I have created extensive Symbol Libraries for Valve Amplifiers

Hello everyone, I am relatively new to KiCad but I have been very busy this last 3 months learning and building (and making mistakes and correcting them!). My specialty is restoring and building vintage HiFi and especially Valve/Tube Amplifiers so my initial reaction to KiCad was that it needed someone to build Symbols and Footprints for the components we use. To make things even more alien, I am using Turret Boards, Tag Boards and point-to-point wiring on some projects.

I have now coming to the completion of builds for Symbol and Footprint Libraries, including an extensive Valve/Tube library of the most commonly used Valves/Tubes, Capacitors and Resistors. I am not alone as I am working with my old chum Xavier van Unen MScEE, commercially known as Dr. Tube, and he has supplied the list of Tubes he needs. As I have more time to spare I am doing the spadework for him!

Before I start using GitHub to submit my work, I just wanted to make you aware of what I am doing, it is probably alien to those of you working with PCBs, SMDs and multi-layer boards but I also know that there are others are working in this sphere.

I notice that all of my Symbol Aliases will be redundant in the next release so I could use some input on how this affects these Libraries - is there a migration tool or do I start over? I could write a paper on my work to explain my logic but for now, I just want to let you know what I am doing in case it duplicates anyone else’s work.

Roger and out


Very interested in what you’re doing.

I had to make my own valve socket footprints to help with things like heater trace routing (keeping the traces nice and parallel by carefully rotating the socket an optimal amount) and having traces for parallel inputs on dual triodes in a single envelope (e.g. ECC83).

It would be great to be able to replicate what Marshall has been doing on recent designs - a kind of hybrid approach of PCB & turrets:

So having turret footprints would be great. Someone has used DesignSpark to create something similar using Keystone turrets, the 1540-4 and 1509-4.

Good luck and keep us posted!


Tristan, that is exactly what I am trying to achieve. I like the Marshall approach, although this is the first time that I am aware of it.
My plan is :

  1. The rear side of the board will have copper tracks and the holes for the Turrets are just bigger than normal through-holes. Point-to-point wiring on the rear is an alternative for prototype or one-off projects.
  2. Connections to the board are via connection-points with wires poked through from below to allow easy soldering and de-soldering with the board in place.
  3. All of the resistors are lifted off the board in free-air to aid cooling.
  4. The board that I am using is 3mm thick glass and the Turrets come from RS. 2mm board may be sufficient? HiFCollective sells stock boards under their brand of GlassHouse for those who cannot make their own boards.

I hope to submit my Symbol and Footprint Libraries, soon, for Valve, Resistor_THT, Capacitor_THT and other components.

I am new to KiCad so I have spent a lot of time learning and training myself to be sure that I conform to standards and make my libraries as comprehensive and “perfect” as possible so as not to waste the time of others. I am working with Dr Tube on the requirements and he has many years of experience with guitar and HiFi valve/Tube amplifiers. I am currently using an Audio Innovations series 500 upgrade project to develop my skills in KiCad… previously, I have been using McCAD for over 15 years and with no migration path it has provided an opportunity to start over and get it “right”.

I am also new to Git so I need some clear, step-by-step instructions, with explanation of what I am doing, to raise PULL request. I am not sure if I need a PULL for each component or per Library and how do I deal with Symbols that might replace existing ones?

I welcome input from the community,

Roger and out

I’m really interested in this too - those boards and the layout style is just beautiful. Sharing your libs here would certainly spark some discussion, comments, tips for getting them into the official libs.

Did someone mention the KLC (KiCad Library Convention) yet? I believe there is a sort of checker-script to verify whether the library conventions are met for your library.

For laughs, I quickly whipped up these FreeCad / STEP models for the Keystone 1540-2, 1540-3 and 1540-4 turrets. I’m looking to do the 1509 series aswell. If you have any other part(s) numbers, I might make some more models so I can procrastinate on my own projects :smiley: Nothing like some nice models. Keystone 1540 Series.FCStd (78.9 KB) Keystone 1540-2.step (24.9 KB) Keystone 1540-3.step (24.6 KB) Keystone 1540-4.step (24.6 KB)

PS - Looks like I messed up with radius vs diameter in FreeCad - will update these later!

This is cool stuff - right up my alley. I’ve built a couple of tube amps (one kit and one scratch)…tons of fun.

Looking forward to see what you do with this.

Sorry, I have been quiet recently… Chemotherapy!

I have created a Schematic and a Board, using new Symbols and Footprints for the components that I am using, and I have printed a Decal for the Board. This is a prototype or one-off for now so I am doing everything myself. I will apply the Decal to the 4mm Glass Board and then drill the holes. I just hope the Decal film will not be affected by the engineering or the mounted components.

This project is a repair to an Audio Innovations series 500 HiFi amplifier. The Phase-Inverter Board is prone to be burnt out by under-sized resistors on these so I am building a new “enhanced” one. I found a bunch of Riken Ohm resistors, just the right size, in my stash so I am using those along with some good ordinary MCaps and 5W Kiwame carbon film resistors - the original resistors were 1W. I am using Turrets from RS.

Turrets are different from holes in that they can accept more than one component so, until I find a better solution, I have overlapped the Turrets for those power-supply resistors but it’s a fudge.

Roger and out

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I hope your chemotherapy is successful. I went through that with my wife’s breast cancer a number of years ago. It persistently haunts the shadowy places in your mind, occasionally coming into view as you periodically go for each follow-on exam. The therapy worked for us, and after five years she was pronounced “cured”. The experience strengthened our patience and perseverance.

I’ve had some contact with turret-terminal construction in military, industrial, and some high-end equipment from the 1950’s and 60’s. When it’s done well the uniformity and orderliness is absolutely sexy! (And yes, even though I’m nearly 69, I know “sexy” when I see it.)


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