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Offline boffin

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I did it - switched to KiCad
« on: March 19, 2017, 01:21:51 PM »
I decided with the recent Autodesking of Eagle, I'd switch to KiCad (plus I needed to do something a tiny bit bigger).

Overall I quite like it, once you get your mind wrapped around the Netlist to push from one to the other.

Two things I haven't got around to finding the solution are an easy way of jumping from layer to layer (eagle had a toggle segment to other layer which added vias), plus I came across a couple of components that weren't pinned properly (78L05 was one of them)

Overall, I'll be staying here, because I like open source...  It's a great package
 

Offline awallin

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 07:47:21 PM »
Two things I haven't got around to finding the solution are an easy way of jumping from layer to layer (eagle had a toggle segment to other layer which added vias), plus I came across a couple of components that weren't pinned properly (78L05 was one of them)

V - adds a via and jumps from top to bottom layer (I've only done 2-layer so far). IIRC it works slightly different on default and OpenGL canvas.
pgUp - pgDown switches layers (see layers far right).
this may help: https://silica.io/static/downloads/kicad-cheatsheet-landscape.pdf
 

Offline Deridex

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 10:06:32 PM »
It's nice to see someone else trying KiCad  :-+

For via its just the shortcut "V". Also you can switch easily between the layers with shortcuts (as example: Inner layer 1 with "F5"). You can find a nice list of the shortcuts in "Preferences -> Hotkeys".

About the libraries:
The best libraries-package i found so far can be downloaded here:
http://smisioto.no-ip.org/elettronica/kicad/kicad-en.htm
It also contains some very nice 3D-Models
 

Online ludzinc

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 11:20:11 PM »
IIRC it works slightly different on default and OpenGL canvas.

Really? That's just shocking. The KiCad developers have produced two routing modes / tools with different workflows, but still can't do a decent copy / paste?

I'll keep waiting. 
 

Offline artag

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 01:08:24 AM »
Or you could help, if your priorities are different from theirs.
 

Offline Thor-Arne

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 03:17:36 AM »
The default (obsolete) canvas and OpenGL have a few different tools, but the main functionality is the same.
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 05:02:21 AM »
IIRC it works slightly different on default and OpenGL canvas.

Really? That's just shocking. The KiCad developers have produced two routing modes / tools with different workflows, but still can't do a decent copy / paste?

I'll keep waiting. 
just select your component and hit "C" it will copy it.
yes it's not Edit-Copy but it works.
and Kicad is open source, so if you want you can implement a nice copy-paste ?

Offline ohdsp

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2017, 08:42:41 AM »
Nice one boffin. Personally I enjoy doing schematic and circuit design using KiCad. And just think that all the files you produce are in a nice plain text file rather than locked into some proprierty format you might not be able to access in 5 years time....

Really wish more people would switch to KiCad and support it rather than picking on pointless little issues; especially give the dumb issues a lot of high cost commerical software suffer with.
Check out the Open Hardware DSP Platform:
http://www.ohdsp.org
http://github.com/ohdsp
 

Offline james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2017, 08:52:48 AM »
I've been using KiCad for years, it has its quirks but overall I like it a lot and it does the job. It's always good to hear when people switch over, the more people using it, the better it will become.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2017, 09:08:05 AM »
I have been trying to switch for years.
Unfortunately, KiCad was always way to cumbersome.
Okish for smaller projects, but with bigger complicated, multi-layer projects it was like using a toy.
In the end that simply lack of confidence in difficult projects, especially with some major bugs and crashes.

Last few months they finally have been improving major things and I have been using KiCad for smaller professional projects!!
I personally only really don't like the keyboard oriented interface. Also don't understand why that can't be changed in the settings.
Also finding parts takes to much time. (and is extremely slow/not working at all in the last few betas/nightlies).
My hope is that they move their focus fully on the interface and leave all fancy gimmicks (3D stuff and auto routing etc).
The last videos updates and presentations looked promising.

"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline ohdsp

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2017, 09:58:19 AM »
The issue I personally have is I have wasted days worth of time on packages like Altium Designer chasing issues with the rule settings, or many many other things like the shape of a PCB outline, that have stopped me routing a PCB design, or stopped me generating essential 3D data for a mechanical design team, only to find there is "nothing wrong" and my issue is a know "feature" or the software is just point blank ignoring what I have told it to do. When you consider that the "clumsy" issues with KiCad take up less of my time than trying to get Altium or any other commercial package (Diptrace, Mentor EE and so on) to follow my rules it really makes you wonder how these £££££ packages make their money.

I know every package has it issues, I also accept that something like Altium integrates full FPGA design into it's core and can have one of the best interactive DRC/router systems I have used. Personally I have never worked for a company that uses 1 tool to do everything (just too much risk?). I also have not worked in a situation where I could not have solved my issues by using KiCad with all DRC switched off and just using my mental ability/triple checking what I have done to complete a task in a fraction of the time. It's almost like professional engineers (or any professional) should not be trusted to do everything right without the aid of some stupidly expensive tool.

The fact that KiCads libraries from schematics to PCB are different, or that I have to export/import netlists between PCBs actually makes my life easier in some situations. When it comes to something like multichannel design I find I can layout the first block in KiCad and then manually copy the other channels in less time than it takes to get Altium to co-operate with me. Given a PCB layout normally limits you in the way you can layout multi-channels (i.e. they end up all different) this is another advantage in my book.

I will happily admit I have never routed a 6+ layer PCB with endless differential pairs on board such as a computer motherboard or the latest 1000 pin FPGA chip. I am positive Altiums interactive router would probably save my life in the situation; but I would guess there are many many design engineers/general engineers/hobbyists/contractors/magicians/marathon runners/cleaners who never been in this situation either.

Most companies/people that use these more complex tools just don't seem to understand what they are trying to do (or that is my opinion); they just seem to want to spend the money to "look" professional.
Check out the Open Hardware DSP Platform:
http://www.ohdsp.org
http://github.com/ohdsp
 
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Online bson

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2017, 05:22:57 AM »
Nice one boffin. Personally I enjoy doing schematic and circuit design using KiCad. And just think that all the files you produce are in a nice plain text file rather than locked into some proprierty format you might not be able to access in 5 years time....
Not to mention even if you switch to a different tool in the future you will have to continue subscribing to something you don't use anymore just to be able to read your files.  This is why I'm extremely loathe to subscribe to software.  If it's truly a dead end with no export functionality or free reader that can export, then as far as I'm concerned it's a trap and the right question is not only how much it costs but do I want to pay this in perpetuity.
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Online bson

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 05:28:21 AM »
I've been using KiCad for years, it has its quirks but overall I like it a lot and it does the job. It's always good to hear when people switch over, the more people using it, the better it will become.
It has also improved immensely and rapidly.  For example I just noticed that hitting 'v' to change the value of a component now pops up the dialog with the cursor in the text box ready to type a new value, and the enter key dismisses the dialog.  Neither of these used to happen, but with this small change it's much quicker to go over a bunch of passives and change their values - without having to mouse and clickety click for each one.  (Which was extremely tedious and slow.)

I also noticed on their english forum that the latest pcbnew/footprint editor (not sure which) in the nightlies have a new caliper tool for measurements that looks extremely handy for verifying footprint spacing...
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Offline LukeW

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2017, 05:49:49 AM »
and Kicad is open source, so if you want you can implement a nice copy-paste ?

This sounds like the classic open-source software development problem where of course it is assumed that all the software users will exclusively be open-source software developers, and no other people exist out there in user space.
 
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Offline jancumps

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2017, 07:21:34 AM »
Copy/paste exists and you don't have to be a developer to use kicad, eagle or altium designer.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2017, 07:32:02 AM »
The best libraries-package i found so far can be downloaded here:
http://smisioto.no-ip.org/elettronica/kicad/kicad-en.htm
It also contains some very nice 3D-Models

Looks nice. Is there a cloud based parts system, like you have in CircuitMaker (everyone can design parts and upload it to the cloud, and everyone else can use it)?
quadro copter flying, electronics, retro computing and other geeky things: http://www.youtube.com/user/frankbuss/
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2017, 08:17:57 AM »
The best libraries-package i found so far can be downloaded here:
http://smisioto.no-ip.org/elettronica/kicad/kicad-en.htm
It also contains some very nice 3D-Models

Looks nice. Is there a cloud based parts system, like you have in CircuitMaker (everyone can design parts and upload it to the cloud, and everyone else can use it)?

*shudder*

Hopefully not.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2017, 09:01:57 AM »
This sounds like the classic open-source software development problem where of course it is assumed that all the software users will exclusively be open-source software developers, and no other people exist out there in user space.

I'm not a software developer, and I've been using KiCad for years. EDAs in general are not known for being intuitive and user friendly, KiCad is no different there.
 

Offline dimkasta

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2017, 11:24:49 AM »
I AM a developer and I still do not want to develop such stuff

The biggest issue for me, when I tried it again a few months back, was the upside down Y axis. I do a lot of custom mechanical layouts and I really do not need to fight with the software for something like that.
And the saddest thing is that the devs said that they do not intend to fix it. To not break backwards compatibility. Something that they could easily overcome by adding a version indicator on the files. But anyway...

James sorry but there is no excuse for quirky software. If you know something is not user-friendly, it needs to be fixed. Not ignored.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 08:16:55 PM by dimkasta »
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2017, 06:20:12 PM »
The best libraries-package i found so far can be downloaded here:
http://smisioto.no-ip.org/elettronica/kicad/kicad-en.htm
It also contains some very nice 3D-Models

Looks nice. Is there a cloud based parts system, like you have in CircuitMaker (everyone can design parts and upload it to the cloud, and everyone else can use it)?
there are lots of kicad footprints and libraries on github, but you have to search and subscribe to them one by one.
there is a main library for kicad on github also. in fact, google is your friend, when I search for a part, I google "partid kicad" and often found it
otherwise it's not hard to do it yourself.

Offline awallin

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2017, 10:20:42 PM »
Looks nice. Is there a cloud based parts system, like you have in CircuitMaker (everyone can design parts and upload it to the cloud, and everyone else can use it)?

There used to be a site called kicadcloud.com, it seems now only the source code for that site remains:
https://github.com/joeferner/kicadcloud.com

This approach will really work well when all parts (scheatic symbols, PCB footprints, 3D models) live in git. The cloud/search engine could then just be a front-end/UI for a bunch of git-repos (hosted on github or wherever you want).
 

Offline b_force

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2017, 12:42:53 AM »
James sorry but there is no excuse for quirky software. If you know something is not user-friendly, it needs to be fixed. Not ignored.
YES!!!!

This is even the problem with more expensive software programs (Altium), but in general it's the biggest issue with most open-source software (and hardware).
A lot of times the interface is buggy and sloppy as hell plus you need to be an expert in the field sometimes to even understand what's going on or code stuff even yourself. People simply don't have time (or skills) for that!!
In my opinion the main and biggest reason why open-source (unfortunately) is never going to mainstream if developers don't change that.
KiCad is also an example of this. I have tried KiCad a few times now over many years.
In the first few years it was just absolutely horrible. Just a toy for amateurs (no offence), but absolutely unusable for any type of real professional work.
It is finally starting to change, but I would like to see a very different road map, because actually most of the things are working pretty fine.
It's just the interface that is still killing.

You can complain a lot about Apple, but they nailed this concept pretty good.
Why? Well even my mum understand how an iPhone works.

A technical solution that people don't wanna use is still useless.
Get a decent and sturdy/stable concept working and than make the interface as easy as possible.
Than work out things that are necessary (DRC on the fly for example).
Any other improvements (total size, speed, fancy gimmicks, auto routers, fancy 3D graphics, schematic simulation) fix them later.
If this project was under my management, I already would have kicked some butts.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 12:47:41 AM by b_force »
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

http://www.oneworldconcepts.com/
 

Offline nfmax

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2017, 01:31:52 AM »
But it's not just FOSS - just about all electronics CAD software has its own wierd user interface. Schematic/PCB packages in particular seem to take immense pride in paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to the UI standards of the platforms they run on.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2017, 02:47:44 AM »
That was my point. Find me *one* EDA that has a high quality user interface without various quirks and bugs, if it exists I've never found it. I tried every one I could get my hands on, came to the conclusion that they all suck, and stuck with KiCad because it's free and does everything I need it to do. The bugs and quirks in KiCad are no worse than the bugs and quirks in any other EDA package. You learn to work around them like you do with any other.
 

Online bson

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2017, 04:25:49 AM »
Copy/paste exists and you don't have to be a developer to use kicad, eagle or altium designer.
I tried it yesterday and it didn't seem to work.  I opened a second schematic, selected a portion of it, copied, and tried to paste it into the one I was working one.  No go.  I don't think it can copy and paste, other than simple text.  It's also on the list of things to be included in the upcoming release 5, but it's not yet in the v4 nightlies yet as far as I can tell, and it's plausible v4 will never implement it.
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Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2017, 04:34:49 AM »
Schematic/PCB packages in particular seem to take immense pride in paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to the UI standards of the platforms they run on.

And I'm very thankful that they don't - if they did they would be too cumbersome to use.

Specifically I'm talking about how the standard UI model of MS Windows works this way: Select object, then select operation.
Whereas in CAD this works better as it scales to multiple objects more simply: Select operation, then select object
 

Offline tycz

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2017, 03:13:22 PM »
Schematic/PCB packages in particular seem to take immense pride in paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to the UI standards of the platforms they run on.

And I'm very thankful that they don't - if they did they would be too cumbersome to use.

Specifically I'm talking about how the standard UI model of MS Windows works this way: Select object, then select operation.
Whereas in CAD this works better as it scales to multiple objects more simply: Select operation, then select object

Have you ever tried the PCB Elegance schematic editor? It works with the standard Windows model (noun-verb) and it's not cumbersome to use at all. One can select many objects and modify them all in a single action. One can copy and paste bits of schematic between different windows (as expected of any Windows software). It never bothers the user with a 'clarify selection' pop-up.

Whatever the reason for Kicad's UI quirkiness, it's not because it's necessary.
 

Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2017, 03:30:59 PM »
Schematic/PCB packages in particular seem to take immense pride in paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to the UI standards of the platforms they run on.

And I'm very thankful that they don't - if they did they would be too cumbersome to use.

Specifically I'm talking about how the standard UI model of MS Windows works this way: Select object, then select operation.
Whereas in CAD this works better as it scales to multiple objects more simply: Select operation, then select object

Have you ever tried the PCB Elegance schematic editor? It works with the standard Windows model (noun-verb) and it's not cumbersome to use at all. One can select many objects and modify them all in a single action. One can copy and paste bits of schematic between different windows (as expected of any Windows software). It never bothers the user with a 'clarify selection' pop-up.

Whatever the reason for Kicad's UI quirkiness, it's not because it's necessary.

Haven't used it, but if it works in the standard way it would require holding the Control key down while clicking on everything you want to change. Then chose the operation to perform.
One mistake and you lose all of your selections and have to start again. Personally I find that cumbersome compared to the non-standard methods used by e.g. Eagle and KiCad.

The general quirkiness of KiCad I am not arguing about, that is something different IMO. e.g. Lack of copy/paste is just a missing feature.

The clarify selection is an interesting one. In 'standard' Windows packages it can be difficult or impossible to select an object which is behind another object or which is overlapping. That is just KiCad's solution to that particular problem. Maybe PCB Elegance has a better solution to selecting objects which are close together/overlapping.
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2017, 03:53:41 PM »

The general quirkiness of KiCad I am not arguing about, that is something different IMO. e.g. Lack of copy/paste is just a missing feature.


Pebkac?? There is a copy/paste, in Schematic and in PCB and in sch lib editor and probably in the footprint editor too, it's been there for years.



 
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Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2017, 04:01:36 PM »

The general quirkiness of KiCad I am not arguing about, that is something different IMO. e.g. Lack of copy/paste is just a missing feature.


Pebkac?? There is a copy/paste, in Schematic and in PCB and in sch lib editor and probably in the footprint editor too, it's been there for years.


Is it? I thought copying between schematics was not straightforward - and that was what tycz specifically criticised.
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2017, 06:00:19 PM »

The general quirkiness of KiCad I am not arguing about, that is something different IMO. e.g. Lack of copy/paste is just a missing feature.


Pebkac?? There is a copy/paste, in Schematic and in PCB and in sch lib editor and probably in the footprint editor too, it's been there for years.
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.
but yes there is some obscure mechanism with clic, and "C" to copy, or "M" to move, or right clic for a bloc, well, not what a simple text editor can do. but hey it's free so we cannot complain, just grab your C compiler and make kicad better !

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2017, 06:49:50 PM »
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.
Documents? It's not a word processor. ;)
If you want to copy stuff from another project, I think you just add the relevant file to your project and then you can copy out of it.
Also because it is text based you can just copy the appropriate text if you open both in a text editor. You can use a difference tool to find the appropriate entries.
I've done it both ways, definitely exists not simple but not a major issue.
I accept it would be useful if you could paste across application boundaries so I will look forward to the day.
 

Offline stryker

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2017, 07:03:26 PM »
FWIW I keep commonly used building blocks that I like to reuse in their own sheet with easy to remember names.  conn.sch contains routinely used external connections, prog.sch has programming headers, UI.sch includes connections and support circuitry for commonly used displays with I2C pullups etc, and power.sch has various power regulators.

If you copy them to the folder of your new project and create a sheet using one of those names, KiCad says it's found a file with that name and do I want to use it...boom.  Delete what you don't need, and you're away.

No where near as clean and neat as copy and paste between projects I grant you, but you can only have one KiCad project open concurrently so that may be more than just a trivial function to add or we'd have it already.
 

Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2017, 07:13:52 PM »
FWIW I keep commonly used building blocks that I like to reuse in their own sheet with easy to remember names.  conn.sch contains routinely used external connections, prog.sch has programming headers, UI.sch includes connections and support circuitry for commonly used displays with I2C pullups etc, and power.sch has various power regulators.

If you copy them to the folder of your new project and create a sheet using one of those names, KiCad says it's found a file with that name and do I want to use it...boom.  Delete what you don't need, and you're away.

No where near as clean and neat as copy and paste between projects I grant you, but you can only have one KiCad project open concurrently so that may be more than just a trivial function to add or we'd have it already.

Makes sense, nice tip.
 

Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2017, 07:18:10 PM »
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.
Documents? It's not a word processor. ;)
If you want to copy stuff from another project, I think you just add the relevant file to your project and then you can copy out of it.
Also because it is text based you can just copy the appropriate text if you open both in a text editor. You can use a difference tool to find the appropriate entries.
I've done it both ways, definitely exists not simple but not a major issue.
I accept it would be useful if you could paste across application boundaries so I will look forward to the day.


Pebkac inversion syndrome :-DD
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2017, 07:50:15 PM »
?? By definition, if there is no problem at this end there is no Pebkac.
Meanwhile, you're the one who can't copy and paste.
 

Online Dubbie

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #36 on: March 25, 2017, 08:40:13 PM »
The first package that lets you draw footprints the same way you sketch in solidworks or fusion will get all my money.
 

Offline tycz

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #37 on: March 25, 2017, 10:57:48 PM »

Haven't used it, but if it works in the standard way it would require holding the Control key down while clicking on everything you want to change. Then chose the operation to perform.
One mistake and you lose all of your selections and have to start again. Personally I find that cumbersome compared to the non-standard methods used by e.g. Eagle and KiCad.

In PCB Elegance, to modify a single object it is one more mouse click, but to operate on multiple objects it's far less work for the user. Selections are rectangular and every object the rectangle touches is selected. Selection is appending if the shift key is held down.

When multiple object of a different type are selected at once, the context menu contain two menus: Select only and Unselect. Inside each is a list of all different object types. For example, if I wanted to delete all the wires in a particular area of the schematic I would select the area and then go to Select only -> Wires from the context menu. Now only the wires are selected and I just press the delete key.

The clarify selection is an interesting one. In 'standard' Windows packages it can be difficult or impossible to select an object which is behind another object or which is overlapping. That is just KiCad's solution to that particular problem. Maybe PCB Elegance has a better solution to selecting objects which are close together/overlapping.

When the shift key is held and an already selected item is selected again, it gets deselected. This way it's easy to unselect one of two objects close together (especially if zoomed in). If you accidentally place two of the same components on top of each other, the selection tool can't differentiate between the two. In this case you just use the 'Select components by list' feature which will show a dialog containing the list of all components in the sheet. This can controls the selection also so you deselect one of the components here and then move the other away.


The general quirkiness of KiCad I am not arguing about, that is something different IMO. e.g. Lack of copy/paste is just a missing feature.


Pebkac?? There is a copy/paste, in Schematic and in PCB and in sch lib editor and probably in the footprint editor too, it's been there for years.
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.
but yes there is some obscure mechanism with clic, and "C" to copy, or "M" to move, or right clic for a bloc, well, not what a simple text editor can do. but hey it's free so we cannot complain, just grab your C compiler and make kicad better !

Yes, it's copy/paste between sheets that's the problem. I've never heard of another schematic entry program that cannot do it. Off the top of my head, I can think of four other open source schematic entry softwares for Windows: BSch3V, PCB Elegance, Qucs, Tinycad. All of them can copy paste between sheets of different instances of the program!

If I was to rate all the schematic entry software for Windows that I've used by user friendliness, I would put BSch3V and PCB Elegance tied in first place. After that, I would put a list of commercial packages I've used over the years, then Kicad towards the bottom, tied with LT Spice. Maybe the board layout side of Kicad is shit hot and redeems the poor schematic entry... I don't know, I haven't used it in earnest. I sincerely hope it's the case.
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #38 on: March 25, 2017, 11:55:15 PM »
There is a limited copy and paste in KiCad (within a project), but confusingly it doesn't follow normal conventions. To copy from a different project, you have to open the schematic sheet in the project you want to copy _to_. So there are ways, but it is clunky.

This a recognized issue, but the lack of a general copy/paste goes back to bad decisions in the early days of KiCad (it was originally a DOS program), which is that the internal data format can not be serialized to the clip board. Work is ongoing to create new formats, but doing that and keeping back compatibility takes time. Arguably it is better to add new, useful features, than perfecting existing features that already mostly work, but people's priorities are all different, so it's impossible to please everyone.

KiCad is definitely improving, albeit slowly, and there are some devs pushing to improve the UX, so I see a positive future. Given that the project is mostly created by volunteers, it's really pretty good.
Bob
 

Offline MarkS

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2017, 01:02:15 AM »
Whereas in CAD this works better as it scales to multiple objects more simply: Select operation, then select object

You must have never used a standard vector-based image editing program in Windows/OSX/pre-OSX/Linux/et. al. ;) Rubberband select or shift/control select to select multiple objects and then perform action. You're selecting the objects you want to edit and then telling the program what to do with them. This is an industry (graphics design) standard.

Understand that we're talking semantics; both do the same function. It is the difference between saying, "I want to change the scale of these objects," and, "To these objects I want to change the scale." The latter is more obtuse grammatically, but in the context of a GUI, it makes more sense than the former. The reason lies in contextual menus. It doesn't make sense to give the user the option to scale something that doesn't exist (isn't selected). While proper GUI design dictates that the option must always be present in the menu, it must be grayed out unless it can be performed at the time the menu is displayed.

However, modern day CAD and EDA programs are based on the structure of ancient (pre-GUI) programs from way back when GUIs didn't exist and workstations were the size of a recliner. GUIs came about and the CAD industry slowly and grudgingly came around to them, but stubbornly refused to change the interface to a more friendly design seen in all other GUI-based vector drawing programs. This is the reason for the black background, for example. It wasn't until the Apple Lisa and Macintosh (1982/83) that inverted video became standard. Modern EDA programs allow the background to be changed, but it still defaults to black.

We're using a slightly prettier version of 1970/1980's workstation CAD/EDA programs. It's like putting lipstick on a pig.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 01:35:15 AM by MarkS »
 

Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2017, 05:45:10 AM »
Whereas in CAD this works better as it scales to multiple objects more simply: Select operation, then select object

You must have never used a standard vector-based image editing program in Windows/OSX/pre-OSX/Linux/et. al. ;) Rubberband select or shift/control select to select multiple objects and then perform action. You're selecting the objects you want to edit and then telling the program what to do with them. This is an industry (graphics design) standard.

Of course I have used standard packages. I simply don't like that way of selecting objects. I like packages where I don't need to do the Shift/Ctrl selection dance.

I know how it works, I just think it sucks and that the other way works better.
 
 

Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2017, 05:51:04 AM »
?? By definition, if there is no problem at this end there is no Pebkac.
Meanwhile, you're the one who can't copy and paste.


It is clear that there is a copy/paste issue between files, it has been posted by multiple people above.



 

Offline b_force

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #42 on: March 26, 2017, 07:24:43 AM »
Specifically I'm talking about how the standard UI model of MS Windows works this way: Select object, then select operation.
Whereas in CAD this works better as it scales to multiple objects more simply: Select operation, then select object
I guess this is extremely subjective and your idea of 'what is better'.
For me it's much much much worse. Because it mains that you always need to go for that action OR you will need to switch your action.
Besides, it also means that you keep on hitting short-key all the freaking time.
Also the focus on your objects are jumping all over the place and it's even worse if you decided to do a different action instead.
You're just using your keyboard the whole time like you're almost typing.

It drives me insane  :scared: |O

The point I really don't understand, why is there simply not a setting, where people can choose this?
It's open source anyway, absolutely not that hard to implement something like this.



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Offline apelly

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #43 on: March 26, 2017, 09:27:42 AM »
Overall I quite like it, once you get your mind wrapped around the Netlist to push from one to the other.
...
Overall, I'll be staying here, because I like open source...  It's a great package
Good work. I like it too.

Sure it has some quirks. It's a large, powerful, complex piece of software that's maintained for the fun of it by about 5 people. That's amazing!

boffin, if you subscribe to the dev mailing list you'll see most of the issues that annoy people are also considered issues by the dev team. Usually they are actively being worked on, or postponed until behind the scenes enhancements that allow more advanced behaviours are completed.

But don't go there looking for support. There is a very active and helpful users mailing list too. Some of the development team hang out with the users there; you can get some great support, but also, your opinion about upcoming changes actually counts.

In a thread like this the nay sayers always need to tell the OP what an idiot he is for choosing X or doing Y. It bugs me. Bloody X-o-phobes. Why do they even care what you use?

Stick with KiCad for a while, mate, it's learning time well spent. It's a very capable bit of gear.
I'd rather a Google clue, link, or some theory than "do this" (generally)
 

Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #44 on: March 26, 2017, 02:07:19 PM »
Specifically I'm talking about how the standard UI model of MS Windows works this way: Select object, then select operation.
Whereas in CAD this works better as it scales to multiple objects more simply: Select operation, then select object
I guess this is extremely subjective and your idea of 'what is better'.

Probably right. But just because a method is 'Industry Standard' doesn't mean it is the best approach either.

You're just using your keyboard the whole time like you're almost typing.

It drives me insane  :scared: |O

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.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2017, 12:06:53 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  ;)

I only don't follow this.
You have to draw lines and place the components with a mouse anyway.
The same thing goes for 90% of every other software program.
So I always end up binding loads of shortcut keys to my mouse (X-Mouse Button Control is EXTREMELY nice for that).
Why not than use a mouse only interface? (or as close as possible)

In fact, the only time I use my keyboard, is to type messages (on forums  ;D), fill in measures or formulas.
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Offline Karel

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #46 on: March 27, 2017, 12:26:42 AM »
You have to draw lines and place the components with a mouse anyway.

Not quiet true. I'll give you an example.

Let's say I have finshed the schematic and I want to start with the pcb layout.

On the monitor on the left there's the schematic and on the monitor on the right there's the (board) layout.

The layout consists of an empty rectangle (the pcb) and aside there are 500 components that needs to be placed.

Let's say I have zoomed into a part of the pcb where I am laying out some components connected to eachother in the schematic.
Let's say I want to take R233 from the heap and place it onto the board area where I'm actually zoomed into.

I just type: "move r233" and that component is imediately attached to the mouse cursor and I can place it immediately without
the need to:

1.) zoom out
2.) pan to the area where all the not yet placed components are
3.) zoom in and try to find R233 between all the others
4.) grab it /select it
5.) zoom out
6.) pan
7.) zoom in
8.) place it

Repeat this for all the other components...

So, using the keyboard, you save a lot of time and you avoid rsi.
And you don't need to repeat typing the whole command again for the next resistor.
Just hit the up-arrow, backspace and enter"4" to grab R234...

In fact, the only time I use my keyboard, is to type messages (on forums  ;D), fill in measures or formulas.

I use the keyboard as much as the mouse when creating schematics or layingout a board.
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the difference between theory and practice in practice.
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Offline james_s

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #47 on: March 27, 2017, 04:04:16 AM »
I often draw lines and place components using the keyboard, it's far more precise. When drawing a footprint I'll normally place the lines I need haphazardly using the mouse and then edit the position and start/end points of each line with the keyboard so they're all placed precisely where I want them and line up exactly. A mouse is great for exploring an unfamiliar program and quickly selecting an object but it's tedious and imprecise to do the fine detailed work with a mouse.
 

Online hendorog

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #48 on: March 27, 2017, 04:11:04 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).




 

Offline b_force

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Re: I did it - switched to KiCad
« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2017, 06:53:14 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)

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......
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Online 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.

 

Offline 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.
 

Offline 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
"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 #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.
 

Online 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>
 

Offline 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.



 

Offline 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?
 

Offline 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?
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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.
 


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