Author Topic: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!  (Read 11711 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TheRuler8510

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 176
  • Country: us
  • RF Engineer
KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« on: May 26, 2014, 06:09:41 pm »
To anyone looking for a cheap PCB layout tool,

It is funny how I completely dismissed KiCad for months because--it's free, so how good can it be?  I started with Eagle, and found it terribly non-intuitive and limited (free version). Then I switched to Diptrace, and found it much more intuitive, but I still struggled (and its free version is limited too.)

Then I finally tried KiCad and wow--it is awesome. Thanks to Chris for pushing it hard (on TAH), as I finally listened. Once you get over the hump, it is fun to use and smooth.  Chris has excellent Youtube videos on getting started to finishing the board, then uploading to OSHPark, and I found them all very helpful.

I was so excited by how quickly i did this, I had to write this account--and no, Chris is not paying me to say this.

The biggest hole in KiCad is the smaller library of components--but who cares, since it is so easy to create new library footprints and components.

Thanks again,

Tom
"There are no facts, only interpretations."
--Friederich Nietzsche
 

Offline slowertech

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 22
  • Country: us
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 11:25:01 pm »
Are you using a build with interactive routing?
 

Offline TheRuler8510

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 176
  • Country: us
  • RF Engineer
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 11:45:51 pm »
Are you using a build with interactive routing?

Yes. Never trust the autorouter! Wait--that sounds like a good t-shirt idea!  :)
"There are no facts, only interpretations."
--Friederich Nietzsche
 

Offline Royce

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 49
  • Country: us
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 02:54:46 pm »
Did you find KiCad more intuitive than Ditrace?  Years ago (perhaps 8 or 9) I also tried Eagle, Diptrace, and KiCad and found Diptrace to be the hands down winner. I hate fighting a tool and Diptrace gave me the least guff by a goodly margin.

I want the flexibility of KiCad. The ability to drop into a random workstation and do work can be powerful at times and I'm pretty curious about the recent symbol library/github mash-up. But, I don't want to slog through a bunch of brain-dead UI choices either.

How much time did it take you to get over the hump? (Time is what I have the least of these days.) Was it mostly learning how to do things out-of-order relative to most other GUI programs? (e.x. select the cut operation then select what to cut)? What was it that made it a "hump"?
 

Offline TheRuler8510

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 176
  • Country: us
  • RF Engineer
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 04:44:50 pm »
Did you find KiCad more intuitive than Ditrace?  Years ago (perhaps 8 or 9) I also tried Eagle, Diptrace, and KiCad and found Diptrace to be the hands down winner. I hate fighting a tool and Diptrace gave me the least guff by a goodly margin.

I want the flexibility of KiCad. The ability to drop into a random workstation and do work can be powerful at times and I'm pretty curious about the recent symbol library/github mash-up. But, I don't want to slog through a bunch of brain-dead UI choices either.

How much time did it take you to get over the hump? (Time is what I have the least of these days.) Was it mostly learning how to do things out-of-order relative to most other GUI programs? (e.x. select the cut operation then select what to cut)? What was it that made it a "hump"?


Answers:

Did you find KiCad more intuitive than Ditrace? 
KiCad seems somewhat more intuitive, But is has been awhile now since I touched Diptrace--so i should go back to try it again, but who has time...

I want the flexibility of KiCad. The ability to drop into a random workstation and do work can be powerful at times and I'm pretty curious about the recent symbol library/github mash-up.
Kicad is less limited compared to free version of Diptrace. I have no knowledge of the "mash-up."

How much time did it take you to get over the hump? (Time is what I have the least of these days.)
One week part time in the evenings watching Chris's 7-part intro series on Youtube.

Was it mostly learning how to do things out-of-order relative to most other GUI programs? (e.x. select the cut operation then select what to cut)? What was it that made it a "hump"?
The hump is mainly learning where all buttons are and what the correct steps are to do anything.  Also the right way to move between different libraries and doing custom parts is important to understand.

"There are no facts, only interpretations."
--Friederich Nietzsche
 

Offline ElektroQuark

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1242
  • Country: es
    • ElektroQuark
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 07:53:34 pm »
I used to run KiCad from a USB stick. In any place, at any time. It was truly portable. Now with the new library table system it's not. :( 
KiCad developers: why don't you put it in the KiCad folder?

Offline ve7xen

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1118
  • Country: ca
    • VE7XEN Blog
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 08:02:15 pm »
I believe you can set the location using an environment variable.
73 de VE7XEN
He/Him
 
The following users thanked this post: alexanderbrevig

Offline jimjam

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 174
  • Country: au
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2014, 05:14:17 am »
What's a good material to learn how to use Kicad? I've just managed to get it running on my Mac using VMware + Ubuntu. I've managed to draw a circuit diagram but haven't figured out how to turn it into a pcb design.

 

Offline jancumps

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1268
  • Country: be
  • New Low
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2014, 05:47:45 am »
ContextualElectronics posted a video series on KiCad.
I used that to make my first KiCad PCB.
 

Offline Royce

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 49
  • Country: us
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2014, 08:26:10 pm »
I want the flexibility of KiCad. The ability to drop into a random workstation and do work can be powerful at times and I'm pretty curious about the recent symbol library/github mash-up.
Kicad is less limited compared to free version of Diptrace. I have no knowledge of the "mash-up."

I thought I read some where that a Github URL could be put into the library system of KiCad potentially giving access, with automated updates (commits to the repo), to a communally maintained body of schematic symbols and/or PCB footprints. This seems like an attractive feature, if true.
 

Offline ornea

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 130
  • Country: au
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2016, 04:40:07 am »
+1.

Some time ago I gave KiCad a go and cant remember why but quickly went looking for something else.  I think I struggled with the install.

Just now have given the latest version (4.0.4) another go and wow, it is fun, relatively intuitive and very powerful.    It installed effortlessly, no reboots and appears very stable and responsive on both XP and Win7.  Thats from someone who always finds away to crash a system.

The Shove mode in OpenGL view is a joy to use.  Helping armatures like me produce quality looking boards in quick time.

I dont think I would have given it a second chance if it was not for Chris Gammell  :-+

 

Offline PCB.Wiz

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 572
  • Country: au
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2016, 08:22:49 pm »
+1.

Some time ago I gave KiCad a go and cant remember why but quickly went looking for something else.  I think I struggled with the install.

Just now have given the latest version (4.0.4) another go and wow, it is fun, relatively intuitive and very powerful.    It installed effortlessly, no reboots and appears very stable and responsive on both XP and Win7.  Thats from someone who always finds away to crash a system.

The Shove mode in OpenGL view is a joy to use.  Helping armatures like me produce quality looking boards in quick time.

Yes, the recent addition of Shove Router,  (since this older thread started)  bumps KiCad significantly.
Libraries continue to expand, and someone has contributed a great script for Library->PDF,
see  https://forum.kicad.info/t/full-footprint-library-lists-ideally-in-ascii/3334
so you can actually see what all those part codes mean.
 

Offline Mj12

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 9
  • Country: fi
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 12:06:36 am »
Last time I actually completed PCB in Kicad was around 2007. After that i used other programs and when I tried to return to kicad I was always put off by stupid default library and need to make almost all components from scratch. Also there were other issues but cant remember them now.
However I recently tried it again, encouraged by this thread, and so far I really like what I see. Default library is actually really good. Its not overflowing with useless, parts and has good mix of default symbols and footprints. UI is bit strange and could use some improvements, but compared to horror shows that are some other EDA programs its not really that bad. Its actually quite usable when you get used to it (and getting used only takes 30min not 5 years).
All in All this is first time since Altium that my first impression is "hmmm not bad" and not "Oh my god, who makes shit like this". Especially since i have been forced to use professionally PADS and Cadstar, both are programs that I absolutely detest, and I'm convinced that if either of those were a chemical they would cause cancer and impotence

So Good Work KiCad Team!
 

Offline leavesw

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 5
  • Country: us
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2017, 02:19:21 am »
I am trying out KiCAD as well - as the price of Eagle goes through the roof!
So far, I just find the library management is a little painful - but it has slot drills! (Eagle never provides that for years!)
 

Online james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 18342
  • Country: us
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2017, 05:50:25 am »
Keep at it and pretty soon it will be second nature. I tried every EDA I could get my hands on several years back and came to the conclusion that they *all* suck. Some more than others, but they all have quirks and bugs. You just have to stick with it and learn your way around the quirks.
 
The following users thanked this post: fourtytwo42

Offline Ed.Kloonk

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3267
  • Country: au
  • Cat video aficionado
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2017, 06:44:34 am »
Keep at it and pretty soon it will be second nature. I tried every EDA I could get my hands on several years back and came to the conclusion that they *all* suck. Some more than others, but they all have quirks and bugs. You just have to stick with it and learn your way around the quirks.

This. And I'd be prepareed to wager that if you were to [politely] nag the coders of KiCad if you had a serious issue, you would likely be accommodated in the next release. Unlike some certain software.
 

Offline racemaniac

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 23
  • Country: be
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2017, 02:00:48 pm »
nice to see this thread, and a +1 since i had the exact same experience :).

not long ago i wanted to get to start designing pcb's, and gave the free version of eaglecad a try. it just felt so wrong >_<. even with just following a tutorial it felt like an annoying tool, and it kind of demotivated me >_<.
Then after hearing good things about kicad, i decided to give it a try, followed a tutorial on it, and that went better. Then started my own pcb, and i now really like working with it. it's still a learning curve to learn it, and it has some rough edges here and there, but i liked working in it :).

The more i hear about kicad & eagle, i'd probably still choose kicad even if eagle were also free (or even kicad paying, but not with the eagle subscription cr*p)
 
The following users thanked this post: fourtytwo42

Offline ohdsp

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 32
  • Country: gb
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2017, 10:09:23 pm »
Personally I think KiCad is incredible for a free package.

I use this for my hobby projects; but I also now use this in my current professional design role. My final comparison for EDA pacakges in my job came down to Pulsonix, CircuitStudio, Diptrace or.... KiCad.

Pulsonix is incredible for the price they now charge, and they have dropped this a lot with the introduction of CircuitStudio at such a low price, but I just didn't need any of the extra features that KiCad didn't have, and the PCB DRC left a little to be desired allowing DRC violations to happen with little effort.

I used Altium continuously for 2 1/2 years in one role, and experienced all the problems it can have, despite being so powerful. CircuitStudio just gave me most of the problems with none of the useful features. Again I found KiCad worked better for me, and none of those "Please Wait...." error messages the Altium product can show regularly just because you clicked to save a file, or exit the program...

Diptrace seemed fine, but really didn't see any advantages in paying for this over KiCad.

I can fully see the advantages of professional packages having used plenty of them including Pulsonix, Altium and Mentor packages. Altium has some of the best routing and DRC features for PCB layout; but it comes at a price (and with plenty of "features" which really are just unfixed bugs).

At the moment I design high voltage/high power based PCBs, and even though KiCad does not support net class clearances, it's just so simple and easy in the way it works that this does not cause me a problem. If KiCad add the support for proper net classes like Altium does you would have one unbeatable package, give it costs nothing.

The only real argument I can see for the professional packages is the phone support you may get; only once have I ever had to use support on an EDA package. That was with Altium and it turned out the "problem" I had was a well know and documented bug. There was not solution to it ever after 2 years....

Love KiCad, and yes it has "issues" but no worse that I have experienced with any other EDA package!

Check out the Open Hardware DSP Platform:
http://www.ohdsp.org
http://github.com/ohdsp
 
The following users thanked this post: fourtytwo42

Online T3sl4co1l

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 19792
  • Country: us
  • Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
    • Seven Transistor Labs
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2017, 02:28:50 am »
FYI...

Chris doesn't hang out here anymore  :horse: :popcorn: but he does hang out on AfterNet #eevblog.  He's constantly whining about how horrible various parts of the program are: selection boxes, component libraries, backend libraries (apparently Wx is a terrible windowing library / interface ;D ), and fixing them!  If you want to send your regards (or just whine :-DD ), now you know. ;)

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline seec

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 9
  • Country: ru
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2017, 07:50:35 am »
Does anybody know what happened with KiCAD library on GitHub? Why now all MOSFET symbols looks like not IEC 60617, these look like schematics from 60-th (symmetric Gate, connection point inside symbols & etc.)
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1093
  • Country: gb
  • Embedded stuff
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2017, 06:02:47 pm »
Does anybody know what happened with KiCAD library on GitHub? Why now all MOSFET symbols looks like not IEC 60617, these look like schematics from 60-th (symmetric Gate, connection point inside symbols & etc.)

The Kicad libraries are changing all the time. I don't recall what the MOSFETs used to look like. I guess someone felt that the new ones looked better. The "retro" look is in fashion?
Bob
"All you said is just a bunch of opinions."
 

Offline Muxr

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1345
  • Country: us
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2017, 06:13:07 pm »
KiCad is pretty awesome. My only real complaint is, how complicated it is to import custom graphics into the design.

There are also a few minor annoyances:

- There is really no easy way that I could find to add guard traces.. it can be done with a custom footprint however so it's not a major drawback. (I don't need guard traces often though, so it's not a major issue).

- When working on a new project, I wish KiCad just automatically added [local] libraries for both components and footprints, I find this step of making new libraries and having them recognized by the project always a pain and a very unintuitive step.

You mentioned that KiCad doesn't have many footprints. Honestly I haven't had to make my own footprint in a while.. I usually just google search and I seem to have a good luck just finding custom footprints other folks made. I just download the .mod file and import it into my local library.

With that said I recently had to make a Maxim's umax-8 footprint (why can't manufacturers just use standard packages instead of constantly reinventing the wheel). Maxim seems to be particularly bad about this, they don't even provide the footprint dimensions in the datasheet, but then I couldn't really find a part that was a better fit, so I found the dimensions and designed a custom footprint (hopefully it works).

Anyways, KiCad is a great tool, don't let the fact that it's free fool you, it is supported and used by some pretty big players like CERN. In my opinion it's what every hobbyist should use.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 06:18:53 pm by Muxr »
 

Offline janoc

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3609
  • Country: de
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2017, 06:57:40 pm »

- When working on a new project, I wish KiCad just automatically added [local] libraries for both components and footprints, I find this step of making new libraries and having them recognized by the project always a pain and a very unintuitive step.


AFAIK, you can add the libraries you want to the template/kicad.pro file in the installation folder and then those will be used whenever you create a new project. Haven't tried that myself, though.

http://docs.kicad-pcb.org/4.0.5/en/kicad.html#_initialization_of_the_default_configuration

That doesn't solve having to add the just made new library by hand, though.
 

Offline seec

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 9
  • Country: ru
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2017, 06:28:32 am »
The Kicad libraries are changing all the time. I don't recall what the MOSFETs used to look like. I guess someone felt that the new ones looked better. The "retro" look is in fashion?
I don't care about fashion&better looks, i care about unified&standardization.
( ;-) adage "Ugly, but uniform")
 

Offline bpiphany

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 100
  • Country: se
Re: KiCad is Awesome, Thanks Chris!!!
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2017, 06:56:23 am »
If you still have a project around where you used the old style of anything you should be able to extract it and add it to a personal library (if they were on github I suppose you should be able to find that revision there as well). It's just like with anything else I suppose. If you want something your way, you do it yourself.. I finally succumbed to using the provided schematic symbols, footprints I like to roll my own that I know are good. If I need something new I may adapt something I find on-line checking it carefully against the datasheet, but usually I just make them from scratch.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf