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Old 06-16-2010, 01:34 PM   #1
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Default Spice Circuit simulation Program

I was talking to on of the Electrical Engineers at work about possible software to aid in circuit design that may also have test/diagnostic features to actually test a circuit. This was yesterday and he said nothing that he knew of. Then this morning he mentioned this Spice/Probe-Spice program from the the University of California in Berkley that he remembered using in college. Anyone have any experience with it? Think it'd be useful or just not practical for an electric brew system?

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Old 06-16-2010, 02:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by IrregularPulse View Post
I was talking to on of the Electrical Engineers at work about possible software to aid in circuit design that may also have test/diagnostic features to actually test a circuit. This was yesterday and he said nothing that he knew of. Then this morning he mentioned this Spice/Probe-Spice program from the the University of California in Berkley that he remembered using in college. Anyone have any experience with it? Think it'd be useful or just not practical for an electric brew system?
Spice has been around forever. It is really used for electronic circuit CAD and simulation. I think it is not really geared to electric circuit analysis although I have not used it many years. I am much more familiar with Matlab and Simulink.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:10 PM   #3
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I have a very little bit of experience with it. SPICE is really just a backend to a number of circuit analysis programs, try looking for 5spice or the student edition of Pspice. If you can find a decent tutorial and have a decent knowledge of electronics they can make designing and testing complex circuit easier.
I dont think it will be very helpful for wiring heating elements or solid state switches but if you are going to design your own timers / temp controllers it could be very useful.

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:09 PM   #4
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Spice has been around forever. It is really used for electronic circuit CAD and simulation. I think it is not really geared to electric circuit analysis although I have not used it many years. I am much more familiar with Matlab and Simulink.
It actually is used for circuit analysis...it is similar to NASTRAN in that really it is an analytical solver that has had various versions of the same tool, and many front-ends put on it over the years by different companies and organizations.

If you look around, you can still get the original SPICE code(s) and write circuits into it using a text file. It does have the ability to analyze some solid-state devices, but if you are trying to simulate something like a fully integrated PID or similar device, it's unlikely you'll get that working very easily.

A quick google turns up this helpful Wikipedia page with links at the bottom to both program source and tutorials.
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Old 06-16-2010, 03:18 PM   #5
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Yeah, spice is for some pretty hardcore circuit analysis. We use it in my industry for characterizing the timing and transition rates of teeeeeny tiiiiiny transistors and whatnot.

I don't know exactly what it is that you want to tinker with, but SPICE might be more than you really need.

What kinds of stuff are you wanting to simulate? There are a number of circuit design and simulator tools out there for free that might be more suited to basic tinkering.

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:43 PM   #6
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I found this one when messing with the idea of building a pulse width modulator.

Just unzip the thing and double-click the "index.html" file in the directory to pull open the loose manual and launch the simulator.

it has all of the basic things like resistors, capacitors, inductors, as well as a few IC's (like 555 timers) and digital logic gates, relays, toggle switches, etc.

You can simulate the circuits and enable visuals to show you current flow as well as power consumption, and you can click nets in the circuit and add them to an oscilloscope display at the bottom of the design window.

It's all Java based and it worked just fine for what I needed it for.


Oh, DAMN! The file is too big to attach to the message!

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:46 PM   #7
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Ah! Found the website I originally copied it from.

http://www.falstad.com/circuit

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Old 06-16-2010, 05:56 PM   #8
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Here's a freebie from Linear Technology - its been a while since I've used it (an older version of it) but I recall it being pretty simple to use.

http://www.linear.com/designtools/software/ltspice.jsp

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Old 06-17-2010, 10:29 PM   #9
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check out micro cap. I've used quite a few of these programs and it is by far my favorite http://www.spectrum-soft.com/index.shtm

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Old 06-18-2010, 04:18 AM   #10
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I used PSPICE in college, I have an Electrical Engineering Degree. I don't see how it would be remotely useful in setting up a E system. That is unless you are designing the PIDs and controllers yourself. If that is the case, I hope you have a Masters or a PHD in EE.

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