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Old 24th June 2011, 05:19 PM   #1
Cr@sh is offline Cr@sh  United States
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Default Software for noobs

Hi all, well I have been googling and searching here to find software for making circuits as simple as cap and resistor and applying 12v to see how it effects it and I can't seem to find anything other then LT-Spice IV which I have used but not that successfully. I learn easiest by simulation, being able to put simple circuits together and apply voltages this way I get to better understand what is happening. I then check the outputs using ohm's law to make sure I fully understand. I have no classroom learning so I'm sure I have missed out on a lot of things that would greatly help but then it wouldn't be a hobby. So I guess I'm asking your opinions on the easiest software to use and learn from. I have an O-scope, DMM, RMS clamp, and a few others to make real circuits but I like simulations as well. Thanks for any and all replies!
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Old 25th June 2011, 05:36 AM   #2
dchisholm is offline dchisholm  United States
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Well, LTSpice is my simulator-of-choice - and I have access to commercial CAD/CAE packages selling for multi-kilobucks. LTSpice won't keep track of your parts list, or help you lay out a PWB, and the schematic capture doesn't meet the standards of many Configuration Management Departments . . . but as a pure circuit simulator, it beats the pants off anything I've seen in the hobbyist class.

You indirectly point out one of the two major shortcomings of LTSpice - the lack of lucid, thorough, documentation and tutorials. Have you joined the Yahoo LTSpice Users' Group at < http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/LTspice/ >? Take a good look at the tutorials and documentation found in the "Files" and "Links" areas. (There must be at least a couple dozen.) Several instructors have adopted LTSpice (officially or unofficially) for use in their courses, and their course materials are available online. The secret, of course, is to find the tutorial or course that is compatible with your personal learning style and your current level of understanding.

Having said that . . . if I recall correctly, Multisim comes with several fairly well-done educational example files. I don't know if they're included in the no-cost (limited time/limited capability) version, but I'm fairly certain they're in the "Student" (limited capability - about $50) version.

It's great to know you recognize the REQUIREMENT to occasionally "close the loop", and verify your simulation results on a real, physical, circuit. Not only are there things that SPICE does not simulate well, there are a lot of shoddy (or worse) simulation models floating around. Without that occasional reality-check and course-correction, your simulation work is little more than a "video game for engineers". The pictures on your screen may be worth a thousand words in a textbook, but NOTHING beats hardware.

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Old 25th June 2011, 07:34 AM   #3
geraldfryjr is offline geraldfryjr  United States
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LTSPICE seems to be the software of choice these days,but i have been using circuit maker 2000 and Traxmaker with great sucsess.
They can be found on the net whith some digging just beware of some of the cracked sights as they may have viruses.
You may have better luck if you are on a bit torrent system.
Circuit maker 6 student version works good aswell, only it is limited to 50 components count per design.
The GUI is extermely easy to use although it could have been refined a little better, but works very good and has all the functions needed for good circuit design.

Once you get your cricuit designed you just export the netlist to traxmaker as it is a full board design system with autorouting and autoplacement if you choose to use those features.

There is nomore support for it since the rights were bought by Altium but it can be found if you dig hard enough.

Just A few thoughts,Good Luck! jer

P.S. So far all of the circuits that I have designed on cicuitmaker that simulated without errors, I have built and worked without a hitch.

Last edited by geraldfryjr; 25th June 2011 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 25th June 2011, 02:38 PM   #4
Cr@sh is offline Cr@sh  United States
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Detroit
Thanks for the responses, this is what I was looking for. I'm current on torrenting so I downed a few different softwares for trials a while ago. If I like something well enough I will purchase it but I haven't found anything noob enough! haha, however it looks as though checking out the yahoo group sounds right up my alley.
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