Layout No Connect indication

PCBNew used to indicate no-connect pads with a fine “X” in the pad. It no longer seems to do this. I have several parts in a design that have both explicit no connect “Xs” on the schematic and a few parts that have no-connect pins in their schematic symbols. I’ve dug around for an option for this feature and cannot find it. KiCAD now assigns a nte name that is in the form “Net-(ref-Padx)” where ref is the reference designator and x is the pad #

Has it gone away, or am I missing it? I’m definitely missing it.

Oz (in DFW)

PCBnew or eeschema? I don’t remember it in PCBnew but I could be wrong.

What version Kicad? I don’t remember ever seeing it in pcbnew but I started with version 5. However IIRC highlight net in pcbnew will highlight all NC pads when one is clicked on. Not the same, I know.

I seem to remember that there was a flag that could be selected when importing a netlist (I forget if it is there on the update from schematic) that would allow removing/ignoring single pin nets. Maybe enabling this flag will do what you want?

I have never seen an X in pcbnew to mean “no connect”. However, KiCad version 5.1.5 replaces very short ratsnest lines with an X. This typically happens if you are missing a via.

Pins that have no connection simply do not get any netname at all if you select “delete single pad nets”. Then the pad is shown with only the pad number in it.

Here’s a screencap of an example of what I am talking about.


It’s very difficult to see in the reduced resolution of the forum image. There is a light blue X though each pad center about the same weight and color as the horizontal line between the pad centers.

I miss this as a PCB Layout feature because it’s a subtle and useful redundant bit of information during layout.

It might be easier to see here:

The screen cap in this case is from the footprint editor in the oldest installed version of KiCad 4.05 I have (still too new to show in layout - uses the .pretty format modules)

Oz (in DFW)

But surely in the footprint editor nothing is connected yet?

And i am not sure this is even a no connect indication. Looks more like an axis system for the pads.

I also seem to have some vague memories that the diagonal crosses mean that this pin is left unconnected.

First I looked through Pcbnew’s preferences.
I would expect this setting to be in:
Pcbnew / Preferences / Preferences / Pcbnew / Display Options / [] Show pad indicator

So this indicates there is a indicator setting, but I can not see a difference between a pad with or without a net attached. Then I had a little lightbulb moment. and went back to Eeschema.

In Eeschema there is a setting:
Eeschema / Tools / Update Pcb from Schematic / Options / [ ]Delete single-pad nets This setting does work, the single pad nets are deleted on the PCB after update, but I can still see no “No Net” markers on the PCB.

In the PCB I normally show the net names on the pads with:
Pcbnew / Preferences / Preferences / Pcbnew / Display Options / Annotations / Net Names / (*) Show on pads and tracks

The combination of deleting the single pad nets and showing the net names on pads does give a clear difference. In the screenshot below, pad 2 has a net attached, the net name is in small lettters on the bottom, and pad 3 does not have a net attached which also makes the pin number text a lot bigger.

It is a different sort of indication, but it seems at least just as usable.

Then there is:
Pcbnew / Layer Manager / Items / [ ] No-Connects
I can see no difference on the PCB whether that checkbox is checked or not, but it is the same checkbox as Pcbnew / Preferences / Preferences / Pcbnew / Display Options / [] Show pad indicator (If you change one, the other also changes.
It does seem logical that this would turn on/off the blue diagonal crosses in Pcbnew. They are very similar to the no connect flags in Eeschema.
I’m beginning to suspect it may be a bug that this does not show any visible difference on the PCB.

I can get this “X” mark in the 5.1.6rc, but

  1. only in Legacy display mode (F9), and
  2. Only when there’s no net assigned to the pad (Pad properties > Net name > “no net”

Thanks, that’s a useful practice I’ll adopt. From one pad with larger numbers I can find the others using the highlight net feature which will highlight all the NC pads when one is clicked on.

Likewise, the no-net/large pin# approach meets my need. It’s often hard to spot the source or termination of a ratsnest element on a busy board. I think this is actually more usable as it’s more obvious. The X is very light and really only apparent at fairly high zoom levels.

I’m doing my first real design in 5.1.5 after being a long time 4.x user. Liking it a lot overall.

Oz (in DFW)

But still,
If there is a setting in the menu’s for a “no-connect” marker and it only shows up in the old Toolset (Which I do not have anymore on Linux) then this is a bug.

I spend a bit of time looking at gitlab if this has been reported before, and could not find it.

I do not have the nigltlies installed, so can not check if it’s still in the latest version. If anyone can confirm this, I’m willing to make a bug report for this on gitlab. Also seems a nice opportunity to make these lines a bit wider and a lighter shade of blue. (You can always turn them off if you don’t like them).

I think it is not a bug but a deprecated function.

I don’t remember there ever being a setting for a “no-connect” marker in the same sense as ERC/DRC markers - just the light blue X.

There is now a checkbox in the PCBnew Load netlist menu under "Options"called “Delete single pad nets”

As far as bug/deprecated goes, I suspect this is more a victim of changes to the interface that got left behind, intentional or not.

Oz (in DFW)

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