Author Topic: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?  (Read 723 times)

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Offline bunnyThief

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Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« on: March 20, 2020, 03:54:07 am »
I'm looking for an SBC that can run KiCad on Debian. Rasberry Pi 4, Tinker Board or anything with at least 2G Ram and a GPU that will support KiCad.

Let me know if you have or currently KiCad on an SBC.

Thanks
 

Online greenpossum

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2020, 04:05:31 am »
I haven't heard of an ARM build of Kicad, but I haven't checked. Don't forget you also need a decent amount of disk space for the libraries, and particularly the 3D models. Running an external HD via the USB interface on the RPi won't be the speediest of experiences.

And why? Go get a refurbished PC for cheap. If you have money left over spend it on a bigger screen. Or two.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 04:19:22 am by greenpossum »
 

Offline awallin

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2020, 06:06:46 am »
I haven't heard of an ARM build of Kicad, but I haven't checked.
some googling shows arch packages, both for 'armv7' and 'armv6' architectures - not sure which one is for Pi4...
https://archlinuxarm.org/packages/armv7h/kicad
 

Offline bunnyThief

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2020, 12:36:40 pm »
I forgot about the ARM architecture. I saw some x86 SBCs. Back to searching I guess.

I currently have an old Dell Workstation. I had to take out the video card because the bearings in the fan were shot it was way too loud. The onboard video card worked fine for a few years but KiCad locks up when I launch it. It worked fine for about a week but now it just halts as soon as I start it.

I've been searching Cragslist and Kijiji but the prices are in the hundreds. I'm looking to stay aound $100.
 

Offline knapik

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2020, 12:42:27 pm »
I wouldn't expect there to be any issues with compiling it yourself, other than being a bit annoying. (Usually takes like 30 min on my computers)
 

Online greenpossum

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2020, 12:45:26 pm »
You should post details on the Kicad forum. It may just be a setting you need to change to work with the video card. Also is your Kicad and distro up to date? Bugs in older versions may have been fixed.
 

Online filssavi

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2020, 12:55:40 pm »
I would suggest you to do literally anything else, use a VM on a normal windows PC or mac, dual boot it (if you can), buy an low end machine for kicad

Do anything but for the love of god do not port it to ARM, the developers are already dragging their feet about dropping support for the legacy gui (apparently the modern one doesn’t run well in some edge cases on 10+ year old machines) don’t give them other reasons to keep on duplicating efforts by starting to run the software on SBC that are clearly underpowered for the job
 
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Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2020, 04:29:21 pm »
Currently my desktop machine is an 12 year old Dualcore with a passmark rating of 1500. And though I'm starting to think of replacing it with more modern hardware before it collapses on it's own, it still chugs along reasonably well with Linux Mint 19.3 Xfce. With KiCad I can view and do small edits on boards like the OLinuxIno A64 (Project on github), which is a more sophisticated board then I will ever make myself. 4GiB or RAM also seems to be enough. KiCad needs about 800MiB when it's running, and having a web browser open at the same time needs another 1.5GiB.

Currently the AMD 3000G is among the cheapest budget processors for the consumer market and it has a passmark rating of 4800, so more then 3x the speed of my old dualcore.

Processors with this kind of speed cost around EUR50. Mobo's also start at around EUR50, and 4GiB of DDR4 RAM is around EUR25. So if you can scavenge the other parts you can build a x86 compatible for less then EUR150. Staying with mainstream processors for mainstream applications will probably save you a lot of headaches. but if you have a particular fetish for it then go ahead.

If budget allows the order In which I would consider upgrading:
EUR30 for an 120GB SSD, mostly for the OS, put data on a HDD.
EUR25 for an extra 4GiB of RAM.
EUR50 for a brand new decent and quiet power supply.

Monitor, keyboard, mouse etc, as needed. I've got a pile of those somewhere. Second hand monitors can be very cheap. I've picked up working TFT monitors from the dump for free. Watch EEVblog :)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 04:38:15 pm by Doctorandus_P »
 

Offline poeschlr

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2020, 05:32:23 pm »
@filssavi the devs do not keep the legacy canvas around for supporting old systems. It is kept around as a way for users to continue using the software the way they are used to. (The fallback mode of the modern toolset is what is meant to help run KiCad on older systems.) Remember the legacy toolset was the default in the previous version.

The interface and intended workflow are completely different in the new toolset which will require users to relearn the software. A task made easier if they can fall back on their familiar toolset especially if they are under time constrains (some use KiCad commercially which means their livelihood depends on being able to use it effectively).

The legacy toolset is however already dropped on any system where there would be a need to put in work to keep it around. This affects a lot of Linux distros as the dependencies needed for the legacy canvas are no longer available for them.

---

Plus, the devs choose which systems are officially supported. Right now these are Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and Arch (all in the versions that are currently officially supported by their respective  publishers). If anything breaks on any other system then it is not taken into account (the official policy is that any bug report must be reproducible on any of the officially supported systems to be accepted).

This means if somebody ports KiCad to some system and publishes it then it will not be able to hold back KiCad development (unless the devs choose to take that system into the official list of supported systems). You might even notice that some Linux distros listed on the official download page are absent from the list of officially supported systems. If you check the detailed download page for one of them then you will notice the disclaimer about unofficial systems.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 05:38:18 pm by poeschlr »
 

Offline bunnyThief

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2020, 02:24:55 am »
Found the problem on KiCad's Known System Related Issues page. The integrated graphics card on my computer has a known issue. It was reported in 2015 so it's not something that will be fixed since it's such an old and low end card.



Bad Graphics Cards
There are a few older cards that seem to not behave properly with the OpenGL canvas used in the new GAL canvas. The list below includes the faulty cards identified thus far:
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500M / Windows 7 64bit / crash on startup (https://bugs.launchpad.net/kicad/+bug/1473786)



I dual boot Windows 7 and Debian 8 and run KiCad on Windows because KiCad 5.0 doesn't run on Jessie. I'm going to find a used card and see if that resolves the problem.

Dell Optiplex 780 MT
Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93 Ghz 1066FSB
4G RAM
Integrated Intel GMA 4500
Windows 7 Pro

I'm going to look for a used card. I'll post here once this gets resolved.

Thanks everyone for your input.
 

Online greenpossum

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2020, 02:31:34 am »
Yeah get another video card. You can get Kicad 5.1 for Debian but it's from a Ubuntu repo, see the instructions. Both 5.0 and Jessie should be upgraded.
 

Offline bunnyThief

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2020, 03:12:58 am »
Just ordered an AMD Radeon HD6450 1GB on ebay. It should be here next week.

Next step is to update Debian. I found a list of commands. here: https://www.rootusers.com/how-to-upgrade-debian-8-jessie-to-debian-9-stretch/

I'll try this next week after the card is installed.
 

Online greenpossum

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2020, 03:34:34 am »
Latest is Debian 10 but do go through 9 first.
 

Offline bunnyThief

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2020, 03:55:11 am »
Yes. That's the plan. Upgrade to 9 after testing the new video card on Windows then install KiCad 5 on Debian. I'll try things out for a couple of weeks then upgrade to 10.

I would have been happy to stick with 9 but support ends in 2020.



 

Online greenpossum

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2020, 04:28:08 am »
You might as well go straight to 10. It's rare that a distro upgrade degrades applications, and is more likely to fix problems. But do sort out any discrepancies after going to 9 perhaps due to customisations.
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2020, 11:36:02 pm »
If you want to go distro hopping, It's pretty easy to make a few small partitions for different Linux distributions. Main advantage is you can install another or a newer distribution and experiment with it without messing up the old installed version.

For that reason I used to put /home on a separate HDD (with a few TiB of data, so it won't on an affordable SSD anyway) but this messes up the user configuration of the programs for those distributions.

In my latest experiment I just put everything (including /home) on the same partition, so each install has it's own /home for user configuration stuff, and then in /home on the SSD I make symbolic links to the HDD with all my data. This seems to work pretty well.

Depending on the amount of programs you want to install you will need between 20GiB and 40GiB for each partition. Bigger partitions will rarely be useful if you put your user files on a separate HDD.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2020, 01:00:05 am »
I could swear I ran KiCad on a Raspberry Pi B several years ago just to see if it would work.
 

Online greenpossum

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2020, 01:10:10 am »
I got over distro hopping years ago. A lot of those small distros are prone to vanishing or falling behind the times. Support may be dodgy because of the small user base. Install one decent distro and stick with it. You'll learn more solving issues within that distro than being promiscuous.
 

Offline bunnyThief

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2020, 02:35:50 am »
The video card I ordered came in the mail yesterday. I plugged it in and installed the drivers. Now KiCad is able to boot up. I opened up a project which was crashing on me and didn't have any issues. Problem solved.

I guess the ebay seller I bought from takes in old Dells and strips off anything they can sell separately. I saw some of their other items up for sale. The had other video cards, mostly listed them as Radeon HD 6430. The funny thing about video cards, at least the not so expensive ones, is that they lack any sort of product/model markings. They must have quite a few lying around because I ended up getting a Radeon HD 7470 instead. It's a bit of an upgrade but nothing crazy.

Next step is to upgrade Debian so I can get KiCad running on Linux. I'll try to take of this in a couple of weeks when I have some free time.
 

Online greenpossum

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Re: Does anyone run KiCad on an SBC?
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2020, 03:11:01 am »
 :-+
 


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