Author Topic: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now  (Read 5347 times)

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Offline janoc

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Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« on: August 04, 2019, 08:02:39 pm »
The Microcap simulator software is now a free (as in beer) download:

http://www.spectrum-soft.com/download/download.shtm

The company is apparently shutting down so they have released the software for free. It is Windows only but it supposedly runs in Linux with Wine too.

Nice to have a pretty powerful alternative to LTSpice!
« Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 08:54:37 pm by janoc »
 

Offline taydin

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2019, 08:42:29 pm »
WOW, this software has been around like forever! I remember drooling over it when I was in college back in the beginning of the 90's.

Hats off to Spectrum Software for making this available for free. This should be a lesson to all other companies that just leave a product to die. So many vintage gear from Tek, HP and the like are just left to die because these companies don't make the design information available, even though none of these products are sold any longer. For example, why don't these companies provide all software options for free for the products that it has discontinued? They won't make money from selling the options anyway.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 08:47:15 pm by taydin »
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Offline exe

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2019, 08:46:31 pm »
Lovely! It does work in Wine on my computer and I managed to simulate something. I'm very happy and definitely give it a try. Hope it has better UI than LTSpice. The range of simulators that run on Linux is very limited, and most of them were not very useful for me.
 

Offline janoc

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2019, 08:51:12 pm »
I have also managed to get it to work in Wine, just the 32bit version sometimes glitches and doesn't react to clicks, only keyboard. Weird bug.

I am not sure whether the UI is "better" than LTSpice, though - it does have its own share of quirks, such as each component having 8 (!) predefined orientations you select from instead of a "Rotate" and "Mirror" functions but I guess one can live with that. The way how to define probing points for plotting is a bit clunky, though - LTSpice allows to place probes, here you have to define the plots by hand in a table. Or maybe I haven't figured it out yet.

I love some of the features such as the power analysis - you get a nice "HOT!" warning on a transistor if there is too much current flowing through, "LIN" when in linear regime, etc. Not absolutely necessary but neat.

I hope that component models will be available (or adaptable) for it, though - that's where LTSpice has definitely an advantage.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 08:58:34 pm by janoc »
 

Offline exe

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2019, 09:10:47 pm »
each component having 8 (!) predefined orientations you select from instead of a "Rotate" and "Mirror"

There are flip X/Y buttons on the tool panel. May be there is a hotkey, I'm yet to read the manual. As for probing, there is "probe" function. Doesn't always work the way I expect, probably RTFM problem.
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2019, 12:46:41 am »
Quote
The company is apparently shutting down so they have released the software for free. It is Windows only but it supposedly runs in Linux with Wine too.


I don't see the announcement that they are shutting down. Where did you read this?
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2019, 12:50:45 pm »
Quote
The company is apparently shutting down so they have released the software for free. It is Windows only but it supposedly runs in Linux with Wine too.

I don't see the announcement that they are shutting down. Where did you read this?

I haven't downloaded and tested Microcap yet, but I haven't seen any information (granted I didn't look extensively) on the web site that Microcap had become free either. Did I miss the info or are they just being very discreet about it?
 

Offline janoc

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2019, 01:35:46 pm »
Quote
The company is apparently shutting down so they have released the software for free. It is Windows only but it supposedly runs in Linux with Wine too.


I don't see the announcement that they are shutting down. Where did you read this?

On Reddit, in the thread where this was posted:

https://www.reddit.com/r/electronics/comments/cg5q3l/after_36_years_as_a_commercial_product_the/euhkrkp?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

 

Offline janoc

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2019, 01:37:31 pm »
Quote
The company is apparently shutting down so they have released the software for free. It is Windows only but it supposedly runs in Linux with Wine too.

I don't see the announcement that they are shutting down. Where did you read this?

I haven't downloaded and tested Microcap yet, but I haven't seen any information (granted I didn't look extensively) on the web site that Microcap had become free either. Did I miss the info or are they just being very discreet about it?

It is in the EULA:

Quote
   
Micro-Cap License Agreement and Disclaimer

<snip>
Micro-Cap is Spectrum Software's circuit simulation software. As of 7/4/2019, it is available free to the entire engineering community.
<snip>

They were supposed to post an announcement on the website too but it seems it didn't happen yet.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2019, 01:44:39 pm »
Oh, OK.

Well, if they are indeed shutting down, that's understandable. They may not even be allowed to officially announce it while the procedure is under progress...
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2019, 01:52:42 pm »
Will definitely be nice to have something a bit easier to use than LTSpice.
(Although i've not used this yet, but LTSpice is pretty bad from a UI point of view so I can't imagine it being worse)
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Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2019, 01:56:18 pm »
What would be even nicer would be if they released the source code... ;D
 

Offline taydin

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2019, 03:02:17 pm »
What would be even nicer would be if they released the source code... ;D

Or at least release the source code to a few select people who are motivated to improve the software :)
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Offline janoc

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2019, 03:45:43 pm »
Well, feel free to suggest it - they have an e-mail contact on the page and apparently are still reading it. I am not holding my breath but maybe a small company (I believe MicroCap was mostly the work of one man and there are only 3 authors listed in the About page) would be more amenable to something like that than a huge multinational behemoth.
 

Offline 0xdeadbeef

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2019, 03:57:21 pm »
Releasing something as Open Source might involve much more work than just putting files in a repository. E.g. there could be 3rd party parts/objects used they are not allowed to (re-)distribute etc.
Trying is the first step towards failure - Homer J. Simpson
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2019, 04:01:19 pm »
Thanks for the heads up; I also drooled over Microcap's simulator, which could be integrated into OrCAD for DOS (IIRC).
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Online Berni

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2019, 04:20:50 pm »
I never seen this simulator before but it looks really nice.

Il have to give it a try and see if i can move on from LT Spice after all of these years. This certainly has a lot more bells and whistles and hopefully the schematic editor works better than the LT Spice "90s nostalgia UI".

Anyone knows how accurate this simulator is, or how well it behaves in tricky unstable circuits that like to confuse simulators?
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2019, 04:32:39 pm »
LOL..
Last time I used Microcap, it was Microcap 3..

It seems quite more complicated than Ltspice, and more featured..
There will be learning curve.
 

Online jmw

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2019, 05:22:12 pm »
I hope they find a way to release the source, or sell the assets perhaps to AD. It's nice to make it available but abandonware goes stale eventually.
 

Offline 0xdeadbeef

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2019, 05:44:48 pm »
Hm, is there a way to import LTSpice ASC files?
Trying is the first step towards failure - Homer J. Simpson
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2019, 09:40:37 pm »
Tried it on a few of the examples that come with it (there are many!!)

It's definitely got a lot of features. UI is not particularly intuitive, but I guess you get used to it. The sim engine seems reasonably fast.

Unfortunately, it crashed on a transient analysis of one of the examples (after testing a few). I used the 64-bit version if that matters.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2019, 01:04:27 am »
Wow, I haven't looked at Microcap in ages. Thanks for the heads up.
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Offline magic

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2019, 10:18:36 am »
better than the LT Spice "90s nostalgia UI"
The 90s had the best UIs. LTspice schematic editor is actually pretty good and very fast to operate. My biggest complaint is that the working area needs to be enlarged by zooming out rather than simply dragging the existing circuit to the side.
 

Offline mikerj

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2019, 11:24:32 am »
better than the LT Spice "90s nostalgia UI"
The 90s had the best UIs. LTspice schematic editor is actually pretty good and very fast to operate. My biggest complaint is that the working area needs to be enlarged by zooming out rather than simply dragging the existing circuit to the side.

Totally agree, I really don't understand the hate for LTSpice UI, it's simple and it works.  Like you, I do wish there was the ability to drag the window contents but it's a fairly minor annoyance once you get used to hitting spacebar to "zoom fit" and then scroll wheel to zoom in.
 

Offline exe

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Re: Microcap 12 is free (as in beer) now
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2019, 11:32:40 am »
The 90s had the best UIs. LTspice schematic editor is actually pretty good and very fast to operate.

It looks so, until one wants, say a bode plot. Or have multiple plots from different simulations for comparision. Tina-TI does it with ease, for example. There are also some traps, like, you can add a mosfet without specifying a specific part number and it will kinda work, just results will be garbage.

There are many other topics where it can be improved. To me it's more like an IDE for spice code, rather than a graphical simulator. Some people like, I certainly don't.
 


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