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Electronics Work Bench ® And Pspice ® Computer Aided Design Systems As Educational Tools For Second And Fourth Year University Courses In Electronics

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.226.1 - 4.226.6

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Martin P. Mintchev

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Brent J. Maundy

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

Session 3147

Electronics WorkBench® and PSPICE® computer-aided design systems as educational tools for second and fourth-year university courses in Electronics

Martin P. Mintchev, Brent J. Maundy University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4


The progress in development of comprehensive computer-aided design (CAD) tools for electronic systems is related to the efficiency of teaching both introductory and advanced courses in electronics at university level. Rapid development of graphical user interface (GUI) created opportunity to convert a personal computer into a virtual electronic development site and thus significantly simplify the applicability of these CAD systems in academic environment. The aim of this study was to compare both qualitatively and quantitatively the student utilization of two of the most popular CAD systems available on today’s market, Electronics WorkBench and PSPICE. Twenty-nine second-year students and thirty four fourth-year students taking introductory and advanced courses in Electronics (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Calgary) volunteered to participate in the study, which examined the efficiency of their usage of the two systems in various assignments. The majority of junior students favored exposure to both systems, while the majority of senior students preferred Electronics WorkBench because of its quick learning curve and well-developed GUI environment. We conclude that visual CAD systems for electronic design are very well accepted by students.

1. Introduction

The progress in computer-aided design (CAD) tools for designing and analyzing electronic systems is of vital importance for the educational process in electronics at the university level [1, 2, 3]. For many years PSPICE (MicroSim Corporation, Irvine, California, U.S.A.) has been considered an industry standard and many university textbooks based their practical and illustrative examples on it [3-5]. However, in recent years the rapid development of Graphical User Interface (GUI) for personal computers made possible the evolution of the CAD systems for electronics towards a “bench-like” approach which simulate in real time the workplace of an electronic designer producing a computer-based physical model of the tested circuit and using virtual electronic instruments (power supplies, voltmeters, ammeters, function generators, oscilloscopes, Bode plotters, etc.) while examining this physical model. A pioneer in this approach was Interactive Image Technologies Inc. (Toronto, Ontario) which offered a GUI version of a CAD system even before graphical-based operating system for IBM PC compatibles was available [6]. Their product called Electronics WorkBench became one of the strongest competitors of PSPICE on the market. Not surprisingly, the newer 7.1 version of PSPICE utilized

Mintchev, M. P., & Maundy, B. J. (1999, June), Electronics Work Bench ® And Pspice ® Computer Aided Design Systems As Educational Tools For Second And Fourth Year University Courses In Electronics Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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