Free circuit simulation software

There are many great tools for analog circuit simulation and diagramming, but most of them are non-trivial to set up and have a steep a learning curve. I wanted to point out a great piece of software that I found a while back but have never seen linked from popular software lists.

Some things that make this this simulator stand out from the crowd:

  • Extremely simple and intuitive diagramming interface
  • Real time circuit simulation while you’re making changes to the circuit
  • Clear visual indicators of circuit state and electron flow
  • Scopes can be added to monitor up to three components simultaneously

Paul Falstad has an extensive collection of mathematics and physics related Java applets on his website, but one that really grabbed my attention is his analog circuit simulator. It comes packed with all of the basic electronics components you’d expect as well as some more advanced ones like boolean logic gates, MOSFET chips and JFETs.

For budding electrical engineers, there is a comprehensive set of example circuits with brief explanations to get you started on the right direction.

The source code is available (though the license is unclear) and the applet can be trivially embedded into web pages with a particular circuit, making it a great tool for displaying schematics.

It’s as simple as copying the JAR file and an exported circuit to your web server, and then using the following HTML to embed the applet:

    Sorry, you need a Java-enabled browser to see the simulation.

Happy hacking!

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