Lesson in drawing schematics grinds to halt

I am working from the start through 'Getting Satrted in KiCad and have reached Par 52 on Page 18. Here I am instructed, ‘For R1 and R2 select the Discret:R1 footprint’. Trouble is, I can’t find any library Discret or Discrete in CvPcb. I used _R_Axial_DIN0207_L6.3mm_D2.5mm_P7.62mm_Horizontal - I’m not going to etch this thing so the size is really irrelevant.

Is there a Discret or a Discrete libaray?
Is my alternative selection appropriate for an ordinary resistor?

An observation on Par 58, Page 19 of Getting Started in KiCad:
This paragraph appears to be written for someone using UNIX or one of its spawn. :grimacing:
Using trusty (:rofl:) Windows 10, I found the required XSL file in
c:\Program Files\KiCad\bin\scripting\lpugins.
When I clicked ‘Generate’ a file called Tutorial1.xml’ was created in the project folder.

As I say - just an observation.

“Discret” is one of the old French named libraries, it no longer exists I think. Your alternative looks fine.

All the new footprints are great, but the paradox is that it makes it more difficult for newbies, or tutorial writers.
I wonder if we should have a library called “tutorial” or “basics”, which has the basic components.

Many - probably most - of the library names are different in the most recent versions, compared to when that tutorial was written. If you found a library containing a bunch of footprints suitable for resistors, you’re almost certainly in the right place.

Like the Doctrine of Original Sin recognizes that some of us are more original than others in our sinning, some resistors are more ordinary than others. Going by the footprint’s name it sounds like a suitable footprint for a through-hole 1/8 watt film resistor, or possibly a 1/4 watt (if you bend the leads right at the end of the resistor’s body). I typically put 1/4W thru-hole resistors on 0.4" (10.16mm) pitch.

The “official” answer to your question is probably something like, “Open the footprint in the ‘PCB Library Editor’, and compare dimensions to your part’s Data Sheet.”.


Thanks for that
Yes. That’s roughly what I did.

There is also a detailed post in the FAQ on how to use freecad with stepup to really check footprints without the need to do any math.

I have just progressed as far as using PcbNew and, to my horror, I encounter a screen with red detail on a black background. There must be few better recipes for eyestrain. Is there any way I can change at least the background colour?

Please, to those of you gallant folks who are creating the new version, please either change the colour scheme to something legible or make the colour scheme editable. Thanks

The colors are already editable. For layer colors middle click on the colored square next to the layer names. (In version 4 you only get a small number of colors to pick from. v5 will allow the full 255 values per channel.)

I am not sure if the background color can be changed from within the gui.

I tried and couldn’t find a way - mind you, I don’t know what all those abbreviations stand for anyway. I couldn’t find anything in the PcbNew manual. Not to worry - it’s not as bad as I thought (not quite) and the footprints and the rats’ nest stand out clearly.

A more important problem is defining the edge of the PCB. Getting Started in KiCad, page 24, par. 11t instructs “Now we will defne the edge of the PCB. Select Edge.Cuts from the drop-down menu in the top toolbar.” and the PcbNew Manual confirms this “The outline is drawn as a sequence of line segments. Select Edge.Cuts as the active layer and use the Add graphic line or polygon tool to trace the edge, clicking at the position of each vertex and double-clicking to finish the outline.” Problem is that thete is no ‘Edge’ I can find in the drop-down menu at the top of the window.

Where do I go to find this setting?

The “Active Layer” (whether Edge.Cuts, or another layer) can be selected either in the “Layers” panel on the right side of the display window, or with the layer selection tool in the top ribbon bar.


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Arrrrgh! :tired_face: It was there! Hiding in plain sight as usual! :unamused:

Good news. It would appear that this build (the third attempt) has been successful.

It is slightly different to the design in the text but that is because I selected Horizontal Footprints for the Resistors, not Vertical ones. My thanks to all who have helped.

One last question (I hope, … in this thread). If I was going to etch this PCB myself I would need two prints of the layout (both of them in mirror view), one of the top of the board, the other of the bottom. My proposed technique involves having the layout printed in reverse, placing the print face down on the board and using a hot iron to transfer the image to the copper.

How do I get these prints?

From the drop-down “File” menu, select “Plot”. In the dialog box you will probably want “PDF” for file type, and the “Mirrored Plot” option. (And don’t be afraid to experiment with the other options, until you get a feel for what they do.)

Get out your dial caliper, and expect to do a few test runs before you get your printer to make an accurate 1:1 image. There was a Yahoo Group devoted to home PCB fabrication; possibly called “DIY PCB” or something like that. (It’s probably still around, but I haven’t looked at it in many years.) They may be a source of help for questions related to toner-transfer production methods.


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So you started with a new transistor in EEschem:
“a”, “r”, [Enter], [LMB]
Then you edit it:
(hover + ‘e’)
Select “Footprints” in the “Fields” window -> Assign Footprint.
This brings you to the “Library Browser”. (You’ve already been there).
Then there is the 6 legged IC in the icon bar to open the 3D viewer.
If you put the “3d viewer” next to your library browser, you can instantly see what a component looks like if you select it in the library browser.
Once you found a nice Footprint click the “Insert Footprint in Board” icon. in the library browser.

Edit: repaired link(s), apparently something gets broken with file names with spaces.

Thanks Dale. I should have recognized ‘Plot’ as being a print option.

Thanks paulvdh, I like that idea of using the 3D viewer alongside the browser. I would never have thought of that.

Couple of things, though:
What is [LMB]?
If that was a link in the fourth-to-last line it doesn’t link.

I would guess the left mouse button

Blimey! :confused: Sometimes I am so dumb I amaze myself. :rofl:

That’s probably a culturally-conditioned response. D-size drawings - typically created on a classic pen-plotter - are almost never used in electronic design any more, so you look at the “Plot” option and think, “I don’t have a plotter connected to this computer. Heck, I haven’t even seen a pen-plotter in two decades.”. Then you mentally move on to the next choice.