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KiCAD to Boardview exporter reads KiCAD PCB layout files and writes ASCII Boardview files

KiCAD to Boardview exporter reads KiCAD PCB layout files and writes ASCII Boardview files

KiCAD to Boardview exporter

The KiCAD to Boardview exporter reads KiCAD PCB layout files and writes Boardview files. Boardview is a set of file formats used in the industry for communicating important data about PCB in post-production stage, such as component, pin, and test point placement.

The Boardview file formats do not typically have a specification or even a name. The KiCAD to Boardview exporter writes ".brd" files with ASCII Boardview data. These files can be opened with MIT-licensed OpenBoardView.

Prerequisites

KiCAD to Boardview exporter uses the pcbnew plugin interface. It requires Python 2.7 with KiCAD libraries installed in the Python search path.

Usage

Run the exporter as follows:

./pcbnew2boardview.py example/example.kicad_pcb example/example.brd

This will read the PCB layout from example/example.kicad_pcb and write it to example/example.brd.

Examples

The Boardview file for Glasgow visualized with OpenBoardView looks like this, with the I2C SDA net selected:

kicad-boardview

For comparison, the PCB layout looks like this:

layout

Caveats

  • If the pin numbering on KiCAD modules does not start with pin 1 and continue consecutively until last pin with an integer name, the pin numbering on the boardview will be wrong.
  • Similarly to the previous caveat, the format does not allow to represent pin names such as PAD (on QFN packages) or A0 (on BGA packages) correctly. These will be assigned arbitrary (but consistent) numbers instead.
  • There is an unknown field in the ".brd" files, written as 0. It is ignored by OpenBoardView, but might actually mean something.

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