GTB4 feedback and questions

Hi Chris,

Thanks for setting all this up. I lazily listened to the full GTB4 videos last night and it all made sense except for the board layout part. I had no idea what “via” was as an example and it went off the cliff after that. I don’t feel any wiser even after watching that video three times I don’t feel like I could do what you did.

This is in contrast to all the other videos that were clear and concise, even the schematic and spice videos.

I just don’t know WHY you do certain things in that video. I get that the rats nest connections need clear paths but there are so many layers and colors that provide options that may or may not work. I probably missed some items but here are a few questions:

  1. Are there any pros/cons to making the whole side VDD and the other GND?
  2. Why not make the connections as wide as possible?
  3. Why just connect the + and - pads with four small connections instead of fully connecting them?
  4. I’ve ordered boards from OSHpark (other’s shared) and you mention their constraints. What other constraints should I think about?
  5. Quite often things happen on the screen where you probably hit a short cut. For intro videos it may be good to always use a menu or button or say religiously the key(s) you are pushing, and why.

Again, thanks for taking the time to set all this up. I’m going to boot up KiCAD again tonight but I thought I would shoot you a few questions while they are fresh.



Hey Mattias,

Great feedback, thanks so much! Sorry it was confusing. Maybe it’s better to start somewhere like this newer course, just to get you feeling confident about starting?

  1. Depends on the application. The best case is normally a 4 layer board, but that’s not always tenable. Really it’s about trying to minimize cutting up the ground plane as much as possible. This usually means if the components are top side, I’ll put the ground plane on the bottom side.
  2. You mean trace width? You totally could, I normally standardize on certain trace widths simply because it gets me in the mode of doing that for boards where it really matters. However, with low current applications such as this, the trace width shouldn’t matter. That matters as you get into higher current things like power delivery (because of lower resistance in the traces)
  3. That is for thermal transfer. If the entire pad is connected to the plane, you need to heat the entire plane before solder will start to flow. The 4 connections lowers that.
  4. The things I mention (6 mil trace, 6 mil space, 13 mil via, 7 mil annular ring) will be the main concerns for most beginners. As you get more advanced and doing higher speed things, the “stack up” matters quite a bit, but we don’t usually get to that point.
  5. Yes, this is a tough one. I used to have a program that did that but it’s hard to find one these days for Windows. Perhaps I’m not looking in the right place though.

Glad to hear you got a board shipped off! It feels great to get that back and hold it in your hands, believe me!

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Thanks Chris!

That newer video made a world of difference. You showed the shortcut pane with all keys, used the buttons a few times and verbalized any time you hovered and hit a key over any item.


I know your courses are not a KiCad only tutorials but what other resources do you recommend reading/watching to get better at that application? Do you even recommend another application, commercial or web based?


To get better with KiCad?

Honestly, the best thing is to build your next thing. But also while doing so, the best way to learn is to have the ‘?’ key ready at all times. It lists the shortcuts for KiCad. Not only will it show you how to do things faster, it will also show you the features you didn’t know about yet. That’s pretty much how i learned.

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