Questions about Altium2kicad (External tool)

while Searching to convert brd file to kicad
I find that there is Altium2kicad at the External tool menu in Kicad page.

So, I tried it, but I have no idea how to convert brd file into Kicad
I’ve download perl and execute it. and ran it (did it as explanation)
below is screenshot.

but then… I don’t know next step…
Actually I have no experience using software and coding like that
So it’s confusing… (and can’t find tutorial video)

In this case, Do you think i have to redesign pcb in kicad rather than finding convert way??
or If you can, could you explain how to convert brd file to kicad?
I’ve opened and confirmed brd file in the allegro viewer 17.2 and it works well.
(this brd file made by outsourcing, and now I want to modify it with Kicad. that is the reason why I explore and study kicad)

I think Altium gives you a means to save designs in PCAD ASCII format.
If you do that, KiCad can import that PCAD file directly, and it seems to work quite well.


As described in the readme

You meed to rum and as well. You should then get sch and kicad_pcb files.

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If you can’t get AltiumToKiCad to work, but have gerbers you can open them in gerbview (Gerber viewer of KiCad) and then export to a KiCad Pcb.

This is far from perfect because a lot of info is simply not in the gerber files, but you can at least recover the board outline with mounting holes and all the tracks.

Most (All ?) pads tend to get converted to THT pads, which preserves their anchor points, so you can pretty easily replace them with real Footprints after conversion to a .kicad_pcb.

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Hi, nickoe

I think that operating step is

  1. When I save Altium file, I have to save Altium format as including extension .pcbdoc and .schdoc
  2. then open perl software
  3. Sources : or
  4. Profile is .pcbdoc or .schdoc (mensioned above first)
  5. Press Run button

what i understand above is right?
I know I’m very lack of knowledge, but If you can give me more hint . I really appreciate it (but even if you can’t , also thanks for your first opinion)

Hi, PCB_wiz

Then I should request saving as PCAD ASCII format !
Thank you for new solution. I 'll try this

Hi, paulvdh
You are a genius!
I open it in Kicad Gerber Viewer and It opened well , so saved as pcbnew
but sadly , it look like below (It looks somewhat different, but not too bad)

Left is gerber viewer and Right is pcbnew (saved from gerber viewer)
this is new attemptation
Thanks for letting me know!

You are right
but I can not find yet the way of converting THT hole into footprints :sweat_smile:

The most usefull part of the Gerber -> KiCad PCB conversion is the conservation of the tracks. Footprints are of course a mess because there are no footprints in a gerber file.
Rescueing a PCB this way does not make much sense if the tracks have not been layed yet.

The best way to do it is probably:
1). Draw schematic in Eeschema.
2). Do footprint assignment in Eeschema.
4). In Pcbnew, put all Footprints in an internal copper layer (is this possible?)
… (Move it with the layer move function (Oops, got “Lost” between V5.0.2 -> V5.1?)
5). Export Footprints to Pcbnew.
6). Put the library Footprints directly on top of the Gerber import pads.
7). Delete the gerber import pads (That’s why it’s handy to have them on a separate layer).

You can also press “o” and get footprints from the libraries one by one, but then you miss the reference values and the netlist for laying the tracks later, and it will be a nuisance to correct that. That I why I recommend to start with a proper schematic to get proper footprints and netlist first.

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Hey S. JIN,
how did you deploy the software?. I tried with the strawvery perl and couldn’t deploy it, now I’m downloading the activate version

I saw a video on youtube (the very only one) I’m working in w7

pd finally could you translate the sch and pcb files through the software?

If someone can help!, more than welcome! otherwise thanks anyway for your time :slight_smile:

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I used this link for getting the files, though I want to get through perl

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Hi, zekah

Thanks for another method,
I saw your link, then in video 0:27 what is mc?? he(or she?) is typing mc and then blue screen is coming out. I have no idea what is happening :sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

now I’m waiting PCAD ASCII format from outsourcing company (but I think they can’t make doc file. I found that I was confused, because outsourcing company told me they are using allegro not altium. but they told me they can covert it into ASCII format. It’s my fault but all of the answers are very useful. because I’ve learned a lot )
so after I receive PCAD format , I’m gonna try your method in second comment

Thanks for your help
take care !

good idea of matching footprints with pads

once I make sch and footprints done, I will try your way
Thanks paulvdh :smile:

mc = Midnight Commander - a file manager from the DOS era but still very popular and capable.

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Thanks John! :smiley:

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