Hi. I've been playing around with KiCad 5, the version that I've got here is the release candidate I believe and after reading a few articles I think that KiCad 5 will be released later this month or at least its features will be frozen and then the actual release for the first version like 5.0 will follow very soon. I read somewhere that 5.0 will be out sometime in August so that is awesome.
I've been playing around with the release candidate version that had downloaded from the KiCad website and I've installed it on my Windows virtual machine and on my Mac and I've got to say that they work really well.
In this example here I imported a project that I'm working on. Its part of the projects from my new book. And of course I created this a few weeks ago on KiCad 4.0.7.
I was able to import it, actually not imported just open the project, and it works just fine. There was a process to match the schematic components from KiCad 4 to KiCad 5 but I didn't actually have to do anything I just accepted whatever matches KiCad 5 determined that were appropriate and the schematic comes out exactly as I drew it.
So, a couple of little things that I'd like to show you as I've been playing around, I haven't looked into the documentation, I've just been clicking around and seeing what's new. So a couple of really nice things.
For example you can use this tool up here, the "highlight net", and click on various nets and you can see where those nets take. Oops, I've got to improve the way that my scroll wheel works with zoom. Okay so even like this it's much much better than what KiCad 4 used to be like on my Mac.
So anyway you can see that this particular net goes across various parts of the schematic like that. Just click on another net and see where the next go. Actually need to click on the junctions like that. If you click on the track itself it doesn't work. It's got to be on the junction. So it's a really nice trick.
Now on the Pcbnew, another interesting thing you can do is let's say that a similar feature where I'm going to click on "highlight net" and click on to one of those and it will show you where the net goes around your schematic. And this is really nice as you are working in more complicated projects to be able to see where the various tracks are going.
Another interesting thing, just hit escape to get out of this feature, another interesting thing is that there is a connection between the Pcbnew and Eesceema and that connection is live. So let's see if I can activate it.
What I want to do is to click on a pad, there you go, it worked.
Actually I haven't got any specific feature connected to it just works automatically. So let's say I want to click on this resistor.
Actually I'll click on another component, this LCD connector and there you go, see? I clicked on the LCD connector on Pcbnew and then Eeschema updated or paned automatically and showed me where the connector or the component that clicked on is and I believe that that works vice versa..
I'm going to move the layout outside the view and I'm going to go on to the Eeschema and let's say I'll connect on this resistor.
We map a cross. Maybe not. Try this again. Okay. I just selected the pointer and, ah yes, it did!
There you go. So I clicked on the resistor Eeschema asked me to select which item is it that I want to click on. So go for the resistor and then it updated Pcbnew. The layout paned so it focused on the component that I clicked on.
I am going to do this one more time. So I'm going to click on the diode now or the LED. Here it did! This is pretty awesome. I really like that. Let's do one more . The DHT. It did work! It's great.
Another thing that is interesting is, that I haven't tested it yet, but apparently Kicad 5 allows you to import Eagle schematics or Eagle projects, both schematics and layouts. Just another very good feature. A lot of the functionality, actually I should say this point most of the functionality that I can see here is very familiar to me from Kicad 4. So it won't be any problem moving from 4 to 5, everything just works and I feel very familiar with the user interface.
And there are some improvements when it comes to things such as the Library Editors. Let's go to Pcbnew and you can manage your libraries with a familiar user interface but it seems like this is working better than before and the library's editor and manager for both Pcbnew and Eeschema, they look very similar.
So that's another good thing. What else... I really this little tool down here. It allows you to measure distances, its really nice and intuitive, great work.
Alright, so I'm going to keep playing around with Kicad 5. I'm going to continue using this to work on the book and construct the book projects because it does feel very stable. On Windows it also works perfectly. I didn't find any flaws and bugs in the short amount of time that I've been playing with. I'm testing this version with Linux as well in particular Ubundu and I'll see if I can find any problems there but I really like what the Kicad programers have done.
Tags: Kicad 5 Preview Video