These are the great collection of circuit simulators – which are at the same time can be used for circuit drawing, circuit design and analysis as well. The list is well structured as free circuit simulation softwares, open source circuit analysis and simulation software, simple and easy to use simulators, linux based simulator, windows based simulator etc. Finally after researching through all the list we have compiled a collection best circuit simulation softwares as well. So lets start our journey right below.
Free and Open source circuit simulator software list:-
NgSpice – one of the popular and widely used free, open source circuit simulator from Sourceforge. NgSpice is developed by a collective effort from its users and its code is based on 3 open source software packages:- known as:- Spice3f5 , Cider and Xspice. Ngspice is a part of gEDA project which is growing every day with suggestions from its users, development from its contributors, fixing bugs and approaching perfection. As its a collaborative project you can suggest improvement of the circuit simulator and be a part of the development team.
GnuCap - is another open source project, developed as a general purpose circuit simulator. Known widely as GNU Circuit analysis package, this linux based circuit simulator performs various circuit analysis functions as dc and transient analysis, ac analysis etc. Developers have incorporated spice compatible model for MOSFET, BJT and Diode.
CircuitLogix - this student version software from CircuitLogix enables you to perform analog, digital and mixed mode circuit analysis and simulation. This SPICE simulation software provides 4000 devices on its student version which is 1/3 of the pro version. This circuit building software give access to switches, linear IC and digital IC, FET, Transistors, relays, displays, signal generators, SCR’s, opto isolators, photo diodes, semiconductors, motors etc.
LTSpice – is a widely popular SPICE simulator from Linear. LTspice is a free circuit simulation tool from Linear Technology corporation. This simulation software is considered as one of the best freeware available. Highlight of LTspice is much fast simulation of switching regulators with enhanced SPICE (compared to normal SPICE simulators).LTspice gives access to over 200 op amp models, transistor models, MOSFET models etc. A high disadvantage of LTspice is its proprietary code base which is licensed by Linear Technology. Had they made it open source, LTspice could have gone places with collaborative development.
Note: LTSpice is considered as the BEST circuit simulation software available by users.
MultiSim – is a student version circuit simulation software from National instruments. As you know, student versions always comes with limited access. Still this is a great simulation tool for beginners in electronics. MultiSim, the circuit maker software enables you to capture circuits, create layouts, analyse circuits and simulation. Highlight features include exploring breadboard in 3D before lab assignment submission, create printed circuit boards (PCB) etc. Breadboard simulation is possible with Multisim circuit simulator.
TopSpice - this is a demo version circuit simulator from Penzar. This electronic simulation tool is tailored to work with Windows only and its is compatible for Windows XP/Vista/7. TopSpice is a mixed mode mixed signal digital,analog, behavioral simulation software. It offers both Pspice and Hspice compatible simulation of circuits.
Circuit Simulator 1.5j - is a freeware circuit simulation tool. I have not used this tool or even attempted a try. I add this as a suggestion from a user in our forum. I think this is just basic tool with very basic functions, created for starter purpose. Use at your own risk.
MacSpice - is a free circuit simulation software for Apple Macintosh users. This circuit simulation which is compatible for PowerPC and Intel architecture Apple Macintosh (MAC pc) computers is derived fromBerkeley Spice 3f5 . This breadboard simulator can perform simulation ranging from a single resistor to an integrated circuit with thousands of devices and components packed together.
5Spice – is a free analog circuit analysis and simulator with many great features which includes a user expandable library of Spice/Pspice models, save any number of analysis results, integrated graphing of simulation results, student level MOSFET IC design etc. The focus is emphasized on analog circuit analysis and design at component level. 5Spice is mainly designed for students and educators, rather than industry professionals. Latest version of 5spice is released on October 31st 2001 – v 1.65.
Beige Bag - is a demo version of the original paid version of Beige Bag circuit simulation software. Developed based on B2 Spice, this software is mixed mode, power packed, fast and easy to use. Well try the demo version before you decide to buy.
Micro-Cap 10 - is another demo version circuit analyzer and simulator from Spectrum Soft. As they claim its a mixed mode digital/analog circuit simulator with an intuitive user interface, fast simulation and great performance. I haven’t tried this yet, so if you are interested try your own.
PECS - is a free power electronics circuit simulator created by Richard Tymerski. You can download the various manuals and tutorials from the website before start using the simulation tool.
Proteus - Prospice is a mixed mode, Spice based simulation tool from LabCenter. They have two versions, basic and advanced. Basic version is free which supports interactive simulation only while advanced supports a range of useful functions and features like graph based analysis which includes frequency, noise, distortion, fourier parameters etc.
QUCS - Quite Universal Circuit Simulator is a free simulation software developed on GNU/Linux environment. Well this software really works on other operating systems such as Solaris, Apple Macintosh, Microsoft windows, FreeBSD, NetBSD etc. User can simulate large signal, small signal and noise behavior of the circuit using this simple circuit simulator.
Solve Elec - is an electrical circuit simulator (free version) which is developed for Macintosh OS and Windows. It enables users to draw and analyse circuits (both electrical and electronic) functioning in direct current or alternating current, get formulas, verify equations, get equivalent circuits etc.
XSpice - is developed as an extension to Spice 3 by Georgia Institute of Technology. It has code modelling feature which enables user to add new models.
Okay! So far we have listed 16 free version circuit simulators, some of which are open source, some are licensed but free, some are demo/ student versions etc. And we have atleast one simulator for each and every operating system out there in the market. If you know some other free simulation software/tool, that’s so great, please share it as comments.
Now lets have a look at some enterprise circuit modelling software in the market.
Best Licensed/Paid Circuit simulation software:
PSPICE – is a mixed signal, industry standard circuit simulator. This software is used by many professionals for electronic system design and development. Orcad, the printed circuit board (PCB) design software is developed by the same company, Cadence.
MultiSim- is a great simulation software from National Instruments for electronic design engineers, academic professionals and educators, colleges, students, universities and professionals. Highlight features of this software are written above (under free resources).
SiMetrix – is a circuit simulation tool with enhanced Spice specifically developed for Professional electronic design engineers. They have other products like Simplis, Micron VX, DVM etc.
TINA - is an affordable, cost effective circuit design and simulation software, yet very powerful in features and functions. You can buy a basic version of TINA design suite 9.3 for as low as 90 Euros and a classic version (suited for professional design engineers) is available from 600 Euros.
PowerSim – is a simulation software developed for power electronics circuits, motor control and other requirements like dynamic system simulation.