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Monday, 20 February 2017

Importing Kicad eeschema netlists into gEDA pcb-rnd

Taking further advantage of the gEDA PCB fork pcb-rnd's modular architecture, a new import module to allow KiCad Eeschema netlists to be imported has been developed.

A fundamental motivation behind these import/export efforts is to grow the FLOSS EDA ecosystem, by enabling greater sharing of existing efforts within the intellectual commons.

The modularity of pcb-rnd is such that a sample pack consisting of a schematic, screenshot and exported netlist, is usually sufficient to implement a new import module.

This was done for KiCad's Eeschema, and an import module was soon working.

Here's an example schematic in Eeschema, the schematic editor used by KiCad:

Here's the netlist export dialog being launched:

The default netlist export format is selected:

And after using the file:import menu item in pcb-rnd:

We get the new layout, and after rearranging, end up with:

Although the gEDA project's schematic editor, gschem, has powerful features such as arbitrary numbers of component attributes along with flexible and customizable netlist export options, there are likely to be existing designs or prospective gEDA users who would like to bring their existing designs with them.

The Kicad Eeschema import plugin is now available and enabled by default in the svn, and is expected to be in the next formal pcb-rnd release.

Further import plugins are planned for other schematic layout tools. If you have a tool you'd like to use with pcb-rnd, get in touch at http://repo.hu/projects/pcb-rnd/ and if it isn't a closed binary format, we should be able to make it happen pretty quickly.

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