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For the last few days I have been trying without any luck to find a good tutorial on simple circuit simulations. I am a relatively new hobbyist and I figure if I use simulations and play around the circuit and see the output I would learn more. Can you please direct me to a simple tutorial which teaches simulation of circuits.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can use Qucs.

There are some tutorials here: http://qucs.sourceforge.net/docs.html

For logics circuits, you can use this great online simulator called Logicly.

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Thanks for the response. I had been intending to learn qucs for a while now. I like their documentation and looks just the interim level simulator I wanted. –  Rick_2047 Jul 9 '10 at 14:24

If you are on Windows I would download a copy of LTspice from Linear Technology. IIRC there is a tutorial in the download. If not it is on their website.

LTspice is very quick to get started with. A major advantage is that the package comes with all of the semiconductor models for the LT parts. Most models are copyright and end up having to download them from the manufacturer. This can be a major source of difficulty for people getting started.

Once you have the software I would start with a very simple circuit like a voltage source in series with a resistor in series with a capacitor. Setup your probes to plot the voltage across the capacitor and the voltage across the resistor. This will enable you to learn the quirks of the tool and hopefully get some instant gratification.

Make a copy of the simple circuit and start to add new elements to the new circuit.

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well seems solid but alas I am not on windows, I am a long time linux user. Well does it work with wine? –  Rick_2047 Feb 14 '10 at 16:30
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I believe it does. Although Linear Tech does not support Linux I believe the fellow who develops the software tries to maintain compatibility. On Linux (which is all I use) there is gnucap and ngspice. I would not consider either of these beginner packages. Installation of the different packages and downloading the various device models can be a hassle. I hope to put a tutorial up on my website -- Simulation using gnucap, ngspice and Mathematica. –  jluciani Feb 14 '10 at 19:06
    
See this site: claymore.engineer.gvsu.edu/~steriana/Videos for tutorials on how to use LTspice. –  Kevin Vermeer Jul 8 '10 at 14:09
    
The guy who writes it (Well the head guy) gave a talk and was very keen on keeping it working with wine, runs quickly under wine as well –  D_Weight Dec 2 '11 at 10:00

http://www.falstad.com/circuit/

Here is a java applet that allows you to simulate your circuits, I find it very useful, (dont have to make a whole new SPICE simulation.. :P )

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The problem with that one is that it you cannot see the waveforms for different things and it does not allow me to make circuits graphically –  Rick_2047 Feb 13 '10 at 19:06
    
Also there is no tutorial –  Rick_2047 Feb 13 '10 at 19:07
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You CAN see the waveforms for different things, you CAN make circuits graphically, and there IS a tutorial. falstad.com/circuit/directions.html –  endolith Feb 13 '10 at 20:18
    
My bad, seems I didn't really look well enough –  Rick_2047 Feb 14 '10 at 16:27
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Yeah this one is my favorite for simple and medium complexity circuits. Plus the fact that it's cross-platform, and runs from a browser requiring no installs. –  davr Feb 15 '10 at 18:01

This similar question lists a variety of circuit simulator options, including CircuitLab. It is a simple browser-based circuit simulator that lets you share your circuits with others. I've just started using it and have, so far, found it quite useful.

For your purposes, checking out the circuits that others have shared may be beneficial.

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You can check the source code written in Java for a decent simulator, which can be found here:

http://www.falstad.com/circuit/

and here is a cool online simulator, based on the java code above:

http://www.dcaclab.com/en/lab/

good luck!

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