Finding the footprint for a common SMBJ3V3 took me a lot of time. I think it should not, so I’m spending even more time documenting this. (KiCad V5.0.0)
How did I search for a footprint? For starters, I have the name DO-214AA (a.k.a SMB) of what I am looking for.
From ‘pcbnew’ GUI, I click on the icon for Footprint Viewer (the other likely candidate is the icon for Footprint Editor, which I disregard, as I have no plan to edit footprints).
That opens a popup dialog titled “Library Browser” (It is focussed on some ‘current library’ e.g. a Connector library. And there is a list of connector footprints). But importantly, I see no place where I can type in a search keyword like DO-214AA or any such.
No icons for search. Ctlr-F doesn’t do anything. So pick on the likely sounding ‘Select Footprint to browse’ icon.
Yet another dialog pops up (oops!). But it looks promising, I can type in 214AA and hit the search. But I get nothing. Type in DO for a wider and hopeful search and try again, but nothing. Hit the all-time hope-inducing “List All” and it pops up yet another dialog! (These are all parts from the current connector library). oops oops.
Now it strikes me that my target also goes by the alias SMB, so I repeat the search with SMB. Nothing turns up.
Why? Because the search is implicitly limited to the current library (Connectors).
Having figured that out , I wise up and make Diode_SMD my current library, and there, a keyword search for SMB takes me to D_SMB footprint. OK, great!
Opening this footprint under the footprint editor, I see (under properties) that the “Keywords” property already has the value “Diode SMB (DO-214AA)”. Now, shouldn’ta keyword search for 214AA match that? It does not.
Footprints should ideally support multiple names, aliases (if SMB==DO-2014AA is two being company, we also have crowds, SC-88 == SOT-363 == SC-70-6 …)
While I am documenting this, another observation: The icons used for ‘Open Footprint Editor’, and that for ‘Select Footprint to Browse’ as well for ‘New Footprint’ (in Footprint Editor) are all the same. I think we can have better usability in the UI by having distinct icons.
With the fond hope that some devs find this useful!