Kicad is a great open source electronic drawing package. The Schematic drawing part of the pogram is called eeschema. I have been working away at producing a series of vintage Radio Libraries for it but progress is slow.
When I first started to try out eeschema I got my self into all sorts of strife with the libraries. I removed most of the digital device libraries to make the libraries folder easier to work with and then I copied and pasted and modified some of the devices in some of the existing libraries into my “Radio” libraries and then I created the devices I needed for what I wanted to draw. While I am drawing a diagram I have the library editor open and I create and save parts as I need to use them.
This is where I came unstuck for a while until I worked out how the .pro and .sch files actually worked. I was not consistant with my library names and what I called for in my Library Preferences. Once I worked this out I then settled on a basic suite of libraries that are called up in all my .pro files and I am having no trouble now. Well, I did not have any trouble until I put Kicad on my new computer and found I had to run it as the Administrator before it would show me my new libraries.
The Radio libraries
The six libraries I have produced so far are:
- 6 Volt Valves.lib
- 12 Volt Valves.lib
- Battery valves.lib
- Europe valves.lib
- Radio Coils.lib
- Radio parts.lib
The libraries I have modified so far are:
- Linear.lib (some additions as I required them)
- Semiconduct.lib (the original transistor.lib plus items I needed along the way)
- Regulator.lib (regul.lib plus some more items I needed along the way)
In addition to these I have left the following original libraries in my Kicad installation:
I have left these as I intend to produce some simple digital circuit diagrams in the near future.
If anyone would like to help with this project feel free to download my radio library files and add some more. Send me an email with your efforts and I will put them on this web site. Kicad has a very good help file built in and there are a lot of help files and tutorial on the web.
Creating more Valve (Tube) types
If you wish to create more valve (tubes) types I have put some simple envelopes in the valve library and all you have to do is to pick a suitable envelope and add the other internal electrodes and the pin numbers. Change the name tag and then save the new one. This is a little tricky, the Library Edit function only saves your work to the library that is currently loaded in memory and you have to click on first item on the tools bar, Save current loaded library to disk to make sure your changes are permanent. This has the advantage of making sure you do not screw up your library files until you are sure your additions are correct.
The envelopes I have produced as starters are:
- Dual Tube_1 (valve like 12AX7 with a centre tapped heater for 6 and 12 volt)
- Dual Tube_2 (simple heater with only two connection)
- Tube_1 (Indirectly heated valve)
- Tube_2 (Directly heated valve)
I will make these available on this web site when I have finished my latest round of alterations and additions.
A great tutorial I found on the web as part of a much larger file
Some Kicad links
Kicad home page
Kicad FTP source files
Kicad users group
Kicad contributed libraries
Quick library component builder
Written by and Copyright, Phil. Storr © Last updated 10th January 2013