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SPICE & PCB Design software
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Old 16th July 2008, 07:29 PM   #1
HighTower is offline HighTower  Netherlands
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Default SPICE & PCB Design software

Dear fellow DIY enthousiasts,

After 4 years I've finally found the time (and regaind the urge) to design "stuff".

My last project ended with fireworks as I was torture-testing my SMPS, after that work kept me busy up untill now.

This time I want to get rid of the biggest obstacle know to man: pin limits!
I used to work with student versions of Ulticap (Ultiboard) and pSpice (indeed, I was a student at that time). Not only did this make it impossible to build my amplifier on 1 PCB, i was also unable to Spice the entire amp including feedback loop, putting myself in the dark as to if/how my amp would work.
Besides this I had to draw the same schematic twice. Once in pSpice and afterwards again for the PCB design.

Somehow this gave me the feeling that i was designing rockets with crayons and Play-Doh.

Therefore I'm on a mission to find all-in-one software that supports Spice and PCB design. Hence, my question:

Wich Spice and/or PCB design software would you recommend?

As for the PCB design, output of gerber files is a must-have. My student version of Ultiboard doesn't support this making it very difficult to get a professional PCB produced.

On the Spice part, a large database would be nice

One thing that wasn't part of the plan was me selling some organs to pay for this software. It 'll be used for DIY purposes only so please don't recommend professional kits at $ 2000,- or more.

Last but not least: I'm from the Netherlands so please forgive me for my bad English
"If you can't convince them, confuse them." - Harry Truman
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Old 16th July 2008, 07:55 PM   #2
Nordic is offline Nordic  South Africa
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I suggest you look at multicap for the sim part of things... the student version has a limited library, but it seems easy enough to add stuff, (I have only added a zener so far).

It comes with quite a few SMPS demos

For PCB, eagle would be my recomendation... also makes it easy to add packages that are not included or available in free libraries.
Allows you to check board VS schematic and also against rules of your fabrication house...

I suspect the trail version may present a problem for your circuits as it only allows half a eurocard sized boards.
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Old 16th July 2008, 08:38 PM   #3
gerhard is online now gerhard  Germany
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Default Re: SPICE & PCB Design software

Try switchercad / LTspice from Linear Technology

It's free (in the sense of free beer) as they see it as customer
support for those who buy their chips. This implies that the
included libraries are LinearTechnology-centric but there is
nothing to stop you from using 3rd party models that you may
have. In particular, it understands the pspice modelling extensions
that are not known to most simple Berkeley spice ports.
It has no limitations other than memory and simulation run time.

Since you seem to have an interest in SMPS: They have turbocharged
models for the LT switch mode controller chips. This reduces simulation
run times for SMPS considerably since you need _many_ cycles of
your 1 MHz switcher to see effects that may be caused by the
mains rectifier, for example.

LTspice has a very active support group on Yahoo.

regards, Gerhard
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!" "We don't demand solid facts! What we demand is a total absence of solid facts. I demand that I may or may not be Vroomfondel!"
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Old 17th July 2008, 02:57 AM   #4
BrianL is offline BrianL  United States
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SPICE & PCB Design software
Similarly, Texas Instruments offers a SPICE program based on "TINA", called TINA-TI that can be downloaded from the TI web site. More extensive versions, including ones with integrated PCB design, can be purchased from DesignSoft (www.designsoftware.com)
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Old 17th July 2008, 09:22 PM   #5
HighTower is offline HighTower  Netherlands
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Thanks for the reply's! I've downloaded both Eagle & SwitcherCAD, let's see how they work
"If you can't convince them, confuse them." - Harry Truman
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