Parts Not on PCB

I need to build a library for some parts and most of the time they are compound parts that are maybe a switch with a light or a push switch with a pot on it. or a custom 6 pole toggle switch :(up) 3PNC+3PNO; OFF (center) 6PNO, (down) 2 3PNO+3PNC, Maintained, (down) 6PNC most of these components are PANEL mounted and NOT on the PCB.

I am not sure if I understand you completely but I think you want to have a symbol in the schematic where no footprint is assigned to in the PCB editor?

There are two ways in KiCad to achieve this:

  • the first and imo better approach is the symbols attributes in the properties window. you can find it with selecting a symbol and press E or right-click on the symbol → Properties. there you find the Exclude from board attribute which achieves what it says. it only can be set in the library symbol in case you never want to have it on the board (what I would assume for a panel mount component)
  • the second option would be to add a # in front of the symbols reference. This obviously is a bit more obvious when looking at the schematic but also excludes the component from any eventual BOM you want to create so be aware.

Another option is from the observation that you normally need to connect those external components to the PCB somehow, usually via connectors or wires to solder pads. So make a symbol representing the external component and assign it a footprint of the connector or pads.

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thanks for the help but I need to make compound parts ie.

  • a switch with a lite/s
  • a switch with a pot on the back.
  • pinouts for a circular connector (military) pins can be lettered not numbered.

Ah, so your opening post should read " How do I make Symbols and Footprints?"

1/ Find some Data Sheets.

2/ Create some Personal Libraries for both Symbols and Footprints. See this FAQ. The link is also at the very top of this page in blue. The preamble explains why.

3/ Make the Symbols and Footprints. There are a number of “how to make” articles in the FAQ on making Symbols and Footprints, that, although dated, are still relevant. There is also the official documentation here, from the website.

When you have made it this far, please feel free to ask any further questions. :slightly_smiling_face:

Nope footprints are for PCBs, these are PANEL MOUNT and should not need them.

So what exactly do you wish from Kicad?

I think this is the intention:
In the Schematic Editor, hover over a schematic symbol and press e to edit it’s properties, then:

I’m doing something similar, and… I have to echo @retiredfeline’s comment. Do you need to see the actual component in schematic view? Personally, my schematics are just littered with connectors, e.g. I’m using a generic screw terminal for a lighted vandal switch. On the PCB, it’s a TE 1776244-4.

I think you have a couple of options:

  • Just slap the connector in the schematic and don’t worry about off-board components.
  • Use generic versions of the sub-components in the schematic and mark them “not on board”. You’ll need to manually add a footprint for your connector.
  • Create a new symbol in the editor, possibly copying from existing symbols. Optionally add a filled box to represent the assembly. Assign the footprint as whatever you will use to connect to the PCB.

A slightly devious way of drawing the schematic is to use a schematic symbol for (for example) a potentiometer, but assign a footprint of a connector to it. But it’s not very efficient if you need a lot of these things, then grouping them all on a single connector would be more logical.