Author Topic: The Living PCB Design Thread  (Read 174596 times)

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Offline BlueBär

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #50 on: Fri, 28 February 2014, 05:49:09 »
So I was watching that youtube playlist from contextual electronics, and I am not sure if I am more confused or if I understand it better.  It seems like he does know what he is doing but didn't plan and rehearse the video series and keeps going 3 steps forward and 2 steps back to get ahead one step.  All I want to do is learn how to make a pcb for one switch with pads to solder wires to for making hand wired matrices easier to wire up.

Hmm have you watched all videos yet? Maybe it get's more clear to you at the end.

Offline Photekq

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #51 on: Mon, 03 March 2014, 10:28:05 »
So I just ordered 3x custom breakout boards from oshpark.. It cost me $2.05 WITH FREE 1ST CLASS SHIPPING TO THE UK.. seriously.. How can they make money at these prices?

Offline MOZ

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #52 on: Mon, 03 March 2014, 13:03:24 »
So I just ordered 3x custom breakout boards from oshpark.. It cost me $2.05 WITH FREE 1ST CLASS SHIPPING TO THE UK.. seriously.. How can they make money at these prices?

Which boards?

Offline Photekq

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #53 on: Mon, 03 March 2014, 13:12:08 »
So I just ordered 3x custom breakout boards from oshpark.. It cost me $2.05 WITH FREE 1ST CLASS SHIPPING TO THE UK.. seriously.. How can they make money at these prices?

Which boards?
Just some little 12x22mm mini usb breakout boards..


Offline Melvang

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #54 on: Tue, 04 March 2014, 23:42:58 »
I just wish I could figure out this damn KiCad.  I just want to make a small PCB with 3 holes and 6 pads.

Edit:  I am trying the tutorial found here and I am going through it relatively painlessly until page 19.  This is the step where you associate the annotated items with footprints after generating the netlist.  The problem is on the right side of the popup pane I have 400+ options and none of the ones on the list in the tutorial are on there. 

Any ideas?
« Last Edit: Wed, 05 March 2014, 02:23:42 by Melvang »
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Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #55 on: Wed, 05 March 2014, 16:10:43 »
It looks like this tutorial uses some footprints not available in kicad. But don't worry, 90% of the time you'll have to design your own anyway.
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Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #56 on: Wed, 05 March 2014, 16:23:17 »
regack made a nice tutorial, it is up on his github: https://github.com/regack/depot/raw/master/basics/Kicad_Basics.pdf

He is a sneaky bastard :P

My components and modules library is pretty much done as well, so I will post that later today as well.

I'm trying to do something and found this small tutorial series: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLy2022BX6Esr6yxwDzhqYZyuuenJE2s5B
Can really recommend it.

Thanks, these look like some really nice finds. I'll add them to the OP.
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Offline MOZ

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #57 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 02:19:09 »
komar007, perhaps you could include the library posted here into the github.
Here is the library.

This should suffice for almost every application for keyboard designing.

Contains components for eeschema as well as modules for PCBnew (Both parts of KiCAD)


Offline Melvang

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #58 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 09:17:59 »
komar007, perhaps you could include the library posted here into the github.
Here is the library.

This should suffice for almost every application for keyboard designing.

Contains components for eeschema as well as modules for PCBnew (Both parts of KiCAD)

Also with those files, can I just drag and drop them into the correct KiCad folders?  Or do they need to be imported in the program?
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Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #59 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 10:37:17 »
komar007, perhaps you could include the library posted here into the github.
Here is the library.

This should suffice for almost every application for keyboard designing.

Contains components for eeschema as well as modules for PCBnew (Both parts of KiCAD)



It looks really good.
Since it forms a whole library, maybe you should create a git repo and I'll clone it into the geekhack organization.
Or, if you prefer to throw your stuff into our "kicad-library" repo, just clone it, commit what is necessary (don't forget some basic docs - see examples) and I'll pull your changes.
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Offline Melvang

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #60 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 12:13:15 »
any suggestions for a SMD diode to be used for a keyboard switch?  I am looking for a part number and a data sheet for the footprint.
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Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #61 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 12:33:03 »
CD4148WS by Crownpo, the footprint is regular 0805.
DC Components produces it too.
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Offline regack

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #62 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 12:49:59 »
CD4148WS by Crownpo, the footprint is regular 0805.
DC Components produces it too.


I had trouble locating those or something similar, so I switched over to an SOD-123 footprint and used these Vishay 1N4148W-E3-08 SOD-123 diodes

I would love to have found those somewhere easy (for me) to buy from.

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #63 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 13:01:10 »
I don't know if this would be of interest to anyone else, but I recently discovered that you can order the ATmega32U4 in a TQFP-44 package size from PJRC (the company that makes Teensy) with the HalfKay bootloader pre-loaded onto them. Meaning you can use the convenient Teensy Loader software to load FW onto your keyboard.
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Offline Melvang

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #64 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 13:24:47 »
Is there such a thing as a solder cup that I can solder to a PCB and then solder the wire in the cup?  basically individual solder cups
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Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #65 on: Thu, 06 March 2014, 13:59:12 »
CD4148WS by Crownpo, the footprint is regular 0805.
DC Components produces it too.


I had trouble locating those or something similar, so I switched over to an SOD-123 footprint and used these Vishay 1N4148W-E3-08 SOD-123 diodes

I would love to have found those somewhere easy (for me) to buy from.
Yes, the availability of these is poor to say the least. in general, 0805 diodes are hard to get anywhere in the world for reasons beyond my imagination, which footprint can possibly be better for signal diodes...

I don't know if this would be of interest to anyone else, but I recently discovered that you can order the ATmega32U4 in a TQFP-44 package size from PJRC (the company that makes Teensy) with the HalfKay bootloader pre-loaded onto them. Meaning you can use the convenient Teensy Loader software to load FW onto your keyboard.
HalfKay is the only thing I dislike about Teensy. I don't get the point of it. It doesn't have an ABI which would allow you to write to flash in runtime, so stuff like reprogramming layout on the GH60 doesn't work in a different way than by generating new firmware and flashing:/
It's small, smaller than Atmel's stock bootloader, but other than that it's a shame they put it on the Teensy at all.
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Offline bpiphany

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #66 on: Fri, 07 March 2014, 01:17:08 »
The nice thing about HalfKay is the easy use of the Teensy loader. I believe LUFA once included a Teensy loader compatible bootloader (although double the size of HalfKay), but the guy writing it (Dean Camera?) was asked to remove it from the library.

Offline Photekq

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #67 on: Thu, 27 March 2014, 14:44:52 »
So my PCBs from oshpark arrived after a few weeks. I can't complain for $2. Unfortunately, I'm an idiot who doesn't know how to doublecheck his work :)) (note the trace doesn't quiiiite reach the pad)


Offline BlueBär

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #68 on: Thu, 27 March 2014, 14:50:00 »
So my PCBs from oshpark arrived after a few weeks. I can't complain for $2. Unfortunately, I'm an idiot who doesn't know how to doublecheck his work :)) (note the trace doesn't quiiiite reach the pad)

Show Image


So close, yet so far...

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #69 on: Thu, 27 March 2014, 14:53:19 »
So my PCBs from oshpark arrived after a few weeks. I can't complain for $2. Unfortunately, I'm an idiot who doesn't know how to doublecheck his work :)) (note the trace doesn't quiiiite reach the pad)



so close....yet...so far away :D

EDIT:see what I get for answering my phone instead of posting right away, great minds think alike I guess  ;)

Offline MOZ

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #70 on: Thu, 27 March 2014, 15:09:14 »
Lol that's funny.

Offline hasu

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #71 on: Thu, 27 March 2014, 21:18:37 »
Photekq, DRC is your friend. It is not wise enough to save all mistakes, though.
Even with using DRC I still had  a silly mistake on my PCB a few days ago :D I failed to convert a legacy KiCad module into new pretty format.


BTW, a hilarious story of OSHPark guy.
https://twitter.com/chrismck_twit/status/446680807680126976
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Offline sipth

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #72 on: Fri, 09 May 2014, 22:47:41 »
Hi guys! I'm not sure if this is possible but if I want to make a PCB to fit 5x4 cherry mx switches to make a ultra 'mini' keyboard. isit possbie? As I was told that I can order PCBs from OSHpark and PCB wing. Lets say If im going to order from PCBwing what options am I suppose to select? I really know nothing about PCB so I'm hoping you guys can help me out, thanks! :)

Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #73 on: Sat, 10 May 2014, 09:22:25 »
Hi guys! I'm not sure if this is possible but if I want to make a PCB to fit 5x4 cherry mx switches to make a ultra 'mini' keyboard. isit possbie? As I was told that I can order PCBs from OSHpark and PCB wing. Lets say If im going to order from PCBwing what options am I suppose to select? I really know nothing about PCB so I'm hoping you guys can help me out, thanks! :)

If the board fits 5x4 cherry mx, then it has to be at least 3.75"x3", that is 11.25 sq. inches, so it'll cost you $56.25 in OSHpark and $59.26 in PCBWing. It seems this isn't the cheapest option. But anyway, for example in PCBWing, you just have to select all default options, nothing fancy should be necessary.
As for the design of the board, check out the GHPad project, it might be what you want.
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Offline bpiphany

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #74 on: Sat, 10 May 2014, 09:35:45 »
PCBwing have their Simple quote order up to 4 dual side FR4 PCBs maximum 3.93" x 3.93", no slot holes, green solder maske, white silkscreen, and slightly wider tolerances than their more expensive options. $49 plus paypal fees, free shipping.

http://www.pcbwing.com/SimpleOrder.php

Offline Melvang

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #75 on: Sat, 10 May 2014, 10:41:15 »
If you are planning on going with plate mount and will have room for a teensy, you can go with my enabler design.  PCBs for 20 switches would only cost $4.74 + shipping and pay pal fees and such.  Plus they are Alps compatible if you choose to go that route as well.
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Offline sipth

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #76 on: Sat, 10 May 2014, 12:32:54 »
Thanks for the reply! I just watched WhiteFireDragon's video to know more about building it, after thinking for awhile, i think that a 5x5 would be better. If im getting a 5x5 off PCBwing, all I need is to just change to dimension to 3.75 on each side? e.g http://imgur.com/sY2eWej

 I have a few questions tho,

 I think I can only go with PCB mounted keys as going for plate mount will just add up to the cost :P.

1. But if i ever want to go plate mount,  where can i get one?

2. Are there any cheaper board options for a 5x5?

3. would I need something like the teensy?

4. Is there anyone I can ask for the design of the board?

Sorry for the questions, still pretty new to the whole DIY keyboard thing.





« Last Edit: Sat, 10 May 2014, 13:20:21 by sipth »

Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #77 on: Sat, 10 May 2014, 15:35:43 »
Thanks for the reply! I just watched WhiteFireDragon's video to know more about building it, after thinking for awhile, i think that a 5x5 would be better. If im getting a 5x5 off PCBwing, all I need is to just change to dimension to 3.75 on each side? e.g http://imgur.com/sY2eWej

 I have a few questions tho,

 I think I can only go with PCB mounted keys as going for plate mount will just add up to the cost :p .

1. But if i ever want to go plate mount,  where can i get one?

2. Are there any cheaper board options for a 5x5?

3. would I need something like the teensy?

4. Is there anyone I can ask for the design of the board?

Sorry for the questions, still pretty new to the whole DIY keyboard thing.



If you're specifying the dimensions, you should rather take exact measurements from the design, the actual board size may differ.

1. you can ask various people here who design and make plates. I'm not into that sort of thing, but once you have a design, it should be easy to have a one-off cut in stainless steel with a laser
2. you can check various PCB prototyping companies. I think there are a lot more lower quality companies in China, which are cheaper and not that bad at all, I just haven't tried any.
3. if you're comfortable with SMD-soldering, then no, you can design or have someone design a board with an integrated controller, otherwise just go for a teensy-based solution, where you'll only need to solder the teensy to the board using goldpins
4. maybe check classifieds and this thread: http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45886.0 I won't offer my services, because I don't currently work for non-business-entities (legal issues).
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Offline qwack

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #78 on: Sat, 21 June 2014, 07:25:42 »
I am surprised to see that there is no link pointing to Komar's excellent article on How to make a keyboard - the matrix at the beginning of the thread. There are lots of great info in this thread, especially about laying out stuff in kicad, but to me there is no point in knowing how to put the dough in the pan if you don't know how to make it from the base ingredients. I did not find many articles covering the fundamental principles behind keyboard designs, so that makes this one even more welcome.

If anyone knows of similar, thorough articles about matrix design, controller (Teensy ?) programming and perhaps LED matrix/controller stuff, it would be great to share them here. Unfortunately, it's easy to find close-ups of custom PCBs with enough bokeh to prevent anyone from learning anything from the showcased design (in other hobbies, reverse engineering is a common and not frowned upon method of learning), but it's harder to find genuinely instructive content like Komar's article about keyboards. But I'll keep searching ;D

[just to be clear, this is not a slight towards anyone (small scale sellers or fellow DIYers), it's just that I'm surprised to see so many custom keyboards projects, and yet the information seems a bit scarce (at least compared to what I see in other hobbies), despite the numerous build reports.]
« Last Edit: Sat, 21 June 2014, 08:08:42 by qwack »

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Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #79 on: Sat, 21 June 2014, 11:49:28 »
Thanks, qwack. Added:)
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Offline gotofbi

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #80 on: Sun, 22 June 2014, 13:33:14 »
Thank you very much
veryy helpful information.

Offline Koperati

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #81 on: Tue, 24 June 2014, 06:04:42 »
a useful list of books on pcb design can be found here: http://www.cadsoftusa.com/training/books
hope it migth be useful for some of you.



Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #82 on: Tue, 24 June 2014, 10:47:53 »
a useful list of books on pcb design can be found here: http://www.cadsoftusa.com/training/books
hope it migth be useful for some of you.
Thanks, added.
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Offline qwack

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #83 on: Fri, 27 June 2014, 07:35:17 »
To complement regack's, there is another great keyboard-oriented kicad tutorial (by bpiphany) on the deskthority wiki: http://deskthority.net/wiki/KiCAD_keyboard_PCB_design_guide

This one shows how to build an entire matrix and wire it to the controller along with status LEDs, which is very nice.

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Offline qwack

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #84 on: Wed, 09 July 2014, 07:46:03 »
I'm playing with Eagle, and unsurprisingly when I try to run the DRC (Seeed's rules) after placing some switches very close to allow for several layout options, I get errors:



However, OSH Park does not refuse my board and renders it like this:



So what do you think I should expect? I'll probably have a small test board made by OSH Park, and have a few PCBs made by Seeed in a more distant future. Will the plated holes just be partially drilled as shown on the render, or should I expect a disaster in this area (or more simply, could my board be simply refused because these parts overlap?)
« Last Edit: Wed, 09 July 2014, 08:13:30 by qwack »

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Offline MOZ

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #85 on: Wed, 09 July 2014, 14:29:37 »
Really depends on the fab,  we have seen partly drilled and plated overlapping holes in the past.

Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #86 on: Thu, 10 July 2014, 04:25:17 »
Last time I was using OSH Park, I needed 2 plated slots which OSH Park does not support, so I substituted them with 3 drills next to each other, overlapping. Strangely, I received a perfect plated slot, so I don't know what was going on. It actually looked like someone had noticed those drills and changed them back to slots which they don't support. Mind blown...
So it's hard to tell what to expect from OSH Park. You might get a slot instead of those overlapping holes, or you might get overlapping holes. I wouldn't expect a broken PCB though.
As for Seeed studio, I haven't used them yet. In general, PCB manufacturers are usually reluctant to make overlapping drills. So far I'm only certain that PCBCart can do them well.
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Offline qwack

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #87 on: Thu, 10 July 2014, 08:00:27 »
Thanks for the feedback guys. Is pcbcart the fab for the final GH60?

I'll probably have a small test board fabbed by seeed to see what they can do with this kind of arrangement before committing to larger projects.

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Offline MOZ

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #88 on: Thu, 10 July 2014, 08:18:27 »
Pcbwing does do overlapping PTH, as the Ergodox has them.

Regarding, OSHPark and the slots, it is mentioned in the forums as well,  to get plated holes, place multiple overlapping holes and you can add a slot to generate correct visuals.

Offline Vitaly

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #89 on: Fri, 18 July 2014, 08:31:29 »
I searching for controller for first keyboard project. Can I use this http://goo.gl/PkPE6g? It's has same chip as teensy – ATmega32U4.

Offline MOZ

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #90 on: Sun, 20 July 2014, 07:15:06 »
Yeah, those work fine.

Offline Vitaly

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #91 on: Wed, 23 July 2014, 06:29:39 »
Yeah, those work fine.
Thanks. Get one and also arduino micro clone from ebay http://goo.gl/eSSVDx

Offline glyph

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #92 on: Mon, 13 October 2014, 17:31:20 »
Hi I followed Reghak's tutorial to the end and am now having a play with KiCad  :thumb:. One problem I am experiencing is making reliable connections to the diodes in Pcbnew. Reghak suggests using SOD-123 (A-C) diodes but nine times out of ten I get this error:

Code: [Select]
Reading Netlist "\Shared\Keyboard\PCB\TEST Matrix\Test_matrix\Test_matrix.net"
Using component/footprint link file "\Shared\Keyboard\PCB\TEST Matrix\Test_matrix\Test_matrix.cmp"
Module [D1]: Pad [1] not found
Module [D1]: Pad [2] not found

After some googling I found this answer which I think might be related:

Quote
One gotcha that you might run into, is that the eeschema symbol and the
footprint mod must agree on pin names/numbers when I first started using
kicad, I found transistor footprints with pin names of e c b which would
not connect to their symbol counterparts (which had been numbered as 1
2 3) This confused me for a while until the penny dropped.

So I tried using a SOD-123 diode which has its pins numbered 1 and 2 rather than A and B, and it seems to work fine every time. Am I doing something wrong to get this error with the SOD-123 (A-C) diodes, should I be labelling the pads they connect to differently? What is the difference between these parts other than labelling?

Here is the SOD-123 (A-C) diode with missing connections:   
   

Here is the SOD-123

Offline hasu

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #93 on: Mon, 13 October 2014, 19:50:34 »
As the quote says you just have to use same pin names(numbers) in both schematic symbol and footprint module. If you want to use 'SOD-123 (A-C)' modules in pcbnew you must use diode symbol which has pin names A and C in eeschema.
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Offline glyph

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #94 on: Tue, 14 October 2014, 01:05:57 »
Quote from: hasu
As the quote says you just have to use same pin names(numbers) in both schematic symbol and footprint module. If you want to use 'SOD-123 (A-C)' modules in pcbnew you must use diode symbol which has pin names A and C in eeschema.

Hi hasu please excuse my newbishness. I am using what appears to be the same diode symbol in eeschema as I found in the tutorial.  I cant find any pin names, is there a hidden menu or value I am missing? I guess the same goes for the pads im using for the columns.



« Last Edit: Tue, 14 October 2014, 01:28:59 by glyph »

Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #95 on: Tue, 14 October 2014, 04:41:32 »
It seems that SOD123 (A-C) is a version of SOD123 with pins named A (for anode) and C (for cathode).
Eeschema sometimes uses letters for pin *numbers* to make library components generic (the pin number assignments vary between vendors). It's easier to just use an NPN symbol for an NPN transistor rather than a particular part like BC337 (this information you can put as value).
So sometimes for transistors you'll find pin numbers like B, C and E.
Some footprints in pcbnew reflect this, some don't.

The "standard" diode symbol in eeschema has actual numbers as pin numbers, so the right module to choose is SOD123.
If a module doesn't match the library pins, you can always change the module or library.
Just open the editor, "select active library", "load module from library", edit pins, rename and "create new library and save current module".
Then add the library to your project.
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Offline glyph

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #96 on: Tue, 14 October 2014, 05:41:23 »
Hi komar007 thanks for this information, I can see where I have gone wrong. I had taken the diode from the KB_common.lib which is part of Regack's tutorial on GitHub. It appears the pins on the MX1A and CONN_1 are numbered, while the Diode uses letters. Maybe someone else can confirm this, so I can be sure I'm not going nuts. Having a play with the library editor really made sense and revealed the Pin numbers/letters. Great I learnt something new here.

I was wondering if I can use this thread for future trouble shooting, or is it more about sharing knowledge?

In the spirit of this thread I wanted to leave a really great link explaining how to export gerber files from KiCad.

Offline komar007

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #97 on: Tue, 14 October 2014, 09:35:04 »
Hi komar007 thanks for this information, I can see where I have gone wrong. I had taken the diode from the KB_common.lib which is part of Regack's tutorial on GitHub. It appears the pins on the MX1A and CONN_1 are numbered, while the Diode uses letters. Maybe someone else can confirm this, so I can be sure I'm not going nuts. Having a play with the library editor really made sense and revealed the Pin numbers/letters. Great I learnt something new here.

I was wondering if I can use this thread for future trouble shooting, or is it more about sharing knowledge?

In the spirit of this thread I wanted to leave a really great link explaining how to export gerber files from KiCad.
Go ahead and use the thread for whatever you want, it's basically dead, so it needs some traffic;)
If more people asked questions and there were sensible answers, we could make an index of questions in the OP with links to parts of discussion.
BTW, I checked out your link and added it to the list of tutorials, thanks.
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Offline mkawa

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #98 on: Fri, 28 November 2014, 08:07:39 »
adafruit is now selling 3 packs of eagle licenses for extremely reasonable prices. anyone interested in splitting a package? kicad is so horrid XD

to all the brilliant friends who have left us, and all the students who climb on their shoulders.

Offline bpiphany

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Re: The Living PCB Design Thread
« Reply #99 on: Fri, 28 November 2014, 08:17:15 »
<3 KiCAD

And it is steadily improving.