Quesion about libraries between KiCad versions

Hi Rene,

I had a quick look for information on file differences between 4.x and 5.x and wasn’t sure how to narrow the results. Maybe you could help by clarifying a couple points?

  1. are there reference docs that would show what changed in the file structure for the symbol files, and the footprint files, between the 4.x and 5.x releases?
  2. alternatively, is there a concise file structure reference doc for each of the files, for each release?

I might have some old 4.x footprints lurking in my libraries, but it doesn’t look like the release info is indicated in the files. After creating a modified version of the Amphenol-FCI 54601 jack, KiCad is crashing on opening the footprint editor, so I’m guessing there’s something amiss, but need more info to figure out what.


You typically do not need to worry about these things. KiCad can always open assets made with older versions as well as all assets made with the same major version.

So any KiCad version 5 can open anything made in version 4 or older. It is even possible to use something made with 5.1.5 in KiCad 5.0.0 (here an older version can open the design as they are in the same major version.)

An exception is the 5.99 “version”. A build with a version number of this style is a development snapshot for version 6. A file made in it can not be opened in version 5! (In the past these were already versioned as 6.0 but that confused users into thinking that KiCad 6 is already released)

The differences simply reflect additional features. The main ones are that version 5 has the pad types rounded rectangle and complex (polygon) pads that were not available in version 4.

On the symbol side the restriction for the pin number length has been lifted (version 4 was restricted to at most 4 characters)

Another major difference is on the schematic side. KiCad now includes the nickname of the library a specific symbol is taken from. This was added with the symbol library table stuff. It will be the main thing where you as a user will see differences when opening an old project. See Converting KiCad version 4 projects to version 5 (Remap a project)

Very important: i talk here about the KiCad library assets. so symbols, footprints and 3d models.

That’s what I initially thought. But when I did a forum search, the hits I got for “Footprint Editor crash” were related to versions. I removed the 54601 footprint from the directory, and it magically worked again, which is completely screwing with my brain since this was based on the stock 54602 part, that came with the latest update from the ppa.

Mostly I changed the geometric origin to match the mechanical CAD drawing from Amphenol-FCI, and changed all the silkscreen line widths to 0.2mm which all the fab houses can handle without complaints from the CAM front end. Other minor changes like correcting line positions, too, but that must be background noise compared to the other stuff I did, given that it reduced the required precision from 0.00n to 0.0n (in mm).

Well - Ubuntu offered to send a crash report, which I told it to do. Is there a core dump file that you might want directly? If so, where would that live?


update: I wiped out the table files, re-inserted the offending footprint into my local footprint library directory, and now it works again. Completely weird.

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