Author Topic: Schematic Capture and Circuit Simulation  (Read 690 times)

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Offline RogerAF

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Schematic Capture and Circuit Simulation
« on: February 11, 2019, 03:37:03 am »
Aloha and greetings from Florida. I was an active tech/engineer in Honolulu from 1985 through 2006. Mostly servicing sound systems and recording studios. Almost all analog machines except for control systems. Made many mods for many people and tried to keep records of all designs. I tried Electronics Workbench, but quickly moved to CircuitMaker / TraxMaker. I used that from the late 80s and updated to new versions as they were released. I did not get to CircuitMaker 2000 because most of my big studio clients went out of business in the mid 90s as home computers made home recording possible--from Windows-95 and whatever Mac was doing. So by the late 90s I was scrambling for any work I could get. So I stuck with CM98 for the next 20 years.

Long story short--I turned 60, had some health issues, and had to retire in 2012. My old P3 computer went into storage and I was computer-less until 2016. I have a decent laptop running Windows-10 and I'm now trying to get back to some of my own EE designs. I have no budget, so I'm limited to freebies for now. I tried the new CircuitMaker, but it kinda sucks. I was able to get hold of a bootleg CM-2000 and I've been using that, but it is now almost a 20 year old program. I'm looking for something modern.

My primary consideration is schematic layout and circuit simulation. Many of my designs are analog with digital control. I tried LT Spice, but was not happy with the way the schematic layout would put arbitrary angles in the wires between components. I have done schematics that have taken several sheets of 11" x 17" pages to print, and the value of straight lines when looking at such a large design is beyond compare IMHO. (The lack of straight lines was also why I abandoned Electronics Workbench.)

I have done much googling and settled on PCB123 by Sunstone. It claimed to have schematic capabilities, but I could not find them. I am now looking at KiCAD and gEDA and trying to decide which to try first. I am hoping someone here can share their experiences with either/both or with some other program of which I am unaware. I like having a schematic editor combined with a simulator so as to be able to make changes and see their effect, without having to change programs and load the latest file etc.

Any help/advice appreciated. Thank you.
 

Offline RogerAF

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Re: Schematic Capture and Circuit Simulation
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 03:40:45 am »
Oh, I just saw elCap's post re this very subject: PCB/EDA Software List, so I'll read that now. Still, I hope someone will have something to add here.

Later:
Re EEVblog, elCap's PCB/EDA software list:
(although he seems more interested in the PCB part of it)
So here is my take on these:
CircuitMaker: been there, done that.
DesignSpark: tried it.
EasyEDA: no web-based stuff. I want it on my computer.
FreePCB, Fritzing: I'm skipping everything that doesn't do schematics/simulation.
gEDA, KiCAD: I will be trying both of these.
Open Circuit Design: digital simulator only.
Orcad DOS (old): link broken, besides, I alredy have something old.
OrCAD Lite (Cadence): possibility; I've heard good things about PSPICE. (I have used Berkley SPICE in the past, but I want something integrated.)
The rest of the freebies have limited schematic capture capabilities and no integrated simulation.
Limited free versions and Commercial are not my cuppa coffee. So I'll try the three I've got here (gEDA, KiCAD, and OrCAD Lite).

Later: Gee it looks like I'm SOL finding what I want.

OrCAD Lite is limited (of course) so I could only make small designs with up to 60 components and limited number of SPICE models.

KiCAD doesn't have a built-in simulator.

gEDA only has an "experimental" Windows-XP version. And has to be linked and compiled, I can do it, but is it worth my time and effort? Or would that be better spent looking around for something better?

So I'm still in the same boat. Looks like I'll be using CM-2000 for a while. I had a ton of .lib and .mod files on my old computer. I'm hoping to get that up again, but there are also other projects hanging fire. Priorities suck. Cheers everyone.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 05:45:50 am by RogerAF »
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Schematic Capture and Circuit Simulation
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2019, 11:26:26 am »
Looks like I'll be using CM-2000 for a while.

Circuit Maker 2000 was ahead of its time. Protel sold Traxmaker to an American company who made the software so usable Protel (Altium) bought it back again some years later.

I was thinking that DipTrace might suit you if you are familiar with the Traxmaker GUI. They are very similar in many ways. There is a 300 pin limit on their free version, but you can go up to 1000 pins if you are non-profit or using it for educational purposes.

I'm a registered Altium user & have used Proteus as well for work ................. but I use DipTrace for pretty much all my design these days. Why? Because I like it & it works :)

ADDED: I see you are wanting SPICE as well ............. I think you will probably end up with a separate CAD program to run that. Even Altium sucks at SPICE.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 11:28:16 am by DerekG »
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline MarkF

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Re: Schematic Capture and Circuit Simulation
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2019, 01:38:28 pm »
Looks like I'll be using CM-2000 for a while.

Circuit Maker 2000 was ahead of its time. Protel sold Traxmaker to an American company who made the software so usable Protel (Altium) bought it back again some years later.

I was thinking that DipTrace might suit you if you are familiar with the Traxmaker GUI. They are very similar in many ways. There is a 300 pin limit on their free version, but you can go up to 1000 pins if you are non-profit or using it for educational purposes.

I'm a registered Altium user & have used Proteus as well for work ................. but I use DipTrace for pretty much all my design these days. Why? Because I like it & it works :)

ADDED: I see you are wanting SPICE as well ............. I think you will probably end up with a separate CAD program to run that. Even Altium sucks at SPICE.

+1 for Diptrace.    However, it doesn't have any simulation.  It's a schematic capture and PCB layout program.
I found it very easy to learn and use.  Hated Eagle and KiCad.
Their FREE for Non-profit license is 2 layers and 500 pins.  For personal use, I have not needed more.
 

Offline xzswq21

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Re: Schematic Capture and Circuit Simulation
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2019, 08:41:00 am »

I tried LT Spice, but was not happy with the way the schematic layout would put arbitrary angles in the wires between components. I have done schematics that have taken several sheets of 11" x 17" pages to print, and the value of straight lines when looking at such a large design is beyond compare IMHO. (The lack of straight lines was also why I abandoned Electronics Workbench.)

I like having a schematic editor combined with a simulator so as to be able to make changes and see their effect, without having to change programs and load the latest file etc.

Hi
what do u mean, LTspice would put arbitrary angles in the wire between components? Could u please take a pic from ur problem?

in LTspice you can build any components very easily, you can change the line width, color of any lines, nodes, components,...
LTpice is a powerful simulator, other simulators have many artifacts:
https://www.analog.com/en/technical-articles/spice-differentiation.html
I have changed some default setting in LTspice:

the fig is very clear, I have shown above some input or output ports...
❤ Bushire will be released and independent! ❤
 

Offline pointhi

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Re: Schematic Capture and Circuit Simulation
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2019, 02:52:15 am »
KiCAD doesn't have a built-in simulator.

Actually, that's not true. KiCad 5 has integrated ngspice support:
 


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