KiCad EDA which can be explained as KiCad Electronic Design Automation is a software that enables the creation of expert and professional schematics as well as PCBs (printed circuit boards) that can reach 32 copper layers including some technical layers.
Furthermore, the KiCad EDA runs on Apple OS X, Linux, and Windows and can be released under the open-source license. In addition, the KiCad is also a mature and well-known EDA software tool which is under frequent and continuous development. Also, it has a team for core development as well as a growing and dynamic user community which contributes regularly.
What is KiCad EDA?
As explained earlier, the KiCad EDA is known as an open-source and free EDA (electronic design automation) suite. Furthermore, the KiCad EDA features simulation of the integrated circuit, schematic capture, PCB layout, 3D rendering, data plotting and export to many formats
In addition, the KiCad EDA includes a component library of high-quality that features thousands of 3D models, footprints, and symbols.
The Schematic Capture
The schematic editor of KiCad supports virtually everything from the very basic schematic to the complex deigns having about hundreds of sheets. With this, you will be able to create your personalized symbols, or make use of the thousands present in KiCad EDA official library. After this, make use of the electrical rules checker and the SPICE simulator in verifying your design.
The PCB Editor of the KiCad EDA is self explanatory and will make the entire process of your first printed circuit board design come easy. In addition, it is strong enough to serve complex and modern designs. Also, with its improved visualization, selection tools, and strong interactive router you will be able to make the layout tasks much easier.
The 3D viewer of the KiCad EDA allows you to inspect your printed circuit board easily. It also allows you to check if it is mechanically fit as well as preview the finished product. Furthermore, an in-built raytracer having customizable lighting could create some realistic designs that help in showing of the work.
With the KiCad EDA, you can also engage in plotting of data to get reliable and explanatory results. After plotting your data, you may also decide to export it to other places and in different formats.
Integrated Circuit Simulation
Here, the KiCad EDA helps in integrated circuit simulation. This means that you can create as well as analyze an electronic circuit making use of different software algorithms like the KiCad EDA. The KiCad EDA helps in the prediction and the verification of the performance and behavior of the circuit.
What are the Benefits of Using the KiCad EDA?
Free and reliable software
The KiCad EDA has perfect workflows, a clean interface, customizable hotkeys and great toolkits. In addition, it has an excellent project manager and users will also be able to use git to interface with it. Therefore, if you are in need of a software that can help you develop and learn about a hardware project, and you don’t have the money for an employee or a professional tool, then the KiCad EDA is best for you. It is very easy for everyone to learn and master.
Easy to use
The tools present in the KiCad EDA include Symbol Editor, Schematics, PCB Editor, Image Converter, Gerber View, and the Footprint Editor, can all be found under one specific tool and in an environment that is integrated. This means that when there I a change in a specific file i.e. the Schematic, it helps in updating the data in the other project files’ automatically.
Awesome tool for your PCB designs
As mentioned earlier, the KiCad EDA is an open-source and free software for your PCB designs. I addition, it features a large and very good library that has great benefits when designing the PCB. Furthermore, it has a user-friendly interface for both the professionals and the beginners. Also, multilayer PCB design can be done very efficiently.
Great for professionals and beginners
You can get started with the KiCad EDA easily. In addition, the board layout and the schematic are extremely intuitive. Another great addition is the 3D viewer. This is why it is great for both professionals and beginners.
Cons of the KiCad EDA
In contrast to expensive tools such as Altium, it doesn’t provide any great option for working on a project in a specific team. It could include the building of library in different parts, which a team of engineers can manage.
Another disadvantage of using the KiCad EDA is that, at times, it could work slowly in the low and slow hardware. Also, managing footprints could be difficult. Lastly, you may have to connect it manually because when converting the schematic to PCB, it may not be able to solve the whole connection.
Also, with the KiCad EDA placing the images and icons on the printed circuit board could be complicated. This is because there is a need to first of all make the image or the icon’s footprint first. Then you can update it in the library. After this, you will be able to use it on the PCB layout.
What are the Applications of the KiCAD EDA?
The KiCad EDA is useful in the designing of printed circuit boards (PCBs). Also, it can serve as a very important educational tool that helps in the teaching of some real-life electronics.
Designing of printed circuit boards (PCBs)
The KiCad EDA plays a very important role in deigning printed circuit boards. These are sheets of insulating materials like fiberglass. This PCB is found in virtually all the electronic products out there used every day by humans. These include tablets, mobile phones, keyboard, laptop, military weapons, satellite, airplane, etc.
The different types of printed circuit boards that the KiCad EDA software tool can design include flexible pcb, single layer or single sided, multilayer pcb, rigid PCB, rigid-flexible or rigid-flex pcb, and also the double-layer or double sided pcb.
Important educational tool
The KiCad EDA is also a useful and an important educational tool that helps new uses understand how to design the printed circuit board just by using the software. It is a self-explanatory process and ensures that all users of the software have a deep understanding of what it offers.
What are the Features of the KiCad EDA?
The features of the KiCad EDA include the following:
- It has a great source of creative and open-source libraries which includes the 3D Models
- The KiCad EDA features an approach of three steps in the PCB design through the interconnected and independent modules.
- Furthermore, all the KiCad files are all in ASCII. It helps in the facilitation of manual scripting and manipulation. Also, vendor lock is absent.
- In addition, the KiCad EDA also comes with an extensive documentation. This means that everything necessary about this software is well documented to aid the users.
- It has the GPL v.2 license. This means that they meet all the necessary requirements or the software to function effectively.
Steps in Using KiCad EDA
Below are the steps involved in using the KiCad EDA
Download the KiCad EDA Tutorial
The very first thing to do is downloading the KiCad EDA. Ensure that you work with the latest version. Immediately you have installed the program, then there is a need to create your navigation window that will help you open peripheral programs.
Setting up your project
For this step, you have to download the KiCad design and then unzip your files located in the local directory. The files you may need for this specific purpose include:
- CMP: helps in defining the footprints that will be used in the schematic components
- Pro: This helps in keeping track of that specific structure
- Sch: The Sch has to do with the schematic
- Layout of the KiCad PCB: This rep0resents the layout of the PCB
Setting the Component Library
This helps in double-clicking the Picard Schema. Ignore any error you get. If this schematic loads with the question mark, this means that the KiCad is missing that link and this may be necessary that you link it to those devices that are having the schematic
Adding the Components to the Schematic
To add a device to the schematic, just click “add”. It will open the component window, and it will allow you to select different components from the one in the list.
Wiring of the Components
Wiring all the components together will be great by placing of the pointer of your mouse over all the bubbles and then press W.
Annotate the Schematic Components
With KiCad EDA, you can annotate the schematic components automatically. Just tap on the button designed for it. Use your default setting and then click on it to serve as a confirmation.
KiCad EDA software enables the creation of schematics as well as PCBs. It is easy to use and can be used by both professionals and beginners. It is an important educational tool and it is awesome for your PCB designs.