So far, we have…
- Drawn (and saved, I hope?) the schematic.
- Run CvPcb to map the things on the schematic to footprints.
(You have, of course, been saving your work from time to time, I trust? Go ahead and do that whenever you feel it would be prudent… I won't always tell you to do it)
Next we ask the computer to create a netlist. Once upon a time, the icon for this looked like…
From KiCad version 4-0-4, it looks like…
N.B. If you can't see what is shown in the illustration, make your eeSchema window wider!!
(At 7/2014, I couldn't find the icon at first, but there was a "Generate Netlist" item in the Tools menu. Eventually found the icon… at that time, the icon was the word "Net", with a wrench coming up to it from the lower right.)
However you initiate the process, it will start with the Netlist dialog…
… and we just click the "Generate" button, because the default options are fine. We have no need of the other tabs at our level of KiCad use.
Just before we go on: A quick word about what a netlist is.
A netlist is actually rather cool. You will never "see it", but "inside" KiCad, the netlist is an abstract entity which contains a lot of information about the electronic essentials of the circuit represented by the schematic, and realized by the PCB design. It "knows", for instance, that one end of the resistor connects to a switch and the other end of the resistor connects to an LED. The netlist is a rather "ethereal" entity. It doesn't "worry" about "details" like where the resistor appears on the schematic, or what sort of resistor you are using (1/8th watt, 1/4 watt, carbon, metal film). It's "mind" is on the higher, more theoretical aspects of the circuit: What is connected to what, and how. The netlist file we are going to create also uses what we did during the past setp, running CvPcb, to "connect" footprint pads to the things they need to be connected to for the next step, creating the PCB design. Don't worry too much about it at this stage… just proceed as follows, to make KiCad create your netlist file….
Clicking the "Netlist" button results in a normal "SaveAs" dialog. Tell KiCad you want to save your netlist in the project's folder (you will probably be in it already), using the project name. In the case of this exercise, I was using "KiCadHowToBasic", (without the version ID I should have added). Again, KiCad will probably already be proposing this, with the right extension, which is ".net".
Where we've got to…
That's the first stage done!
- Circuit schematic done… well, a first draft anyway. (We can come back and revise it.)
- We've annotated things.
- We've saved the circuit's netlist. That will be used in later stages of the process to inform later modules as to what we want to design.
At Last we're going to start the Fun Stuff…. designing the PCB!