How to implement a breadboard in KiCad

Hey everyone!

I’m new to KiCad (downloaded it litterally just yesterday) and I need some help creating a schematic for a project of mine.

So I’m trying to find how to implement a breadboard in the schematic but haven’t been able to find it on the app and even searched on the internet, but to no avail. Is there a finished one in KiCad, or maybe to download and import a schmetic (I don’t really now how to, but I guess I’ll check it out if its needed). If there isn’t already a made up one, I’m probably not going to be able to make one myself.

Thanks in advace!

What is a “breadboard”? Kind of circuit like arduino schematics are depicted, like this: https://images.app.goo.gl/QXa497eWu8karSnT9 ?

Kicad is a no go tool for that. You can open demo projects from kicad project (the one with blue icon) manager by file → open demo projects to get the idea of what kicad is supposed to do, or look some videos at youtube…

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Yeah, that’s exactly it. Sad, that it doesn’t have the feature, but thanks for the help anyways!

You are looking for Fritzing. I could never get a decent looking breadboard with one. PITA as far as I’m concerned but it seems to work well for others.

I used Fritzing before discovering Kicad (had already used Eagle but, hated it!).

Fritzing was very useful for One/Two layer boards and I made many Hobby PCB’s (real hardware). But, grew VERRRY tired of making my own parts (because many in Fritzing were with problems).
Making Parts for Fritzing is a PITA!!!, for sure but, it forced me to learn how to build SVG graphics.

Kicad is a far better tool. And, you can make a Breadboard Footprint and 3D-model. Though I have no need for using Breadboards in Kicad, I did make one, just to go through the steps… did enough to convince myself to Not do it again…

Fritzing Example:

BreadBoard made in Kicad:

There is a saying on hackaday that “Friends don’t let friends use Fritzing”

https://html.duckduckgo.com/html?q="Friends+don't+let+friends+use+Fritzing"

I have never used fritzing myself, and I won’t either.

If I look at this breadboard design that BlackCoffe posted:

… then I have absolutely no idea of what that thing is supposed to do, or if any of the connections make sense. Neither can I see wheter there are obvious mistakes in the schematic, because there is no schematic.

The sole purpose (as I understand it) of that fritzing program was for people who write books to be able to add pretty looking pictures to their books, and because there were a lot of pretty pictures of fritzing in books, beginners in electronics started using it too, but that does not mean it’s a good idea to do so.

For any circuit, the single first form of documentation should be a schematic of what the thing does, and that is exactly what KiCad is for, and KiCad does it good.
I do see some merit in showing a picture of a breadboard as an example of how a circuit can be built on a breadboard, but that should always be supportive and secondary (or even tertiary) documentation. (Secondary documentation should be some text about the general workings and important details about a circuit).

KiCad can’t make pretty pictures as pretty as in fritzing, but what you can do easily is to draw an abstract picture of a breadboard on one of the user layers in KiCad’s PCB Editor, and then layout the tracks as if they were a breadboard. If you do this right, it may even look quite decent in KiCad’s 3D viewer. BlackCoffee already made a bunch of 3D models of wire jumpers for use in KiCad, but they are not “stretchable”.

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I can’t argue re the downside(s) of Fritzing (I no longer use it for the several reasons, too) But, at least I used it long enough (1yr) to know enough about it without guessing/assuming.

It comes packaged with Schematic, PCB and Breadboard and they are all Linked Together. Meaning you can:

• Place Components and wire Schematic and the PCB and Breadboard make the connections - all user needs to do is Drag stuff to desired locations

• Place Components and wire BreadBoard and the PCB and Schematic make the connections - all user needs to do is Drag stuff to desired locations

• Place Components and wire PCB and the Schematic and Breadboard make the connections - all user needs to do is Drag stuff to desired locations

So simple that it’s embarrassing to use it and claim you(a user) made it.

It has nice features such as bending Traces… etc… And, the Autorouter will place editable JumperWires were needed, automatically.

So, while Kicad is perfect for me, Fritzing is a great tool for others and I’ve posted many Tutorials at Fritzing on making PCB’s and Parts… Thus, sometimes I feel guilty for using Kicad.

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I admit, I have never used fritzing myself (and I won’t recommend it to my friends either).

I have also already admitted that fritzing can make nice breadboard pictures, and that those can be useful.

I’ve also heard that a lot of things are very cumbersome in fritzing, and that there has no (real) development on it for several years (last time I heard was half a year ago, I don’t know if anything changed.


Approaching it from the other side:
If KiCad could use a pretty 3D model of a breadboard in it’s 3D viewer and had “stretchable” jumper wires in fancy colors, is there then still anything that fritzing has and KiCad don’t?
(Ah, with fritzing you can make a “PCB” and a “breadboard” in the same project).

From my viewpoint, fritzing has a very long way to go before it can be considered a full PCB suite, while it would be relatively easy to add a few things to KiCad that would render fritzing obsolete.

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Again, I can’t argue your point (save that of your lack of Fritzing experience). Doesn’t matter though as I basically agree, for the most part. To your question of “is there anything that Fritzing has and Kicad don’t?”

Yes, several things but, you don’t know what they are (re, your lack of FritzIng experience). How about Bending traces without needing some Plugin?, How about AutoRouting without some Plugin?.. it’s a small list but, there are some other things, too.

Fritzing is for people that don’t understand electronics very well, IMHO. It serves NO purpose other than blindly building something that works but the user has no real understanding of the circuit.

I brought up Fritzing because it seemed to be what the OP was looking for. If it suits their purpose then good.

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I’d dare say that most beginners with electronics do not have the experience to know what sort of software they need. And therefore leaving the choice up to them is not an ideal situation.

I do acknowledge that those same beginners may need a piece of software where ease of use is more important than a lot of functionality. But it does have to have enough functionality to be useful and support their first endeavors in electronics., and I’m not sure that fritzing meets those requirements.

If beginners start using fritzing because saw it’s flashy pictures used in a book they used to learn electronics, they miss the fact that fritzing was (mostly) designed just to make such pictures. I’ve heard about very few people who like fritzing, and lots of complaints. One of the more most severe complaints is that it is apparently very difficult to make new parts in fritzing, which was again confirmed in this thread:

Fritzing has been mentioned on Hackaday a bunch of times and you can get a good idea of what other people think of it if you read though the comments of a few of those articles.

I also admit that BlackCoffee is right in that I can’t say too much about frinzing because I’ve not used it myself.

On top of that, I realize that I’m not an “average computer user”. Learning any new program for me is a struggle. Therefore my preference goes to learning a program that is quite powerful and hopefully still relatively easy to start with. The goal here is that I do not have to learn a new program three or 5 years into the future because the program I had been using has too many limits or important functionality is lacking.

Therefore, for me, KiCad is a good fit. with the “Getting started in KiCad” guide (Then, in KiCad V4) I got an excellent start in KiCad and got from the first schematic to a PCB in a single afternoon. The next day I verified I could make Gerbers and that KiCad has usable editors for both schematic symbols and PCB footprints, and KiCad had both and I was hooked. I had evaluated at least 6 different programs at that time and KiCad was so good that I decided to stop evaluating and start using to KiCad, and I’m still happy with KiCad, and even happier with the progress it’s made in the last 5 or so years.

Another thing during evaluation, is “the absence of absolute stupidity”. With one of the programs I was evaluating it was apparently not possible to type in the value of a resistor, and the very first schematic I happened to try to make in that program had a 0.2 Ohm shunt resistor in it (That is what I had). I had to resort to using a 0.22 Ohm resistor in that schematic. I was still evaluating back then, but that program lost a few points just for that.

Edit:
fixed my misquote of @BlackCoffee

Maybe try this tool? DIY Layout Creator by bancika

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It can be a fine line. I try to answer the question without questioning purpose, a common forum pitfall, unless I have specific reason to do otherwise. Like a user asking ‘newb’ questions and you see an RF component in the screen shot.

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@paulvdh I don’t like being misquoted. You stated:

This may sound a bit snippy but, I’m simply stating fact…

I said nothing about needing a “…deep knowledge…”.
I learned how to add 1+1 long before I mastered Differential Equations. I mastered SVG because, like many folks, a deeper understanding of some subject is preferential. And, Not learning something is also preferential. You speak of Fritzing as if it’s a Toy, inferring a real Engineer would not use it.
You’re wrong. I have degrees in Engineering, Patents, a 50yrs of engineering work experience, including a technology medal from the President (of United States). And, I used Fritzing as a retired old man because sometimes adding 1+1 was all I needed.
Lastly, I imagine far many more Hobbyists use Kicad than you may think and, not everyone who comes to this Forum wants to be an Engineer - some may want only Hobby-Level usage. I do ONLY hobbies these day’s and I’m not interested in the full capability of Kicad. I just happen to like it and it works very well for me and I avoid the drudgery of making Fritzing Parts…

OK. We are straying from the OP’s question a little too far at this point and they haven’t even returned. Like or dislike of Fritzing is really not the point. I’m sure the OP has enough input at this point on the topic. :wink:

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Totally aggree - I just didn’t want to be miss-quoted

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I like this!
It is an aggressive agreement :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Perhaps there could be various flavours of agree:

  • abgree Agree but don’t hold me responsible
  • adgree Agree and here’s a product you should try
  • angree Agree but I’m still upset
  • argree Agree but there are areas of dispute
  • augree Agree and here are more points
  • awgree Agree and I think this thread will be shut down

:upside_down_face:

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ahgree, an absolutely brilliant post @retiredfeline