Other EDA Software... read for a laugh

I’m working on a weird problem with software with an AVR microcontroller. Off to the Interwebs for answers!

Where I then find this:

Eagle Assist maybe? - This software S****

Learning any complex software can take quite a bit of time for most any individual. To spend so much time, only to later realize there is a better option, means re-spending that time on the next variant.

Every time I see comments like those mentioned above, I am thankful that I chose to start out with KiCad right out of the gate. There have been a few issues as KiCad has grown and matured over time; but nothing that made me want to bail out and try something else.

And, it’s been sorta fun to watch KiCad to be adopted by other major companies like Digikey, Osh Park, and PcbNG to name only the few that I’m aware of.

Thanks again to the Dev Team!


Did you notice the discussion is not about the capabilities of the program itself, but rather about the library system? We have seen many similar threads here on this Forum. It seems nobody has yet found a satisfactory way to organize the libraries for a PCB layout tool!


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Yes, and especially since KiCad is introducing SPICE simulation, sometimes adding “r” just needs to be a generic symbol to get the “basic part” onto the schematic.

I happen to really like the idea behind CvPcb as a way to choose the specifics after the initial draft. I continue to think that CvPcb could be enhanced to support the design development process.

I do also think that Atomic parts have their place in the design process.

I use these both about 50/50 so diminishing either will have a negative affect on my personal designs.

To finish, I’m using a KiCad 5.0rc2 nightly, and I LIKE IT ! …yes, yelling and in bold!

The Eagle guy never even realized that KiCad already has a 3D library…

Go Devs and Librarians! MUCH THANKS!!!


I think when people say ‘more intuitive’ they expect the software to be its own tutorial AND read their mind at the same time.


I also like CvPcb.
An excellent use of CvPcb would be for example if you have an schematic with THT components, and you want to change it to an all SMD design.
I also once had a design where I designed a new footprint with larger pads for some components and swapping them for all the relevant parts is also easy in CvPcb.
With just a few mouseclicks you can change a whole bunch of resistors from one footprint to another.
The overview CvPcb gives also makes it easy to see if any of the components have some strange fotprints.

Complaints about CvPcb are (I think) mainly from people (beginners?) who see it as an unneccasarry extra step they have to do to get to a PCB.
I would like it to be extended to view / change also other meta data (fields) of schematic symbols.
I would like it to be extended as a BOM tool.
I would like it to be able to sort the components by other columns (sort by value or footprint for example).

But as I understand it CvPcb is being phased out and will probably dissapear from KiCad somewhere in the future.

KiCad has it quircks, but it’s getting better and better all the time.
And the quircks it has are (almost always) easy to work around.


Yep, because someone decided that enhancing one tool with a weird name was not as “cool” as adding two more new tools in Eeschma that don’t work together.

Version 5rc2 has, under “Tools” “Edit Symbol Fields”.

And, another tool, to “Edit Symbol Library References”.

Would it not be great if ALL of these functions were in CvPcb (with some other name)?

As well as it being a true in program way to generate a BOM. I have no idea why I still have to find some way to run some script to generate a BOM, then attempt to learn some way to push it back into KiCad (which I have not yet found a way to do).

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When I press the BOM button I get a popup with a bunch of empty fields which do absolutely nothing without figuring out how those scripts are supposed to work, and/or installing more stuff by hand.

If I press the CvPcb button I have an instant overview of all components in a project.

Because I do not make many PCB’s figuring out how the BOM tool works is just too much effort.
Most of my components don’t have to be ordered anyway, and the few that are left are usually from widely different sources.
Having a “working” bom tool would be a small plus, but for me it is simply not important enough to spend much time on.
EEschem’s documentation seems out of sync:
The BOM generation is there combined with the netlist tool

Bit fooling around, apparently I have some scripts for generating BOM’s.

paul@dualcore:/usr/share/kicad/scripting/plugins$ locate bom |grep kicad

EEschem -> Tools -> Generate Bill Of Material -> Add Plugin
points to: /usr/bin
So, adding those scripts to the BOM tool does seem to work.

Bit weird though that I have KiCad scripts in:
and in:
While the default still is:
and I have to point it each time to add another of those scripts to the BOM generator.
I’m sort of hoping all those things are already fixed in V5.


The short answer to your "Why . . . " question is that KiCAD is a tool for capturing schematics and laying out circuit boards. It is not a tool for automating the purchasing function, nor for controlling inventory. Increasing KiCAD’s scope and complexity to include these additional functions - and do them well, allowing for the many different ways that various organizations perform these functions - would require a MAJOR increase in resources. KiCAD doesn’t yet have a library system that is truly embraced by all users - let’s put some thought and effort into that problem before starting to extend KiCAD into an MRP tool.



What does that have to do with generating a BOM for a specific project? IMO generating a BOM is an integral part of the process we all use KiCad for, as much so as generating Gerbers. That process does not end with a bare PCB. Of course the actual purchasing from multiple vendors and inventory control are very different things, but they all start with a BOM.


As a product designer:

I’ve been designing electronic products for years and have always used a PCB design service. Now I’m making my own designs and have found Kicad to be excellent! I started with V4 about a month ago, quickly moved to V5 and have great success getting the design the way I want it.

I very much like the CvPCB concept. It offers a flexibility I’ve not seen elsewhere. Using this concept it makes drawing a schematic easy and doesn’t bog down the engineer with useless details. When I make my first schematic I don’t know the value of most components but I know the function I want. I certainly don’t need to be bogged down with (at that point) useless details. The CvPCB concept allows this. One change I would like would be the ability to open CvPCB from the main window (i.e. not having to open the schematic).

As a design service:

To simply (not inferring PCB’s are necessarily simple) convert a schematic and BOM to a PCB the approach is slightly different.
For all my designs, I provided the design service with:

  1. schematic (or netlist)
  2. BOM
  3. List of design needs (aka rules etc)

At this point in the program, all the parts have been fully defined and specified. Different than the above. So a BOM is now integral to the process.

My thoughts on bloating software:

At one company we/they and a company wide (global) drawing / BOM / Change control system by one of the very large software companies. For the working engineer it was a slow time consuming behemoth. So be careful what you wish for regarding integrating too much BOM function. Such a function should be a tool not a time wasting bureaucratic process.


Overall, that’s a very insightful post!

I wouldn’t say those details are “useless”, but it definitely hinders my creativity, accuracy, and efficiency to concentrate on those details before I’m ready to do so.

As a circuit designer I came to believe that the PCB layout guy (or PCB layout gal - one that I respected very highly was a female girl person of the opposite sex) is probably the most under-appreciated member of a development team.

I’ve worked under several of those systems in medium, large, and huge, companies. One in particular was so burdensome that almost everybody involved - engineering, purchasing, and manufacturing - put more effort into circumventing the system than using it. (The exception was administration, which claimed the system gave them “insight” into the activities of the other functions.) On the other hand, I found another system extremely helpful, though I know that management seemed to be constantly looking for a less-expensive alternative.


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There are many examples of these (over)complex manufacturing and materials control systems and one thing for sure is that no matter how technically superior something that KiCad came up with was, it would not get look in against SAP etc

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I was never a fan of SAP; as the peon at the end of that string.

I’d wager that the KiCad Devs can do better.

The point is they don’t have too. Think Sketchup/FreeCAD. Code isn’t a problem because it is freely available but why bloat KiCAD with it when many people will never use/need that functionality and it will never be as complete?

It was an independent application years ago. Then it was included into eeschema.

The weird name is Composant vers PCB, Component to PCB.

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Thanks for the insight. Makes sense. In any case the name didn’t bother me, I’m just so happy the program works so well.

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@Sprig, @pedro, and others: When KiCAD is compared vis-à-vis other software, the whole KiCAD ecosystem should be considered. Since KiCAD is open source, there is a lot of third-party support for it. For example, the KiPart script eases symbol creation and the KiCost script greatly eases BOM generation and purchasing (more, albeit a bit dated, information on both here: https://hackaday.com/?s=Kicost). Since this thread mentions 3D models, it should be noted that the StepUP script by @maui has essentially married KiCAD and the 3D open-source program FreeCAD, introducing utilities such as pushing a pcb outline into KiCAD, aligning 3D models to footprints,… More information on StepUP here: https://hackaday.io/project/7926-kicad-stepup-script-hacks-mcad-world. StepUP, which is a FreeCAD script, can be most effective when used in conjunction with the Manipulator workbench (also authored by @maui) and Assembly2, among others.

I can personally attest to the usefulness and versatility of all three scripts I mention above. Thanks to this KiCAD-FreeCAD marriage, people have run thermal simulations of fully-populated pcbs, using FreeCAD’s finite-element capabilities; I have not tried that yet.

So, when you read program comparisons of KiCAD and FreeCAD, make sure the third party support is included!


Yes, it is like the OrCAD package from good old DOS days, when their user interface did not suck. The had a tool (fieldstuf??) that took a simple ASCII list and put data like foot prints into appropriate fields. Use another list and replace THT pafrths with SMD parts.

??? I can’t see who are you answering to. Not me, definitely.

I have been using Orcad for years, but the price has gone out of control. So I started using Eagle, but quickly found it was too clumsy. So I tried KiCad and I love the way it works. I missed all of the earlier versions of KiCad, so I cannot comment on them. However, I can say after 12 PC Boards, I have no complaints. Kudos to the development team.