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Increasing Productivity And Avoiding Circuit Simulation Errors In Multisim

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

ECET Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.748.1 - 11.748.14



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Paper Authors


William Stanley Old Dominion University

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William D. Stanley, Eminent Professor Emeritus, retired in December 2000 after about 35 years of service at Old Dominion University, of which he served as a department chair for 27 years. He holds a B. S. degree from the University of South Carolina and M. S. and Ph.D. degrees from North Carolina State University, all in Electrical Engineering. He is a registered Professional Engineer and author or co-author of about 20 textbooks. Since retiring, he has continued to write, teach part-time, work with the Navy College program, and has developed two asynchronous courses for that program.

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Richard Jones Old Dominion University

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Richard Jones has been teaching at ODU since 1994. He is a retired United States Navy Submarine Service Lt. Commander with sub-specialties in Ballistic Missile, Torpedo, Sonar, and Radio systems. Richard has previously taught Mechanical Engineering Design at the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and Electrical Engineering at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. He holds an ASEET from Cameron University, a BSEET from Oklahoma State University, and a Master of Engineering in Electronics Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California.

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John Hackworth Old Dominion University

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John R. Hackworth is Program Director for the Electrical Engineering Technology program at Old Dominion University. He holds a B. S. Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology and a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, both from Old Dominion University. Prior to joining the Old Dominion University faculty, John had approximately 20 years of industrial experience in test engineering and plant automation. He is the principal co-author of the text Programmable Logic Controllers: Programming Methods and Applications, published by Prentice-Hall.

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

Increasing Productivity and Avoiding Circuit Simulation Errors in MultiSIM©


Methods for streamlining MultiSIM circuit analysis projects are shown. Methods are shown which improve analysis results, streamline analysis methods, and prevent some common errors. Several examples of MultiSIM projects are given which illustrate each of the discussed methods.


In recent years, MultiSIM (formerly Electronics Workbench) has proven to be an excellent learning tool for electrical engineering and electrical engineering technology students. It can be adapted to any student learning level. For example, at the “beginner” level, the student can connect individual components and instruments much as he or she would do in a conventional laboratory environment. When the simulated power switch is turned on, the instruments on the screen begin realistically functioning. The front-panel switches and pushbuttons on the instruments work much like real equipment, thus allowing the student to learn how to use the instruments while making laboratory measurements. At the advanced level, after wiring the circuit, the student can forego the instruments and power switch and go directly to more advanced analysis features such as ac steady-state analysis (frequency and phase response analysis), transient analysis, or I-V analysis.

Although students generally adapt quickly to MultiSIM to perform most of their analysis work, there are some aspects of MultiSIM that require more experience. It is the purpose of this paper to explore some of these more subtle aspects of MultiSIM. In some cases, these will be simple “shortcuts” that can be used to perform circuit analysis easier or faster, and in other cases, techniques will be demonstrated that will allow the user to avoid analysis errors or failure because the analysis was setup incorrectly, or the calculated results do not converge.

At Old Dominion University, the Electrical Engineering Technology program uses Multisim in a wide range of courses including fundamental circuit analysis, electronic devices, digital circuits, linear integrated circuits, programmable controllers, electrical machines, and power systems. The extent of use varies from simple in-class examples used to support lecture material, to full lab experiments requiring students to build, troubleshoot, and analyze circuits totally by computer simulation. Because of the wide variety of Multisim applications used in ODU’s EET program, the examples illustrated in this paper are likewise varied.

Ideal Sources

By default, voltage sources in MultiSIM are ideal; that is, they have zero internal resistance. Generally, this functions well for most circuit analysis situations. However, consider the MultiSIM simulation of a three-phase 60 Hz delta source with wye connected load resistors, shown in Figure 1. This is a typical circuit simulation that would be assigned to students in an ac fundamentals course. Generally ac voltmeters and ac ammeters are added, which allow students to gain a better understanding of the relationships between line voltages and currents, and phase

Stanley, W., & Jones, R., & Hackworth, J. (2006, June), Increasing Productivity And Avoiding Circuit Simulation Errors In Multisim Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--684

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