A couple ideas for the PCB editor interface

I have managed to use Fritzing now to create a circuit board that is very basic. I was able to use the ‘bottom mirror’ PDF output to etch a board. Just a simple board with 12 LEDs on it and some transistors to control them in groups of four.

I have noticed a few problems with the PCB editor:

  1. The cursor suffers from ‘magic wand’ syndrome. Everything is done through it, so clicking a part can do a huge number of possible things.
  2. It’s difficult to select some parts on the board.
  3. There is no way to set a key to do some specific action (i.e. rotate currently selected part).
  4. I can’t “merge” traces.

For the first problem, if there was a menu somewhere that enabled the user to toggle specific actions the cursor can perform it would be great. For example, if I could disable adding traces it would be great. Usually I add a bunch of traces then work on part placement.

For the second problem, I am not sure what happens here. Sometimes in inspector I actually see the part name briefly but I wind up with ‘PCB’ selected somehow. Could a master list of each component be added somewhere, possibly searchable?

For problem 3, it would be nice to be able to add key bindings for specific actions on a part such as flip, rotate, etc.

For problem 4, what I am talking about is when I wind up with a set of traces that forms a closed polygon. I think somehow this should be able to identified and can be merged into a closed part. This is usually advantageous when dealing with positive power rails. Also if you are etching from a copper clad board, it doesn’t really cost anything to do this.

Does anyone have any further feedback along these ideas?

1 - Yeah
2 - This has been a problem from day one, so there are work-arounds. Try zoom out select, try zoom in select. Select from the bottom, Select in different view and move with Inspector x,y until you can grab it.
3 - Yeah, there isn’t shortcut keyboard keys for everything.
4 - What I do it click on the connector and everything connected to it turns yellow, and then I look for a shorter way.