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P Spice A Critical Thread In Vertical And Horizontal Curriculum Integration

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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

4.412.1 - 4.412.8

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Paper Authors

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Gopal Mohan

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J. Michael Jacob

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

Session 3147

PSpice® - A Critical Thread in Vertical and Horizontal Curriculum Integration

Gopal Mohan, J. Michael Jacob Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana


The Electrical Engineering Technology Department at Purdue University uses PSpice® for circuit simulation. PSpice is a commercial package derived from the public domain SPICE, from the University of California, at Berkeley. PSpice until recently was a registered trademark of MicroSim™ Corporation. The evaluation version, PSpice 8.1EV, is available in the labs for students’ use. It is also available for checkout from the departmental office so that students may install it on their personal computers. One lab is equipped with the professional version. The reason for choosing PSpice is that it is derived from SPICE, which is the de facto standard for analog circuit simulation and also because MicroSim provided its evaluation versions free of cost and encouraged free distribution to students. OrCAD, Inc. has recently acquired MicroSim Corporation.

The Electrical Engineering Technology department and its faculty are charged with the responsibility of imparting to the students a broad working knowledge of a circuit simulator. The challenge is to incorporate the capabilities of this circuit simulator across the curriculum. This is compounded by the time constraints of a rigorous curriculum and by the requirement that the students use this knowledge for the duration of their education at Purdue and beyond.

Why is learning and using a circuit simulator necessary? There are several reasons why circuit simulation is essential. Circuit simulation allows interpretation of circuit behavior (say, over a wide range of frequencies), thus the focus is broadened from a mere computation of circuit variables, which, of course, is essential as a first step. Circuit simulation allows analysis at the system level once the behavior at lower levels is understood and tested. Also, simulation is valuable in situations involving enormous computation. The post processing capabilities of circuit simulators (Probe in PSpice) serve the invaluable function of plotting the results of simulation with the capability of arithmetic operation. Here, the advantage over manual computation is that the circuit behavior is observed both as numerical and graphical data.


At the Electrical Engineering Technology department at Purdue, circuit simulation is not taught in the first semester of the freshman year. In the Introduction to Circuit Analysis (EET 107) and the Digital Fundamentals (EET 196) courses students use hand calculations only. Circuit simulation is intentionally avoided to ensure that the students learn the fundamental skills of manual circuit analysis and computation.

The underlying philosophy is that simulation is one of a wide variety of tools. It is the user who is responsible for interpreting the results of a simulation in comparison with the results from

Mohan, G., & Jacob, J. M. (1999, June), P Spice A Critical Thread In Vertical And Horizontal Curriculum Integration Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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