I was going through the tutorial that came with KiCad (downloaded from MDX4.org). On page 6 of the tutorial, point 3.6 it says “select the ‘device’ library” but I could only see the library ‘power’ even though I can see that lots of other libraries (including ‘device’) are in the ‘library’ folder. I tried moving the ‘library’ to different places but it made no difference.
So I joined Yahoo! Groups for KiCad users and put the question out there. I had a couple of responses both of which were very helpful. One in particular was helpful and it was from a guy called Andy. I sent an email to Andy to thank him and then noticed his surname. It turns out he is the same Andy that I went to college with and also worked alongside in the R&D department of Kelvin Hughes. This was more than 30 years ago! What a very small world we live in. I do remember him as being a really nice and helpful guy so will keep in touch. Thanks for your help Andy.
I can now carry on learning how to use this EDA software (bear in mind I’m using a Mac). It seems to work fine but I will report any problems or not.
While I was going through this problem I did look for alternatives and came across DipTrace which works on a Mac and that also seems very good. Though you do need to pay for using it, they have a freeware version (I don’t believe it has limitations) and the price is scaleable depending on your needs and it is much cheaper than many other EDA software so do give it a go.
Ok, back to the tutorial…
Here is the help I received from Andy with getting the device library to work:
“Kicad works slightly differently to other PCB design packages. You have
to tell kicad what libs to use on a project by project basis.
In each of the programs, eeschema, pcbnew, etc, there is a preferences
menu, under that you will find library. That will list the libs that the
project knows about. There is an ADD button which obviously adds a
That’s all you need to use.
You will see many comments regarding library management, but the one
thing to remember is that kicad libs can get replaced during upgrades,
so it’s best if you maintain your own copies somewhere safe. As you get
on with the system you will make mods to the libs, and it’s really
annoying to see your changes vanish after an upgrade.
There is a default template in /usr/local/kicad/share/template
(I expect the mac version will store them somewhere similar.. they will be
under kicad somewhere)
After a while if you find that you are always adding the same libs to
each project you can modify that file and add the libs there, then they
will be added automatically to each project.