pdc1main- The Kicad Project Design Cycle

The KiCad Project Design Cycle

Sorry! You shouldn't have seen anything to tempt you to this page yet!

If I have a link to here, please write and tell me where it is, so I can change it, to save the next person the annoyance you are feeling!

Only a draft tutorial on this topic has yet been written.. see below.

Just before we start: Consider undertaking at some point the following tiny "design challenge": It is perfectly acceptable to use KiCad design a circuit and PCB which has just one resistor, one diode, and just one track on. The track connects one pin of the resistor to one pin of the diode.

A project like that might seem utterly pointless… but if you are a KiCad beginner, give it a try! (It is also more than enough for a non-beginner to run various experiments with.) It will "exercise" many of the basic skills you will need for projects that have more than didactic value. And, although this next activity is beyond the scope of the simple introductory exercise, KiCad will also allow you to go back, revise the schematic (add another resistor, say), and then work forward to create a revised version of the board with two resistors and a diode. Again: this is more than enough to exercise the relevant skills.

You will learn the first parts of the cycle in my introductory simple exercise tutorial.

In a nutshell…

Open KiCad

Start new project

Save the .pro file in a folder dedicated to the project

Run eeSchema (there's a button for that in the KiCad central project Manager window.

During that: Create a .net file with the project's netlist in it.

Run CVpcb to assign footprints to the components you incorporated in your design. (N.B.: KiCad uses that word "component" far more narrowly than I do… but throughout KiCad, and, I hope, this wiki, the term is used narrowly, thus making the meanings of things you read easier to grasp.

CVpb will create your .cmp file.

Run PCBnew, and create the first edition of the PCB artwork.

So far, so good. All of the above covered in detail for people unfamiliar with KiCad… or maybe even PCB CAD in general… at [a1simpex my Introductory KiCad Tutorial]. (That tutorial also tries to get you familiar with how core terms are used in this wiki.)

But no design project that needs a computer was ever got right on the first try!

What's next?

Next: You go back to eeSchema, if necessary, make changes.

You re-run CVpcb if there are any new [co1component components], or if you want to change the [co1footp footprint] assigned to a component.

You re-run PCBnew… and here's a little "Gotcha!": If you have changed the footprint assigned to one or more pre-existing components, then you need to delete the corresponding footprints from the design. then/ you reload the netlist. The replacement footprints, and footprints for anything you added to the circuit will be "dumped" onto the "page", just as everything was when you ran PCBnew the first time, and you can position them and connect them up with tracks.

Whew! That's the "in a nutshell". It is also probably more complex that what you can actually get away with. Sorry for less than the usual support. Hope it helps. Will try to get back to this before TOO long.

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