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Cheap, Cross-Platform Electronic Circuit Simulation Software? 211

Posted by timothy
from the what-we-all-want-when-we-wake-up-in-the-morning dept.
dv82 writes "I teach circuits and electronics at the undergraduate level, and have been using the free student demo version of OrCad for schematic capture and simulation because (a) it comes with the textbook and (b) it's powerful enough for the job. Unfortunately OrCad runs only under Windows, and students increasingly are switching to Mac (and some Linux netbooks). Wine and its variants will not run OrCad, and I don't wish to require students to purchase Windows and run with a VM. The only production-quality cross-platform CAD tool I have found so far is McCad, but its demo version is so limited in total allowed nets that it can't even run a basic opamp circuit with a realistic 741 opamp model. gEDA is friendly to everything BUT Windows, and is nowhere near as refined as OrCad. I would like students to be able to run the software on their laptops without a network connection, which eliminates more options. Any suggestions?"
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Cheap, Cross-Platform Electronic Circuit Simulation Software?

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  • Is a live DVD OK? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:46PM (#28912451)

    If booting off a live DVD is OK then you may want to look at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/ElectronicLab_Spin [fedoraproject.org] .

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Will that boot an Apple computer?

    • by tepples (727027)

      If booting off a live DVD is OK

      Linux netbooks were mentioned, and netbooks don't have optical drives. Have you got it to boot from a USB stick or an SD card?

  • Cadsoft Eagle (Score:1, Informative)

    by flyingfsck (986395)
    Eagle is pretty good: http://www.cadsoftusa.com/ [cadsoftusa.com]
  • CAD (Score:5, Informative)

    by Klivian (850755) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:48PM (#28912463)
    For simulation, you can get Spice versions for all platforms.

    For the CAD part, there is the EAGLE Light Edition from CadSoft http://www.cadsoftusa.com/freeware.htm [cadsoftusa.com] It runs on Linux, Windows and Mac.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      KiCAD is even cheaper for the 'real thing' and also cross platform.

      I don't know if it integrates with spice or anything for simulations.

      • Re:CAD (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh (216268) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @07:41PM (#28912823)

        I use KiCAD and it works quite well for designing PCBs, though it has some rough edges.

        However, the discussion is about circuit simulation in college, which has nothing to do with PCB design. KiCAD doesn't currently integrate with Spice unfortunately, though that would be really nice. I don't actually know of any open-source stuff that does Spice well. The SPICE engines themselves are open-source (such as ng-spice), but they have no front-end at all, so you have to do everything at the command line, which is really rather clunky when you want to, say, look at graphs of simulation results.

        When I want to simulate a simple circuit (not often), I start up a Windows computer and run an old version of Pspice (9.something) which is freely downloadable. The state of circuit simulation on Linux is very, very bad right now.

    • LTSpice for simulation, Eagle for schematic/PCB design.

      In my experience, any tool that does both simulation and schematics is a) crap, or b) really expensive.

      LTSpice is free, well supported and actively developed, high quality, and works well under Wine.

      Eagle has native versions for Mac/Linux/Windows, has a great educational site license program (reasonable price, no yearly fees, no license server), does schematics+PCB+autorouting, is well supported with its own newsgroups (which are regularly attended by E

      • by epine (68316)

        I had good initial success with ltspice under Wine. Not perfect: some dialog boxes don't focus input fields normally (but if you're persistent, you can get it to work).

        No problem with the simulations. The command line simulation is more powerful than I at first suspected. I especially appreciated the ability to do multiple plots in parallel. Some basic logic elements were missing (multiple input muxes, IIRC). So there was a startup curve learning how to make my own.

        Once annoyance was the plotting setup

        • by Andy Dodd (701)

          I believe the primary difference in the "core engine" of LTSpice's simulator vs. straight SPICE is that Linear made some tweaks to make it more suitable for simulation of switching power supplies.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        I'm a big fan of FOSS but I hate to admit that best-effort programs like gEDA and KiCad just don't match up to Eagle.

        I'm sorry, I completely disagree.

        I've used both Eagle and KiCad, as well as PADS. Eagle has a funky interface (but then again, most EDA programs seem to have funky UIs), but it works well. KiCad has slightly funky interface, though I actually found it a little easier than Eagle. But unlike Eagle, KiCad is free. Eagle costs a LOT of money: I'm pretty sure the cheapest license is $1500. Th

        • I will have to look at KiCad again (wasn't impressed last time) but I disagree with the Eagle analysis. The freeware license allows for 2-layer 4"x3.2" boards which is definitely enough for a lot of projects.

          Even the completely full version for commercial use with no layer or size limitations is $1500 for schematic+PCB+autorouter. That's not the cheapest license, that's the most expensive one!

          My university has the completely unlimited professional version site license -- it is NOT limited in board space or

          • Just looked at KiCad...it doesn't have an autorouter.

            Sorry, it's not even in the same class as Eagle then.

    • by donaldm (919619)
      If you need OrCAD then why not contact other educational organisations and find out if they want to use OrCAD and would prefer this product under a Linux distribution. Since OrCAD is a proprietary product I would assume there is a cost associated with running it. If this is case you could leverage a case for having this product ported to Linux and use a claim like "Well if you don't have a Linux version I guess we have no-choice but to go else-ware". It is amazing what this can do since companies don't like
  • Whether running Linux or Windows - aren't you going to run into some serious horsepower issues if you try to accommodate students who own netbooks?

    Also, don't forget that Macs can run Windows inside of a VM perfectly well, and Sun's VirtualBox is still free; plus VMware and Parallels offer significant student discounts.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Legally you'd still have to buy windows to run it in a VM, a professor/teacher can't advocate piracy (well they could but the carious higher ups probably won't like it).
    • Re:Netbooks? (Score:5, Informative)

      by JesseL (107722) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:58PM (#28912537) Homepage Journal

      Whether running Linux or Windows - aren't you going to run into some serious horsepower issues if you try to accommodate students who own netbooks?

      I don't see why. Most student level electronics simulation just shouldn't be all that CPU intensive. When I was an EE student 10 years ago, people did just fine with 150MHz machines running SPICE.

      • by harrkev (623093)

        I remember running spice simulations on a 286. It ran slow, but it worked. A 486 would have been a dream to have. Really, Spice is not THAT demanding for simple student-style problems in the first couple of circuits classes.

        I have even designed two-layer boards using a Pentium-120 laptop with 24MB if RAM (as a student, about ten years ago). It was not the fastest, but it worked fine -- and that was with a 800x600 display. Yes, the requirements for modern programs are more demanding. I would definitely

      • by julesh (229690)

        I don't see why. Most student level electronics simulation just shouldn't be all that CPU intensive. When I was an EE student 10 years ago, people did just fine with 150MHz machines running SPICE.

        I dunno, maybe I'm just not particularly good at using SPICE, but I've run simulations of very simple circuits that took 10-20 hours on GHz+ machines. Maybe there are workarounds (although I looked for a while and didn't find any) but it seems there are some circuits that SPICE is very poor at handling (the circui

    • by m85476585 (884822)
      Most colleges have minimum system requirements, which a netbook will not meet. For example, at my school the minimum for incoming freshmen this year is a Core 2 Duo (or equivalent) 2 GHz or better; 2gb or more of RAM unless running VM on OS X, then 3gb or more; 120gb or more hard drive; 120gb or more USB hard drive; 128mb video memory; a/g/n wireless; ethernet; DVD burner; and USB flash drive. The form factor should be a laptop. While no one is going to do anything if you don't get a laptop that meets th
      • by Kemanorel (127835)

        Sometimes collaboration on a project is necessary, but Macs won't be able to open MS Office files properly (I haven't tried Office Mac 08 yet, though).

        I don't know what you're using for document editing, except maybe iWork, but I've never had a problem opening up Windows-created Office documents on my OSX systems (G4 and Intel-based). I've been using Office 2004 for the Mac with no problems at all. The only thing I've found that sucks in it is not being able to add animation paths in PowerPoint, but that's just a minor issue. I would assume Office 2008 would be at least as good, but then again, it is MS, so that could be a faulty assumption. ;-)

        • by m85476585 (884822)
          I am using iWork and NeoOffice. iWork usually does a better job making the document look right. I just got Office 08, but I haven't tried it yet.
  • by attemptedgoalie (634133) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:54PM (#28912503)

    We had finance apps that students had to use in their coursework. Trying to get them to work on a Win/Linux/Mac system would have been painful and time consuming.

    So we created a terminal server environment that let anybody RDP in to use the course apps. That way nobody had to pay for a real version, we paid for the terminal license.

    That might work well for you rather than finding an app to support in 3 environments.

    Good luck!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kelnos (564113)
      Maybe, but the article summary specifically says the guy is looking for a solution that doesn't require a network connection.
    • by julesh (229690)

      Even if the lack-of-network-connection weren't an issue, running SPICE simulations is _extremely_ processor intensive. My guess is the students will be running jobs that take 100% CPU for 4-5 hours at a time if they're doing anything non-trivial. Not exactly the kind of load you want to stick on your terminal server system unless you're geared up for it...

  • JMCAD (Score:2, Informative)

    by TrashGod (752833)
    You might look at JMCAD [sourceforge.net]. I haven't built it since v0.08.087, but v1.4 is current.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This might not be anywhere near what you need, but this application definitely helped out my friend in his intro to electronics class

    Falstad Circuit Simulator Applet [falstad.com]

    Really good on rudimentary stuff, done in Java for cross platform goodness.

  • by Vario (120611) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:59PM (#28912545)

    LTSpice is free as in beer and works nicely even with more complicated problems. There is only a windows version available, but Linux support with wine should not be a problem. http://www.linear.com/designtools/software/ [linear.com]

    For simple circuits SolveElec runs on windows and mac, has a very nice user interface and is a good tool for teaching. http://www.physicsbox.com/indexsolveelec2en.html [physicsbox.com]

    • Seconded, it's ridiculous to even consider any other free SPICEs than LTSpice.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      LTSpice[...]Linux support with wine should not be a problem

      Actually, since way back when [google.com], Mike Engelhardt has taken pains to assure the WINE-compatibility of LTspice. (Notice that the capitalization in the name of that app only applies to Linear Technology's name.)
      In an odd irony, in its current incarnation, support for Win9x was dropped [google.com] in that "native" Windoze app.

      ...and if the submitter of the question really wants his kids to produce their own PWBs, KiCAD is the universal app (open source).
      Cadsoft's EAG

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dv82 (1609975)
      Thanks Vario ! I tried LTSpice on all three platforms (using stock WINE on Ubuntu and Crossover on Mac) and it works beautifully. In fact, it is easier to get up and running than OrCad in some ways, it has no net limits, and even does things OrCad can't (like print a schematic directly). The plotting tool accepts mathematical functions of time, node voltages, etc, so ideal and real results can be plotted simultaneously, just like OrCad. I will hand this over to a student for further testing, but from what I
  • Professionally, I use Capilano's DesignWorks schematic capture on a Mac (they also support Windows). They have demos and some educational deals . (I use MacSpice for analog simulation and Osmond for PCB layout.) HTH.

  • Isn't this the reason we have computer labs at schools? So what if they can't work on their own computer. P
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Andrew Sterian (182)

      It's the changing college demographic. First, more non-traditional students that want to be able to work at home, at "work", on their own time, etc.

      Second, more demanding traditional students that expect colleges to come with more amenities like better dorm rooms than what used to be the norm, private bathrooms, etc. The ability to work in the dorm room or "plug in" wirelessly anywhere on campus and do their homework is becoming an expectation.

      We have computer-aided teaching studios now with no computers in

  • by Dust Puppy (63916)

    There is a nice applet at http://www.falstad.com/circuit/ [falstad.com] - it might not be sufficiently sophisticated but it does at least handle op-amps.

  • by TerranFury (726743) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @07:12PM (#28912635)

    I've had to use a handful of circuit simulators, and I've always found SPICE brittle. Perfectly reasonable circuits just refuse to simulate, even when good initial conditions are set. Now it's possible I've been doing something wrong. But on the whole I find SPICE deeply frustrating.

    The most robust simulator I've used so far has been a demo version of SiMetrix [simetrix.co.uk]. HSPICE also does a bang-up job... when it doesn't segfault. Unfortunately, HSPICE is very un-free (and buggy-as-hell), and although SiMetrix does have a demo, it's artificially limited in the size of circuits it can simulate.

    Thoughts?

    • by oldhack (1037484)
      Yeah, I have a thought. If you weren't such a cheapskate and bothered to get the support package "Pepto Bismal" you wouldn't have had such trouble.
    • by Andrew Sterian (182) <andrewsterian@yahoo.com> on Saturday August 01, 2009 @08:11PM (#28913011) Homepage

      It's quite likely you've been doing something wrong :-) I was at the same place, getting frustrated because perfectly reasonable circuits refuse to simulate. 99.9% of the time it was my fault, and it was a great learning opportunity. "Reasonable circuits" are not necessarily practical circuits. For example, you can put in an ideal switch into SPICE and cause brittleness, because practical circuit voltages and currents don't change instantaneously like ideal switches do. "But wait!", you say, "Inductor voltages can change instantaneously! That's what it says in my textbook!". No, they can't :-) There's a reason SPICE lets you specify an inductor's parasitic parallel capacitance.

      Also, another source of brittleness/bugginess is poor third-party circuit models. I've downloaded some MOSFET models that just plain stunk.

      BTW, LTSpice is my favorite simulator, hands down.

      • by bitrex (859228) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @04:58AM (#28914933)
        Real men don't need no stinkin' simulators! We just write down the equivalent circuit models, use Kirchoff's current law and apply Cramer's rule! Nothing's more exciting than spending a leisurely weekend computing the determinant of a 258 element matrix in the s-plane by hand. Frequency response sometimes takes a bit longer....:)
      • What used to cause problems for me were transient simulations of digital circuits. These were built from FETs almost exclusively. No ideal switches or anything nonphysical. The only thing at all dodgy from a numerical-integration point of view would have been the input signals, which were piecewise linear "square waves" with finite-but-small rise and fall times.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sdot1103 (939642)
      I just spent the past summer doing research at the 22nm level (designing L1/L2 caches with DVFS and other low-power techniques) and I can't agree more on SPICE/HSPICE's inability to converge.

      I shrunk my designs down to the criitical paths (~12k transistors), and even providing the proper nodesets/initial conditions HSPICE was unable to converge or segfaulted quikcly. Fortunately, my university has a deal with Cadence through their University Alliance program -- Spectre may not be quite as accurate at HS
    • by mako1138 (837520)

      Perfectly reasonable circuits just refuse to simulate, even when good initial conditions are set. Now it's possible I've been doing something wrong.

      What's a "reasonable circuit" for you? Most likely you are doing something wrong. ;_;

  • by gardyloo (512791)

    I've never used it on Windows, though I see there's an installer for it. I use qucs on linux quite a lot, though.

    http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/qucs/index.php?title=Main_Page [sourceforge.net]

  • I've actually been in the same situation myself, two free (as in beer) SPICE derivatives I've found to work well are LTspice [linear.com] and TINA-spice [ti.com] (from linear and Texas Instruments respectively). They are windows binaries but function very well in WINE (in fact the developer(s) for LTspice have designed it to function as well as possible with WINE).

    I've mostly used LTspice and it works very well and has a low learning threshold. Of course you can insert spice directives in the schematic to do more advanced func
  • FREE! It is Windows only but runs great on Wine. The author supposedly is very supportive of making sure it runs well on Wine.
    http://www.linear.com/designtools/software/ [linear.com]
    It is optimized for analyzing switching power supply circuits so it probably is the fastest spice implementation out there. I have quit using all the other spice based simulators out there in favor of LTSpice. User support can be found on the yahoo group:
    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/LTspice/ [yahoo.com]
    • Re:Use LTSpice (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:00AM (#28914173) Homepage

      LTSpice is quite good if you want to design power supplies with Linear Technology components. The component library has just about everything Linear makes, and not much else. So you need some additional libraries for other purposes. You'll probably have to put together a model library for your students, from various downloaded models.

      I've had fun with LTSpice. As an exercise, I've been designing hardware to run a Model 15 Teletype (1930s technology) from a USB port. The usual power supply for the 60mA current loop required is a 120VDC supply through a 2K 10W resistor, to get enough punch to energize the 4H 55 ohm selector magnet of the Teletype fast enough. Most of the energy is wasted heating up the big resistor. But I've designed something that up-converts 4.5VDC to 120VDC using an IC intended for photoflash applications, charges up a capacitor when the input is low, and when the input transitions to high (MARK), dumps the energy into the magnet. The 120VDC is only needed for the first 1ms or so of each bit time, to push current through the big inductance. A 3.3V linear regulator then provides the sustain current to keep the magnet pulled in after the cap dumps. The whole thing needs 250mA at 4.5V, which can be taken from a USB port. Separately, a small CPU is needed to do the serial port stuff for the signal.

  • I don't know... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @07:48PM (#28912863)
    I don't know if it's been mentioned already or not, but Multisim from National Instruments is a very good software. It's been used by the professors at the school where I work for as long as I can remember.
  • Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GWBasic (900357) <slashdot@nOSPAm.andrewrondeau.com> on Saturday August 01, 2009 @08:29PM (#28913125) Homepage
    What about Linux circuit simulation software? At least that can be run in a VM for free.
    • That was my first thought... a VM for VMware player or VirtualBox would be pretty easy... depending on size constraints could be copied pretty easily as a pre-setup VM.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bemasher (1610233)
      I've used Oregano on Ubuntu with not very many problems. My original reason for trying it out was that the academic demo for OrCAD wouldn't simulate circuits large enough for my projects at school. I've found that it duplicates most of the features we used in courses on OrCAD. Oregano [fi.uba.ar]
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by yope (656090)
        Please mod this one up! Oregano is indeed an excelent frontend (although with some rough edges and a few bugs) that whould run on Linux, MacOSX and probably also Windows, since it's built on GTK+.
        It is quite easy and intuitive to use, works much better than gEDA, but needs some getting used to working around it's glitches, specially to discover a few tricks about how to work easily with any external spice subcircuit.
        Simulation can be done through berkeley-SPICE, ngspice or GnuCAP.
        It's a shame this is the
      • When you run Oregano, the "Help" page just throws an error with the message The requested URI ghelp:Oregano is invalid. Add to this the entry / apology from the Wiki entry

        Documentation: We need documentation, tutorials, manuals and much more.

        and you see the problem.

        While this tool is being written with the best of intentions, it's nowhere near the level of support needed to teach a class. The students will spend as long trying to learn the tool as they will trying to learn the course. Any package used is merely to illustrate and support the course content - not a learning g

  • Ansoft is the world's leading provider of FEM based design software. They also have circuit simulation products Designer Nexxim etc. All have free student versions. It is something your students can put on their resume. www.ansoft.com.
    • by Moof123 (1292134)

      As a professional who's used Ansoft Designer, I can't say enough bad things about it. While it may do OK for college level problems, please only allow students to use it after strongly worded warning about just how buggy, incomplete, and poorly engineered the product is. Under no circumstances should students be allowed to walk away with the impression that Designer is a useful tool. My $0.02.

  • by hairyfeet (841228)

    I ask this because IIRC you can get 90 day eval versions of Windows for free. They also have a 180 day eval version of Win2K3 server, which will run just about anything the desktop runs. There are even plenty of places around the net that will show you how to turn 2K3 server into Workstation, but for a single class this would probably be overkill.

    So why don't you try contacting Microsoft? Since you are teaching a class I wouldn't be surprised if they'd be willing to send you the eval discs for Vista or 2K

  • Check out Capilano's Designworks. There is both Mac & Windows (no Linux) versions. I have used several different schematic capture packages, and Designworks is really very good. In all honesty, I have found Orcad to crash way too often. In fact I've had Orcad crash so bad that a reinstall was necessary. Thankfully, this was an older version (11 I think).

  • by fermion (181285) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @12:59AM (#28914169) Homepage Journal
    I deal with the issue as well. Here is my opinion, take it or leave it. For certain pro software, you buy the machine that runs the software, no the other way round. So, in many cases, the Mac is not an option without a VM. I use my mac to run these tools, but I use a VM. For cad work, there is simply no substitute for Solidworks or Autodesk. For circuit and control work, it is National Instruments. There is a push to get these ported to the Mac, but so far to no avail. Autodesk does not run so well under the VM, so I often run it on a dedicated machine or boot into Windows.

    I would say that it these students are in an engineering or science program, they must know how to use these tools, just like someone in a science/math program must know how to use Mathematica. That said, if the course in question is just a survey course, the specific tools may be less important than the exposure. For this there may be alternatives. For instance, an only breadboard simulator [york.ac.uk] is available. Google circuit simulators and there may be more available. I am not sure what is available for CAD.

    Here is another issue. If the class teaches the design techniques and not the application, the maybe students can use whatever they want. What distresses me is that we are no longer teaching the high level concepts, but the mouse based menu selection. Instead of teaching the concept of cut and paste, we are teaching the menu commands. The problem is when the menu changes, the students are SOL. For career training, this is fine, but I think we should be teaching at a higher level for college. For instance, in my college, we were just told to write a program to solve the problem or create a simulation. How we did it using the available tools were up to us.

    • I think the poster is trying to find an alternative to the cadence/mentor/synopsys stranglehold. All 3 offer university licenses although they may require an exclusive deal. They also definitely do not provide copies that can run directly on the student machine without getting a license token from a license server. The poster was hoping to get something that could run on student boxes standalone. While my company will provide student keys for the student machine under an educational license, the student sti

    • I would say that it these students are in an engineering or science program, they must know how to use these tools, just like someone in a science/math program must know how to use Mathematica.

      I'll step in as a professional with 10 years at the same company as an engineer. I don't even remember what I used in college. Some of the CAD was done on AIX / Solaris, some on SGI and some spice was done on a VAX. Colleges are there to teach you how to think, not necessarily do, and the best colleges are good at c

  • At work I use Tina http://www.tina.com/English/tina/ [tina.com] on Linux under Wine. I put a report in the winehq app database about it. The version I have just needs to run in a Wine fixed-size virtual desktop.

    Tina is currently my favorite simulation package since the license is quite cheap, it has an integrated schematic editor and is generally fast and easy to use.

    I can't say if the latest and greatest version of Tina works with Wine though, since the version I have a license for is a couple of years old now.

  • Don't give a solution, just define the problem. Let the students come up with their own way of solving it (isn't that what tertiary education is about?)

    In the course description make a statement to the effect that "this course will require you to acquire a circuit simulation package capable of <insert reasonable specification here > An example of the complexity and functionality required is the following file [take your most complex course material] which your package must be able to handle." Then g

  • OK, I'm gonna bite as no-one else has so far...

    Demo versions of software are just that - meant so you can test out the software to see if it fits your needs. If you're going to be using this software year after year to teach a course at university, you should get a licence, one per user. Obviously, this makes more sense if it's installed on a university machine, in which case what platform they're using is irrelevant anyway. Alternatively, if you really want the students to install it on their own machin

    • by julesh (229690)

      OK, I'm gonna bite as no-one else has so far...

      Demo versions of software are just that - meant so you can test out the software to see if it fits your needs. If you're going to be using this software year after year to teach a course at university, you should get a licence, one per user.

      You've clearly never seen how expensive OrCAD is. If the T&Cs allow him to use the demo for his purpose, he should be using the demo. If not, and if he has a significant number of users, he could easily be running into

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zippthorne (748122)

        No, if OrCAD is what he needs, he should pay for it. Or rather, the department should pay for it to be put on all or some department- or university-owned machines that the students have access to. The students have no real need to be able to do the work in the comfort of their own dorm rooms, although there is a convenience factor there which suggests using a package which also has an affordable student version.

        But the reason students pay those high tuition rates is precisely so that the university will b

        • by Creepy (93888)

          Why even purchase it? I work for a CAD company and Cadence competitor (so I won't make specific suggestions to remain impartial), and I know we and some of our competitors routinely donate seats to schools. I don't know exactly how the schools apply for this perk, but I'd suggest e-mailing the marketing group for that company.

          CAD companies want students to learn on their software as they are more likely to recommend it if they are involved in buying decisions.

  • Been there... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by satan666 (398241)

    Timothy,

    You might find a version of your question pop up on most EE Boards at one time or another. Most people (including myself) had this sort of experience:
    I started simulation with OrCAD/PSPICE/layout/ but I moved to Linux because I hated windows.
    This is how it went down:

    1. I refuse to use non-GPL software on my beautiful Linux box. I'll try the GPL/free stuff.
    2. Damn hard road I've taken. I am writing SPICE code when I should be simulating and laying out my boards.
    3. Ok, ok... GPL is out. That stuff nee

  • I'm assuming this class is part of a bigger degree program...

    Doesn't the department have some soft of coherent policy about software? I've taken classes at four colleges over the years (three degrees in three different fields), and the department always had a fairly narrow policy about what was acceptable and what was not. If simulation is a required part of the circuit design classes, I would expect the department to have a position on the software tools that was independent of instructors or textbooks.

  • Atanua? (Score:2, Interesting)

    http://sol.gfxile.net/atanua/ [gfxile.net]

    Not sure if it is what you are looking for. Hope it helps.

  • Multisim (Score:2, Informative)

    by DCBoland (700327)
    I've used the Multisim/Electronics Workbench package under WINE before with no problems. I've seen it used in labs for teaching students, it should do the job just fine.

In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.

Working...