What component to use for "pin headers"?

:grin: Well, since the thread started with the observation that these aren’t REALLY connectors, does it matter what you call the pins? :wink:

The variety of pin naming schemes has been a problem for decades. (I had a personal run-in with the problem back in 1984 or '85.) I personally believe the problem is beyond solution. Even if somebody had enough clout to impose a standard naming scheme, that doesn’t change all the units that are already in use. (There must be a zillion of the things littering the galaxy.)

So how do you deal with a problem like this? Well, you come up with yet another approach for naming the pins, call it a “standard”, and hope everybody else agrees. My approach for identifying the pins is to create a schematic symbol that mimics the visual appearance of the header. Then, once you have established the correlation between Pin 1 in the symbol, and Pin 1 on the connector, the rest of the pins are identified by their physical location.

Here’s how I recently represented a 2x5 pin header (0.025" square pins on a 0.10" grid), including the keyway in the shroud:

(The pin numbering follows the numbering scheme of the assembly this board must connect to. I know there is at least one other scheme currently in use.) Yeah, I’m sure this violates all kinds of standards for graphical schematic symbols, but it effectively communicates information.



I sadly have no good solution for the numbering problem.

I did, however, send a pull request to libraries, and it was just merged, so newbs searching for “pin header” in symbols will now find them :slight_smile:

BTW, there are footprints named “pin_headers” that go well with these symbols!

For the various numbering schemes, one way is to use the logical scheme (odd vs even incrementing sides) in the schematic, but paint whatever the user needs to see in the silkscreen. (Drawback is that this may lead to confusion of the name space is not specified when taking about “pin 7”)

I make my own symbols and footprints with numbering matching the connector markings. Anything else leads to disaster at some point. I also place silkscreen text as an aid to testers


This is exactly the “mental trap” I was talking about. There is no particular incentive for the KiCad “community” or individual users to encourage new users, which is completely unlike a corporate product, where the company and staff depend directly on sales of a product.

Due to the 99% rule, new users to Open Source projects tend to cause more support requests and actually slow down development. Only a tiny fraction of the new people contribute with new material etc or monetary donations.

But I’m glad to see you have made the effort and helped improve KiCad. I think we would all thank you for that. :slight_smile: I think that should generally be regarded as the way to “pay” for Open Source software.

The risk with an Opensource project is that it becomes a closed universe, as has happened to gEDA to some extent
If you look at the gEDA website, the last PCB release was three years ago. Digging in their git repository reveals a commit three days ago

Never even heard of that one, but the original is in development, but almost in secret.
I can see why this might happen if too many people come along noisily demanding the project divert to being OpenEagle or OpenAltium


You are obviously somebody who has been around the industry for at least a decade.



:confused: How should I know? All I can say is that it’s one of the connectors on the board.


There is no particular incentive for the KiCad “community” or individual users to encourage new users

I think you are short-selling the open source community. The best and most well-run open source projects understand that a healthy community that actually solves the problems of real people is the best way to get long-term health of the project.

(Btw: My first open source credit in a well known project is from 1990, for helping the Mac port of NetHack. At the time, we distributed patches on UseNet. Those were the days!)

OT: That poor guy of PCB-RNG is being dragged into a needless discussion about a ‘personal wishlist’ over there… what a mess.
Lesson - never react to something like this in an arena you don’t control the rules in.

6 posts were split to a new topic: Splitting pin header symbol in schematic