I'm trying to design a Kicad schematic that has some off board LEDs. The LEDs are connected to the PCB with a set of physical flexy wires and a connector. This is my intention:-

Kicad schematic of off board parts

I also have some wiring looms to design with associated connectors to circuit boards. The thing is, when I search for schematic images of this kinda thing, I can't find any. I also can't see how this is the same as a hierarchical circuit as there are breaks in the wires at the connectors. Is this not the correct way?


Usually schematics only contain a single board or a subset of a board. Having cable assemblies or component assemblies within the schematic of a board is not common in the industry. This kind of information is usually held in assembly diagrams. There is even cable assembly drawings that depict electrical and mechanical assemblies of cables and wiring looms.

Now, if you do this for hobby use and lack of tools/convenience nothing is stopping you really. Be absolutely sure though to have the polarity of those connectors right. Also, when you do this, your cable assembly will become part of your netlist and physical parts (footprints) will appear when you load the netlist in the layout tool (PCBnew in this case).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Making the parts no-footprint might be a solution... \$\endgroup\$ – ThreePhaseEel Oct 17 '16 at 11:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ So just to be clear; things like the wiring connections within a car's headlight cluster would NOT be incorporated onto a schematic diagram vis a vis Kicad? Just the engine management unit computer? And there would then be an assembly drawing of the two parts? \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Uszak Oct 17 '16 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not working in the car industry and afaik it depends what the audience of your drawings are. This link should give you an idea how the problem should be tackled: autoelectricalsystems.wordpress.com \$\endgroup\$ – Joan Sparky Oct 19 '16 at 1:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apologies - I shouldn't have deflected focus onto the car industry. CATIA sounds expensive and I doubt that it'll run on my tablet. If I stick to Kicad and only represent individual isolated circuit boards, how do I get CAD support in connecting them together? PCBnew shows unconnected nodes, so creating confidence that it's all wired up properly. Has this ability not yet cascaded down to the hobbyist yet? \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Uszak Mar 14 '17 at 16:49

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