Beginner's Guide to KiCad
KiCad Project Window
Download and Install KiCad
Let's get started! Head over to KiCad's download page and download the latest version of the software for your specific platform:
Once installed, run KiCad. A main navigation window will display where you will be able to open all the periphery programs like schematic capture and PCB layout.
The KiCad project window looks quite empty and sad. Let's open an example!
Setting Up a Project
The ZOPT2201 UV sensor designed originally in SparkX is a great I2C UV Index sensor and will serve as our starting example for this tutorial. Download the ZOPT220x UV Sensor Breakout designs for KiCad and unzip the four files into a local directory:
Once the four files are located in a local directory (try looking in your downloads folder for ...\ZOPT220x_UV_Sensor_Breakout-Tutorial), click File -> Open Project and open the ZOPT220x UV Sensor Breakout.pro file.
What are all these files?
- ** *.pro** - Main project file to keep track of the file structure.
- ** *.cmp** - Defines which footprints go with which schematic components.
- ** *.kicad_pcb** - The PCB layout.
- ** *.sch** - The schematic.
These four files are all you need to share a KiCad design with a fellow collaborator. You may also need to share a footprint file, which will be explained more later on in this tutorial.
You may have had your first critical-judgment-eye-squint. Why is there a file to define which footprints go with which schematic components? This is fundamental to KiCad and is very different from how EAGLE works. It's not a bad thing, just different.