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my recent experiments with KiCad


A few months ago I had a need to reverse engineer a legacy pcb for which all I had was the pcb board.

I looked around for a tool to help me with this and could only find Deltasoft's
CBR 5.0, then I discovered kiCad ...

I modified pcbnew (ver 2709) so that I could display an underlay image of my pcb above the background and behind any foot prints. I soon discovered that although I could place foot prints corresponding to those on the pcb I could not easily get back to a schematic in eeschema.

I then added the following:

1) the image underlay code to eeschema, the component editor and the foot
   print editor.

2) modified modedit.cpp so that I could create components from foot prints.

3) modified schframe.cpp and sch_component so that at the press of a button I
   could flip between a schematic of components and a schematic of foot prints,
   with the wire end points following the pins to which they are connected.
   Newly placed foot prints are automatically given sensible positions.

4) created some components and corresponding foot prints for junctions and vias.

5) some other stuff!

Some of this code is buggy, incomplete and a little hackish and without too
many changes to the GUI (ie no dialog changes), but now I can edit both a
schematic and it's pcb dual in eeschema.

I would like to add the following to eeschema/KiCad (not nessecarily in this order):

i) layers as in pcbnew.
ii) auto routing of a schematic.
iii) component locking etc as in pcbnew.
iv) some functionally from cvpcb to ease adding footprint names to components.
v) make images drawable just like lines arcs etc.
vi) copy foot print position and orientation info into the net list files.
vii) make some newly added behaviour controlable via dialogs.
iix) ...

It is a pity that eeschema and pcbnew (and their corresponding component and foot print editors) do not share more code and file formats!

Any interest in this technology?


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