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A Comparison Of Electronic Design And Analysis Packages

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.15.1 - 5.15.6



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Paper Authors

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Carlos Monsanto

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Elaine M. Cooney

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1620

A Comparison of Electronic Design and Analysis Packages

Elaine Cooney, Carlos Monsanto Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis


There have been great strides in Electronic Design and Analysis (EDA) packages in the past few years, both in capabilities and “user-friendliness”. This paper examines four EDA packages: Electronics Workbench Version 5, MicroSim Design Lab Version 8, Orcad Release 9, and Protel 98. (These were the software versions available while this research was being conducted. The authors recognize that by the time this paper is published, some, if not all, of the versions discussed will be superseded.) This comparison uses the student or demonstration versions which are available for each of these packages.

Although many criteria may be used to evaluate software, the focus of this project is finding the right software package for undergraduate use. Criteria include: availability of documentation; overall ease of use; ease of schematic entry, including ability to customize display; amount and relevancy of devices available; ability to edit and create devices; total size of circuitry allowed; simulation capabilities; and ability to simulate a variety of circuits accurately.

To perform this comparison, the same circuit schematics were entered into each of the packages and simulated. A variety of analog and digital circuits were used. The experiences and results were then compared using the above criteria. In addition, students were surveyed about their experiences with EDA software.

EDA Packages

Electronics Workbench1 Student Version (EWB) has been aggressively marketed to education, both on the post-secondary and even high-school level. The student addition, available for less than $100 from the company’s website, was reviewed here, but the company also sells a professional version (at a much higher price). The most obvious difference between the professional and student edition seems to be the number and variety of part libraries. The user interface models a lab setting - the user virtually wires together components, power supplies, a function generator, meters and oscilloscope and observes a simulation of how this equipment works together. It can be used as practice lab experience. PCB layout is available as an add-on package (at an additional charge). Electronics Workbench is presented in first-semester freshman electrical engineering technology courses at IUPUI.

MicroSim Design Lab Version 8 Evaluation Version (MicroSim) was originally produced as a demonstration: engineers would use it to “test drive” the product before placing an order for the actual software. MicroSim also generously allowed educators and students to download the evaluation version or receive promotional CDs at no charge and encouraged the software’s use

Monsanto, C., & Cooney, E. M. (2000, June), A Comparison Of Electronic Design And Analysis Packages Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8218

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