Author Topic: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)  (Read 27552 times)

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Offline MBY

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Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« on: June 30, 2012, 10:45:39 pm »
I try to force myself to use KiCad and I so far like it and have already done a handful of designs. But there is annoyances. For one thing, I always find discrepancies between "howtos" and help on the one side and how things really works on the other.

I cannot find a way to disperse (or unstack or what it is called in KiCad) components. You know, when you transfer the netlist, all components are on top of each other and its a real pain to grab components one by one and drag them on the side. The similar function, auto placement is not working either. In an older version of KiCad, I could use auto placement to disperse (that is what the function is called in PADS), but it was reaaaaaally slow and not exactly what I wanted. But, after upgrading the function is gone. My menus does not look like the menus in several FAQs and help on the net.

My version comes from: http://ppa.launchpad.net/adamwolf/kicad-testing-daily/ubuntu
Current version is: "Build 2011-nov-30". Thats kind of strange since I get updates fairly often thru ubuntus auto update feature.

Another really big annoyance is that the selection function now asks for "clarification" close to every time I tries to select things, components, pads, designators, values, etc. It used to work very well before, but now the usability seems to be more broken than fixed.

How do I disperse components? And a subgroup of components. For you that has worked with PADS, I talking about the function of selecting a block in the schematics with the connection running between PADS Logic and PADS Layout and then right-click in Layout and select "Disperse". 

Edit: "Unpiling" is the term for KiCad I was looking for. According to this guide its quite simple. But the menus simply does not look anything like this in my reality. The "Glob Move and Place" isn't there. And anyway, when it was there a long time ago, you could only unpile all components or new components. Not blocks selected in the schematics. Its kind of an important feature on a fairly big design. The "Mode footprint" button does exactly nothing. There is a other buttons that doesn't do anything also.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 11:38:45 pm by MBY »
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 12:08:26 am »
I cannot find a way to disperse (or unstack or what it is called in KiCad) components. You know, when you transfer the netlist, all components are on top of each other and its a real pain to grab components one by one and drag them on the side. The similar function, auto placement is not working either. In an older version of KiCad, I could use auto placement to disperse (that is what the function is called in PADS), but it was reaaaaaally slow and not exactly what I wanted. But, after upgrading the function is gone. My menus does not look like the menus in several FAQs and help on the net.
KiCad does unstack parts, but unfortunately it is not obvious. First you have to have the Mode Footprint button selected (third from the right in the top bar).

Then you right click on the stack of footprints and select "Glob Move and Place->Move All modules". It very quickly separates all footprints.

Richard.
 

Offline MBY

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2012, 05:38:11 am »
I cannot find a way to disperse (or unstack or what it is called in KiCad) components. You know, when you transfer the netlist, all components are on top of each other and its a real pain to grab components one by one and drag them on the side. The similar function, auto placement is not working either. In an older version of KiCad, I could use auto placement to disperse (that is what the function is called in PADS), but it was reaaaaaally slow and not exactly what I wanted. But, after upgrading the function is gone. My menus does not look like the menus in several FAQs and help on the net.
KiCad does unstack parts, but unfortunately it is not obvious. First you have to have the Mode Footprint button selected (third from the right in the top bar).

Then you right click on the stack of footprints and select "Glob Move and Place->Move All modules". It very quickly separates all footprints.

Richard.
The "Mode Footprint" button, as I said, does absolutely nothing. It will not check. The autotrack button also will not check. At least the footprint button used to work long ago, but new updates broke that function. And it is not like there is only one update. The latest version is only hours old and still not work. I think it was over a year ago it worked. So, either its something I missed in the configuration or its a bug. My workaround is to do the disperse on KiCad in Windows, then switch back to Ubuntu. I'm using "g" for grab, not "m" for move to move around components as a workaround from the hopeless selection "clarification" question totally destroying workflow when not in "move footprint" mode. That mode simply cannot be entered. Maybe there is a macro, a undocumented key or something that can toggle the modes.

I have tried to do a reinstall after complete removal. I'm using Adam Wolf build as described in this thread: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/open-source-kicad-geda/kicad-daily-build-ppa-for-ubuntudebian-flavors/

Btw, when it works, is there any way to unstack/disperse components in blocks?
 

Offline codeboy2k

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2012, 07:33:45 am »
Your release seems broken.  I don't use the same build you use, but mines recent, and I have the "Global Move and Place->Move All modules"

I sorta like kicad, it's pretty decent for free and open source.  But it's really operationally quirky, and far too many inconsistencies. I hate that it's always in some mode, that I have to press escape to exit that mode, or choose another mode, before I can do something useful.

And they should drop the "modules" crap.  Everyone and his brother calls it a footprint.

For global move and place, I found it really, really slow if the grid was set too low (ie. a grid needed for routing) This grid was tested for placement of every "module" in a linear fashion, top to bottom, right to left, and I could see it working, for several minutes before I killed it and reset the grid to something much larger.

It could use a temporary placement grid that matches the outside dimension of the smallest "module" to be placed.  It should not use the routing grid for placement.

or just random placement. you always have to rearrange anyways.
 

Offline MBY

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2012, 07:47:45 am »
Thanks for answer! What build do you use? Linux?

Even commercial EDAs can have irritating "modes" and inconsistencies. I use PADS sometimes, and it's full of both these things. And, they also have own names where everyone else talks about schema symboles and footprints. PADS uses "decals" (footprint), "CAE" (symbol) among other things. KiCad is actually a lot better when it comes to naming things.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2012, 02:01:22 pm »
Thanks for answer! What build do you use? Linux?

Even commercial EDAs can have irritating "modes" and inconsistencies. I use PADS sometimes, and it's full of both these things. And, they also have own names where everyone else talks about schema symboles and footprints. PADS uses "decals" (footprint), "CAE" (symbol) among other things. KiCad is actually a lot better when it comes to naming things.
I do not know how to group pcb modules/footprints.

You can first disperse the components. Then do a Glob Move and Place->Lock All Components. Unlock selected components by putting the cursor over components and pressing the "L" key.   Move the cursor to an empty part of the screen and do a Glob Move and Place->Move All Modules and the unlocked parts will be moved and replaced around the current cursor position.

Concerning the broken buttons in your build, I am using Windows build that I am compiling myself, and I have not noticed your problem. I have had broken builds, and that usually means going back to an earlier build until I see the problem is fixed.

Richard.
 

Offline MBY

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 08:08:18 am »
The problem is that if I have to go back, I have to go back to 2010 or even earlier. I constantly updating my installation via ubuntus update feature, but it never gets better. And I cannot understand why the problem doesn't get any hits on google. Surly others must have the problem. A hobbyist may miss this maybe, if he is not custom to dispersing and routing boards.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 01:47:31 pm »
The problem is that if I have to go back, I have to go back to 2010 or even earlier. I constantly updating my installation via ubuntus update feature, but it never gets better. And I cannot understand why the problem doesn't get any hits on google. Surly others must have the problem. A hobbyist may miss this maybe, if he is not custom to dispersing and routing boards.
I just started mu Ubuntu 11.10 virtual machine. KiCad Stable Release (2011_05_25) works fine. The buttons all work.

I haven't tried any of the daily builds that you are using. Why don't you uninstall KiCad, and go back to the KiCad built for Ubuntu? The problem may be that the daily build you are using is not fully compatible with your version of KiCad. If you built KiCad from source, it may work.

Richard.

« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 01:53:28 pm by amspire »
 

Offline MBY

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 12:58:28 pm »
Because the build for Ubuntu (10.04) is old, really old, and missing some functionality. There should not be a problem with daily builds I think, a problem should be detected and fixed in the next release. But this irritating error seems unnoticed for a year now or so.

When my computer is back running and my new ISP is in place, I shall try to compile it myself.
 

Offline TechnocraticBushman

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2015, 11:11:54 am »
Just throwing this out there as it is the first link on google when having this problem.
I had troubles finding the Global spread and place contextual menu. I am using the latest version 2015-08-11 BZR6084 under Linux.
PCBNew has 3 rendering engines. Regular (F9), OpenGL(F11) and Cairo(F12). The contextual menu only shows  Global spread and place when working under regular rendering engine. So hit F9.
 

Offline mark03

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2015, 04:04:22 pm »
I cannot find a way to disperse (or unstack or what it is called in KiCad) components. You know, when you transfer the netlist, all components are on top of each other and its a real pain to grab components one by one and drag them on the side. The similar function, auto placement is not working either. In an older version of KiCad, I could use auto placement to disperse (that is what the function is called in PADS), but it was reaaaaaally slow and not exactly what I wanted. But, after upgrading the function is gone. My menus does not look like the menus in several FAQs and help on the net.
KiCad does unstack parts, but unfortunately it is not obvious. First you have to have the Mode Footprint button selected (third from the right in the top bar).

Then you right click on the stack of footprints and select "Glob Move and Place->Move All modules". It very quickly separates all footprints.
The "Mode Footprint" button, as I said, does absolutely nothing. It will not check.
Did you try clicking on that "mode footprint" button and then re-checking the right-click context menu in the work area?  On my system the button certainly appears to do "nothing"; it doesn't change color or show any outward sign that would indicate whether it is in one state or the other.  But after I click it I do find the disperse-components option (or whatever it's called) in the context menu when I right-click on the component pile.

Just one of Kicad's lovely / inexplicable UI behaviors :palm:  I think there is a universal law somewhere, that CAD programs are required to shun the UI conventions common to almost all other types of software.
 

Offline Neverther

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2015, 06:38:36 am »
I remember trying it out once, I think it needed the board edge layer defined (draw some area in it) before it would autoplace as otherwise it had no idea where to unstack them.
 

Offline jporteous

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2015, 10:36:02 am »
Figured this out after a lot of  |O.

Put PCBNew into 'default canvas' mode (press F9 or select View->Switch canvas to default). Now the option will appear when you've selected Footprint Mode from the icons.
 

Offline con-f-use

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Re: Dispersing/unpiling of components in newpcb (KiCad)
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2015, 10:47:22 am »
The KiCAD folks are working on implementing this functionality into the OpenGL canvas, which is to replace the Default Canvas.

I didn't read the replies before, so sorry if this was answered. You have to switch to the default canvas. "View -> Switch to Canvas Default", then go into footprint mode. After that you can right click into the pcb area and select "Global Spread and Place -> Spread out all Footprints"

« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 10:50:06 am by con-f-use »
 


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