• Dhanush kumar S

Top 5 Circuit Simulation Softwares

Updated: Aug 23, 2020

An electronic circuit is nothing but a combination of electronic components such as resistors, transistors, diodes, and capacitors connected by the conductive wires through which electric current can flow. The #circuit simulation is a concept which uses some mathematical models to replicate the behavior of any circuit. The circuit simulation is done with the help of some Softwares and online simulators.


The circuit simulation software is also used in teaching the students because it engages its users by interacting with them into the learning experience. Almost all the existing #IC designs rely heavily on simulation. This article explains briefly the top 5 circuit simulation Softwares in the market its advantages and uses.


1. NI Multisim:

National Instruments Multisim is an electronic simulation program that is part of a suite of circuit design programs. Multisim was originally created by a company named Electronics Workbench, which has now become a division of National Instruments. It is one of the few circuit design programs to employ the original Berkeley SPICE based simulation. Multisim has certain unique characteristics which include the import and export feature to the PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) layout software in the suite and also the microcontroller simulation.


Uses:

  • Multisim is used in the making of electronic schematic design.

  • It plays an important role in the SPICE simulation.

  • It helps in educating about the circuit to the beginners in detail.

  • Multisim helps to explore the breadboards in 3-Dimension and also in its simulation.

  • It is also employed in the design of electronics in defense and avionics equipment for data acquisition.

  • It is used to design low-frequency circuits for RF applications.

  • It has a crucial role in the development of medical devices and the Bio-instrumentation industry.


2. LTspice simulator:


It is a SPICE-based analog electronic circuit simulator computer software. The software was originally manufactured by Linear Technology. It is the most widely distributed and used SPICE software in the industry. LTspice provides a schematic capture for an electronic circuit and a waveform viewer to show the results of the simulation. It can support simple logic gate simulation but does not generate Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) layouts. Although it is biased towards using their parts, it can be used with other vendor's parts.


Uses:

  • LTspice simulators are used to calculate the heat dissipation of the components.

  • They are also employed to generate efficiency reports of the respective circuits.

  • Specialized modes to speed the simulation of Switched Mode Power Supply (SMPS).

  • The application of the LTspice simulator is extended in the fields of audio #electronics, radiofrequency, digital, and power electronics.


3. Quite Universal Circuit Simulator:


Quite Universal Circuit Simulator(QUCS) is a software-based electronics circuit simulator released under General Public License(GPL). This software supports all kinds of circuit simulations such as Transient, s-parameter, DC, AC, and pure digital simulations. It also provides a harmonic balance analysis. QUCS helps us to simulate the large-signal, small-signal, and also the noise behavior of a circuit. It supports us to build a circuit with a GUI [Graphical User Interface].


Uses:

  • QUCS is used in filter synthesis, noise matching, and attenuator design synthesis.

  • The simulated data can be represented in various types of diagrams such as 3D-cartesian, Smith-chart, polar, and locus curve.

  • It enables powerful post-data processing possible with the help of circuit equations.

  • QUCS software can function in various operating systems such as Solaris, Apple Macintosh, Microsoft Windows.

  • The transmission line calculator feature in the QUCS software helps to design and analyze different types of transmission lines.

  • A component library manager gives access to models such as diodes, transistors, and bridges which can be implemented as macros.


4. PSIM Software:


PSIM is also an electronic simulation software developed by a company named Powersim. Nodal analysis and trapezoidal rule integration are the two basic concepts of its simulation algorithm. Based on its usage, PSIM has a much faster simulation speed than the SPICE based simulators. It also provides a waveform viewer and a schematic capture #interface. PSIM has more flexibility and can also run on SPICE based models and net-lists. PSIM uses ideal switches and so they are mostly employed for system-level studies rather than switching transition studies.


Uses:

  • PSIM extends its functionality in areas such as photovoltaics control theory and the construction of wind turbines.

  • PSIM software is employed by the industries for product development and by the educational institutions for teaching and research purposes.

  • There are certain modules available for motor drive simulation and to calculate the thermal losses caused due to the conduction and switching.

  • Renewable energy module is available for the simulation of supercapacitors, wind turbines, and batteries.

  • In version 10 release, MOSFET and Diode modules are added which can be used in the simulation of gate drive circuitry, reverse recovery effects, and switch transition.


5.NGspice Software:


Ng spice is a mixed-signal electronic circuit simulator. It is a successor of the latest stable module of Berkeley spice version released in 1993. This software is based on the 3 main open-source software packages. They are Spice, cider, and X spice. The X spice provides us additional C language code to support the co-simulation of digital components and analog behavioral modeling. The cider couples circuit-level simulator with the device simulator to increase the accuracy of the simulation process. NG spice software simulates by following 3 kins of analysis. They are Nonlinear transient analysis, Nonlinear DC analysis, and linear AC analysis.


Uses:

  • Ng spice software helps in small-signal noise simulation and transient noise simulation.

  • It offers plotting capability and also possesses a command line input interface.

  • It is also used as a simulation engine for various commercial EDA tools such as Kicad, EAGLE.

  • Ng spice is employed for complex simulation and evaluation control flows as it provides an internal scripting language.

  • It contains polynomial sources and also supports parametric netlists.


Apart from these simulations #software, there are also many online compilers available to perform the process of circuit simulation. Some of them are PartSim, 123D Circuits, TinaCloud, and DcAcLab. By performing the simulation, we can gain in-depth knowledge in circuits and also paves a way for many researchers to innovate new efficient design #modules.


See also:

  1. Article on an interfacing LCD display with raspberry pi

  2. Smart lighting system- using LEDs, LDR and raspberry pi

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