05 August 2022

Using KiCAD on dual screen on Ubuntu

When I tried ordering a PCB from a manufacturer in 2017 my choice for generating the Gerber files was KiCAD, version 4 back then. All home computers run Ubuntu (no young boys that need Windows for videogames), so it was KiCAD on Ubuntu. With a couple of good tutorials and memories from OrCAD for DOS at high school (past century), the experiment was successful.

Fast forward past pandemic, I need again PCBs. This time I swapped the work PC on the remote working table with the lab laptop that runs KiCAD gaining an external monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Now, THAT IS a productive way to design PCBs!!

KiCAD 6 on Ubuntu on two screens. Unfinished circuit.
KiCAD 6 on Ubuntu on two screens. Unfinished circuit.

Schematic diagram on one screen, PCB on the other, with KiCAD (now version 6) you can make changes on the fly on either side and reflect it on the counterpart with a keypress. I needed to change quite a few pin assignments on the microcontroller to have a simpler routing once the general layout was done, and the dual screen was the way to reach the goal without endlessly swapping windows. And if you memorize keyboard shortcuts, it's even faster.