Does KiCAD import DSN files from TinyCAD?

I have been finalizing my project circuits with diagrams created in TinyCAD. Now I want to move on to the creation of PCBs. Someone recommended KiCAD and I have been looking at its manual. I am getting the impression that my circuit diagrams will have to be generated in KiCAD. That means creating a string of symbols which I had to create because TinyCAD didn't have them. That's a bit daunting.

I was hoping that There was some software which would import TinyCAD DSN files and work from there. Does KiCAD do that? Is there a package that does?

What are my alternatives in moving from circuit diagram to PCB?



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Comments

  • TinyCAD is the electrical arrangement of the circuit, but it knows nothing about the physical arrangement of the circuit. A?Sorry, your job is at best half done.

    Most of the components in TinyCAD have a field called "package." A?This is the name whatever printed circuit board program you use will call the "footprint" for the component. A?Several things are important here. A?Let's say you have an 8 pin chip. A?Is it a DIP package? A?An SOIC? A?A tiny TSSOP? A?You have to tell the circuit board design program what physical package you will use.

    The pins on integrated circuits are uniformly numbered but the function of each pin may vary depending on the package type. A?So you need to be sure that what you have shown connected to pin 1 in TinyCAD connects to pin 1 on the physical package.

    That's a hassle for sure, but it gets worse. A?On some components, like switches, the pin numbers may not be uniform. A?TinyCAD may do it one way, you design program a different way. A?This may mean something that's supposed to be switched is actually shorted. A?

    Anyway, put in all the package names from your pcb layout program into TinyCAD, checking all the things above. A?Then TinyCAD can generate a netlist you can import into the PCB layout program.

    The netlist has the pcb packages (foot prints) and how every pin to connected to every other pin. A?When you import it into your PCB design program, you'll end up with a blob of all the packages with the pins connected by "rubber bands" to the other pins they connect to. A?Remember, TinyCAD knows nothing about the physical layout of your circuit board.

    Do you like puzzles? A?Now you can stat physically arranging switches, connectors and LEDs you want in a particular place on the board. A?Next, arrange the ICs....the parts with a lot of connections....placing them in such a way that the connections to other parts are most easily made. A?Maybe if you put that chip in the corner rotated that direction, you'll be able to make easy connections to the other chip over here. A?Ideally you end up with an arrangement of relatively short direct connections.

    Then you get to start laying out the copper tracks or traces to make all those connections. A?You need the traces big enough to handle the current but maybe small enough to run between component pins. A?Be prepared to do a lot of ripups and rerouting and even moving things around on the board to get a nice design.

    Once you get "finished' with the board, you need to generate Gerber files to actually get it made, but that's a whole other story.

    In one of my replies to your previous thread, I recommended a PCB by David Jones and provided a link. A?Still good reading. A?Perhaps you'd already understand some of what you're asking instead of trying to find the short cut.


    On 2/24/2018 12:08:57 AM, pihanadesign@... [tinycad] wrote:
    A?
    I have been finalizing my project circuits with diagrams created in TinyCAD. Now I want to move on to the creation of PCBs. Someone recommended KiCAD and I have been looking at its manual. I am getting the impression that my circuit diagrams will have to be generated in KiCAD. That means creating a string of symbols which I had to create because TinyCAD didn't have them. That's a bit daunting.

    I was hoping that There was some software which would import TinyCAD DSN files and work from there. Does KiCAD do that? Is there a package that does?

    What are my alternatives in moving from circuit diagram to PCB?

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  • That's a lot of information and a lot of work
    Lots of thanks.

    You wrote, "Most of the components in TinyCAD have a field called "package."" I'll go to work on this concept. I am getting the idea that that is the key to the two applications talking the same language.

    BTW: I have read Jones' document, but like most computer documentation it is only really clear to folks who have already done this.

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  • Sorry, don't mean to discourage you, i'm just trying to give you a realistic understanding of what's ahead.

    There are a lot of YouTube videos on PCB design. A?I tried to wade through them to find something that will be easy to understand but I kept getting lost down rabbit holes :) A?Take a look for something easy to understand.

    I love laying out circuit boards - it's fun for me. A?Sometimes frustrating as hell as what I think is going to work perfectly ends up being impossible to route, but in the end, I end up with a nice looking functional board. A?It does take patience and perseverance but when the process clicks, it's enjoyable.

    How complex is your project? A?How many components? A?If it's very complex, you might consider starting with a simpler board. A?The Chinese fab houses will make a board up to 100mm x 100mm for 5 bucks (for ten double-sided boards with silkscreen and solder mask on both sides!), you could make a few practice runs without breaking the bank.
    On 2/24/2018 11:27:04 PM, pihanadesign@... [tinycad] wrote:
    A?
    That's a lot of information and a lot of work
    Lots of thanks.

    You wrote, "Most of the components in TinyCAD have a field called "package."" I'll go to work on this concept. I am getting the idea that that is the key to the two applications talking the same language.

    BTW: I have read Jones' document, but like most computer documentation it is only really clear to folks who have already done this.

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  • I haven't used either TinyCAD or KiCAD, but the process should be the same conveying the netlist information between any programs. Only the details change.

    I think it is very simple. The netlist has to provide info on the parts and how they are interconnected. This means each part will need a part number to identify what component is being used and a reference designator which uniquely identified the part on the schematic and on the board. The interconnectivity is indicated by a list of all the nets and each net lists all the pins the net connects. That's all that is *required* in the netlist.

    But we still need to have a footprint/package type indicated for each part on the board. This can be done two different ways. It can be included in the schematic and also be included in the netlist. Or... this information can be added in the layout program. Some people feel the schematic should hold all the info required, but displaying all this info on the printed schematic is not easy. If it isn't displayed it is difficult to verify. I don't see how adding it in the laytout program is any more error prone, but that is what some people feel.

    Any way, these are the two approaches. Everything else is just the details of how this happens. Sounds simple, so why would it be hard in practice unless the people writing the CAD packages make it hard?

    What is nice is when both schematic and layout are done in the same program using a single database. :)

    Rick C.

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  • I'm getting the YeeHah run-around
    I thought I'd get on the group and post my question there
    but apparently, even though I've been getting the digests since 3/3/2011
    I needed to re-join - which attempts were rebuffed over and again.

    So I thought I'll do the quick-n-dirty thing and see if this works...

    I did a quick redlining of an existing (PDF) drawing to add some additional
    functionality.
    I just exported it as a JPG and import Picture and spread it out across the
    ~11x17 page size...

    With an image in the background TinyCad goes quite mental.
    Any of the lines/components drawn will randomly disappear and then reappear
    depending which side of my mouth my tongue protrudes from.
    Typically moving the cursor completely off the page will cause the vector
    stuff to reappear.

    OK, so I would just place a few lines at their target locations and then
    drag the bitmap off to the side
    and then draw my new circuits occasionally re-geolocating the background to
    check.
    Any remedy for that ? Surely a bitmap could be assigned an "ignore me
    unless I control-shift-alt-click" status
    and remain completely in the background. I did the ToBack thing several
    times to no avail.

    The output is wonky too. Presumeably checking "Scale to fit" would Scale
    To Fit.
    Nope. I needed to manually enter a scale-factor and then did the
    print-to-PDF thing.

    When I tried Export Bitmap, it exported only the bitmap, with none of the
    vector stuff I added.

    I did eventually wrestle it to the ground, but man... I thought I'd whinge
    and whine a little
    and ask if I'm overlooking obvious solutions

    Thanks.
    I'm still impressed with the easy natural familiar feel of TinyCad even
    though I don't regularly use it much
    these days.


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