There are a wide array of software for designing circuit boards. The type of software you use depends on your requirement. You can use both EasyEDA and KiCad for your PCB design. Many people find it difficult to convert their EasyEDA to KiCAD. If you are in that category of people, this article is certainly for you. this article, we will discuss how to convert EasyEDA to KiCad.
What is EasyEDA?
To understand how to convert EasyEDA file to KiCad, one needs to understand how to use EasyEDA and what it does. EasyEDA is a tool used in designing circuits. The name EasyEDA stands for Easy Electronics Design Automation. This software is ideal for electrical tester and electrical engineers who need to simulate and create boards in an easy approach. When developing a circuit board, you need to prepare a schematic plan.
EasyEDA has a simple and powerful drawing capabilities and PCB layout. Also, this software has PCB layout. It is ideal for remote workers as you can work with this software anywhere and at anytime. EasyEDA is very easy to use due to its user friendly interface.
What is KiCad?
KiCad is an open and free software for designing electronics schematic. Therefore, it is ideal for projects that involve the design of electronic products. This software has an assembly of 8 software tools. One of the unique things about Kicad is that it features a workflow that has unique parts and footprints.
Also, this software is suitable for creating maintaining electronic boards. With a community of designers, contributors, and engineers, users can experience more benefits. KiCad’s workflow has two primary activities which are board alignment and schematic sketching. Furthermore, you need a PCB footprint and a tool library to perform these tasks. KiCad has the necessary tools for this. Also, you can create new ones if you don’t want to use the existing ones.
KiCad integrated two shortcut keys to enhance work. The first keys are the accelerator keys. These keys have the same effect just like tabbing a menu. The second keys are hotkeys. These keys function as a command key. These keys are ideal for entering commands.
How to Convert your EasyEDA File to KiCAD
There are some basic conversion steps you need to follow when converting your EasyEDA file to KiCAD
- The first thing you should do is to convert the PCB and then rename it using the name you want for your project . After this, run the conversion tool.
- After running the conversion tool, you will have a directory with a PCB file and KiCad file renamed in the name you input.
- To visit the PCB file, log into the Kicad project. In the PCB file, the conversion remarks and the converted PCB will appear.
- You will then include the EasyEDA.pretty directory you created to your Footprint libraries. To do this, go to menu, click Preferences and then choose Manage Footprint Libraries, after that click on tab Project Specific Libraries.
- Click on menu, choose File and select Export and click on Export Footprints to Library and choose EasyEDA as library. After this click OK.
- It is now time to get the schematics converted. All you need to do is to replace the PCB with the schematics using the same name for the two. After this, ensure you run the conversion tool.
- Check if the schematics you converted is in the same directory with the PCB you converted.
- Now is the time to switch to Kicad. Open the schematics file in Kicad. Here, you will be able to view the conversion remarks and the schematics you converted.
- Include the created file to your Symbol libraries. You can achieve this by clicking on menu, choose Preferences , select Manage Symbol Libraries and then click on the tab Project Specific Libraries.
- For multi-part symbols, you will need to Check conversion remarks and then combine these. You will need to use one new combined symbol to replace the original symbols.
- You will need to log into the annotation window to open this. Click enable option, choose “Keep existing annotations” and then select Annotate.
- Also, you will need to Check annotation result. In most cases, symbols with no PWR symbols and a trailing number would have been annotated.
- Ensure you take note of all changed symbol references to update your PCB footprint reference.
- select Yes on the legacy footprint question to enable you run Footprint assignment,.
- Ensure all symbols come with a footprint, therefore, take a look at the footprint assignment.
- If otherwise, click on the EasyEDA library in the left panel and then ensure you set the Footprint filter to Library only.
- Choose the correct symbols from the right panel to make correction to symbols with incorrect footprints.
- Then, you should switch to circuit board and make correction to references
- Click on menu, select Tools and choose Update PCB from Schematics. Make sure you choose option “Relink footprints to schematic symbols based on their reference designators”.
- Select Update PCB and click on “no new footprints should be created”. If there are new footprints, don’t save PCB, just close it and try to make corrections to the errors.
- Click on menu and select Tools, choose Update schematics from PCB and then click on “no outstanding issues should be detected”.
- Ensure you save the schematics and PCB you have just updated.
What are the Limitations when Converting EasyEDA to KICAD
The conversion of EasyEDA to KiCAD has some limitations.
- KiCad doesn’t support Multi-part library items. Therefore, you can perform manual update in Kicad
- KiCad has only basic shared library items. This means that components which have the same rotation angle featured a shared symbol in the schematics.
- Also, KiCad has some conversion limitations which could cause Arcs in symbols to be malformed. Therefore, manual update is suggested in this case. Alternatively, you can make replacement using a native Kicad symbol.
- In KiCad, Picture support is only restricted to base64 embedded png. Therefore, you may need to perform manual positioning and resize.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
- KiCad doesn’t support the conversion of multiple local labels on one net. This software requires manual inspection like (DRC).
- It doesn’t support Footprint via and as well doesn’t allow its conversion via on pcb.
- This software can shadow Eda copper items you already converted to Kicad zones. Therefore, there is a need to inspect zone priority manually.
Comparing KiCad and EasyEDA
KiCad comes with many great features and capabilities. For instance, its extensive library comprises component symbols and footprints. Also, it has an interactive Push & Shove router and an excellent 3D viewer with various built-in models. Another great feature users enjoy is the ability to extend this software with Python and write powerful automations:
On the other hand, EasyEDA, offers some great features and capabilities too. This software opens instantly. Also, EasyEDA offers a great benefit when you are running a workshop, or you are writing a tutorial. EasyEDA is easy to download in contrast with KiCad. In KiCad, users need to download 1GB+ bundle firs. This requires waiting for a while until you have the software installed.
However, the built-in library is one of the best features in EasyEDA. This library has a tight integration with their partner component distributor. Also, you can view the stock status and prices for every part while designing the circuit board. When doing this, you don’t need to get worried about mismatching incorrect pinout or footprint
Furthermore, EasyEDA has a huge library that comprises user-contributed footprints. These footrprints are available with one click, this is different in KiCad where users need to google these footprints, download the file, and then install.
Finally, EasyEDA supports the importing of graphic files into the circuit board. This is actually great for creating custom circuits. On the other hand, this process require more in KiCad and as well involves the use of third-party tools. The interactive routing and interface is less convenient than that of KiCad. Also, the interactive routing tool doesn’t integrate with Git.
We can all see the strengths and weaknesses of this tool. Therefore, you can use the two software to get a combination of their strengths. KiCad is more ideal for larger projects while EasyEDA is more suitable for smaller projects like quick prototype and workshops.
Also, you can import KiCad projects with EasyEDA. This means users can begin a project using KiCad and then import their project to EasyEDA. EasyEDA has a simple and powerful drawing capabilities and PCB layout. Also, this software has PCB layout. It is ideal for remote workers as you can work with this software anywhere and at anytime. EasyEDA is very easy to use due to its user friendly interface.
KiCad is an open and free software for designing electronics schematic. Therefore, it is ideal for projects that involve the design of electronic products.