Importing a legacy Altium design

I have a legacy design in Altuim 6 and would like to transfer it to KiCAD 6, but am having no luck.

KiCAD 6 eeschema will not even look at the schdoc files. I managed to have a little bit of luck with the ‘altium2kicad’ tool, but got a very broken schematic. Repairable with decent effort.

KiCAD 6 pcbnew will likewise not look at the pcbdoc files. It does even less with ASCII 2.8 or Binary 3 or Binary 4 version PCB files.

Is it that the eeschema/pcbnew kiCAD importers expect a later version than my files, which were made back in the noughities with Altium 6?

At this stage I’m looking at importing the gerbers and undertaking a nasty and lengthy process of manual conversion (at least I get tracks, but no footprints)… a little better than redrawing the whole thing from scratch, but is that my only option?

Cheers, MM.

altium V6 is quite old. Have you tried (and had success) with importing some newer altium PCB and schematic? This can at least confirm you’ve pushed the right buttons in KiCad to do the import (I think only import of schematic and PCB works, not the project themself (yet)).

One thing you can do is ask someone who has altium to open and save your project in an attempt to port it to a more modern altium version. I think altium also has a 2 weeks “free trail” version at the moment.

Also, this is much less worse then it seems at first sight:

The footprints themselves really are not that valuable for a conversion, and you get much more then the tracks. You also get the PCB outline, and you get the locations of all footprints. This means you do not have to redo the placement of the footprints, but can simply put them on existing track ends. Are you aware of

For layout import you need to launch PCBnew in standalone mode

For circuit… I would need to start kocad

1 Like

Oh yes! That little trick took me about 4 hours to find… starting a blank project, eeschema could import ‘non-kicad’, but not pcbnew. Finally cottoned onto the need to open it standalone!

I’ll check out that FAQ. I saw a link to it but didn’t follow it (I was hoping to avoid that route). I agree that the tracking is the most difficult bit, and physical locating of parts/PCB edges is also critical. I have no new Altium designs - it’s all old stuff. With the semiconductor shortages as they are, re-spinning a PCB is a better option than waiting 12 or 24 months for a chip package that used to be easy to get…
I’ll check out the trial Altium version - unless they want my first born to get access to it…
Thanks, MM.

ST has (at least some) of the “Nucleo” boards as altium designs freely available at their website. I’m guessing it can’t be hard to find a few altium projects on github either.

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.