One "Certified" Repository w/UpDate Button in KICAD


I’ve run into a problem. I am a new KICAD user. I created a nice schematic for a little programmer module and when I create the board everything initially looks okay, then when I can’t find a linking wire I try Tools - UpDate and then get an error.

The problem is that the schematic symbol for an audio connector (Jack_3.5mm_PJ320D_Horizontal) doesn’t properly create links to the pins in the board ???

Currently I am too new to start futzing with part designs and editing part files.

Personally, I think all the library files should be tested and certified working properly, then put into ONE certified library file online that anybody can access any time … and best just click on an “UpDate” button and get all the latest parts … or category of parts.

To best help you, it helps us if you provide your project here if you can. Also tell which version of kicad you are using.

Understanding how to make symbols and footprints as well as how these relate to each other is not difficult and is an essential skill as an electronics designer. I invite you to explore kicad’s functionality in this area.

I agree with Joost here. Making new schematic symbols or footprints, and modifying existing ones is easy and an important skil to learn. One of the reasons for me to switch to KiCad was the ease of making new schematic symbols and PCB footprints. These editors work well, and with it you can make any symbol or footprint, while if you depend on libraries, you are still limited to those libraries.

The idea of:

has been tried with a “github plugin”, and it has completely failed for several reasons. First, KiCad’s libraries are simply too big. Including the 3D models it’s over 4GB of data. An online browser would make you completely dependent of an internet connection, which is a big turnoff for lots of people.

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This is my FIRST TIME trying KICAD. I’m learning how to use the program before I become a creator. I teach beginner robotics with the “RoboGuts™ S.T.E.A.M. Education Program” using RoboGuts™ circuit boards and I am designing little programmer modules to make hobby robotics with the RoboGuts™ circuit boards more affordable.

I guess I should have uploaded the image of the error; Here’s the whole path to finding the fault;

Selecting the connector in the Eeschema app;
Not allowed to upload image;

Selecting the Footprint in the Eschema app;
Not allowed to upload image;

Importing the component into the KICAD PCB app;

Still, having a “Certified” repository should eliminate these kinds of errors so beginners don’t get lost, distracted and lose interest … maybe move onto another FREE EDA program.

So the error messages are (Without 6 mega pixels to scroll through):

“AudioJack3” looks like:
And the pin numbers are “S”, “R” and “T”, which is unusual, normally these have numbers (In KiCad a “pin number” is a 4 digit alpha numeric string).

The footprint used is: “Jack_3.5mm_PJ320D_Horizontal” which looks like:
And the pin numbers are “R2”, “R1”, “T”, “S”. which clearly do not match.

One way to fix it is to hover over the footprint in the PCB, and then press: [Ctrl + e] to edit the footprint in the Footprint Editor, and then change both “R2” and “R1” to just “R” and then close the footprint editor (which will prompt you to change the footprint directly on the PCB). In KiCad the PCB has copies of all used library symbols, so it it independent form external libraries.

Another way to fix it is to simply use a schematic symbol that has pin numbers “R2”, “R1”, “T” and “S”. For example “AudioJack4”:

A note of caution:
You do have to verify that the connections map to the right pins, and also that your actual connector part fits on the footprint. Connectors are usually the most troublesome parts because they are made in many slightly different forms. They may all accept the same 3.5mm audio plug, but there can be many variations of where the pads are on the footprint.

To give you an Idea: All these sockets are for micro USB connectors:

The picture is from a random aliexpress shop: There are lots of shops who sell similar assortments.

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I expected that when I selected a 3-pin Stereo 3.5mm Audio Jack, that when I assign a footprint to that sketch, the pins would be assigned in the correct order to each of the three pins in the image.

That is something I liked in Eagle CAD. I got a part, everything was ready for wiring up!

Sadly, the other type of audio jack I’ve used in the past with Eagle CAD isn’t in the library

Like I said before, this is my first time using KICAD, I hoped to get a simple little circuit board designed before I have to start learning more advanced KICAD operations.

I get it that you think it’s so simple, but for a beginner this can frustrate a little kid and they don’t continue!

Despite it being free software, KiCAD is not actually targeted at hobbyists. It is a professional package aimed at supporting professional circuit board design work.


As Paul pointed out to you, you made a mistake: you assigned a 4-pin jack footprint to a 3-pin symbol, which has entirely different pin labels. How would you expect kicad to help you here? It can’t read your mind for why you did something incorrect, all it can do is tell you there’s an error (which happens when trying to map the schematic to your layout).

What you seem to be expecting is full-defined atomic libraries, where each symbol has exactly one corresponding footprint and one part number. This is a valid workflow, but not one kicad has chosen to follow for the official libraries, and this is not going to change.


Have you even tried to make a footprint yourself?
The footprint from your eagle screenshot is very squarish, and none of the 13 available footprints in KiCad for 3.5mm audio jacks are squarish.

But as you already have an eagle project with it. You can directly import eagle projects into KiCad from the project manager:
KiCad / File / Import Project / EAGLE CAD

Euhm, most of the schematic symbols are “atomic” parts with footprints already assigned. Just for some of the generic parts this does not make sense.

I suppose I’m biased, as the only parts I generally use from the libraries are the generic passives + connectors + power symbols.


The 3-PIN Symbol fit what I needed, I expected the closest matching Footprint to just add the other PIN unused. My mistake, but after looking at all the other footprints, this was the closest match!

I don’t understand why there isn’t a pairing between Symbols and Footprints? Even if one Symbol could allow for more than one Footprint the two should be associated to minimize confusion.

“closest matching” is not really a thing. either something matches or it doesn’t. in this case it’s not even close. but it’s the work of 2 minutes to make it match, it just requires the tiniest bit of effort.

as Paul said, for many things there is. but if that matching isn’t provided by kicad and you do it yourself, it’s necessary to engage brain.

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It’s just different than in Eagle or some other EDAs. You could as well ask “why is there pairing in Eeagle”. It’s not necessarily better or worse, just different. The “pro” for the Eagle way is that if you happen to find the component, it’s ready to be used. The “con” is that you can’t use a symbol without knowing what part you want to use (for example SMD vs. THT, or even exact manufacturer part).

KiCad doesn’t limit you to one workflow. You can have atomic libraries or generic symbols, whatever suits you better.

As was pointed out, official KiCad libraries have some generic symbols without ready-made footprint association, then there are also fully defined symbol/footprint combinations. If you create your own libraries (as you probably should) you can keep there your fully defined parts. It doesn’t take much effort to copy an existing footprint to a new library if a good footprint is found and then change the pad numbers in the footprint or pin numbers in the symbol, whichever needs to be changed according to the datasheet. Then the part is ready to be used like in Eagle.

I don’t understand why the Eagle way would be so much better. What happens there if you don’t find a ready made component? You have to create your own anyway. So you have to learn how to make components. It’s not any different than in KiCad. You just have resistance for change when you learn to use new software. It’s natural, but you should accept the differences.

To make the point once again: in both programs you have to know how to create and modify symbols and footprints anyway when you don’t happen to find a ready-made component. This happened to you now in KiCad, so why don’t you want to learn it?



After creating a footprint for the connector I want to use I bailed from KICAD. The program is not ready for real world use yet.

It took me hours and a lot of wasted time to learn and design a tiny 17mm x 20mm circuit board in KICAD.

I gave EasyEDA a try and it took me about 30-minutes to learn and design the same board and now I have automatic BOM with part numbers. All I had to do was insert a part number for each component and bam! There’s the symbol and footprint for that exact part! No drawing and all the other crap that KICAD lacks.

To me it just doesn’t make sense that KICAD doesn’t have connections to manufacture designed library parts. DigiKey, Mouser, Arrow Electronics etc. The circuit board designers job is to design the board, not the parts that go onto the board.

Maybe I’ll look at KICAD in about another 5-years or so, see if it’s up to par or not.

Oh, gee, we better tell all the engineers who use it to make their living, maybe they don’t know!

That’s great that you found something that fits your needs. Also lucky for you that the library has the exact part you want to use. But you have to learn how to draw footprints and symbols at some point anyway, no library or eda tool in the world has all the parts.

Kicad’s library is not perfect but it’s very high quality and getting bigger all the time.

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Because KiCad users are worldwide
US based distributor part numbers would be useless for me.

Some of the distributors that you list do publish KiCad symbols of their own with 3D models and footprints. The quality of these is mixed, some good, some very poor

LOL :rofl: :sweat_smile: :joy: :rofl: :laughing: :grin: :grin: :smile: :wink: :upside_down_face: :clown_face: :clown_face: :clown_face: :clown_face:

Have a look here for some inspiration. Look like pretty professional results to me.


I used an international distributor to get the lowest prices on the parts. They support EasyEDA with millions of ready made part files.

BTW, great results from a fab/assy. is not an example of how KICAD works.