Noob question on PCB editing (yes, I read the manual) (solved)

I’m trying out my first PCB (I’ve only worked with Eeschema the last years) and am puzzled.
I drew the PCB outline.
Then I selected “Tools” → “Update PCB from Schematic”.
This worked beautifully with no errors, and all the footprints are lined up like soldiers on the parade ground.
all the pads have a tacky purple colour indicating they’re both on F.Cu and B.Cu layers. And changing between F.Cu and B.Cu (PgUp/PgDn) changes nothing.
This is a pure SMD layout btw.

What am I doing wrong? And how should I do it right?


(7.0.6 on Lubuntu 20.04)

Are you sure the purple is not for locked items?

Do you mean purple like this?

which shows that the purple bits are locked. You can turn that on or off from the Locked-Item-Shadow on Objects menu on the right.

If it’s something else, can you post a pic?

Only turn the color on or off in appearance manager.

Right click on footprints to find unlock/lock function.

We don’t want to confuse the newbee! :rofl:

I wish it was that simple. Footprints are unlocked, and it looks like this:

Switching between F.Cu and B.Cu has no effect at all. The colours in the layer selection window are nice red and blue.

Easiest way to find out which layer is being displayed is to switch possible layers on and off in turn .
Don’t forget the objects column also.

Turn your F.Cu layer on. Click on the “eye” beside the red color patch.

I finally realized that is the color of a pad on the front copper layer when the layer is turned off.

that’s the mask+paste layers on the front side. They show (normally) the same shape as the smd-copper pad itself.

Thanks All.
Got it! Playing with the “eyes” set it right.

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Thanks, I hadn’t explored that far. I only went as far as “that was all that was left of pads after the front layer was turned off”.

Looking forward to picking your layout to pieces at a future date :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Feel free. Like I said, I’m no greenhorn on PCB design, but certainly on using KiCAD PCB editor.
You can start with one of my older designs:

Done using FreePCB. If that was still supported, I’d never have changed to KiCAD.

Program you were using stopped to work?

Never seen it but I don’t think it had any chance compared to KiCad.

No, still works perfectly. Well-programmed GNU software.

That would be a bit like comparing Featherpad to OpenOffice Writer. But FreePCB is simple, fast and easy, but misses the schematic part.

That’s a pretty clean design. I might fatten up the ground where it fans out from the dc converter.

If you are digging into a new design, I would recommend treating yourself to a four-layer design. It is a cheap commodity these days. Do a quick online quote at jlcpcb and compare 2 vs 4 layers for the same size.

The easiest way to use a 4-layer stackup is to place signal traces on top and bottom, and use the inner layers for ground and power distribution. I use layer 2 as a solid ground plane, and do power distribution on layer 3. I also run noisy signals (spi…) on layer 3, backed up against a ground plane on layer-4 to keep emi down.

FreeCAD is complicated and difficult :slight_smile: . I lost many hours to find how to colour my 3D models and not lost colors while exporting them to KiCad.
The key was making union before exporting. But why - who knows.
I didn’t found the way to make colored 1 pin terminal block then to get 10pin terminal block by making an array. Colors were always lost (I write ‘were’ as I was doing it with 0.19 those time).
I don’t fully understand what is going on in tree view. After exporting my model to KiCad the new elements (if remember well 2 new elements) appears there that I don’t know their purpose.
To be able to use my design once more I always save it before exporting to KiCad and not save after.

KiCad is simple, fast and easy :slight_smile:
90% of what gives you the PCB design program is ensuring that the PCB is consistent with the schematic (I can easily see if the schematic is correct but seeing that little more complicated PCB is correctly routed for me seems close to impossible).
If you have no schematic you loose 90% of help you can get from software.
About 1989 I was using RacalRedac (distribution at four 360k floppies). It was said that its schematic part is not very good (I didn’t checked it myself). But there were Orcad - those time it was only schematic editor. Comparing netlists from RacalRedac and Orcad I found differences and wrote a simple program converting OrCad netlist to RacalRedac. Since then I have never designed any PCB without schematic.

Hard to see, but the hatched areas are actually copper fills (FreePCB-style).

My mistake. I wrote FreeCAD, but actually meant FreePCB, where my comments still apply. Sorry., corrected.

But under your PCB view there is still FreeCAD. Reading that I understood that there were a workbench for PCB design in some older FreeCAD version that is not supported now.
After some time with KiCad you will find it being simple, fast and easy. Really!

I really need to proofread my posts better. Sorry Piotr.