PCB Reverse Engineering Using GIMP

Introduction: PCB Reverse Engineering Using GIMP

There are only few articles or guides that shows how you can reverse engineer a PCB using a jpg or png picture that you have or you take for a PCB. I tried the one mentioned on this site, but I didn't success in that.
The aim of reverse engineering are many.. I am not responsible for using this technique to do illegal copy of products. My aim is to allow engineers to analyze products by reproducing the circuitry and analyzing the circuitry of the product.

Tools you need :
3-TIME   :)
4-KICAD or any other PCB software.

MY brushes are free of charges and use them in your own risk .. I am not responsible for any damage or whatever you can face by using these files

How to go:
1-Extract the file in your gimp brush folder. Notice that, different folders gives you the ability to filter the brushes in Gimp 2.8.2  as you need.. Please feel free to remove or add more brushes.
2-Start by aligning the PCB in GIMP and remove any arts or paints on the PCB.
3-Make a layer for each work. Start a layer for the connectors, with a black color having a 50% Opacity, so you can see the  tracks from the picture.
4-Make a layer for the components and use another color. First, put the components you have on the bottom side of the PCB .
5-Make another layer for the components and use different color. Pick the components you need and for the chip you can choose the correct chip brush.. If you don't have it in the rar file please make a brush.  Like the others simply  by modifying the brushes you have in the file.
6- Bring or open the front (top) side of the PCB and flip it so it match the bottom .. And try to draw the components you find.
7- Use the eye button to show or hide any layer
8-When you finish the drawing check it and save your files every time you make changes
9-Use useful names for each layer
10. You have now your drawing, start KICAD and draw the components and the connectors exactly as it is on the PCB in the gimp project. Don't try to move the components or the connectors yet in KiCad. Make it in the same layout as you have it in Gimp
11-When you finish your drawing in KiCad, make a copy and start to re-arrange the components and the tracks so you get a nice schematic.
Thats it

It is easy, quick and a good way to reverse engineer a PCB. I hope that you find this useful. Please let me know if you like the idea

Mariwan Jalal

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. I once used this technique with Photoshop.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I have a plan to use Gimp in another way. But, still I couldn't manage to have an even light for taking good picture of the PCB. I hope I can do the instructable soon.