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Electronic Design Software

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  • Nicolae Sfetcu
    PSpice (Please note: this page concentrates on a couple versions of Pspice for 80x86 series computers: a more comprehensive list of Spice sources that includes
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2001
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      (Please note: this page concentrates on a couple versions of Pspice for 80x86 series computers: a more comprehensive list of Spice sources that includes other computing platforms can be read here. )Also, the latest versions of MicroSim's software can be found here. Also, Intusoft has a demo version of their ICAP/4Windows available.

      Versions 6.0 of Pspice Design Center for Windows : Unzip each of the following three files onto three floppy disks to recreate the installation disks for this version.

      Version 6.2 for Windows appears to be available from ftp://klingon.ee.iastate.edu/pub/pspice/ as self-extracting zip files. I have not tried these and do not know if which files you need, or whether they need to be extracted onto "installation floppies" instead of simply unpacking into a program directory.

      Pspice got purchased by Orcad, and they still distribute version 8 as "studentware" for free: see http://orcad.com/products/products_f.htm
      I've got an old PC, no Windows, no math chip . . .is there a version of Pspice I can run? You bet. The following are the self-extracting archive files you need. These DON'T create installation disks; you should create a directory for Pspice on your hard drive, copy these files into it, and run them one at a time. Click on these links:

      Note that although this can run on 8088 and higher PCs with only 640k of RAM, Pspice still wants all the memory you can give it and may refuse to work until you remove some of your device drivers or TSR programs.
      Here's another way to get version 5.4, which is the DOS version used in the E.E. PC labs.

      With a floppy in a diskette drive (we'll assume drive A:), type

      PKZIP -& A:PSPICE F:\APPS\PSPICE\*.* [Enter]

      It will prompt you to keep inserting floppies until it's compressed the whole Pspice 5.4 directory contents into one big .ZIP file that spans several diskettes. To unpack it, put the first disk in a drive on your computer at home (again, let's assume drive A:), create a directory called C:\PSPICE (or whatever you want), change into that directory with CD \PSPICE and then type

      PKUNZIP A:PSPICE [Enter]

      It'll ask you for the floppies it needs till it's done. Make sure you read the README.DOC file.

      PADS Schematic and PCB

      Students in the UN-L E.E. Department can't take home the Protel software from the PC labs, although some sort of limited demo version can be downloaded from their web site. What we have suggested to students instead is that they use a freeware version of PADS Logic & PADS PCB. It is not as well documented as a commercial program, and the user interface is very non-intuitive. But it is quite powerful, has large parts libraries, and has been used in the EE Shop for some of our projects. (NOTE: Since we now use Protel for our work, I have not used PADS in some years and am not an on-line authority for questions.) It has a limit on the size of the designs it can do. We have installed it on several EE lab machines, including the ones in the WSEC 333 Projects Lab. It supports a lot of output options and can generate Gerber photoplot files that can be used by the E.E. Shop IBC Boardmaker system. To learn about the current commercial version, see PADS Website.

      Where to get it . . .
      You can download compressed archives of these floppies right now from the Web, but there are some special considerations with the PADS files that other archived files don't have and that you must take into account to be able to install it on your machine. To download the three PADS disks:

      • If you are using Mosaic or xmosaic, find and activate the Options menu item that says Load to disk Lynx or Netscape software should figure out that the links you will use aren't Web documents and will ask you if you want to just download them, and yes, you do. Then click on the following links.

      • Download: (from Oakland's SimTel archive)
        PADSLOG.ZIP (1.08M)
        , the schematic editor;
        PADSPCB.ZIP (1.03M)
        , the PCB layout program; and
        PADSLIB.ZIP (488K)
        , the library files and programs that both of these use.

      • (If Oakland/SimTel is busy, try the following :
        PADSLOG.ZIP (1.08M)
        PADSPCB.ZIP (1.03M)
        PADSLIB.ZIP (488K)

        (NOTE: these files are found in many other on-line archives if the above links don't work. Do a search for these file names at Shareware.com ).

      • Un-select the Load to Disk menu option so you can continue to use Mosaic normally.

      • These are archived images of the installation disks that MUST be uncompressed to floppy disks in a certain way before you can use them to install PADs. The program PKUNZIP must be in your computer's path to unpack these. The EE PC lab computers should have PKUNZIP on them.

      • Make sure you are in the directory on C: that you downloaded the files into. Now put a floppy in a drive and change to that drive. We'll assume you are using drive A:, so put the disk in A: and type
        A: [Enter]

      • Unpack the downloaded archives with the command
        Repeat for the other two archives using "C:PADSPCB" and "C:PADSLIB" on the command line instead of "C:PADSLOG": each of the three files will require it's own floppy. The "-D" switch on the line recreates the directory structure needed on the floppy disk, and without this the program will not be installable.

      • Now you have the installation disks. The PADSLOG and PADS PCB disks both have a program named PINSTALL on them that you run to install the programs. It's pretty self-explanatory, but be advised that you have to perform the "Hardware Installation" for both the Logic and PCB packages before you run them. VIDEO TIP: many VGA adapters seem to work fine with the Paradise 800x600 setting in PINSTALL.

      • What about instructions? The PADSLOG and PADSPCB disks each have a file named DOCS.EXE on them, but they are not identical. They are self-extracting archives of the tutorial files and PINSTALL does NOT copy them over when installing the program. Put each of the two floppies into the drive in turn, make sure that you are in the PADSDEMO directory on C: (that's the default directory) and then type A:DOCS [Enter] You will end up with files named MANUAL.LOG and MANUAL.PCB. These are NOT comprehensive reference manuals: they are each tutorial files about 40 pages long. You are advised to read them and do the examples. PADS is NOT a program that you can just run and figure out on the fly. You can read the manuals on-line right here: PADS PCB and PADS Logic.

        A Few Tips . . .
        A few hints to reduce frustration when first using PADS can be read here.

      • Incidentally, to run the programs you have to use the batch files provided: type LOGICS [Enter] to run PADS Logic and PCBS [Enter] to run the PCB program.
      • I got the following e-mail regarding PADS installation on newer, faster systems: "...this time of re-installing Pads from the floppies, it would not install and I would get an error of "Could not find this file. May not be in Path." when it tried to copy the files off the floppies. Something in my start-up was running the set up too fast, and the set up couldn't keep up (or so it appears), as the programs were not being copied from source to destination but the set up program thought it had. Doing a Shft-F5 at start-up (or reboot) to a clean DOS prompt solved the problem."
      Sound like a hassle? Be advised: electronics CAD programs are inherently sophisticated things, and I've never seen one worth having that didn't take a big investment in time to learn. Don't get the idea three weeks before your project is due that you're going to find or buy and learn to use a PCB layout program and do your project drawings on it. You'll be sorry.

      A somewhat newer version of PADS can apparently be had: I've got no experience with it. To learn about it, read padstdx.txt and then get these three files to unpack according to the instructions:
      padstdx1.zip (750K)
      padstdx2.zip (1105K)
      padstdx3.zip (909K)

      Some notes from PADS Software themselves: "Here's a guy who taught with that system and wrote a workbook for it...

      Asst. Prof. Marc Herniter
      Northern Arizona University
      Electrical Engineering Dept.
      Flagstaff, AZ 86011-1560 (602) 523-2300

      The new program is not exactly shareware, needs 486dx and at least 16 meg MINIMUM for the windows port. Don't expect to have an easy time with it either, this is meant to be walked onto a site by a salesperson, demoed and left to be considered by customer....but people are using it."

      AutoCAD PCB

      AutoDesk's AutoCAD computer drafting program is found on a lot of University computers, including the Mechanical Engineering PC room machines. The E.E. Shop developed AutoCAD-PCB, (72K), a package of scripts, predefined blocks, and instruction for doing PCB design with AutoCAD. Some exerpts from the documentation that discuss general aspects of using software to make boards can be read here. Also, some additions and modifications by an AutoCAD-PCB user can be seen here.

      More Software . . .

      In addition, here are links to the home pages for
      Even more E-CAD software links can be found through Printed Circuit Design Magazine's buyer's guide and directories, or through this index of CAD/CAE companies.

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