Author Topic: KiCad : probably a new user...  (Read 5020 times)

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Offline mushroom

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KiCad : probably a new user...
« on: May 06, 2015, 11:43:56 am »
Hello,

I just installed a working version of KiCad. I first installed the last stable version, but wanted to use a more recent one. I tried to compile the distro, but it failed for some executable files. (had to redirect output to a text file to see errors). I don't know why it failed. I had to open my firewall for cmake and bazaar, but maybe some others need access to the web (the firewall did'nt ask for other tools wanting access to the Internet) ?

Finally, I found a working Windows installer named KiCad_BZR5258-product-2014-11-08. Do you know a reliable source for an up to date windows installer, or at least a working "portable" distro for Windows ???

I am very confused with these versions, and the way to use this.

I am a Eagle CAD user, and I am used to its kirks and workarounds. I want to switch to KiCad for at least one reason : 3D models. Until now, I had to create minimalist 3D models from the Eagle boards to integrate them in my CAD projects.

With KiCad, I created a minimalist PCB : a resistor + BNC connector. But no 3D modeling of these components :( I got a naked PCB, exported a VRML file, imported it in SolidWorks as surfacic, and got a nice rendering with PhotoView.

But this took me 3 hours ! The KiCad learning curve is not fast. I've never seen such mouse + keyboard combinations before, and schematics editing is not as easy as Eagle (wires don't automatically follow components if 'G' is not pressed, weird cursor repostionning, etc.).

Could someone give me a link to a KiCad example project file with some "standard" 3D components (using default libraries), just to test exports, rendering and assemblies, in order to see if it is worth switching to KiCad ? I spent a lot of time googling for this with no result.

(there are probably other reasons to switch to KiCad, such as a far better library / footprint editor, and the possiblity to edit pads at PCB level, export to PSpice, etc.)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 11:50:07 am by mushroom »
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 11:52:19 am »
Finally, I found a working Windows installer named KiCad_BZR5258-product-2014-11-08. Do you know a reliable source for an up to date windows installer, or at least a working "portable" distro for Windows ???

I am very confused with these versions, and the way to use this.

Dude, did you look? It's right on the website.

kicad-pcb.org
"Installing KiCad"
"Windows"

Right here.
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Offline ElektroQuark

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2015, 03:58:04 pm »

Offline Wilksey

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2015, 08:32:40 pm »
I would recommend looking at Chris's YT channel (Contextual Electronics) and his KiCAD tutorials, they are quite comprehensive!

And others have posted links to the download site for KiCAD builds so I won't but KiCAD examples should have 3D models IIRC.

If not, I think you can import them, also look at the Kicad info forum, quite a useful resource (http://kicad.info/) and is run by Chris himself I believe and contains links to his YT videos.
 

Offline mushroom

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2015, 09:21:57 pm »
Thanks for your answers.

c4757p >

as I explained, kicad-winbuilder-3.4-3.7z is a total fail on my computer. It does *not* compile ; in fact, eeschema.exe, gerbview.exe, gnucap.exe, gnucap-modelgen.exe, idf2vrml.exe and many other exe's and dll's don't get linked. It is unusable on my system, and it seems that many people have problems when attempting to build it. (I have Visual Studio, Arduino env., gcc,  and Visual Micro installed, and there could be environment variables or registry keys conflicts for example...)

EdoNork >

The link you give (http://www2.futureware.at/~nickoe/) installed flawlessly. But I have weird problems : the About dialog does not display relevant version information (reported as unknown !), the software is installed in Program Files instead of Program Files (x86), I get error messages about missing library ("special") : many directories and libraries are not installed (when comparing with the BZR5258 install program that offers many more options) ; different folders hierarchy

I uninstalled everything, reinstalled BZR5258, and it did'nt work anymore !!! It does'nt even create Start menu entries ! I deleted all registry entries, edited path environment variable to point to KiCad bin and mingw folders, reinstalled as administrator (something I had'nt to do previously...), and finally got it to work... until it crashes when launching pcbnew.  :-DD

missing "_pcbnew.kiface" : this missing file *is* in the kicad folder and in the path variable !!!

I reinstalled the http://www2.futureware.at/~nickoe/ distro ; still no version information in About box, but seems to work... until now...

Completely crazy ! Too much teams, too much versions. The reason why I definetely stopped trying to use alternate OS's 15 years ago after first trying with BSD in the late '80.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 09:26:06 pm by mushroom »
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2015, 09:54:18 pm »
Thanks for your answers.

c4757p >

as I explained, kicad-winbuilder-3.4-3.7z is a total fail on my computer. It does *not* compile ; in fact, eeschema.exe, gerbview.exe, gnucap.exe, gnucap-modelgen.exe, idf2vrml.exe and many other exe's and dll's don't get linked. It is unusable on my system, and it seems that many people have problems when attempting to build it. (I have Visual Studio, Arduino env., gcc,  and Visual Micro installed, and there could be environment variables or registry keys conflicts for example...)

kicad-winbuilder is a mess, hence why I didn't recommend it. If you want to build yourself, install MSYS2 and build from there.

That "missing '_pcbnew.kiface'" is, AFAIK, a sign of a missing dependency. I can't remember which one in particular, but it was added recently. Maybe nickoe forgot to include it in the installer. I'll poke him...



Also... stop complaining. It's a devel version. It's not for you, it's for the developers. You're lucky they're bending over backward as far as they are to make it easily available. The stable release is quite easy to get working, as you discovered. Yes, it's old. If you want to use something newer, either use the devel branch and accept the implications thereof, or shut up and wait for the new stable that's coming out this summer.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 09:56:22 pm by c4757p »
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Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2015, 08:58:48 pm »
Quote
It's not for you, it's for the developers.

Sadly, that attitude seems to have infected the Kicad developers and their supporters and is why I do not recommend users to Kicad.

I am a software developer, but I still need my tools to work out of the box without dicking about trying to get them to just run without crashing.

Kicad devs have been putting in a lot of features that are cool for devs, but really screwed up the user experience, which was pretty bad to start with. That, and a project leader who hates Windows makes life impossible for users. The actually useful features seem to have come from CERN.

I still use Kicad version BZR4022, which is the last stable and usable version. Hopefully Kicad will get back on track one day, but probably not before a big shake up of the people in charge. Their attitude and technical decision making suck.
Bob
"All you said is just a bunch of opinions."
 

Online kerrsmith

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2015, 10:36:56 pm »
I use kicad-winbuilder and there was / is an issue with getting it to run.

There is a bug report here:

https://bugs.launchpad.net/kicad-winbuilder/+bug/1429466

I changed setenv.bat line 57 to read:

SET PYTHONPATH=%PYTHONHOME%;%CD%\build\wxPython-cmake-mswu-gcc_dll_cm-3.0.0-win32\wxpython

Doing this made it work for me and it has been working fine for quite a while, I tested it today and it updated as usual with no issues.

I am not sure if this was the problem you were having but it may be worth a try - the latest versions of Kicad have all the new features and for me work really well.
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2015, 11:37:15 pm »
Quote
It's not for you, it's for the developers.

Sadly, that attitude seems to have infected the Kicad developers and their supporters and is why I do not recommend users to Kicad.

I am a software developer, but I still need my tools to work out of the box without dicking about trying to get them to just run without crashing.

Kicad devs have been putting in a lot of features that are cool for devs, but really screwed up the user experience, which was pretty bad to start with. That, and a project leader who hates Windows makes life impossible for users. The actually useful features seem to have come from CERN.

I still use Kicad version BZR4022, which is the last stable and usable version. Hopefully Kicad will get back on track one day, but probably not before a big shake up of the people in charge. Their attitude and technical decision making suck.

Wow, a lot of criticism from somebody who still uses the software.
I don't get it, you use it but don't recommend other people use it. Seems hypocritical.
I have told non engineer types how to install it. They did it without much difficulty. I had to help them set paths to a couple of part libs. Not really hard.
Quote
I am a software developer, but I still need my tools to work out of the box without dicking about trying to get them to just run without crashing.
Seriously? All your tools work out of the box?
Did you find why it was crashing?
Was it failing to run python, or something else?
 

Offline Dago

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2015, 05:11:04 pm »
Quote
It's not for you, it's for the developers.

Sadly, that attitude seems to have infected the Kicad developers and their supporters and is why I do not recommend users to Kicad.

I am a software developer, but I still need my tools to work out of the box without dicking about trying to get them to just run without crashing.

Kicad devs have been putting in a lot of features that are cool for devs, but really screwed up the user experience, which was pretty bad to start with. That, and a project leader who hates Windows makes life impossible for users. The actually useful features seem to have come from CERN.

This x1000. I find it very odd how KiCAD has basically gone downhill from where it was 2-3 years ago. 2-3 years ago I was using KiCAD every day and it wasn't perfect but I could figure out how to use it do my work without any problems.

They have added many features that sound very nice on paper but totally and utterly broken the basic workflow. I tried it recently and I found it completely baffling. I just couldn't figure out how to use it. And it wasn't just one issue, it felt like it was completely broken on many fronts. I tried to use it for an hour or so and listed around 30 bugs/totally broken/illogical things.

Seems like it is mismanaged to hell. You're not supposed to break the one and only build so that it is unusable, you create separate branches for features that will break it...
Come and check my projects at http://www.dgkelectronics.com ! I also tweet as https://twitter.com/DGKelectronics
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2015, 05:53:40 pm »
Quote
I tried to use it for an hour or so and listed around 30 bugs/totally broken/illogical things.
Maybe you could post that list, if it ever existed. With the particular build number that you are talking about.

As mentioned before, if you want a stable release use the one marked stable. It's not really a difficult concept.
 

Offline Dago

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2015, 06:24:20 pm »
Quote
I tried to use it for an hour or so and listed around 30 bugs/totally broken/illogical things.
Maybe you could post that list, if it ever existed. With the particular build number that you are talking about.

As mentioned before, if you want a stable release use the one marked stable. It's not really a difficult concept.

You could use a stable build if there was one which wasn't ancient and totally and utterly incompatible with the new version.

1) Gives off error about not finding project/schematic/layout file on a new project
2) Saving a new schematic saves it to some noname file, should ask for filename...
3) New schematic remembers active libraries, it shouldn't?
4) No "save as" option in schematic editor, SERIOUSLY??
5) Placing components to schematic is extremely laggy, bug or?
6) "Choose component" dialog text box loses focus when you type in a character...
7) No fullscreen cursor in schematic editor (anymore?)
8) Impossible to select components near eachother, if selection box just touches a component it will be include in the selection
9) Tools/buttons are not listed in menubar menus, WHY?
10) Hotkeys not visible without accessing hotkey list due to no actions listed in menubars
11) Pressing hotkey button for wire starts drawing wire immediately instead of just selecting tool "place wire"?
12) Capacitor symbols descriptions in french?
13) Schematic view is not properly redrawn after moving components
14) Why are connections not preserved when moving components in schematic?
15) Deleting a wire should delete it to the nearest connection, not all of it
16) No spreadsheet view to add pins to schematic symbol
17) Zoom too aggressive (Component library editor)
18) Cannot rotate pin with hotkey when moving (Component library editor)
19) Cannot move pin by just clicking (Component library editor)
20) No move vector when moving (Component library editor)
21) Library editor asks THREE (!!) times if you REALLY want to when saving, what??
22) No fullscreen cursor (Component library editor)
23) No save button except without text on toolbar?? (Component library editor)
24) After saving, library is not current and have to resave through dialog (apparently have to load library through schematic, eh) ^^
25) After saving library editor however remembers the last component even though it shouldnt??
26) No way to create new library through library editor!?
27) None of the programs remembers last opened file dialog, have to enter same directory each... and... every... time

Unfortunately I do not have a build number handy, have to check it later. It is probably close to 2015-03-15 BZR 5517 build which I have on this machine. So about two months old.

I hope you can figure out what I mean by most of them. They were mainly meant as a personal list for reporting (few are "feature requests"). There was just so many of them that I sort of lost hope and figured there's no point even in reporting. And I bet according to devs most of these are probably "working as intended" looking at the way similar reports are handled in launchpad (or then just no reply). The funny thing is that quite a few of them are issues that were not present a couple of years ago. For example the fullscreen cursor. I cannot fathom a single good reason why would you remove a harmless feature like that, that already existed previously?

I didn't even get to the layout part because the workflow was just totally broken. Setting the libraries was changed to some kind of mysterious spreadsheet where you had to type in something to include the libraries, but it was totally unclear what. Also it didn't seem to support the old type libraries, just the new ".pretty" (the fuck??) and I was unable to find any information on how to convert the two.

I used to be more excited about the KiCAD project (you can even go through my post history and see I've only tried to support and praise the project previously), just feels that without some major change and/or rework of the UI it is not really going to be usable for many people.
Come and check my projects at http://www.dgkelectronics.com ! I also tweet as https://twitter.com/DGKelectronics
 

Offline Thor-Arne

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2015, 07:55:55 pm »
This sounds really strange, I have close to none of these problems except the ones that's been there for years.
I'm using this version on Windows 7 32bit.

Can it be that you have some obsolete dll's or something?
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2015, 10:08:38 pm »
Thanks for the list. I thought you were just making it up. Sorry for that.

Some I agree with, some I don't and some I haven't seen.

The latest stable is less than a year old IIRC, therefore not ancient.
 

Offline Icchan

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2015, 05:05:52 am »
Also... stop complaining. It's a devel version. It's not for you, it's for the developers. You're lucky they're bending over backward as far as they are to make it easily available. The stable release is quite easy to get working, as you discovered. Yes, it's old. If you want to use something newer, either use the devel branch and accept the implications thereof, or shut up and wait for the new stable that's coming out this summer.

This is the attitude that costs you guys users and gives the whole KiCad project a bad rep, if KiCad has a bad rep that devs bash users for "being idiots who just demand and never give, and they should be thankful towards us and stop complaining!" then users will vanish.

Offline c4757p

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Re: KiCad : probably a new user...
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2015, 05:35:57 am »
When I wrote what you quoted, I was nowhere near actually being a dev. I was a happy user who had maybe contributed one or two very minor bugfixes (as I've done to many FOSS projects), just sick of seeing other users whinging all the time. I'll say it about all software, too - this forum is just full of the sort of people who expect all software to do all things perfectly and read their minds at the same time. The sort of people who'd blame the keyboard for being too sensitive if they typed their password wrong. It's embarrassing. :palm:

Now that I've been more involved with the development, I can agree with the need for a bit of diplomacy to encourage users, and I'll generally be a good bit more, uh, diplomatic about it in KiCad-oriented places like the IRC channel. That does not change my opinion in general of people who expect any software to wipe their ass for them.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 05:39:36 am by c4757p »
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