Our first board designed with KiCad finished and validated

Overall, designing the TimEX3 board with KiCad was a positive experience
Added by Jean-Paul Ricaud on 23 Apr 2013 at 14:58

The TimEX3 board is now in use at SOLEIL. It was designed with the open source EDA KiCad.
Overall, our experience with KiCad was positive. It was easy to learn and to use, especially compared to some commercial software.
We didn’t encounter any major problem or bug and the development of the board progressed almost flawlessly.

Today, KiCad lacks some functionalities to be able to fully replace a commercial software like Cadence or Mentor.
Based on my own experience, I would mention:

  • Better components creations
  • Differential traces management
  • Better same length traces management
  • Better router (auto-routing, push and shave, etc.)
  • Stitching management
  • Some other improvements

Nevertheless, KiCad can be used in a wide range of projects, and I would definitively advice anyone to give it a try.


Added by Javier D. Garcia-Lasheras on 23 Apr 2013 at 23:35

I've just installed KiCad and seems that it has experienced a qualitative improvement since the last time I gave it a try.

From your comments, I infer that KiCad is not still suitable for designing PCBs including DDR3 (or even DDR2) memories... I'm right?

Added by Jean-Paul Ricaud on 25 Apr 2013 at 09:23

I really don't think that you can use KiCad for this kind of design right now.
Routing differential, same length traces will be almost entirely a manual work and a pain.
You may also need to do some simulation which is not possible with KiCad.

I added my report (it's in French) on KiCad in the "DOCUMENTS" section.

Added by Javier D. Garcia-Lasheras on 26 Apr 2013 at 13:12

Thank you very much, Jean-Paul!!

I supposed that KiCad was still not able to handle in a handy way high-speed signals... but it still seems to me a very powerful EDA tool compared with other available open/free alternatives (i.e. gEDA suite).

I'll take a look to your report... I don't speak French, but I'm able to understand some written technical sentences ;-)

Added by Jean-Paul Ricaud on 12 May 2013 at 12:22

It seems that someone had the courage to route manually DDR3 using KiCad: [[http://www.iuac.res.in/~elab/phoenix/SBC/]] ...