Footprint remnants

I have noticed that if I remove a footprint from a component, and then update a PCB , the previous footprint still remains on the PCB. You may wonder why I want to have a component in the schematic that is not located on the PCB - well, I have been using terminal jacks to connect pots and LEDS to control panels and the like. You can see why I don’t want a footprint for these POTS on the board. I used a terminal block as a footprint for 3 pins, to connect the POT, but the footprint of the POT remains even though I deleted it. I want the symbol to remain - but the footprint gone.

My approach must be wrong.

What is your interpretation of a “component”. KiCad uses the teminology of symbols in the schematic, and footprints for on the PCB.

During: Schematic Editor / Tools / Update PCB from Schematic [F8] there are also three checkboxes in the dialog. One to Delete footprints with no symbols, and another one with: Replace footprints with those specific in the schematic.

A few versions ago (Introduced in V7?) KiCad also has symbol attributes to modify symbol behavior. Among them is Exclude from board

In older versions, this could be done by prepending an asterisk in the RefDes of the symbol.


The PCB should have footprints for whatever is directly attached to that PCB. In the cases of your Pots or LEDs; either wires or Terminal Blocks are attached to the PCB. Your LEDs and Pots are then attached to the wires or Terminals.
This means you need to include the wires or Terminal blocks in the Schematic with their appropriate footprints PLUS the Pots and LEDs without Footprints BUT with the “Exclude from Board” ticked (as indicated by Paul).

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It is of course also possible to use a symbol for a potentiometer, and then assign a footprint of a terminal block to it.

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brilliant. thanks. I can see it now!

Just for completeness:

This pot is attached to the PCB with a connector.
J2 (with pins) is soldered to the PCB. This has a footprint.
J1 (with holes to receive the J2 pins) and RV3 are shown as “Exclude from Board” and have no footprints.