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KiCad Humble Beginnings


I recently made a busy-box for my daughter to keep her entertained and also as a learning experience for myself, since hardware is something I rarely play around with. It was a win-win situation!

I drew up the schematics and soldered it together on a strip-board. The board worked just fine and I was satisfied with that but after a couple of weeks of seeing the horrible mess that I had created I decided it was time to get a circuit board printed!

KiCad to the rescue

At the start I tested out EasyEDA, and they sure have a lot of nice features but I never managed to get comfortable in their environment.

KiCad was, and is, very intimidating to learn but I’ve found it easier than EasyEDA. I’m not sure if that is factually correct or if I’m just putting in more effort to learn KiCad and that there are a lot of terms and concepts that are the same. I’m having an easier time finding educational videos for KiCad than EasyEDA.

KiCad has no requirements that a site has to be online, once you got it on your machine then you’re all set!

Designing the circuit board

First I had to move my schematics into KiCad, and assign footprints to each symbol which in my case is easy since I’m using pin headers to connect all inputs from the busy-box.

Footprints are a representation of how your component is going to attach to the circuit board.

I’m having more fun than I expected when routing tracks in the pcb layout editor. I decided I wanted to update the battery management to be a bit more baby resistant. The battery should not fly around inside the box.

This is my current status but I’m looking forward to continue to fiddle with this project, because it seems more real than programming. You’re creating something that you’re hopefully going to hold in your hands at the end of the project.

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