In our recent survey, we asked you about the design and simulation tools that you used at work. This includes the simple schematic capture (drawing) tools at one end of the spectrum and the sophisticated circuit simulation tools at the other end.
We had enough granularity in the choices to get a good idea of what is being used. So let's drill down into the data and see what it says.
We received 108 responses to the poll, which was set up to permit multiple selections. Hence, the answers selected add up to more than 108.
About a third of you are using a barebones tool that you downloaded for free. I've used some of these, and they are adequate. Some leave a bit to be desired in that they don't allow editing of their symbols and don't allow easy manipulation of symbols and nets (wires). I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to neat, clean schematics with minimal crossing of nets and nets that are not too close together.
Nearly 40 percent of you paid good money for a schematic capture tool. With these, the problems I cited above can be eliminated. But it'll cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars for that flexibility.
When it comes to circuit simulation and analysis, one-quarter of you went the cheap route and used a free version. Some of you — just under one-half — used one of the circuit-sim tools available from one of the semiconductor manufacturers. These, of course, are loaded with that company's devices plus some generic devices. Both these types of simulator tools are good enough for some applications.
For those times when that isn't good enough, a bit under a quarter of you opened you wallets and got the full-featured circuit simulator tool. For some applications, this is mandatory — e.g., medical diagnostic equipment, guided missiles, and ICs.
For some engineering design work, just under one third of you said that an Excel spreadsheet can provide sufficient design guidance: perhaps an analysis on the sensitivity to component parameter variations. And one quarter of you said that you use pencil, paper, and a slide rule to design and analyze your circuits. We of course hope that these circuits are not used in medical diagnostic equipment, guided missiles, and ICs.
What are your thoughts on these schematic capture and circuit analysis tools? What do you use and why?
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