2021 May 10

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Basics projects 135l How to read netlist to add footprints and where to find the footprint mode in KiCad v5


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Basics: Project 135l

Project name:  How to read netlist to add footprints and where to find the footprint mode in KiCad v5

Tags: KiCad, KiCad v5, Footprint mode, Spread out all footprints

Attachments: kicadproject5.zip

General

We will learn how to read netlist to add footprints and where to find the footprint mode in KiCad v5.

Step by Step instruction

  1. We assume that you have the KiCad v5 already installed. Double-click on the KiCad shortcut to start the program.
shortcut KiCad

2. You will see KiCad project manager window opened. Go to File -> New -> Project… or press Ctrl+N on your keyboard. Select folder, give it a name and click on Save button.

how to use netlist

3. Go to Tools -> Edit PCB or press Ctrl+P or click on PCB Layout Editor (PCBnew) icon.

how to use netlist

4. Go to Tools -> Load Netlist… or click on Load netlist icon. The Netlist window pops up

how to use netlist
how to use netlist

5. Kicad, through the Netlist, file can track new components and old components. Kicad is able to detect new components in a netlist file and only import the new components from Shematic Layout Editor (Eeschema) tool into PCB Layout Editor (Pcbnew) tool. This allows you to make changes to your schematic and then import those changes into your PCB layout without losing any work. Let’s look at available options.

Keep existing symbol to footprint associationsSelect whether to update footprints to match their currently-assigned symbols, or to re-assign footprints to symbols which match their current references.
Re-associate footprints by referenceSelect whether to update footprints to match their currently-assigned symbols, or to re-assign footprints to symbols which match their current references.
Update FootprintsIf a footprint has changed in the netlist: keep old footprint or change to the new one.
Delete tracks shorting multiple netsKeep all existing tracks, or delete erroneous tracks
Delete Extra FootprintsRemove footprints which are on board but not in the netlist. Footprint with attribute “Locked” will not be removed.
Delete Single Pad NetsRemove single pad nets

If you click on Test footpints button you will read the current netlist file and list missing and extra footprints. You can also rebuid ratnest if you click on Rebuit ratnest button.

6. Select the netlist file by clicking on folder button and click on Update PCB button. At the bottom part of the Netlist window you can see the import report in the Changes to Be Applied field. There are no error messages. Click on Close button to close the window.

how to use netlist
how to use netlist

7. You will see your components on the screen now. Move them with mouse to the canvas and left click with mouse.

how to use netlist
how to use netlist

8. Imagine if you would have many components and all of them would appear right one on top of the other. It would be a challenge to move them manually out. Kicad provides a nice feature to allow you automatically separate the components before you manually set them and place them where you like them on the PCB.

how to use netlist

9. The Footprint mode which was available in previous versions of KiCad removed from KiCad version 5. But you can separate the components by using the following method. Left click with mouse on one of your components and drag it to the side. Left click with your mouse on black area. Select all your components now. Right click with your mouse on your selection. You will see the Align/Distribute option. Let’s try to distribute the components horizontally – just select the Distribute horizontally option.

how to use netlist
how to use netlist
how to use netlist
how to use netlist

Summary

We have learnt how to read netlist to add footprints and where to find the footprint mode in KiCad v5.

Thank you for reading and supporting us.

Libraries:

  • None

Project resources:

  • See attachments on the beginning of this project description.