Free electronic circuit maker for students

Ron H

Joined Apr 14, 2005
I use Linear Technology's SwitcherCAD III, which is totally free and is not "castrated" like most student or demo versions of Spice. You do have to understand Spice pretty well to use it. It comes with pretty good documentation.
SwitcherCAD is the best for simulating switched inductor circuits but beware of some of the transient artifacts you see on the output with long simulation times, even their apps people admit to that. I use that for switching supply design and I use Intusofts ICAPs for everything else. ICAPs is not free but you get what you pay for. One of the best decisions I made early in my circuit designing career was buying my own tools, and we're talking over $100K USD by now, and all of it has paid for itself many times over. One of the benefits of paying that much money is that you can and do learn it better than just about anbody else who doesn't pay for it themselves. On the job this translates directly into productivity and if you're a consultant, income.
If this is going to be your profession don't be afraid to spend some money, after all, would you go to a surgeon who only used free surgical tools? or a mechanic, or a plumber, or .... ? The free tools are a good start but that's all they are.


Joined Jan 6, 2006
There're tons of electronic simulations out there, but probably the most popular one is Multisim, quite initiative in user interface; hence very easy to understand for newbie. Unfortuantely it is not free, still you can download the trial version for 30 days...Someone also told me there is a good alternative of multisim with slightly less capabilities called Easy-pc. It seems to be free and most of all it has a very good support unlike other free floating softwares.

I think it is best for you to download some famous trial softwares so you will have some ideas what they actually look like before using free babies.