Junction Dot Conspiracy!


I just realized that I noticed something in Altium’s video:

Continuing the discussion from KiCAD growth numbers:

NO Junction Dots!

Were all the posters here wanting to force Junction Dots on all KiCad users actually Altium employees trying to keep their jobs?


Don’t most CAD pgms allow users to set the junction dot size, and thus remove them visually, if they so wish ?


It’s an option:


@PCB_Wiz …it’s sorta an inside joke thing… KiCad in the past did not allow them to be visually removed and in fact forced users to have them at least a minimum size.

Obviously, if I had known it was an option that Altium had, it would have likely changed the tone of the earlier threads on this topic.


I think we are from different worlds :slight_smile:
When I see such schematic I feel wires ending at other one are not connected.
And seeing no dots at all it took me a minute to be sure if C32 is connected to mid point of VR11 or not.


You will never really know unless the software guarantees that such an intersection can never result in a connection or you have access to additional information (the board layout, netlist, highlight tool, …)

If the software can not guarantee this then you suddenly need to trust a human to follow some convention. Which is total madness. (Humans are lacy, make mistakes, are incompetent, …) In such a case i prefer seeing junction dots even if the human followed some convention that would not require it. All it does is add additional information.

A missing junction dot at a 3 wire intersection would then be an indicator that the printout might have been damaged (or the software allows hanging connections -> in kicad this could happen when using a very small grid). One on a 4 wire intersection would tell me that either the designer did not follow the convention or the printout got damaged. Both would cause me to investigate it in the software it was designed in. (or if that is no longer possible reverse engineer this part of the pcb)


In a schematic with no junction dots, the rule is that “+” junctions are NOT connections; never ever.

And, keep in mind, this is the way a really large industry produces schematics; this is not my way. It makes good sense that if Altium provided this functionality to this industry that KiCad should have been more supportive of this feature earlier on.

I just think it’s sorta funny to find out, only now, that Altium could do it.


Altium is not the road map for Kicad. When users here expressed preferences it was taken up by the developers and added. I think that’s a better model than guessing or influencing use by adding complexity that isn’t needed or wanted by most.

It seems the number of participating developers on this forum is creeping up.

My only objection to the dots was cosmetic. I thought they were over sized. I have them set to a small size with a vividly contrasting color. I don’t see them when zoomed out but if I zoom in enough they are obvious but unobtrusive. Best of both worlds in my opinion.


Pics or it didn’t happened ! :slight_smile:


Just to make it clear, KiCad 5.1 can change the junction dot size to hide it. Freedom for everyone. The conspiracy was revealed and the guilty parties severely punished (by forcing them to look at this option until they puked).


I know that but not “by automat”.
Normally (dot system) when I see such “+” junction without dot I feel it is not connected. But next to it i see “T” junction without dot and I know that here even without dot it is connected so dot is not needed to be connected.
I seriously some time was sure here this “+” is connected and even began to write some text assuming that capacitor is connected to filter output from signal divider (or filter effects of potentiometer turning). Then thought once more and deleted two sentences already written :slight_smile:


All of this junction talk makes me nostalgic for crossovers. But that’s me recalling vacuum tube schematics.

Personally I’m fine with junction dots, uniformly applied. I might customise their appearance later on.


Don’t get me started about wriggly resistors


@Piotr I’ve been reading schematics without junction dots for 30+ years. Before entering into a major government industry, the hobby/commercial market used to indicate that “+” junctions were not connected by using something similar to the Ω symbol, typically on the horizontal schematic line.

There is only one rule to schematics with no junction dots:

That might actually be a good Wish-List item for KiCad; to ERC Flag any actual “+” connections as an error…

Three, Two, One, …



We know that this rule exists. We do however not trust us nor anybody else to never make a mistake. So i am not allowing anyone i work with to go without junction dots unless there is no way to get the software to make a hidden 4 way junction.


Is this a function in Altium?


And one for schematic with dots:

  • any wire connection have to be marked with dot (means: T connections without dot are not allowed).


I have been working with electronics since the late 1970’s, in my experience schematics without junction dots are extremely rare. Some that I do recall were hand drawn and had little ‘hoops’ at non connected crossovers. Mind you I have not worked in many industries, almost exclusively in process control, so people with different industry backgrounds could see it differently. To my eyes at least the dots make reading circuits much easier and certainly removes ambiguity.


Don’t intend to derail the discussion, but simply could not resist:

This dicussion is a great proof KiCad became a mature tool able to solve complex engineering problems.


To my eyes too, but if + crossing is not allowed with connection then there are no ambiguity.