Tonight after the kids went to bed I whipped up this schematic in KiCad. (I put it
into TinyCad last night.)
My initial impression is that I can probably crank out a basic schematic quicker in
KiCad but I am not as happy with it. KiCad is pretty easy to layout some basic components
and add some wire links. I probably had the basic schematic done in 10-15 minutes.
I then spent another 30 minutes cleaning up with simple things like alignment. I think
that TinyCad has a much more professional look with the snap to grid function that
is on by default.
I also stumbled in KiCad with how to create a simple picture for the web. I ended
up printing the schematic to CutePDF. Once I had a PDF I adjusted the magnification
so that it looked good on the screen and the used SnagIt to grab a screen shot.
I still need to work through creating a Netlist, Partslist, and then trying to do
some parts placement on a PCB.
I am very unimpressed with the help file for KiCad so far compared to TinyCad and
My initial feel is the KiCad is good for creating a quick schematic... but initially
I still prefer TinyCad+FreePCB. I will need to do some more testing to see how I feel
at the end of the process if I can get to the point where I am ready to etch a board.
An update to this post.... the top section was a couple of hours ago....
I decided to continue to play with KiCad to see how the board layout, auto parts placement,
and router work. After a LOT of messing around with the board layout program
I decided that you need to manually layout the parts, then compare it against the
auto placement, and then figure out what works best for each part. I then used the
auto router to figure out where to put the traces. It is uses the same auto router
The board below is what KiCad and the router think I should put together.
I have to say that for my first pass the schematic capture was decent... but the board
layout leaves a LOT to be desired. This board would not meet my needs and would not
be viable to etch at home.
Right now I would say that I probably will lean towards TinyCad + FreePCB as I could
crank out a workable PCB much quicker and with a more realistic layout. KiCad is installed
and will be my backup. Ideally I would like to be able to use both of them as needed
and figure out a way to convert the files between them... until then I will focus