step forward.

Offline MadScientist

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #67 on: February 09, 2018, 08:28:01 am »
Im a dip trace User, tried Kicad Mac version recently , very buggy , odd user interface. Once Diptrace has push and shove its streets ahead in terms of usability
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Online james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #68 on: February 09, 2018, 02:48:33 pm »
I suspect someone who had been using KiCAD would say the same about DipTrace. All EDAs have buggy, quirky user interfaces, it's just a matter of which one you're used to.
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #69 on: February 09, 2018, 06:08:17 pm »
I was a diptrace user, tried kicad last year, and adopted it ...
yes it's not very polished user interface, but as a mac user, a native app is prefered over an app in a virtual machine...
don't stop at first sight of kicad. try to make a board from start to pcb with it.
seems the next version will add a ton of features in the user interface part, will see it.
I only make 2-3 pcb a year, the other are made on protoboards, but kicad as completely free and mac native app has my vote.

Online james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #70 on: February 09, 2018, 06:38:19 pm »
Hopefully they don't screw it up. I already know how to use KiCAD well, if they change it too much I'll have to learn it over again.
 

Offline awallin

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #71 on: February 09, 2018, 07:01:18 pm »
Just noticed that Digikey provides KiCad schematic symbols and pcb footprints for a lot of parts.
Some deal where you need to login and get 15 parts per month free, and probably a license (that I didn't read..) on what you can or cannot do with the parts.

This seems to be in addition to the libraries Digikey now provides on github (?)
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #72 on: February 09, 2018, 08:57:39 pm »
Just noticed that Digikey provides KiCad schematic symbols and pcb footprints for a lot of parts.
Some deal where you need to login and get 15 parts per month free, and probably a license (that I didn't read..) on what you can or cannot do with the parts.

That's a collaboration with UltraLibrarian, you can get the same 15 parts/month free if you go direct to their website. Or if you prefer pay $800/pa for unlimited access. Their licensing is somewhat opaque, but you should assume that their data is for private or internal company use only and should not be re-distributed.
Bob
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Offline MadScientist

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #73 on: February 09, 2018, 11:39:30 pm »

Quote
I was a diptrace user, tried kicad last year, and adopted it ...
yes it's not very polished user interface, but as a mac user, a native app is prefered over an app in a virtual machine...
don't stop at first sight of kicad. try to make a board from start to pcb with it.
seems the next version will add a ton of features in the user interface part, will see it.
I only make 2-3 pcb a year, the other are made on protoboards, but kicad as completely free and mac native app has my vote.


well I have Eagle, Diptrace and Kicad installed


I actually set myself a task of doing the same board in all three , productivity in Kicad was way lower, as for native apps, its ,largely irrelevant to the user once the apps runs well on the Mac and Diptrace under Wine does so .

Yes DIptrace runs in Wine  with all the issues that can bring, but in fairness it runs very well

Secondly Kicad on the Mac seems to have issue with graphics and interactions with existing libraries, DIptrace installs and runs perfectly so does Eagle, Kicad 4.0 , I had immediate problems, couldnt close windows, no cross hairs , switched to Cairo  and certain features worked, back to OpenGL , certain other features didnt work

What is clear is the pads assignment process, in Kicad is all over the place, whereas DIptrace ( I only use it about 4 times a year) , is  far better.

Personally Id Like Kicad to succeed , if only to give pro-hobbyists access to good PCB design , but in my view Kicad needs tidying up , and a improved /simplified workflow , rather then adding new features all the time

« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 11:41:31 pm by MadScientist »
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Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2018, 12:19:05 am »
Personally Id Like Kicad to succeed , if only to give pro-hobbyists access to good PCB design , but in my view Kicad needs tidying up , and a improved /simplified workflow , rather then adding new features all the time

I'd have to agree with that. KiCad is one of those typical apps that grows over time, but without updating the workflow it becomes unwieldy. There is an insane amount of button clicking just to do the same repetitive tasks. If you use it a lot, it becomes instinctive, but I still trip over things. And there are loads of pitfalls for occasional or new users, we see them all the time on the forum.

Unfortunately, the devs are regular users, who know the shortcuts inside out, so are loathe to change the UI. I'm not sure that is likely to change, since Wayne Stambaugh has been exposed to user feedback, and I think he know what the gripes are. Recently in response to a user poll he said "KiCad development is not a popularity contest", which effectively shut down that discussion.

KiCad is quite stuck trying to revise basic internal architecture which was put in place 20 years ago, and trying to maintain backward compatibility, and add new features. It would be a huge effort to move away from wxWidgets for example.

There are two new FOSS projects that might be worth taking a look at, LibrePCB and Horizon. They have taken an approach more oriented to the user (since KiCad doesn't).
Bob
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