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Suppose I have a schematics such as the below. I want to fast simulate it: see how the current flow and put my mouse to different positions to see how things work. Since there are many different ways to do the schematics, this requires to break the problem into human-solvable parts and computer-solvable parts -- some aspects about feature-extraction here.

Is there any feature-extraction-canabled software with OCR support and shape-extraction that would turn schematics such as the below into a simulation?

enter image description here

For people trying to find tools to draw schematics, please, see this thread Good tools for drawing schematics.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Finding OCR readers for a schematic editor is boundary at best, and off topic at worst. I see why you my want this, but the cost of such a product would not be worth it to most and would have risks of adding errors. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 21:05

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No, nothing like that exists. You'll need to reenter your schematic manually in a simulator tool, such as the free online https://www.circuitlab.com/ (which is actually integrated with this website).

Such a tool would be difficult to create, and impossible to realistically support considering the multitude of ways even a single IC could be represented. The tool would not only need to be able to recognize each part, but also find its electrical characteristics from somewhere. Other issues include determining what labels are associated with each part (such as the "1M" on R1), disambiguating various symbols (your potentiometer looks an awful lot like a resistor and upside-down ground)... I could go on.

In short, it's unrealistic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you seen feature-extraction services such as ABBYY FineReader, Microtask, Vision Objects or other feature-exatraction services? It is not unrealstic: the key is to break parts into computer-solvable problems and human-solvable problems. Microtask does this by using gamers' time for the detection in exchange of some game currencies. FineReader let user to ensure the quality of detection with colors etc. Sorry, no -1, better close this as non-constructive: having this many unrelated questions is not a good thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – hhh
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @hhh: Yes, feature extraction is the easy (relatively) part of the problem, but it's only half of the problem. The other half is making sense of any features you have extracted. How will the software magically know the parameters of each component? So, the -1 on my answer is unwarranted - like angelatlarge said, even though this is not the answer you wanted to hear, it is the correct answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 13:39
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You're not going to get away with not redrawing your schematic, sorry. As far as the simulation itself, Multisim comes pretty close to describing what you want. You can put measurement probes for virtually any parameter on any node, and they update in real time.

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As others mentioned you have to draw your schematic but Falstad's Circut Simulator is visually close to what you want. Although It's not capable as other simulation softwares it still contains most of the basic components which may help you understand working principles of simple circuits.

It shows you current current on all nodes and by right clicking to a node and selecting "View in Scope" you can see voltage change on this node.

Also being java it's cross-platform and can work from web-browser.

enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is iCircuit for Windows edition? I have used iCircuit in iPad so far, it is very cool. \$\endgroup\$
    – hhh
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 2:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ No. Please read icircuit homepage. "iCircuit wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the pioneering work and generosity of Mr. Paul Falstad." \$\endgroup\$
    – HeyYO
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 2:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ iCircuit is the Falstad simulator for iOS, not the other way. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 3:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Open source has irreparably damaged the software industry. It's sad to see individuals and companies amass fortunes from free, open source software by charging a license fee. Meanwhile, the original author makes nothing from his efforts. iCircuit has been around for years. If he was really grateful, he would write Mr. Falstad a check from his proceeds. \$\endgroup\$
    – user148298
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 22:22
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You may be able to import the eagle-cad software into Altium, and then use Altium's built-in version of SPICE (which, IIRC is XSPICE-based).

There are a number of Eagle-cad ULPs that are supposed to be able to export Eagle documents to a format that Altium can import. However, every time I've tried to use Eagle, it seems so old and the UI is so weird that I haven't had any luck converting files.


I'm assuming you have access to the eagle-cad documents. If all you have is a PDF or image of the schematic, you're pretty much stuffed. There are no OCR utilities that can work on schematics, that I know of.

I can't see how a truly general-purpose schematic OCR program could be written anyways, because there is too much schematic-schematic variance.

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