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What is Kicad? - KiCad is a tool that makes it possible to design high-quality printed circuit boards. It is not the only one, in fact there are many many other tools out there. Some are free, some are very expensive, and each tool has its advantages over others. Software tools that help people make printed circuit boards are […]
The structure of this course - This course is designed to teach you how to use KiCad assuming no prior knowledge in PCB design. My objective is to help you reach a high level of competency. Even though you will not be able to design 16-layer super-dense and sophisticated PCBs without several years of experience and study of advanced topics in […]
Kicad basics introduction - In this introductory section of the book, first I will help you setup KiCad on your computer and show you where to find help for when you need it. Then, I will discuss the basic components and terminology of PCBs. I will spend a few minutes talking about Κicad’s PCB design process, which is worth […]
Installation for Microsoft Windows - In this chapter, we’ll install KiCad on Windows. To do this, you will need to use your web browser and navigate to http://kicad-pcb.org/download/. The main Kicad download page, at http://kicad-pcb.org/download KiCad comes precompiled for a variety of operating systems, so all the major operating systems are supported. But if you prefer, you can even download […]
Installation on Mac OS X - In this chapter, we’ll install KiCad on the Mac. There is KiCad support for many other operating systems as well, including downloading the source code and compiling from the source code if you know how to do that. Here, we’ll keep it simple and install the already compiled version. Let’s go into the Mac OS […]
Installation for Mac OS X - In this chapter, we’ll install KiCad on the Mac. There is KiCad support for many other operating systems as well, including downloading the source code and compiling from the source code if you know how to do that. Here, we’ll keep it simple and install the already compiled version. Let’s go into the Mac OS […]
Kicad main components - Now that you have KiCad installed, lets go inside and have a look at its main components. Double click on the KiCad icon to start the program. Kicad and its components This is the main window in KiCad. It gives you access to the various applications that come with it. On the left side, the […]
Finding documentation - By some measures Kicad is the most popular PCB computer-aided design (CAD)  open source software in the world. As a result it is no accident that it’s got some of the best documentation out there. If you look for the documentation in the help menu in the main Kicad window, will receive a message that […]
What is a Printed Circuit Board? - Let’s have a look at the components of a PCB and what a PCB looks like and the terminology that we use. So let’s all have a look at a PCB I made earlier. Here it is: The top side of a PCB I made this one at oshpark.com. The top side of the PCB […]
The Kicad design process - In this chapter you will learn about Kicad’s PCB design workflow. The process of designing a PCB using Kicad begins with Eeschema. The process begins with Eescema. In Eeschema we create the electrical schematic that describes the circuit that eventually will be printed onto the PCB board. We draw the schematic by picking components from […]
Fabrication - Let’s imagine that you have finished with laying out your board in Kicad and you’re ready to make it. What are your options? Well, you can do it yourself at home. There’s a nice guide here from Fritzing, athttp://fritzing.org/learning/tutorials/pcb-production-tutorials/diy-pcb-etching/. Etching, a process by which you can make your PCBs at home. The process described in […]
Section introduction - In this first project for this course, we’ll build a simple breakout PCB for the nRF24 board. If you have worked with the common nRF24 board, you know that its two rows of pins are not compatible with a breadboard. The pins of the common nRF24 breakout are not compatible with a breadboard. As a […]
Creating a new project - It is time to get started with the first project. Start KiCad, then click on the File menu item and select New Project. Start Kicad and create a new project It is a good practice to store project files inside a project directory. Create a new directory named nRF24-breakout. Create a new directory to hold […]
Starting the schematic for the nRF24 - In this chapter we will begin the process of creating our first schematic in Kicad. Start by centering the schematic in the window so you can see the whole canvas.  The board that we are building will only contain two components. The first one is a straight 8-pin connector and the second one is an […]
How to create a schematic component - In the previous chapter we searched for an nRF24 part in the schematic library but didn’t find anything relevant. In this chapter, I will show you how to create this part from scratch. To do that we’ll use the library editor, this button here brings up the library editor. To start the library editor, click […]
Wiring - In this chapter we will connect the pins from the nRF24 component to the connector. There are two ways to do this. The first one is by using individual wires and just wiring each pin with its counterpart. The second method is to use labels. We can label each pin pair with a unique name, […]
Annotating the schematic - In this chapter I will show you how to use Kicad’s automatic annotation tool. We’ve got two components that are both are not annotated yet. The two components are not annotated. Notice the “?” in their designators. Notice the question marks in the component designators, “U?” and “P?”. To do the annotation, we will use […]
Electrical Rules Check - The only thing remaining to be done before we can complete the process of designing the schematic for our new board, is to do an electrical rules check. To do the ERC click on the bumblebee button, in the top menu bar. Click on the ERC icon to start the test. Then, click on the […]
Associate components to footprints - Unlike other PCB design tools, in Kicad, schematic components are not automatically linked to a footprint. This of a footprint as the outline of a component that is mounted on a circuit board. It contains the outline of the pins, the device, and often text markings with the name of the device or its values. […]
Create a custom footprint - In this chapter we will create a custom footprint for the nRF24 schematic component. If you haven’t done so already, close Cvpcb. Next, start the footprint editor. From Eeschema, start the Footprint editor by clicking on the button with the IC and the pencil icon. So click on the footprint editor button, and the blank […]
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