Author Topic: KICAD and dual monitors  (Read 7247 times)

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Offline Messtechniker

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KICAD and dual monitors
« on: May 20, 2021, 06:26:26 am »
Is it possible with KICAD to have an overview of a complete (very large) pcb, for example, on one screen and a detail view of a smaller section of the same pcb on the second monitor?
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Offline woofy

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2021, 07:22:19 am »
As far as I know two views of a PCB cannot be opened at the same time.
Given the ease of zooming in and out on Kicad, I prefer to have the schematic up on the second monitor.

Offline nali

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2021, 09:08:53 am »
There is a HTML BOM plugin which sort of does that. it's very good for component location for hand assembly  although I suspect you want it more for routing (it shows board outline & components but no track details)
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2021, 07:09:38 pm »
Quote
Is it possible with KICAD to have

I don't think any package does that, but it would be super-cool if they would.

I tried to approach this from the other end, using an 'art' graphics pad to work on a portion of the screen:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/eda/graphical-tablets/msg3359382/#msg3359382
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2021, 03:35:56 am »
You can have multiple instances of KiCad open at the same time, but it refuses to have two different instances of the same PCB open at the same time.

Dual monitor setup in KiCad is mostly useful for viewing the PCB and schematic at the same time. Whenever you click on a schematic symbol, Pcbnew pans & zooms (adjustable) to that part on the PCB, and vise versa. When you select a footprint on the PCB, then the schematic pans to that part too.
 

Offline phil from seattle

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2021, 02:48:50 pm »
Dual monitor setup in KiCad is mostly useful for viewing the PCB and schematic at the same time. Whenever you click on a schematic symbol, Pcbnew pans & zooms (adjustable) to that part on the PCB, and vise versa. When you select a footprint on the PCB, then the schematic pans to that part too.

This is a particularly useful feature (visual link between schema and pcb), especially with hierarchical sheet schemas. Even when using a single monitor for Kicad. Saves a lot of time. Yet another feature that leaves Eagle squarely in the rear view mirror...
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2021, 05:13:15 am »
As a quick workaround: You can print a schematic to .SVG or .PDF and have that open in another program.

I also like to have an extra few megapixels (at least 0.2mm square each) for viewing datasheets. Links to online datasheets are embedded in the symbol libraries, but internet is not fixed and those links may break. If you have your own datasheet collection, you can also modify the links to point directly to them. This gives quite quick access to datasheets of all IC's directly from your schematic.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 05:24:07 am by Doctorandus_P »
 

Offline metro

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2021, 11:29:53 am »
So, yes, you can, but there are caveats, and several ways to do so:

So, first, remember that all the KiCAD tools essentially run on a python back-end. You can bring up a second view of the design you have open in PCBnew, and display that. I used to do that in one of the older versions a few years ago, but the python API has changed and the way I did it back then does not work anymore. However, I think you can still bring it up.

Easier version, without python scripting, with one major caveat:

Open a second instance of PCBnew and open your design. Yes, I am serious, sounds stupid, but bear with me. PCBnew will complain about another instance being open already. In practice, this however does work flawlessly for me with the current KiCAD 5.99 builds, and will give you two independent PCBnew windows in which you can then view different parts of the same PCB design. You can also make changes to it in BOTH PCBnew instances.

The main caveat here is that you have to MANUALLY keep both PCBnew instances in sync, and that each PCB new instance will only link to its own schematic instance. In practice, you can do that by simply saving your design after every non-trivial change in one instance. When you then want to switch over to working on your second window, simply hit reload and you are good to go. I usually do not change my schematic much when doing the PCB design, besides re-arranging net-pad assignments, so just having an independent eschema instance attached to each applications is not an issue for me.

For all of that to work smoothly, remember to turn off autosave in PCBnew, assuming that you are not just looking and navigating, but also editing your design. If you keep autosave on, one PCBnew instance will eventually changes of your design you are working on in the other view.

Not nice, but it works... Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 11:42:07 am by metro »
 

Offline PKTKS

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2021, 06:47:38 pm »
Is it possible with KICAD to have an overview of a complete (very large) pcb, for example, on one screen and a detail view of a smaller section of the same pcb on the second monitor?

I have read comments above .. but  YES it is possible.

The way I do that (and did that sometimes in the past..)
is simpler to say than actually do...

Reason being is that the setup used to be more simple...
things changed quite a lot.

Early to late 90s  XWindows was replaced by Xorg which
now is heavily biased to that wayland thing more likely
trying to follow the MS shit single display account based paradigm

Those changes implies a lot of facts:
- Xwindows *is* de facto a networked display server
- Xorg kept all the good features but extended some tidbits
 trying to keep pace with very high resolution displays and GPUs.

In the 90s to 00s SVGA monitors were simpler to arrange
and to maintain an Xorg server base...

Today these crippled wayland and dummy single display
servers (like the buntus) make the arrange more complicated.

The arrangement is not DUAL HEADED display
It should be a DUAL HOMED display (or TRIPLE HOMED if you like)

Being a network server.. you will login in your master X server
as many times you want running a full session independent
of each one in which you can have multiple visions of a project.

Obvious a extreme caution should be taken to actually
have an X server with multiple logins ...

One thing that sold me completely to EAGLE in early 00s
was the ability to have multiple 3D PovRay visions on
a DUAL HOME  setup..

Each screen running the same project with modified layouts
for comparison and optimization...

large boards are just a special case of that..

Nostalgic mid 90s project POVRAY rendered for fun...

I used to have this on a DUAL HOMED SVGA setup under XWindows
on my bench...

Paul
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 06:49:22 pm by PKTKS »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2021, 05:10:23 pm »
Quote
Is it possible with KICAD to have

I don't think any package does that, but it would be super-cool if they would.
Maybe it gets implemented at some point. Orcad PCB designer / Allegro supports a split view so the question is not outlandish
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline janoc

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2021, 05:39:29 pm »

Nostalgic mid 90s project POVRAY rendered for fun...

I used to have this on a DUAL HOMED SVGA setup under XWindows
on my bench...

Paul


Seriously, would you mind to cut down on these rants? Such as the previous one on Windows 11 (where you have somehow managed to rant about systemd too :o ) They both don't contribute much if anything to the debate and most of it is factually wrong (e.g. nothing in Xorg is based on Wayland, Wayland is a completely separate project, "XWindows" wasn't replaced by XOrg, you are confusing XWindow standard with XFree86, which XOrg is a fork of, etc).

Multihomed displays you can have even today with X11, however multihomed setup != multiple monitors, multihoming means you have 2 or more "workstations" on one computer, including separate mouse and keyboard and it has nothing to do with networking ...

Multiple monitors work just fine as well, including under Wayland - but then also the aplications need to support it and nobody forces you to use Wayland. Even Ubuntu still ships XOrg.


And none of this stuff in any way or form addresses the OP's problem. You can open a single app multiple times without any such "hacks", the reason why it doesn't work with KiCAD by default is because you will corrupt your data if you do that. It has nothing to do with the display server.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 05:41:33 pm by janoc »
 
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Offline PKTKS

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2021, 08:23:50 am »
I do not rant. Rant is for chicks and juvies

I also have to deal with some distros based on systemd and that thing is a problem.

You may be not comfy with the terms used as they also changed along time.. but i have no mood to discuss semantics

But using remote console on properly xinerama enabled or not apps with a remote server still requires you proper understanding of how things impact and interact

Like gpu accel remote font server ssh ports and encryption and proper Xorg layout definition

There is no rant
 Systemd just do not work that way
It is meant to single display auto  login

I have tried and dropped that systemd
Wayland thing. So you better try it right  without both and let systemd for what is meant

I assure you it works
Marvelous fast
Remote dual homed screens each logged onsame X server Xfree XOrg or just any  plain X windows session...

Semantic apart like it or not it works
The tip is good valid and properly advised
Do not cloud it with semantics or rants

Paul
« Last Edit: June 29, 2021, 08:29:11 am by PKTKS »
 

Offline Karel

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2021, 09:54:06 am »
Is it possible with KICAD to have an overview of a complete (very large) pcb, for example, on one screen and a detail view of a smaller section of the same pcb on the second monitor?

Sure, when those monitors are connected to different pc's...
 

Offline PKTKS

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2021, 10:50:23 am »

Nostalgic mid 90s project POVRAY rendered for fun...

I used to have this on a DUAL HOMED SVGA setup under XWindows
on my bench...

Paul


(..)
And none of this stuff in any way or form addresses the OP's problem. You can open a single app multiple times without any such "hacks", the reason why it doesn't work with KiCAD by default is because you will corrupt your data if you do that. It has nothing to do with the display server.

I am also wondering *IF* we are talking on the same kind of setup...
or we are on the same page...

I never mentioned the stuff you rant about...
as being replaced or ranting this that..

Fact is attached
My setup evolved from what you call XFree86.
That bundle was prevalent in distros at 90s.

Xorg is just another name to the very same protocol stack
(all above layer 4) in which you do require your apps compiled
with -lXinerama to at least support multi heads.

Despite that being a client-server only model the setup
requires all protocols available at compile time.

My setup evolved from that and trying to bundle systemd and
wayland was a huge waste of time in my case.

Thus the 2 cents of advice I think are very handy.
Far from being rants..

And take a good look on how basic networking is required..
If you wonder how X relates to network ... or SSH

All graphic ready in my setup
 so you just don not patronize me about non sense  terms and basic stuff.
Kinda of that do not fit at all

For the record currently I have successfully upgraded my
scratch system to LLVM12 + MESA20 + GCC10
In which I totally dropped systemd and all wayland protocol stack
because they are a huge messy sack of problems...

All already working fine as long as all clients are properly
aware or all required networked protocols at compile time
and got rid of those problems

For the record BOTH are working Multi Head and Multi Homed

Also for the record
I never ever had any issue of corruption because
when doing that.. I take the proper measure at login saving
proper state and isolating things properly


Kinda a newbie stuff think someone will open same project
2 or 3 times doing random changes... pathetic.

2 cents of who already trailed that
for those interested in succeeding properly

Paul  :-+
« Last Edit: June 29, 2021, 10:56:43 am by PKTKS »
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2021, 09:16:15 pm »
I do not rant. Rant is for chicks and juvies

But none of what you wrote helps the OP, or even begins to answer the question.
 
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Offline PKTKS

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2021, 08:55:05 am »
Well if anyone for some reason
Can not see how you open a secondary
view of a large pcb using that method..

Well that is beyond what i can reason
Method is explained to the best i can
with my own setup and extensive considerations...

Paul
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2021, 11:54:55 pm »
Well if anyone for some reason
Can not see how you open a secondary
view of a large pcb using that method..

Well that is beyond what i can reason
Method is explained to the best i can
with my own setup and extensive considerations...

Paul

You're missing the point. Kicad supports multiple monitors, because the Big Three Operating Systems support multiple monitors. I use Kicad on macOS, and it supports the three monitors I have (the iMac built-in 5k display and two 1920 x 1200 others). That is not what is being asked, and you'd understand that if you calmed down for a moment.

The OP asks if Kicad can show two views of the same layout -- one zoomed out, one zoomed in.

Everyone else on this thread agrees that it's a great idea, and everyone else understands that it's something Kicad doesn't support. It actually doesn't matter if the user's computer has more than one display; if it was supported it could do it on just one.

Altium doesn't support this concept, either. I don't know about any other PCB CAD packages because I have access to only Kicad and Altium.
 
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Offline PKTKS

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2021, 07:49:53 am »
As pointed above the method allows
anyone and any package (like the eagle
Povray example) to achieve multiple
views of a project regardless any other
cosideration. Just a proper setup

As said it used to be simpler.

Modern hardware is more reliant on gpus
Which in turn are closed source mostly

Having multihead depends on Xinerama
protocol and some good implementation
AND software match.. versioning and
proper set of initialization

Multihomed are easier because they
have no explicit Xinerama but anyway
you still require proper gpu rendering
support and proper setup and compatible protocol stack

A single display with such feature  depends only in software.. and viewports

The method i have used depends on
no software no version no package

It was already working by 2000s eagle
Povray ulp...  even gpus at date were
a crappy beggining..

It alread works on any XWindows session over 20y already.. no need to wait gpu vendors good will and hacks

Paul
« Last Edit: July 02, 2021, 07:54:15 am by PKTKS »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2021, 04:09:13 pm »
Being a network server.. you will login in your master X server
as many times you want running a full session independent
of each one in which you can have multiple visions of a project.
But that requires opening the same project multiple times which CAD software typically doesn't support to avoid corrupting the file.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline PKTKS

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2021, 08:32:30 am »
Well I assume I am talking with experienced folks...  in which in no possible scenario should even try to open the same project  more than once.

Multiple XWindows logins always require care with your home config as even simple files may be overwritten.

In my case i have always used the Multihomed session to derive a board layout and do comparison and reautoplacing rerouting on the fly with visual feedback

There are dozen methods to shadow copy your files including deep copy links and proper versioning. I  use CVS in my files as well.

Never had a single issue besides my shell history always been been mixed up among multiple logins

Just basic care is enough ..

Your real problem is to have proper GPU  support aka GART apertures and MMR registers setup.. on multiple cards

IMHO being now dependent on gpu seller good will is a nasty problem

Paul
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2021, 10:04:36 am »
Well if anyone for some reason
Can not see how you open a secondary
view of a large pcb using that method..

Well that is beyond what i can reason
Method is explained to the best i can
with my own setup and extensive considerations...

Paul

I don't think you have much to contribute to the OP's question.
But I do enjoy your Haikus.  ::)
 

Offline PKTKS

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2021, 12:11:26 pm »
Well if anyone for some reason
Can not see how you open a secondary
view of a large pcb using that method..

Well that is beyond what i can reason
Method is explained to the best i can
with my own setup and extensive considerations...

Paul

I don't think you have much to contribute to the OP's question.
But I do enjoy your Haikus.  ::)

Not sure if I understand ...

What?  sitting and wait some Python sweet heart craft a thing
that attach the KiCAD API to display a secondary window?

Wait even longer so the underlay toolkit will care about Xinerama
support ( instead of tinkering that wayland confused side track ) ?

What the reason to wait .. I had that dual display session working
on the bench w/2 SVGA monitors..  used to be simpler because
the setup required less GPU vendor support and you could mix
a dozen different brands SiS, ATI, S3, Matrox, Trident...

they all died and we are doomed to 2 may be 3 gpus of choice.
Chances are that mixing their crappy drivers won't even boot.

So dual display - being Xinerama or not - are still feasible
with some careful considerations as explained.

If the OP will sit and wait some Python thing or some hacks
on the toolkit... well I can not argue.

I have mine already working

Paul
 

Offline bson

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2021, 03:16:36 am »
What are you talking about?  KiCAD is implemented in C++, not python.  It only uses python for scripting, like footprint wizards, BOM generation, and various things that are relatively simple to implement but often need so be customized.  There is no way you can make it display a schematic or PCB in two windows by not making substantial changes to how it manages sessions.  None of that is within the scope of what python is for.  Besides, as has been repeatedly pointed out, it already works just fine over multiple displays.  It also works just fine over virtual desktops/spaces in Windows and MacOS.  Not sure about Linux.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2021, 03:19:40 am by bson »
 

Offline PKTKS

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2021, 08:01:09 am »
Formally KiCAD is wrapped around wxGtk

Which happens to be a C++ toolkit
I think it is great considering the status of Qt after being bought

If  you have not seen it yet there is an alternate bundle to wxGtk with an embed Python interpreter called wxPython
https://www.wxpython.org/

<PS> Specifically https://docs.wxpython.org/wx.glcanvas.1moduleindex.html
where an enthusiastic folk can render any sort of view in 2 minute pythonish

I am not a python fan much because I deal with PERL for more than 20y+..
so last time I checked (what they call now legacy wxPython) you could
just as in PERL  object oriented wrappers (auto made with higher order converters
e.g. formally http://www.swig.org/) just interface any sort of API .
Done that in PERL Gtk and that is a very very powerful
method to achieve such short goals on large projects..
<END PS>

You can in theory  just use that  as well although last time i checked the team could not put it aupar with the pure release

Paul
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 07:33:47 am by PKTKS »
 

Offline pointhi

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Re: KICAD and dual monitors
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2021, 12:28:54 pm »
Sorry to say this @PKTKS, but the stuff you are talking about is not working as you think it does.
 
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