Author Topic: gEDA basics n00b question  (Read 9555 times)

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Offline Sigmoid

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gEDA basics n00b question
« on: August 19, 2013, 05:12:22 pm »
Hey,

I'm sure there are a bunch of noob threads like this, but I couldn't quite find what I was looking for... So I'm totally new to gEDA, and no I don't want a "free for 50 pins non-profit" tool (it's a religious issue :P), and I cannot really use kiCAD (as I'm on OSX and it's a glitchy mess on that platform).

So far it doesn't look all that horrible, but there's just too much of it. :) For example, I don't quite understand the concept of components in gEDA, like how do you define one, how is it converted to a PCB footprint - do I need to place a specific sized SMD resistor in gSchem to get that footprint in PCB, or is that something I annotate later on? The same applies to pinouts on ICs and stuff.

Is there some online resource or book that just goes through this all from bottom up? Most of the online tutorials are very basic, dropping a few resistors and wiring them up, and not really touching on the stuff that can make or break actual work.

...also, what about the CAM and DRC files most prototyping services offer for Eagle? Can these be used in gEDA? If not, how can I do the same by hand? :)
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 05:47:16 pm »
Components in gschem have a footprint attribute. Here you specify the footprint the particular part should have. You can also use gattrib to add footprint attributes in bulk.

Now,what are the footprint names to use as attributes? Ha, welcome to the fucked-up world of gEDA. Despite years of requests from the user community the gEDA programmers until now couldn't be arsed to document their footprints. "It is all intuitive" ... In fact, gEDA comes with two footprint libraries, called newlib and pcblib, because the gEDA programmers couldn't really settle on the format. To find the footprint names in your installation you are supposed to investigate the installed libraries:

For newlib you are supposed to find a directory called newlib in your gEDA installation and check the names of all files in this directory and its subdirectories. The file names are the footprint attribute names.

For pcblib you are supposed to find a directory called pcblib-newlib (or in older installations just pcblib) and subdirectories. Then you are supposed to investigate the contents of the files, not just the file names, for footprint names. pcblib uses a macro language, and footprints are encoded as macros. You are looking for these macro names in the files to find your footprints.

In short, it is fucked up beyond believe, and thats how the gEDA programmers want it ... I rather put up with KiCAD than gEDA. gschem is ok, but then it goes downhill in gEDA, rapidly.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 05:51:35 pm by Bored@Work »
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Offline Sigmoid

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 06:14:03 pm »
Yea, it seems 90% of the web uses kiCAD... :) Almost no resources for gEDA outside the gEDA community.

So, I wonder, how do I get the thing working on OSX... Should I just install a Linux vm?
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 09:32:32 pm »
You could try http://www.mdx4.org/index.php?/categories/5-Kicad But be warned, KiCAD has its own set of problems. The user interface is bad, the workflow they enforce is bad, footprints (and they vent their spleen calling footprints modules, because, well, because they can ...), etc.
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Offline PaulAm

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2013, 09:56:25 pm »
You can use the locate database and search for .fp which will help some.  Not much though.

Footprints are probably the worse part of geda.

Worst case, draw the schematic, then create your own footprints (there's lot of help on the web for that), add the footprint attributes, then goto pcb to build the board.  There's a procedure to import the netlist and footprints into pcb (also on the web).  Design the board then output the gerbers.

I use it occasionally; I'm not about to suffer through another learning curve for kicad.
 

Offline andersm

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2013, 07:21:20 am »
So, I wonder, how do I get the thing working on OSX... Should I just install a Linux vm?
That's what I use.

Offline angst7

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 07:18:23 pm »
Worst case, draw the schematic, then create your own footprints (there's lot of help on the web for that), add the footprint attributes, then goto pcb to build the board.  There's a procedure to import the netlist and footprints into pcb (also on the web).  Design the board then output the gerbers.

This is probably the best way to go.  I use gEDA for all my boards here, and I just create my own footprints and symbols as part of the normal workflow.  I maintain a Footprints folder, and keep it in the top level designs folder.   Use the xgsch2pcb utility to manage your projects, and just add a line to the project file calling out your elements-dir  (top-level footprint folder).

You can manage your symbols in a similar way, just create a symbols folder in your project folder and include a gafrc file calling out the component-library (symbols folder).

It sounds kinda wonky, but once you've gone through the process it's pretty easy.   This also lets you keep footprints and symbols together with your project. 
 

Offline Narmaraktuk

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Re: Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2013, 08:38:54 pm »
I maintain a Footprints folder, and keep it in the top level designs folder.   Use the xgsch2pcb utility to manage your projects, and just add a line to the project file calling out your elements-dir  (top-level footprint folder).

You can manage your symbols in a similar way, just create a symbols folder in your project folder and include a gafrc file calling out the component-library (symbols folder).

It sounds kinda wonky, but once you've gone through the process it's pretty easy.   This also lets you keep footprints and symbols together with your project.

My workflow is very similar. I keep all symbols and footprints inside sub folders in a project. This works well with git, and ensures I have no outside dependencies that can break the project when it needs to travel to a new machine.

Note that newlib/pcblib with all its faults, can be an inspiration for defining footprints. For 0805, for instance, I simply copy the lib footprints to the project dir before use.

Some of the eagle DRC can be expressed in PCB preferences. As far as I remember these are stored in the project PCB file.
 

Offline Frenchie

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2013, 04:09:23 am »
I'm sure there are a bunch of noob threads like this, but I couldn't quite find what I was looking for... So I'm totally new to gEDA, and no I don't want a "free for 50 pins non-profit" tool (it's a religious issue :P), and I cannot really use kiCAD (as I'm on OSX and it's a glitchy mess on that platform).

So basically you don't want to use a closed source tool on your closed source operating system  ;D

I'm teasing because I can understand that sentiment. KiCAD in a linux VM is the way I work on my laptop and it's a reasonably good experience. In a VM I would suggest a light(er) weight window manager than KDE or Gnome. Either XFCE or LXDE are quite usable without quite so much bloat.
 

Offline ScribblesOnNapkins

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2013, 10:07:40 pm »
Hi folks,

I have been a longtime gEDA/PCB user. I just wanted to share the following link which makes the workflow clearer...
http://www.delorie.com/pcb/docs/gs/gs.html

For footprints and symbols there is a website where a lot of us have been sharing our drafting to save time.
http://www.gedasymbols.org/
Please verify all the content from here before you use it. Typically I check the symbol against the data sheet. Then I check the part against the footprint by placing the part on a printed  copy of the footprint. Finally I check that the pins are connected to the rest of the netlist or ratsnest to make sure the pins are properly defined between the footprint and the symbol. What can I say I am not the trusting type. For production work you basically *have* to do your own footprints regardless of what software you use.
 
To make the iterative process of gschem to gsch2pcb to pcb I use a makefile I wrote. There is a limit to how much of a complex board I want to dump into my PCB layout at once and I often want to tweak things like pin allocation and footprints after I see the first rats nest. The result is I end up bouncing back and forth between PCB and gschem a lot in the initial stages. I also have in the same makefile things that call SPICE to do a few analysis that I commonly need. It saves a lot of pointing and clicking to just call makefile and generate the stuff I need.

For those who don't want to do makefiles there is a workflow shown in this video..
 

Offline m0n5t3r

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2014, 07:14:25 am »
just out of curiosity, what does (x)gsch2pcb add on top of File -> "Import schematic" in PCB, which updates the netlist without restarting the thing?

it looks to me like it's an artifact of old times and no one has bothered to post updated documentation / demos in the last few years (my first contact with gEDA was in 2007, I think, and I think I remember the import feature being there).

P.S. ohai, btw, I think this is my first post, I registered some time ago to see the damn pictures on the hantek thread :)
P.P.S. also, good to know I'm not the only gEDA user left on the internets
 

Offline ScribblesOnNapkins

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Re: gEDA basics n00b question
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2014, 04:23:56 am »
To be honest I have a makefile I wrote that udders all the commands in sequence when I forward annotate. The GUI xgsch2pcb never worked the way I wanted. I prefer to exit the schematic and with minimal clicking or typing go to the PCB with updates. I use version control between to type a quick description of the changes between versions both for my own record but also for the people I work with. (I am having my work move to it.)

If what you describe is happening it sounds like a bug to me.

PS : We are not the last two gEDA users there is a fairly sizable community it just is not represented here on the EEVBlog form. Most of us are on the geda email lists. http://wiki.geda-project.org/geda:mailinglists
 


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