Hello Kicad people,
I am new to Kicad and I am looking at using it for designing some PCBs used for interfacing an IC to a test system. I need to regularly make these interface PCBs, for different ICs.
I have read many posts asking for the ability to make a PCB layout without a schematic. I understand that there are many who do not understand the need for this, but there are also many people asking for it.
My application is as follows:
- The only components on the PCB are the IC and some connectors for plugging into the test system.
- I need to connect every pin of the IC to one channel of the test system. All test system channels are identical so it does not matter which channel any given IC pin connects up to. Except …
- The coupling between traces must be minimised. Each trace between an IC pin and a test system channel must be as short as possible and there must be minimal crossover of traces.
- I do need to know, of course, which test system channel is connected to each IC pin. I feed this information into the test system and its software uses that information to know how to connect to the IC.
My approach with my existing CAD is to begin with a “template” design with the footprints for the test system connectors sockets already placed. I then design the IC footprint and place it into the centre of the board. I then make traces between the IC pins and the nearest (as yet unoccupied) connector pin.
After that I run a CAD system connectivity check which tells me all the “bad” connections I have made on my PCB design. I can use this as the basis for making the file which the test system needs to find each IC pin.
So far with Kicad I have been able to follow my design methodology as above until I get to the point where I try to do a connectivity check. The DRC report tells me that various pins have traces too near (it seems that this includes traces touching the pins), but it does not tell me anything about where the traces are going. I imagine that this is caused by the lack of a net database behind the DRC check. So I’m struggling to get a report that allows me to extract the connectivity such as, for example, that IC1 pin 1 is connected to PL1 pin 1, IC1 pin c is connected to PLy pin z etc…
If Kicad is just the wrong tool for this kind of (fairly simple) task than I would prefer to know now so that I can move on.
Thank you for reading this, and any helpful pointers or suggestions would be very welcome.