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Title of script: Designing printed circuit board in KiCad

Author: Abhishek

Keywords: schematic, video tutorial, PCB design

Visual Cue
Show slide Dear Friends,

Welcome to the spoken tutorial on Designing printed circuit board in KiCad

Show slide In this tutorial we will learn,
To design printed circuit board in KiCad.
Show slide We are using Ubuntu 12.04 as the operating system.

With KiCad version: 2011 hyphen 05 hyphen 25 for this tutorial.

Show slide Basic knowledge of electronic circuits is a prerequisite for this tutorial
The user should also know how to design circuit schematic in KiCad,
To do electric rule check ,
To do netlist generation,
To do mapping of components with footprints
For relevant tutorials, please visit http://spoken hyphen
Open KiCad To start KiCad,

Go to the top left corner of Ubuntu desktop screen.

Click on the first icon (i.e)Dash home.

In the search bar write KiCad and press Enter.

This will open KiCad main window.
Open EEschema To open EEschema, go to the top panel. Click on EEschema tab.
An info dialog box will appear which says that it cannot find the schematic.

Click on OK.

Open Astable multivibrator schematic I will use the circuit schematic of Astable multivibrator which was created earlier.
To do this, I will go to the File menu, click on Open.

Choose the folder in which file is saved.

Select project1.sch and click Open.

I will resize the window.

So, now I will click on Open

This will open the circuit schematic.
I will zoom in using the scroll button of the mouse.
We have already generated the netlist for this circuit,

and done mapping of components with corresponding footprints.

Next step is to create the printed circuit board layout.
Click on Run PCBnew button To start with this, Click on Run PCBnew button located on the top panel of EEschema window.
This will open PCBnew window.
An info dialog box appears saying it did not find project1.brd

click on OK to close this dialog box.

Click Read netlist button. Now you can import the footprints by clicking on Read netlist button on the top panel of PCBnew window.
Here the netlist window opens.
Keep all the default settings as it is.
Click on Browse netlist Files button.

This will open Select netlist window.

I will now resize this window for better view.

Select file from desired directory and ckick on Open.

Click on Read Current Netlist button.

It will show warning saying project1.cmp not found.

Click on OK.

Now close netlist window by clicking on Close button.

Hover over footprints placed You can see that all the footprints are imported and placed in top left corner in PCBnew window.
Now we need to place all footprints in centre of PCBnew window.
For this click on Manual and Automatic move and place of modules button located on the top panel of PCBnew window.
Now right click once in the centre of PCBnew window.
Click on Glob Move and Place in the menu Go to Glob Move and Place. Then click on Move All Modules.
This will open a Confirmation window. Click Yes.
I will zoom in with scroll button of my mouse for better view.
You may or may not see white wires connecting the terminals of footprints.

If you do not see them, click on Show or Hide board ratsnest button located on the left panel of PCBnew window.

White wires are also called as airwires.
Now we will arrange the modules such that minimum number of airwires cross each other.
Now right click on IC 555 footprint.

Go to Footprint options, and click on Move.

You can see that footprint is tied to cursor.

You can see that the component moves according to the grid displayed in the background.
Click on PCBnew window Now click once to place component wherever required. I am going to place it here.
Click on drop down menu It is possible to change the grid spacing using Grid options drop down menu on top panel of PCBnew window.
Hover over value in the top panel For now, we will go ahead with the default value that is Grid 1.270.
For moving components you can also use the shortcut key M
For example, let me show you how to move the capacitor.

Point the cursor on capacitor.

Press M. The module will get tied to cursor. You can move it wherever required.

To place component click once.
To rotate component, Press R.
For example, let me rotate the resistor. Place the cursor on the resistor and press R.
Similarly you can arrange all the components.
Show footrints-arranged.brd file already opened. I have already arranged footprints to get minimum intersection between airwires. This is shown here.
Now we need to convert these airwires in to actual tracks.
Go to layer tab in right hand side of PCBnew window Under the Layer tab on the right side of the PCBnew window select Back layer if it is not selected. Back layer is represented by green colour.

Layer selected is pointed by small blue arrow.

Go to right panel For creating tracks, select Add tracks and vias button located on the right panel of PCBnew window.
It shows green colour line at an angle of 45 degree.

Tool does not use horizontal wires

Now let us click on one of the nodes of R1.

Then we will double-click on node of R2 where wire needs to be connected.

Similarly we will connect one more wire between Resistor R3 and capacitor C1.

Let us click on one of the nodes of R3.

Click once to change direction of wire.

Then we will double click on node of C1 where wire needs to be connected.

The green track created represents actual copper path created on the printed circuit board.
Width of green colour wire It is also possible to change the track width.
Green colour wires This can be done by clicking on Design Rules menu option in menu bar of the PCBnew window.

Click on Design Rules.

Design Rules Editor will open where you can change track width.

We will change track width to 1.5. To do this double click on the value of Track Width. Type 1.5 and press Enter.

short cut keys For creating the track, we could also use the X key on the keyboard.

Let me show this to you. Keep the cursor over one of the nodes of LED D1. press the key X.

Then we will double click on the node of R3 where wire needs to be connected.

Switch to printed circuit board design which is already opened in PCBnew window (project1-test.brd)

You can see that the width of the track has increased. In this way you can complete the design of the board.

I have already completed the design for this board here.

Let me open the completed design board file.

creating edges to PCB created We also need to draw the PCB edges for completing this design.

For this we need to select PCB Edges option from Layer tab on the right side of PCBnew window.

Now click on Add graphic line or polygon button located on the right panel of layout editor window.

Now let us create a rectangle around this Printed circuit Board.

Click on Top left side of layout.

Move the cursor horizontally towards right.

Click once to change direction of line.

Move the cursor vertically downwards.

Similarly we can complete the rectangle.

Let me complete this rectangle.

End the rectangle by double clicking left mouse button.

Now let us click on File menu and click on the Save option. Please note that this file is saved with the extension .brd
This completes the board layout for Astable multivibrator circuit
Show Slide In this tutorial we learnt to design printed circuit board in KiCad using PCBnew.
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This script has been contributed

by Abhishek Pawar

This is Rupak Rokade from IIT Bombay, signing off.
  • Thanks for joining.

Contributors and Content Editors

Chandrika, Pravin1389