How to include PlugIn Modules (BreakOutBoards) in Schematic and PCB Layout?


I would like to include one of these tiny little 0.96” OLED modules in my PCB / CAD Design.
It is a break out board, 7 pins. I created symbol and footprint already.

First approach to include the OLED Module into design is simple.
I include only a socket strip into my schematics, in PCB layout I manually arrange the required amount of free space around the socket strip, all done.

However, I would like to have the PlugIn Module (BreakOutBoard) symbol in the schematics already, in the BOM as well, all properly together and the PCB designer taking care for keep out area of the plug in module.
I can of course include the break out board symbol, draw lines between PCB sockets and the BoB pins - but PCB Layout probably create copper lines. If it survives the electrical rules check.

How to set it up correctly?
Thanks for proposals!



If you put a ‘#’ in front of the ref des, you can include the item in the schematic but exclude it from the pcb. However, it is also excluded from the BOM.


As you seem to want it appear everywhere (schematic as symbol, in the bom and as an outline in the pcb) you can add it like any other part. Simply create a symbol that does not include any pins and a footprint consisting only as an outline on the layers you want to have it shown.


Both ideas helped well.



As Rene has mentioned you handle this as any other part. The class letter to use is U. Reference IEEE 315 as follows:

And from IEEE 315, Clause 22.4:
The socket strips you use on the PCB to mount this device would be reference designated XU#A and XU#B. However, KiCad does not understand suffix letters for individual parts so use XU#J1 and XU#J2. This is going to be a case where the schematic diagram for the PCB is going to be a cutset (from graph theory) or subset of the assembly schematic. The assembly schematic would show all the parts and thus the parts list derived from the assembly schematic would have the OLED module. The assembly schematic is going to show the connections, such as U#-1 through U#-8 mated to XU#J1-1 through XU#J1-8 and U#-9 through U#-16 mated to XU#J2-1 through XU#J2-8.

You copy the assembly schematic over to another file and delete the OLED module U#, thus you now have all you need for the PCB layout.


For examples you can also search the Eeschema libraries with the magic words “breakout” or “module”.
The module: RFM69HW, with Footprint:


works on my linux box with KiCad 5.0.2

Before that I first I tried the “Maple_Mini” but that did not work. The wole “/usr/share/kicad/modules/Module” library appeared empty ??? Fiddled a bit and then it worked, but I’m not sure if I changed anything, or what happened.