Using schematics for troubleshooting

Hello! I work at one of the big tech companies and I’ve gone on a mission to try and make our electrical diagrams easier for us to use. We currently have a huge amount of PDF’s and a few of them have internal links so you can follow from one page to another, but most do not. So my goal with KiCad would be to import a large set of pdf’s, convert it to a single drawing, and then be able to click around that drawing, where clicking a single line would highlight it and allow you to find the start/end.

We have access to a bunch of different software from out IT suit, and the most promising seems to be KiCad, but I don’t seem to be able to setup KiCad in a viewer state and I’m thinking that maybe I need a plug-in or different software all together.

A lot of what I seem to be struggling with is not understanding what wording is needed and what to look for. I keep searching for “Electrical Drawing view for troubleshooting” and multiple variations of that with no luck.

I asked over on reddit and was directed here, any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Kicad is an Electrical Cad suite for the purpose of drawing electrical schematics and designing circuit boards. It isn’t software to manipulate PDF’s. A PDF by itself really doesn’t have the information needed to convert directly to either schematics or PCB’s. It is just a picture.

I understand. I’ve been looking at ways to import drawings, and it seems to have a decent BMP import function.

But if you have any suggestions of other software that’d be better, or maybe a plug-in that helps, I’m all ears!

As far as I can tell, what you want is to make the PDF’s behave the same way the original CAD drawings worked. That ability was simply lost once converted to PDF. Probably the software used in the original drawings is ‘per seat’ and expensive so they were converted to numerous PDF’s for the end user.

There is a possibility of importing the original ECAD into Kicad but even that would require some work given the size and scope you are talking about.

I don’t know that the software we use has a view function only. My goal is to be able to take either internal generated files or external vendor provided PDF’s and put them into a program that allows the FSE at the tool to open their laptop, pull up the drawings for that tool, enter in a switch or wire or whatever identifier, and it highlights it and you’re able to click around the diagram from there.

I do appreciate your helping talk me through this. I’ve been doing engineering work for around 18 years and I’m hitting my breaking point that there isn’t a standard software suit that does this and makes FSE work so much easier.

I think your best option is to get Adobe Acrobat (or equivalent) and combine the linked pages into a single multipage document.

To copy the pdf’s into a schematic form would essentially require you to manually transcribe each pdf into the new program. Besides being a monumental task, it is prone to errore.

Do you also want cross references between the schematic and the PCB?

Or is this not for PCB’s at all, but for electrical cabinets?

Maybe you can do something with boardview.

Currently I’m just trying to get the concept off the ground for electrical cabinets since if a problem is a PCB we just swap it and roll. We send that back to manufacturer for failure analysis and possible repair.

I understand there are more chances for error with copying, but thankfully our tools are made incredibly slowly, and we’d only need to do the copying/checking with 1/3 of the tool, as that is all supplied by a third party.

I do appreciate you pointing that out though! Thank you.

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