se1rec:- Simple Exercise: You thought you were "done"?

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Actually, you aren't "done" at this stage. Yes, you have a schematic. Yes, you have a PCB design… but are they perfect? At some point, I will give you details of going back, modifying the schematic, processing the changes through the design process, modifying the PCB design. LEARN TO DO THOSE THINGS!!! Don't let your schematic and PCB get "disconnected", however tempting it may be to "just tweak" the PCB without updating the schematic!

When you are done designing the PCB, you will want to turn the files in your computer into actual boards! You can do it yourself (without great hassle or expense… for simple boards), or you can send Gerber files (created for you by KiCad) to a commercial service, and they will send back the physical boards.

The KiCad project design cycle….

Just before we start: As an alternative to trying to learn about the design cycle with the full "LED, resistor, switch and connector" project, consider embarking upon 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.


Sorry! This is a rough draft for the the design cycle information, but to tide you over, 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 schematic symbols you incorporated in your design.

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 my Introductory KiCad Tutorial… the document you are reading the last page of just now. (That tutorial also tries to get you familiar with how core terms are used in KiCad, and 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 schematic symbols, or if you want to change the footprint assigned to a schematic symbol.

You re-run PCBnew… and here's a little "Gotcha!": If you have changed the footprint assigned to one or more pre-existing schematic symbols, 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". Sorry for less than the usual support. Hope it helps. Will try to get back to this before TOO long.

This is the last page in the series on the Simple Introductory Exercise. See top of page for link to previous page.

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