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Is there software out there that will take a schematic as input and simulate its functioning?

I don't have a lot of cash for components and tools, so this would be a cheap and easy way for me to learn more about electronics.

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    \$\begingroup\$ See What are the freeware SPICE simulators available?, Simple Circuit Simulation tutorial, and the whole [ simulation ] tag. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Oct 5 '10 at 16:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ It may help you to know that SPICE and it's ilk are 'analog' simulators - they can simulate things like resistors, capacitors, inductors and get their interactions more or less correct. Essentially, they simulate the voltages and currents on a real board. Things like klogic (digital logic simulators) are NOT simulating the voltages and currents. Instead, they just simulate hi vs. low vs unknown, vs conflict signals. Analog sims let you see what real components will do, but they tend to be on the slow side. Digital simulators can only simulate the logic, but that makes them faster (in general). \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Kohne Oct 6 '10 at 2:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question is not so much "can you simulate it" as it is "Can you find simulation models for all the components in your circuit". After that, it's just a matter of letting it process for a while. \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Wolf Oct 6 '10 at 3:03
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We usually call that simulation, not emulation. If we were to emulate the board, that means having another device perform similarly. There are plenty of circuit simulators, most famous of which is Spice (LTspice is one popular version). Qucs, ktechlab, klogic (limited to digital), and gnucap are a few others; for those without a graphical interface, there typically is one separately, such as oregano or gspiceui.

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    \$\begingroup\$ ok ok.. :) I'll update my question to reflect simulation instead of emulation \$\endgroup\$ – Stefan Oct 5 '10 at 10:57
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As @LoneTech said, there are plenty of circuit simulators. My two cents:

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for Falstad sim, excellent simulator. Can also use it almost anywhere. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas O Oct 6 '10 at 14:13
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If you are a student I would HIGHLY recommend National Instruments Multisim. With a valid student ID, or student email, or even a offical transcript you can pick up a copy for $40 dollars. It also comes packaged with Utilboard which is a perfboard layout program.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ sounds very cool... could you provide a link to more info please? \$\endgroup\$ – Stefan Oct 6 '10 at 11:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ ni.com/academic/multisimse.htm \$\endgroup\$ – sptrks Oct 6 '10 at 21:13
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Some of the higher-level programs for general analog simulation are Multisim and OrCad's suite (including PSpice). Other programs which offer limited capabilities are Simulink in MATLAB and National Instruments LabView. If you are in higher education, you may find that these are available in a computer lab.

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The Altera Quartus II software for their FPGAs and CPLDs supports schematic entry, for digital simulation and synthesis. Most people use VHDL or Verilog, though. There is a free version.

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SIMetrix is another great tool for circuit simulation and design.

It should be noted, that simulation tools should be used carefully, because they can give wrong results

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Check out SystemVision. It's completely online, free, and has a ton of models and designs for you to use for learning.

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protected by W5VO Sep 8 '15 at 3:49

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