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Home Grown Circuit Analysis: Madcat In The Classroom

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Computed Simulation and Animation

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.637.1 - 8.637.14

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Paper Authors

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Kau Teng Lim

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David Beams

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

Session 2320

Home-Grown Circuit Analysis: MADCAT in the Classroom

David M. Beams and Kau Teng Lim Department of Electrical Engineering University of Texas at Tyler

Computer simulation of electric circuits has become indispensable to both the teaching and practice of electrical engineering. The sophistication and functional capabilities of tools for electric circuit analysis have increased markedly in recent years. This sophistication nevertheless appears to have drawbacks:

• schematic-capture capabilities obscure the details of circuit topology; • details of how the software performs its analyses are hidden from the user; • macromodels for active devices do not contribute to students’ understanding of the modeling of electronic circuits.

A simple-to-use circuit simulator seemed more appropriate for introductory circuit-analysis courses. The following attributes were desirable in this simulator:

• the simulator would be intuitive to use and would employ straightforward graphical user interfaces; • the simulator would require students to engage circuit topology; • the simulator would be useful for dc and ac analysis; • the algorithms of the simulator would be relatively transparent, making it useful as an instructional tool; • the simulator would support basic elements of electric circuits but would not contain macromodels of electronic devices.

Matlab (The Math Works, Natick, MA) was chosen as the development platform because it provides structured programming constructs, extensive matrix functions (including inversion of matrices containing complex elements), graphing capabilities, and graphical user interface objects. The project became known as “MADCAT,” standing for “MAtlab Derived Circuit- Analysis Tool.” Development of the MADCAT was undertaken as a senior project by Kau Teng Lim in spring, 2000.

Capabilities of MADCAT

MADCAT supports bias-point dc analysis, swept dc analysis, and swept-frequency ac analysis. All node voltages and branch currents are computed. Circuits to be analyzed with MADCAT are

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Lim, K. T., & Beams, D. (2003, June), Home Grown Circuit Analysis: Madcat In The Classroom Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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