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Circuit simulation software

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by mc, May 16, 2006.

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  1. mc

    mc Guest

    What are today's choices in circuit simulation software?

    Multisim is very good, but expensive, and it won't run unless you either log
    in as administrator or give all users write access to its directory in
    Program Files (which it doesn't do for itself when you install it). What's
    more, it goes into an endless loop if you don't do this; you press "Cancel"
    and get the same message and the same invitation to cancel, over and over.
    I've just been trying out their free trial version, which is good for 45
    days and appears to be excellent apart from the file-permissions problem.

    Is there anything out there that is cheap and useful?
  2. Guest


    Linear Technology Corporation's LT-Spice, (aka SwitcherCADIII), a free
    download from , is excellent.

    And there's a superb users' group, at .


    Tom Gootee

  3. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    The Multisim people are, well, not perfectly ethical. LT Spice is
    excellent and free.

  4. There is a free limited version of Tina on the Texas Instruments website, or you can get
    a demo or low priced full versions at I have been fairly
    satisfied with it but have not used it a lot.

    Paul E. Schoen
  5. YD

    YD Guest


    - YD.
  6. mc

    mc Guest

    Is there anything out there that is cheap and useful?
    Thanks; I'll try that. I'm also trying the OrCAD demo edition, which seems
    to be powerful but an order of magnitude harder to get started with than
  7. Mike Monett

    Mike Monett Guest

    You might also want to look at Spectrum Software's MicroCap 8. The demo has
    no time limit and handles up to 50 nodes. This is more than enough for most
    SPICE analysis work. MicroCap is much easier to learn and to use than other
    programs, and has far better graphical analysis. This is where you really
    need their advanced features and ease of use in order to see what your
    circuit is doing.

    It pays to take your time evaluating as many different SPICE programs as
    possible. After you get started and have several months or years of working
    analysis files on your hard disk, you may find it difficult to switch to
    another program.

    You can download MC8 for free. Just give them an email address and they
    will send you the download location. Here's the url:


    Mike Monett
  8. mc

    mc Guest

    You might also want to look at Spectrum Software's MicroCap 8. The demo
    Many thanks!
  9. joseph2k

    joseph2k Guest

  10. Guest

    Getting anything usefull from a simulator is usually much harder than
    building the circuit and mearuring its performance.
  11. Ian Bell

    Ian Bell Guest

    Interesting. You must have some very expensive test gear then. For the rest
    of us, simulation is a good tool.

  12. Guest

    Are you saying that you never build the circuits you design? Or if you
    do then you dont test them to ensure they work the same as the
    simulation? The reality is that you still need to build and you still
    need the test gear even if you simulate first, so it saves you nothing.
  13. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Once you've gone through the learning curve, it can save you the time of
    unbuilding circuits that you've built but don't do what you want them to
    do. :)

  14. Slavek

    Slavek Guest

  15. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    You realize you just cut out everyone doing IC design there, right? I think
    it's a safe statement that no one designs, e.g., an IC op-amp and *doesn't*
    perform circuit simulation first.

    I second Slavek's suggestion to check out SI-Metrix from Catena; it's a
    beautiful piece of work.

    ---Joel Kolstad
  16. looks interesting but, strangely, from their pricing page

    "Note that we cannot accept cash under any circumstances."

    Must be the Talban Effect

  17. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    It wouldn't be the first English company I've encountered where it seems
    like they don't *really* want to sell you anything and it takes significant
    effort before you're "allowed" to do so! :)

    SI-Metrix used to be its own little company (Newbury Technology) before
    Catena acquired it and raised the prices. However, John Warner is still at
    the helm of SI-Metrix, and as long as that's the case I think it'll conitnue
    to be a good product (unlike, say, PSpice which has stagnated at best under
    Cadence's ownership).

  18. Rich Grise wrote:

    well, I don't know who this originated from or by how so..

    Oh dear...

    You've not designed an analogue ic with 10,000 transistors have you?

    Ho hum...Its not unusual for complex, high transistor count designs to
    work first time.

    How do you propose to do worst case corners or Monty Carlo to verify
    that your rats nest custom tweaked, one off circuit actually works with
    component variations?

    You simply can not design analogue i.c.s without extensive simulation.
    Ideally, bench work is kept to a bare minimum. Typically, analogue ics
    are so well designed using only simulation that bench work often
    consists of simply verifying a few bits and bobs and making the data
    sheet. This is way it is.

    Kevin Aylward B.Sc.
    SuperSpice, a very affordable Mixed-Mode
    Windows Simulator with Schematic Capture,
    Waveform Display, FFT's and Filter Design.

    "There are none more ignorant and useless,than they that seek answers
    on their knees, with their eyes closed"
  19. Fred Bartoli

    Fred Bartoli Guest

    Or the Talbin effect.

    Talbin is a French slang word for banknote.
  20. Guest

    Well of course that is one of the unusual cases, indeed spice was
    developed specifiaclly for that purpose. Chip makers, as a rule, don't
    come online looking for the cheapest simulator around, so I think we
    can safely say the OP isn't in that catagory.
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