How to organize libs and modules

In my opinion gerbers are related to PCB and not schematic. I see nothing wrong in this that you need to consciously transfer the changes from the schematic to the PCB (one icon to press). It is and shoud be your decision at what moment your schematic is worth being transferred to PCB.

I am lucky that this problem never touched me. I use few elements with several units.

As default you have “Check zone fills before plotting” checked. Why you unchecked it?
I think in any program you can wrongly check/uncheck some option and then say you got wrong result.

This I don’t understand. Whenever I change something in footprint in library I didn’t get it changed in PCB until I use “Update Footprint from library…”.


Piotr is right: this must be some mistake from your part. KiCad doesn’t do any automatic updates from the footprint libraries to boards. In v6 the schematic will work the same way, it will be necessary to update the schematic manually after doing changes to libraries.

KiCad v6 will do some more work to ensure you haven’t forgotten to refill the zones before plotting gerbers. It’s still possible to ignore that, but accidents will be less probable.

Otherwise the steps to update the next phase based on the previous phase is manual in KiCad by deliberate decision. That’s a design philosophy which ensures the best flexibility. Some end users would like to see automatic updates between the schematic and the layout, but if that will be implemented (for v7 or later) it won’t be automatic by default but optional. The explicit design philosophy is that KiCad shouldn’t force one way of working to the users. Several kinds of forced automatic updates would be harmful for professionals for whom correctness of each step may be critical and must be inspected separately.

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As piotr and eelik already mentioned. KiCad does not do that.
One way this could have happened is if you made a schematic, put footprints on the pcb, and then loaded a footprint from the PCB in the Footprint editor, modified it and put it directly back on the PCB.

… And then later updated the PCB from the schematic with the Update Footprints option on.

Another way this could have happened is if you forgot to save the changes you made at some point.

KiCad works a bit differently from Eagle, and it takes some time to get used to it.

I’m also not such a fan of prepending strings to library names just to influence the order in which they get sorted. You can adjust the order in which libraries are shown with the up and down arrows.

I do recommend to think a bit about the keywords you add to your parts. KiCad has a regular expression like search for schematic symbols and adding the right keywords can help a lot to find symbols when your libraries get bigger.

For some time I use the search bar in the footprint editor just to find the right footprint, and then copy it’s name elsewhere.

CvPcb, the “Assign Footprints” tool also makes extensive use of these keywords to find footprints efficiently.

All the more reasons to first get to know KiCad better before you spend a lot of effort into organizing your personal libraries.

quote=“Piotr, post:21, topic:30651”]
As default you have “Check zone fills before plotting” checked. Why you unchecked it?
I think in any program you can wrongly check/uncheck some option and then say you got wrong result.
I don’generate gerbers myself anymore, fab does that, all I send is the A sunny side of KiCad!

That implements that PCB is not necessarily related to schematic. Hmmm… I wish it would.

Thank you all again for your effort, I’m a bit closer to KiCad now. I think I’ll keep on going, with some interessing features that are to come in near future it will eventually work for me.
I DO see the sunny sides, for sure! Sad actualy, I need to mention the cons all the time, that gives a wrong impression somtimes.

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This is being fixed and is implemented in the 5.99 development nightly for the (hopefully soon) v6.

If you run Design Rule Check before sending project (what is ‘have to be done’) I think wrongly filled zones will be noticed (didn’t checked it, and can’t check it now). I don’t expect fab is to be modifying anything in your project so wrongly filled zones should be no problem.

I never thought about it deeply but according to my imagination if my changes in schematic are immediately transferred to the PCB the bigger than needed mess can be done there if I several times change my mind during schematic edition. I just have never worked with program that does it automatically. In Protel I had to save/load netlist, in Kicad 4 I had to save/load netlist, in KiCad 5 I have to Update PCB to schematic.
The main arguments for KiCad for me were:

  • Interactive router in ‘Shove’ mode I didn’t had anything like that in my Protel,
  • easy track modifying by moving segments (hotkeys ‘D’ and ‘G’), I didn’t had in Protel,
  • automatic track length tuning. In Protel I had to count it manually - summing segments length (sqrt(2) frequently used). Here I set needed length (Ctrl+L after Alt+7) then move mouse over my track and it is tuned.

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