Module library installation under Windows


#1

Hello again.

It has taken me quite a long time to get to grips with the module installation using the wizard in windows, but I think I have cracked it at long last.

Hopefully this may help other users to achieve a simple and easy install of modules inside windows.

I did a clean install of V4.06, but before scrubbing out V4.05 saved the module and library files I had made, simply by copying them in a folder on the desktop (AD.mod and andyd.lib). These files represent a lot of work for some specialist components.

I installed the new files and all went well. When I started the footprint editor, all of the new libraries were listed, as expected, and equally as expected, nothing could be opened.

Rather than go through the long-winded process of trying to add the files with the wizard I did this:

In the-
C:\users\myusername\AppData|Roaming\kicad folder, I renamed the fp-lib-table file to oldfpt.

(This was the file generated when the new version was started I assume, or it may have been the previous one generated by V4.05)

I next headed to the kicad programs folder and navigated to the template folder-
C:\Program Files\KiCad\share\kicad\template

I copied the fp-lib-table.for-pretty file from there into the-
C:\users\myusername\AppData|Roaming\kicad folder and removed the “.for-pretty part”. (Do not cut & paste. You may need it again if the process fails.)

If you copy the fp-lib-table (no “.for-pretty”) it leaves all the assignations at Github. I prefer to have libraries locally and only change them if I need to. Github libraries can be altered without any warning.

The library manager now showed a full set of modules all assigned as Kicad and all in the place where you would expect them to be.

I could now open any of the folders via the footprint editor as the fp-lib-table now pointed to the installed mod files in C:\Program Files\KiCad\share\kicad\modules correctly and Kicad knew where to find them.

Finally, I used the wizard to add my personal module library and everything seems fine.

Why this does not happen during installation I do not know. Maybe it is different under Linux as the fp-lib-table is more in the root user directory as I (vaguely) understand. I have had real difficulties achieving a successful library install under windows (64bit professional windows 7).

I believe that, the fp-lib-table associates the .mod files with their location.

The module files are all get installed in KiCad\share\kicad\modules by default as they should do. however, the wizard will not allow the selection of all the files in there to install, nor to select the folder KiCad\share\kicad\modules (under the drop down menu “KiCad (folder with .kicad_mod files)” ). It is there but not selectable.

If more than about 10 module folders are selected by holding down shift and clicking successive folders, eventually it either stops the program or loads those few files. All of them take a long time to add. Perhaps I should only install a few, but which ones?

In past attempts I have removed the modules, downloaded the whole lot from Github and I had to select several libraries, install them then return to do it again - very time-consuming. Even then some remain assigned as Github rather than Kicad.

I have tried saving the modules to another folder then copying them all with very confusing and unrewarding results.

This has been a major frustration for me and I have stuck with the old 2013 version for a long time now mainly because of the intricacies and uncertainties of installing useable libraries.

Just remember to watch out for library errors. I had to throw away a series of boards where the emitter & collector of a T0-39 transistor were reversed!


#2

There is no standard for these sort of parts. This is why there are multiple transistor symbols in the lib with different pin ordering. (This would mean there could be a transistor out there with the pins ordered in the way your original board was made.)


#3

Hi Rene,
Thank you for that. Maybe I did not express myself correctly. The error was mine.

I should have said watch out for library items that are not the ones you are requiring.
A classic example must be the number of variations on the T0-92 case!
Best regards,
Andrew


#4

Yes, I believe that all 6 of the possible TO-92 pin assignments are used by some production BJT. I became acutely aware of this problem when converting a design from (European) BC54x family to (US) 2N3904’s.

Creating and maintaining your own libraries based on the so-called “atomic parts” concept is one solution. However, libraries will bloat as many parts with alternative packages get used in your designs. The P-CAD program I used a few years back had another approach: when you assigned a footprint to a schematic symbol, you had to specify the mapping of symbol pins to footprint pads. That’s perhaps the most robust solution, but it’s also extra work and I recall being frustrated when my assignments were rejected for some rule violations. (I don’t remember what properties were being checked by the program.)

Dale