Learning Fritzing, beginning difficulties


Brief intro:
I’ve just been introduced to Fritzing. I’m a longtime software engineer (30+ years) but am new to hardware design [CAD] programs, having always done things with pencil & paper. I’m a Mac and Unix guy, do not use Windows at all. Am a low-level embedded programmer, lots of OS-level experience, Assembly language, C programing, etc.

Fritzing doesn’t look hard to use - I have an “older” Macbook and plenty of familiarity with graphical programs like Gimp and GIS mapping software. I’ve tried building a simple circuit or two and I basically see how to use it.

I have encountered one basic problem, that I could use some help with.

  1. How does one know what to call parts? I tried to add a bridge rectifier. (That’s what I’ve always heard it called.) The Search function couldn’t find it under “rectifier”. I also tried searching for “bridge rectifier”, “diode rectifier”, “Graetz bridge”, and a couple of other variations. The problem is, I don’t know what specific term Fritzing uses for the part, so I don’t know what to search for. In general, how does one find a part when you don’t know what Fritzing calls it?

Ich wurde keine Antworten von deutschen Referenten sowie begruĂźen.



The problem isn’t you :slight_smile: the Fritzing parts database is somewhat incomplete. In this case it doesn’t contain a bridge rectifier. So your next choice is google and/or the parts submit forum in here (both in this case as google sent me back here :slight_smile: although I remembered seeing this earlier antway). If that doesn’t work you need to create your own part (and hopefully submit it for others as this person has). While parts creation isn’t easy there are helpful people in here that will give you a hand so that we all benefit


(Insert picture of jaw hanging open) That’s amazing. The parts database has hundreds of esoteric things I’ve never even heard of - yet you’re saying it lacks basic parts like a diode rectifier? That’s… insane. I would have thought that basic components like that would have been the very first things added. Why would something that simple and essential have been left out?

I can’t find a 12 volt voltage regulator, either. Is that something else that’s missing? (Next you’ll tell me you have to make your own resistors!)


I agree there are some surprising lacks (most 74 series ttl for instance) but there are a number of people (me among them) working on adding parts. I think there is a 7805 regulator and it probably has a parameter to change voltage (or at least part number) but I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if it isn’t in core but an add on somewhere. As well it is good to use part search (the magnifying glass in the parts bin) as there are some parts in core that don’t show up in the window (don’t know why …).


Right. I found the 7805, but I can’t change the voltage on it - which actually makes sense, because if you changed it to 12 volts, it would no longer be a 7805, but a 7812. I just can’t find a 7812 anywhere - which is, again, amazing, as I would have thought that that was such a basic part that it would have been added, long before moving on to other, more advanced stuff.

It’s like buying a car and finding out that it doesn’t come with an engine, you have to make your own.

I have no problem with building a part, but have no idea how to do that. Is there a tutorial somewhere?


Ah, another Fritzism :slight_smile: drag the 7805 on to the breadboard and click on that. Then inspector will let you change the options (but not I see to 12V!) in the Inspector window. Yes there are parts making tutorials
This is the latest series (and quite good)

and this one I made some time back as I struggled with parts creation which leads you through the complete creation of an existing part. (edit: it would help if I included the url …)

Part of the reason for the esoteric parts in Frtizing is because various companies (adafruit, sparkfun, the Arduino folks and various others) paid people to create Fritzing parts for their products. The other reason is that parts creation is poorly documented and quite difficult which makes it somewhat hard to contribute. Hope this helps as I want more parts too :slight_smile:


Thank you. I’ll look at the links you offered. One question: in what way is creating a part difficult? Do you say that because it’s a long process? Or tedious? Because it’s obscure? Complex? Requires data that’s hard to find? Or some other reason(s)? [Just would like to know what to watch out for / expect.]


It may depend on your experience. I for instance initially had never heard of the svg format or an svg editor (such as Inkscape which is what I use). They are large complex programs aimed at graphic artists. If you have experience with them things will be easier. Then there are things specific to Fritzing (which supports only the tiny subset of svg and doesn’t like CSS very much where as Inkscape is becoming CSS complient) so you currently need to manually edit the svgs from Inkscape to be sure there won’t be problems in Fritzing. As noted things are poorly documented, I am right now in another window trying to figure our why a part I’m making for someone is having troubles with its connections in breadboard. I’m trying to add together a bunch of parts including a breadboard and something is unhappy, it just isn’t yet clear what (and I am reasonably familiar with the internal part file formats). I’m still not enough of an artist to make good breadboard layouts (although I’m getting better at swiping them from other parts :slight_smile: ). It has taken me about 6 months to get this comfortable with parts creation. For many folks I expect their first experience with Inkscape is the end of parts creation :slight_smile: .


Hm. I know what a vector-graohics (SVG) image is, but I really haven’t dealt with them before. I’m a decent artist and have worked with raster graphics images in Gimp for years, and apparently Inkscape is a fork of Gimp, modified for vector graphics, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to learn. Gimp can import SVG files, although it can’t export them directly. However, there is a plugin that reportedly will convert to vector format, so maybe I can do this without having to learn Inkscape. Is there documentation on the internals of the parts file format?


It’s not that Fritzing can’t do it, it’s just you haven’t learnt how to do it.

Search reg
Right-click/Edit/Save as new part.
Right-click saved part/Edit/Meta and change it to 12V.

FZ was only designed to be a breadboard beginners aid - it currently errors when adding a SMD single-sided part -, it’s everyone else that is pushing it further.

Inkscape is nothing like GIMP, in fact there is nothing you can learn from GIMP.

All I can suggest is my tutorials, as there is probably enough to make parts without learning INK.


Yes the file format at least is here

as far as I know the parameters that Fritzing understands are not documented outside the source code though. If you are familiar with image processing it may go much easier for you, I haven’t before Fritizing played with images. What you need to do for the 7812 is pretty simple, all you need is to edit the schematic and breadboard svg files and change the text from 7805 to 7812 and you should be away or just do what Old_Grey just suggested :slight_smile: .


Well, according to the Wikipedia article on Inkscape, Inkscape is a fork of Gimp. Argue with them if you like, I don’t have a stake in it.

I just tried the procedure you mentioned above. Saved as a new part. Changed the metadata. However, it doesn’t actually change it. When you use the Inspector, the voltage still does not show as 12 volts.


@vanepp: OK, thanks, I’ll take a stab at it. I’m somewhat familiar with image processing from a technical-user perspective, although I don’t claim to be a graphics programmer. As I mentioned above, I tried Old_Grey’s suggestion, and it doesn’t quite work; the “edit” part seems to, but then the voltage drop-down options don’t actually change, and I can’t save the result in any case, because the save-bin window freezes. But it’s good to know for the future.


If you can’t make it work, post and I’ll make one for you. Its easy enough when you’ve done it a few times but I suspect you will do fine anyway. Unlike Old_Grey I’ve never figured out the parts editor properly so I tend to edit the svgs and files directly and thus am a poor choice for advise on the parts editor.


@vanepp: Understood, and thank you. It’ll be educational, I’m sure. :wink:


I thing this is included in my part…