Circuit simulators -- free and preferably, with a video course

Hi there,

I have two questions:

(1) My initial question is:

What electronic circuit simulation software would you recommend ?
(I have supplied 10 possible answers below)

(2) The reason for my first question is that i’d like to watch a series of videos showing
how to design circuits and … how they work …and how they fail … etc.
Perhaps the videos would be part of a youtube channel… and perhaps the
illustrations would be using some circuit simulation software… that i could use myself.

Does anyone know of such a course (perhaps a youtube channel ?)

Answer #1 :

This webpage seems to supply an answer to my initial question:

https://www.element14.com/community/groups/development-tools/blog/2016/09/03/best-free-online-circuit-simulator

It suggests these prospective circuit simulator programs:

EasyEDA circuit simulator
Circuit Sims
DcAcLab
everyCircuit.com (but is app is not free)
DoCircuits
Part Sim
123D Circuits
Tina Cloud
Simulator.io
Gecko simulations

Suddenly, I’ve gone from no choice to too many choices.
Would anyone like to offer their opinions of any of these programs,
so that i might whittle down the choice a little.

Does anyone have any suggestions / recommendations for a circuit design
course on youtube or elsewhere that uses circuit simulation software ?

Thanks to anyone / everyone that replies

:slight_smile:

Microcap is free. National Instruments MultiSim has a student edition.

LTSpice is a professional tool for design and simulation, and is free.

Southpark: Microcap is free. National Instruments MultiSim has a student edition.

the ni.com website appears to be down at the moment... alas.

jremington: LTSpice is a professional tool for design and simulation, and is free.

LTSpice is for Windows and Macs... however i was able to install the LTSpice-XVII.exe file on my linux box after installing a wine variant called: wineHQ See here: https://www.winehq.org/download/

I got LTSpice for Windows from here: http://www.linear.com/designtools/software/#LTspice

Suggestions for a good course in electronics / electrical circuits that uses LTSpice would very definitely .. be welcome :)

SPICE (of which LTSpice is a variant) has been around for decades and there are hundreds of books, web sites and college courses covering the basics. There is at least one LTSpice user forum and there are a few instructional videos like this one or this one.

Google is your friend!

I've been using LTSpice IV since about 2004 and LTSpice XVII since it came out of beta last year. I've worked with many other simulator packages, but LTSpice is the most versatile of any I've used by far.

Linear Technologies provides it free and continually updates the ample libraries, to which can be added models from other sources or entire libraries of spice models. IMO, it is a fine tool for anyone beyond the absolute novice stage wanting to understand more, and for that novice too, when they are ready and have some of the fundamentals under their belt.

jremington: SPICE (of which LTSpice is a variant) has been around for decades and there are hundreds of books, web sites and college courses covering the basics. There is at least one LTSpice user forum and there are a few instructional videos like this one or this one.

Google is your friend!

Thanks Jremington :)

I just tried LTspice a moment ago. My 'rotate' icons are greyed out. And CTRL-R doesn't do anything. I think these are the kinds of things that put people right off. Maybe it is a good simulator. But not a good start with first impressions. Maybe the paid version will have the component rotate feature enabled?

Or maybe a bug in the latest installation version? Running on Win 8.1 here.

A few days ago I downloaded the latest version of LTSpice and am running it on Win7 Pro, with no problems.

I assume you did "new schematic" and picked a part before trying ctrl-R?

jremington: A few days ago I downloaded the latest version of LTSpice and am running it on Win7 Pro, with no problems.

I assume you did "new schematic" and picked a part before trying ctrl-R?

Hi Jrem. Thanks. I was able to place a resistor, but the rotate function was greyed out.

I know what's going on now. Apparently, once we pick the part.... eg a resistor, we have to "CTRL-R" it before placing it (ie. before clicking on the left-button to put the component in its resting place).

And, if you want to select it again, it can't be done by clicking on that component. It is necessary to first click on the menu icon that has a small 'hand' symbol (which they call the 'drag' feature), where we can then hover over the component to select (the component) with a left-button-click - and the rotate feature will then be accessible again. So, the rotate feature is only accessible in the 'drag' mode.

I'll tinker around with LTspice, and do a few simulations with it. Thanks Jrem.

Yes, the schematics pick and place has some really irritating features, especially if you want a non-standard part.

It takes some getting used to, but the simulation works so well that it is really worth the effort!

The LTSpice user forum is a terrific source of tips and help.

Look at Simetrix. I have been using it for many years and is by far the most intuitive to use with a first rate GUI. It is a professional package and is quite expensive but, you can get a free download that allows a limited number of components and nodes. Despite that, it is possible to design some very substantial circuits with it. I have use it to design Power amps, Pre amps, switch mode power supplies and loads of other stuff. I first encountered it when working in Radar and would not use anything else. It will do analogue, digital and mixed mode simulation and uses the popular spice platform. It comes with an extensive help facility. Log on to their web site at WWW.SIMETRIX.CO.UK and click on the "TRY THE FREE DEMO" button and follow the instructions. I have tried LTSPICE but found it difficult to use so returned to simetrix.