Do not populate in PCB editor

Hi to everyone,
I’m searching for a feature that might already exists, but I can’t find it (talking about KiCad 8). When I mark a component in Schematics with “do not populate”, there is nice red cross, as it should be.
But when I update PCB from schematic, there I can’t see any change that would let me distinguish components are not meant to be populated from other components.

Is there a way to see this crosses also in PCB? Or some other markings, maybe pads in different color/pattern? Something that would let me know that these components are not meant to be populated?

This would be very useful in my scenario, where I have a PCB that can be populated in three different, mutually exclusive way.

Best regards, Martin

Personally, I am not aware of such a feature. If there isn’t one, it might be worth a feature request.

You probably already know, but there are two ways to see which footprints are DNP. You have to click on them.

The always status bar shows its attributes. And if you have the Property Manager panel open, you can also see it there.

It’s not as nice as a big visual indicator, but it would prevent you from returning to Schematic (or leaving it open side-by-side) to see the status.

How would this be helpful during PCB layout? If you choose which variant to build during assembly, then you still need to lay out to all the components whether they are DNP or not.

Hi, this might not be very usefull during PCB layout, but during manual assembly.

I’m using KiCad mostly for hobby projects (only 3 or 4 professional projects so far). Usualy one can order 5 or more PCBs and I don’t like the idea to throw away 4/5 of delivered products. That’s why I often design schematics (and then PCB) that can be populated in different ways.

Right now I have a controll board for linear actuator, few servos, pushbuttons and LED-s that uses 8266. On board I have H-bridge, few relays, two locationts for current sensor etc. There is no way that all “functions” would be implemented on same board, becouse they uses the same pins on 8266.

During the weekend I’ve been populating the third version of that board.
I had quite a struggle to precisely diferenciate components on PCB that should be placed from others. I created a copy of entire project, then marked components with “do not populate” in schematics. Then I printed PCB and I had to “click” each componet on PCB to check if it is populated or not. Using two diffetent sharpies, I marked components on paper.

I believe this is quite specific usage of KiCad, but still I think that I’m not the only one who would benefit from functionality, where “do not populate” components beeing somehow marked in PCB too.

Best regards, Martin

Have you investigated the Interactive HTML BOM plugin? This should do what you need. It is available directly within the Plugin and Content manager.

Thanx for suggestion.
I will try this when I come home.

Best regards, Martin

How would this be helpful during PCB layout?

  • during pcb layout it helps ony little, special cases are for instance:
    • you still have to make sure pads don’t overlap (as you have mentioned)
    • but courtyard overlapping (or at least a very dense placement) for alternatively populated elements is very well allowable
  • you get more benefit during assembling the board. (if one doesn’t use the interactive html plugin). On our site manual board assembling is regularly done during development stage and for the first initial batch production.

This feature was available in eagle, and it was a useful one.
Depending on the choosen assembly variant the pcb editor displayed all “do not populate” footprints with pads, but without silkscreen and fabrication layers. So distinguishing between populate/do not populate elements was quite easy.

@MrTn : if it’s for assembling: The 3D viewer has the possibility to disable all models for “do nott place” components.
Until now I have not tried to assemble a board with the 3D view, so I don’t know if this works good.

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