Author Topic: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad  (Read 17128 times)

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Offline piranha32

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AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« on: August 07, 2015, 06:26:09 am »
Congrats to switching to KiCad :) Sometimes it can be a bit of a PITA, but I hope you will like it. I'm not talking about ideological reasons, pure economy.

Offline firewalker

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 07:21:48 am »
Become a realist, stay a dreamer.

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2015, 07:58:12 am »
Just DONT download the old version. See below for fresh Windows binaries.
http://www2.futureware.at/~nickoe/
http://www2.futureware.at/~nickoe/kicad-product-r6055.fa29c62-x86_64.exe

This is precisely what I've been talking about with Kicad that needs to end.
I have to go to a personal website to download the latest version :palm:
Wht can't they just have this on the damn website?  |O
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2015, 10:23:21 am »
The new version is on the way. They are fixing bugs (after code freezing) and they will release it.

Alexander.
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Offline FrankBuss

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2015, 11:19:25 am »
I tried KiCad some time ago. It is not bad. But sometimes it needs some time for the developers to fix things. I submitted a feature request, patch included how to implement it, and they didn't like it, despite the fact that other users want to have it, too. But hey, it's Open Source, we can always fork it :) PS: Looks like after 4 years finally it is implemented in the new page layout editor.
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Offline Wilksey

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2015, 11:41:55 am »
I would like to see a video of you reviewing the newer version over the previous version you did and give your overall opinion of the newer versions, it has come quite far since the one you originally test drove.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2015, 11:46:37 am »
Just DONT download the old version. See below for fresh Windows binaries.
http://www2.futureware.at/~nickoe/
http://www2.futureware.at/~nickoe/kicad-product-r6055.fa29c62-x86_64.exe

This is precisely what I've been talking about with Kicad that needs to end.
I have to go to a personal website to download the latest version :palm:
Wht can't they just have this on the damn website?  |O

It is on the damn website, did you not read it? These are linked directly under Windows in Installing KiCad...
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2015, 01:31:19 pm »
It is on the damn website, did you not read it? These are linked directly under Windows in Installing KiCad...

It is not on the web/site. There is a link on the website that takes you to a personal web page that just has a directory of a million different things to download. It looks unprofessional and dodgy for a product that's trying to be taken seriously as a mainstream package :--
Imagine if Altium just provided a download link to Nick Martin's personal server directory that had dozens of different builds on it.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2015, 01:53:26 pm »
Fair enough, though "not on the website" and "not hosted on the same server" are different complaints.

As usual, I'll just point out that we're in the process of 'recovery' - at the time of the previous release, KiCad was definitely a bit of a typical small FOSS project with people who didn't really care about having a nice website and good documentation and all that. I promise, all of this is changing, just perhaps not as fast as would be nice.

KiCad has a lot of blemishes, including its website, that are finally being taken care of. That will unfortunately require time. We're working on a new website, to debut simultaneously with the upcoming release. The download/hosting arrangement will change, at that point, to a much more professional style. The current candidate looks quite good in my opinion, though I'm not going to link it here because it's still being built and I don't want to give impressions based on its current unfinished status. Particularly here, where judging things when they're still not quite finished is the norm.

There are still some things to be fixed in the next release cycle. The upcoming release should be a significant improvement, and the one after that will be even further. Until then, the project is unfortunately held back a bit by its previous status as a relatively amateurish project. All I ask is that people be patient - keep in mind that we're currently hard at work trying to clean it up. If you don't want to use it until that cleanup effort is finished, that's fine. Just hold off on passing judgment on it until you see what comes out in the next release and in the release after that.

(And yes, I'm aware we've been saying that the release is right around the corner for a couple months now. I'm a bit annoyed by that too, but the decision is that we're not going to release while there are still outstanding major issues in a few specific places, and cleaning those up ended up being more work than was initially thought. I currently can't claim to know exactly when it will happen.)
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Offline mswhin63

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2015, 01:55:22 pm »

It is not on the web/site. There is a link on the website that takes you to a personal web page that just has a directory of a million different things to download. It looks unprofessional and dodgy for a product that's trying to be taken seriously as a mainstream package :--
Imagine if Altium just provided a download link to Nick Martin's personal server directory that had dozens of different builds on it.

Agreed, I too am looking into KiCAD and I find with such focus on the software Windows version is not well represented. Most software have programming updates and with a simple option to download development or stable updates it would save a hell of a lot of frustration in updating. Very backwards in this regards.

So far though it has a good interface but lack in some areas. Definitely private websites are so old school. Even a coding website like GITHUB for windows applications (if there is one) would be a better option.
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Offline firewalker

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2015, 02:13:26 pm »
@c4757p is the source for the windows binary packet available somewhere?

Alexander.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2015, 02:18:43 pm »
The source is this, including the NSIS scripts. I've not used it myself, but it looks fairly straightforward. I believe it is meant to be used from within MSYS2.
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Offline firewalker

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2015, 02:43:11 pm »
Thanks you.

Alexander.
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Offline Len

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2015, 04:03:57 pm »
As usual, I'll just point out that we're in the process of 'recovery' - at the time of the previous release, KiCad was definitely a bit of a typical small FOSS project with people who didn't really care about having a nice website and good documentation and all that. I promise, all of this is changing, just perhaps not as fast as would be nice.

That's good to hear. It has seemed like the KiCad maintainers were more interested in futzing around with their software than in producing something for others to use. With a bit of organization and focus on users, KiCad could become a top-tier option, like Firefox or WordPress.
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2015, 05:18:03 am »
Lead developer:

http://ftp.belnet.be/FOSDEM/2015/devroom-electronic_design_automation/kicad.mp4

Alexander.

Well, I now know how to correctly pronounce KiCad.  I'ts pronounced "Kee"Cad.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2015, 08:30:41 am »
Well, I now know how to correctly pronounce KiCad.  I'ts pronounced "Kee"Cad.

Good to see I'm "correct" for a change  ;D
 

Offline tipofthesowrd

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2015, 10:03:30 am »
Wow, I just watched the video from FOSDEM and I wish I'd been there since I live in Belgium.
I'm a KiCad user myself and I really enjoyed watching Wayne explain his vision and share his experience as a developer over the years.

I'm really looking forward to continue using it!  :-+
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2015, 12:40:38 pm »
I don't have the link handy, but there is another FOSDEM video too, by Tomasz W?ostowski (one of the CERN developers) that goes into a good amount of technical detail about the new interactive routing engine. Developers among us may want to look for that too, it's pretty interesting.

Edit: stupid forum software, no Unicode in 2015?! Wlostowski.

Edit: here it is: Interactive PCB Routing: Ideas & algorithms we implemented in Kicad
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 01:01:02 pm by c4757p »
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Offline Miles Teg

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2015, 02:43:07 pm »
Sorry Dave, I'm a little late in the podcast listening, so I didn't heard yet the reason the Dave² have switch from CircuitMaker to Kicad.
And I'm really interested as I'm currently business working succesfully with Altium (and interested to put personnal project and open HW with Circuit maker)
But I have another business opportunity, and they don't have the money for mutliples ALtium licences. And they seems to like working with Kicad.

For the moment I only tried the Kicad schematic side, and I'm little bit confused by the "footprint assignement" principle. I was so confy with Altium sch<->footprint DB with access DB.

I know we cannot compare fairly these 2 softwares. But I'm looking for what parts would give me more difficulties to switch between them. (still checking by myself :))

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Offline c4757p

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2015, 02:49:24 pm »
The footprint assignment is, in my opinion, at least a bit clunky in KiCad. Worse, the mechanism changed recently - for the better in my opinion, but there is always the side effect of invalidating old tutorials and the like.

I would think that the easiest way to assign footprints in KiCad for an Altium user, and indeed the way I do it, is to assign them individually from in the schematic. You can press F over any component to call up a footprint selector, and then that footprint is associated with that component. It'll stay that way if you copy the part, so you can set up one component and then duplicate it a bunch of times.

You can do this in your personal libraries as well, and those will be assigned to the part right out of the component selector. Many Altium libraries use a pre-assigned, one-footprint-per-symbol approach, which can be done in KiCad that way.
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Offline firewalker

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2015, 03:03:12 pm »
 I always liked the manual selection of modules (no footprint rubbish  :P  :P :P ) in a separate step.

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Offline c4757p

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2015, 03:05:17 pm »
modules (no footprint rubbish  :P  :P :P )

Hah. I'm glad they finally renamed "modules" to "footprints", what an awkward wording.
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Offline firewalker

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2015, 03:50:35 pm »
Is there any target date for the release?

Alexander.
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Offline timofonic

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2015, 04:29:09 pm »
Is there any target date for the release?

Alexander.

I think the reply will be:
When it's done(tm)

But they're finally near finishing the bugfixing phase and the bugtracker list is getting reduced, they said there's few to be done before a Release Candidate is done.

But better wait for a proper reply by a KiCad developer, I'm just a lurker!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 04:42:31 pm by Circuiteromalaguito »
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2015, 04:36:32 pm »
Is there any target date for the release?

Alexander.

I think the reply will be:
When it's done(tm)

But they're finally near finishing bugfixing phase mmlhñbnn GitHub ñnnjñ nu n7i it is j in this ujk no join in nibijjmand the bugtracker list is getting reduced, they said there's few to be done before a Release Candidate is done.

But wait for a proper reply by a KiCad developer, I'm just a lurker!

No, that's pretty accurate. Especially the "mmlhñbnn GitHub ñnnjñ nu n7i it is j in this ujk no join in nibijjmand" part ;)
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Offline timofonic

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2015, 04:44:57 pm »
Is there any target date for the release?

Alexander.

I think the reply will be:
When it's done(tm)

But they're finally near finishing bugfixing phase mmlhñbnn GitHub ñnnjñ nu n7i it is j in this ujk no join in nibijjmand the bugtracker list is getting reduced, they said there's few to be done before a Release Candidate is done.

But wait for a proper reply by a KiCad developer, I'm just a lurker!

No, that's pretty accurate. Especially the "mmlhñbnn GitHub ñnnjñ nu n7i it is j in this ujk no join in nibijjmand" part ;)

I was replying with my cellphone and had to stop writing, but I didn't lock it. Mysteriously it wrote weird characters  except GitHub and got sent :lol:
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2015, 04:49:53 pm »
Haha ;D

Anyway, yes. Unfortunately the release keeps getting delayed. Some of that is by finding bugs that need to be fixed, which is good - I'd rather have a late release than a buggy one. Sadly though, a select few developers (for definitions of "few" approximately equal to one >:() keep insisting on making changes, like this one, that are unnecessary and risk introducing instability, and then we end up having to fix them.

So sadly, I can't really give a good estimate on the release date. It's been "release candidate in a couple days now!" for a couple months. :( |O

Hopefully, Wayne just says screw-it and pulls the trigger on the release candidate in the next few days, which is actually starting to look likely.
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Offline timofonic

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2015, 10:03:23 pm »
I hope so! KiCad needs a new stable release plus a proper website.
 

Offline djsb

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2015, 02:13:28 pm »
New website under development in Github and here is a test site

http://test.kicad-pcb.org/

Hope you find it interesting.
David
Hertfordshire,UK
 University Electronics Technician, London PIC,CCS C,Arduino,Kicad, Altium Designer,LPKF S103,S62 Operator, Electronics instructor.  http://debuggingrules.com/ Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
 

Offline Miles Teg

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2015, 11:13:41 am »
Ho yes! This test site seems much better appealing.

Sure Kicad need some help on the "marketing" side.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2015, 11:31:42 am »
New website under development in Github and here is a test site
http://test.kicad-pcb.org/
Hope you find it interesting.

Download still points to the guys personal website  |O
But otherwise very nice.
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2015, 07:33:15 pm »
New website under development in Github and here is a test site
http://test.kicad-pcb.org/
Hope you find it interesting.

Download still points to the guys personal website  |O
But otherwise very nice.

Now that is officially up, the binaries are hosted locally.

http://kicad-pcb.org/download/

Alexander.
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Offline Miles Teg

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2015, 06:36:07 am »
Ho yes much better!

but...

Quote
Old Stable

The build of the 2013 stable release is available from http://downloads.kicad-pcb.org/archive/KiCad_stable-2013.07.07-BZR4022_Win_full_version.exe (It is not recommended for new designs).

Stable is NRND?  :wtf:

Sorry I'm new to Kicad and not very used to opensource way of doing.
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Offline con-f-use

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2015, 07:12:22 am »
Well the old "stable" release is so far begind everything. Many things have been improved and many bugs fixed, but there is no official new stable release. That will come in a few month. All they're saying is "we have improved much, but are not yet 100% confident. The newer versions are better by modern standards than the old stable". It's not the open source way of doing things, it's just that the developers and therefore the standards have changed partly and you can't un-call the release stable.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2015, 07:21:33 am »
The last "stable" version is from 2013  :o and is "not recommended for new designs.
Again, the problem with KiCAD is one of public image.
Forget the word stable, that's a horrible word. Just say "Here is the latest version", and chose a version and stick with it.
Then have "If you want to live life on the edge, here is the latest non-public build" or something like that.
Even if the latest public version has bugs in it, it doesn't matter, at least it's the same version the majority are using.
 

Offline Miles Teg

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2015, 09:44:19 am »
Quote
Many things have been improved and many bugs fixed, but there is no official new stable release. That will come in a few month.

Seems fair to me. Maybe just need some communication things on website to warn like you do the "non advised public"  :-/O


Anyway for the website the overall impression is good. I really want to spend more time on Kicad, its community and try to give some help.  :-+


And we should continue on the new kicad website topic in the good forum: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/open-source-kicad-geda/kicad-new-site/


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Offline con-f-use

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2015, 11:05:50 am »
That one got derailed a bit by font-guy.

I agree that "stable" is a bad choice of words and unneeded. I like "public" and "experimental" or "public" and "development". IMHO Ubuntu does well, too, with its LTS versions (long term support).

If you break backwards compatibility or introduce a killer new complex feature, you might call that a milestone release.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 11:08:25 am by con-f-use »
 

Offline stmdude

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Re: AmpHour #261: Daves switch to KiCad
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2015, 02:03:45 pm »
I'm one of the few (lucky?) ones that uses both KiCad (offical 4.0 released, yey!), as well as Altium 15 (at work).

Although I'm actually a SW guy, I can tell you that they both have their ups and downs, which isn't surprising when you're comparing products from the same segment. However, I can tell you that for prototyping work (just making a few one-off boards), I'm _much_ quicker in KiCad than any of our HW guys are at Altium, including the rented gray-beard that's been living and breathing Altium since dinosaurs ruled the earth.
And that's the entire chain, from building custom components+footprints to the finished PCB layout.

For cases like these (small production runs, single sourcing, etc), you'd be insane to pay for Altium. The time to learn KiCad is easily offset by the price of Altium licenses.

HOWEVER..  Where KiCad falls completely flat on its face is when you're planning for high-volume production. The BOM management is near non-existent, and good luck integrating into anything resembling a PLM system.
I guess this is kind of expected, as KiCad comes from hobbyists, tinkerers and academia (Go CERN!), none of which have probably been exposed to the added complexity of manufacturing (for example) 10K units a months for two years, and having to have the final unit produced behave identically to the first one.

And to show what level I'm roughly at, this is the latest design I did:


It's the latest take in my never-ending quest for the ultimate development-"buddy" when doing embedded software.
It contains:
* Dual JTAG, with a CPLD to do pin-routing and level-shifting. I.e, works with systems running anything between 1.0V and 3.6V
* Serial->USB converter
* Dual LM317 power-supplies (yes, I could do better with DC-DC bucks, but when I'm developing, 20mA is considered "high-current")
* Integrated current-monitoring/logging over USB (10bit ADC, 1KHz sample rate. Good enough to tell if I made things better or worse, power-wise)
* A small USB hub to tie everything together to one micro-USB port

From idea to second revision of the PCB layout (wasn't happy with the first one. Size and neatness of routing), this took about 10 hours. This includes building the custom components for a few minor chips, the 64-pin FT2232HL, as well as the 100-pin CPLD.
 


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