EDA > KiCad

Seriously irritated with KiCAD's library editor!

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MarkS:
So, I need to create an oscillator device. No problem I think. I could do this in Eagle in a matter of minutes. HA!

First off, I create the symbol in EESchema. No problem. Now comes the idiocy! I cannot open the (SEPARATE!) footprint editor here. :o To do that, I must open PCBNew. ??? No problem, right? So I do so. However, I cannot link the library symbol to the footprint because the schematic symbol isn't imported to PCBNew because it DOESN'T HAVE A FOOTPRINT! There is no way to link a footprint with a symbol that I can find in either editor. The footprint editor allows you to associate nets with pads, BUT THIS REQUIRES THE SCHEMATIC SYMBOL! What. The. Hell?!  >:(

I've read their reasoning for not integrating the library editors, but that is a load of bull! I should be able to create the schematic symbol in the library editor and then create any AND ALL associated footprints at the same time! Why, in the name of God, should I have to open the PCB editor to create a footprint? This method is all but useless. There is no way someone could look at this software as a viable alternative to any piece of commercial software. I've noticed too many time when the work flow is completely stopped due to poor interface design. Forget about productivity.

I have always wanted to create my own Schematic/PCB software. This is really making me take that thought VERY seriously. I am a self-taught computer programmer and I can do better!

alm:
Calm and well-reasoned questions will usually get better responses.


--- Quote from: MarkS on February 01, 2012, 05:50:53 pm ---So, I need to create an oscillator device. No problem I think. I could do this in Eagle in a matter of minutes. HA!

--- End quote ---
Is this a software or a documentation issue? Are you comparing the amount of work after you've done it dozens of times to the amount of work it takes when you're doing it for the first time?


--- Quote from: MarkS on February 01, 2012, 05:50:53 pm ---First off, I create the symbol in EESchema. No problem. Now comes the idiocy! I cannot open the (SEPARATE!) footprint editor here. :o To do that, I must open PCBNew. ??? No problem, right? So I do so. However, I cannot link the library symbol to the footprint because the schematic symbol isn't imported to PCBNew because it DOESN'T HAVE A FOOTPRINT! There is no way to link a footprint with a symbol that I can find in either editor. The footprint editor allows you to associate nets with pads, BUT THIS REQUIRES THE SCHEMATIC SYMBOL! What. The. Hell?!  >:(

--- End quote ---
The disconnect between schematic symbol and footprint can be annoying. I believe you can use the footprint filter of a schematic symbol to help you select the correct footprint while inserting the symbol in the schematic. This is just string based, so no need to create the footprint before doing this. No need to run cvpcb either. .equ files are another way to associate footprints with schematic symbols. In the module editor (which is part of PCBnew, since designing footprints is similar to PCB design), you can just assign the pad numbers corresponding to the schematic.

Netnames will be assigned based on the schematic symbol via the netlist when you place it on the PCB. You tell the module editor where you want pin 20 to be. You tell the schematic symbol editor that pin 20 is VCC, so eeSchema will label the net connected to pin 20 VCC. Same with hidden power pins, they're just not shown in the schematic editor. When you import the netlist from eeSchema to PCBnew, it will also label this net VCC. After creating the footprint, you put it in a library and make sure cvpcb can find it. Won't take much longer than a few minutes once you get the hang of it.


--- Quote from: MarkS on February 01, 2012, 05:50:53 pm ---I have always wanted to create my own Schematic/PCB software. This is really making me take that thought VERY seriously. I am a self-taught computer programmer and I can do better!

--- End quote ---
Joining either the gEDA or Kicad project might actually produce something useful, as opposed to yet another half-baked tool. Both projects don't seem to suffer from too much man power.

MarkS:
It seems like I've stepped on your toes or something? Have time invested in this program? Your whole reply is rather odd.


--- Quote from: alm on February 01, 2012, 06:30:13 pm ---If you want an integrated software package, you should probably look somewhere else, like Kicad.

--- End quote ---

Um... I'm talking about KiCAD. ???

I didn't post this to start an argument/fight with die hard KiCAD fans. I am venting my frustration and displeasure with what should be a simple and streamlined process.

Let me put it another way. Are there times when someone will want to create a schematic without a PCB? Of course. However, when I open a PCB creation program, I expect that the schematic I create is going to be translated to a PCB. Now, it is true that the footprint of a part has nothing to do with the schematic. However, the two are linked by the very nature of the program as a whole. Even if I can accept a segmented library editor, which I really cannot, the separate pieces must be linked tightly at a low level. In other words, the footprint editor must be able to link to a .lib file from the schematic for association. In its current form, that is not possible. You must create a separate schematic symbol and footprint and then link them via a completely different program. This makes no sense due to the fact that if the schematic symbol has an associated PCB footprint, it will always be linked to this footprint. Don't mention filtering. Not all parts have standard footprints, especially SMD parts. Filtering is fundamentally unnecessary. Throwing in the fact that a part may have multiple footprints (DIP, TSSOP, SOP, etc.) is a red herring. I should be able to choose the correct footprint in the PCB editor from a list of associated footprints for the device.

The whole library editor system in KiCAD is broken. It is a poor design. It is cumbersome and non-intuitive. The reasons for the choice are irrelevant. It is not usable in its current form.

alm:

--- Quote from: MarkS on February 01, 2012, 06:48:28 pm ---It seems like I've stepped on your toes or something? Have time invested in this program? Your whole reply is rather odd.

--- End quote ---
I just your last response more productive than shouting and ranting. As far as I know, there no Kicad (or gEDA) developers active on this forum. And no, I'm not involved in any way.


--- Quote from: MarkS on February 01, 2012, 06:48:28 pm ---Um... I'm talking about KiCAD. ???

--- End quote ---
Oops, my bad  :-[. I used both for a while during the same time period, so I confused PCB/PCBnew and gschem/eeschema. Reply corrected.

alm:
I guess their motivation was that there's a many to many relation between footprints and schematic symbols. A resistor can have lots of footprints, and a 0805 chip package can contain resistors, capacitors, inductors, and more. The filtering system is quite limited. The lack of linking is especially annoying for something like micro controllers where different packages will have a different number of I/O and power pins.

You don't really need a separate program to link them, cvpcb is just a convenient way to edit the footprint attribute. If you add the footprint attribute in eeSchema some other way, cvpcb will pick it up. .equ files are also processed by cvpcb for its auto assign feature. This allows you to tell cvpcb that 10k resistors are always 0805.

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