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Circuit Simulation for Performance Evaluation

Circuit simulation has revolutionised the way engineers design, test and optimise electrical systems. Whether you're developing the latest consumer tech or planning a network of lights and switches, a functioning circuit is crucial to ensure electricals work as intended once they enter the production phase.

The DesignSpark Circuit Simulator and other similar programs are used to evaluate the performance of circuits, including how they respond to different signal frequencies, voltages and currents, as well as monitoring parameters such as gain, bandwidth, distortion, noise and power consumption. Find out more about this key phase in the electrical design process with our guide below.

What is a circuit simulator?

Using a circuit simulator is like having an electronics lab at your fingertips. They're innovative pieces of software that give users the ability to replicate the behaviour of circuits, and the current running through them, without needing physical prototypes. They play a crucial role in the wider electrical design process, helping ensure projects are viable before investments are made in production.

Circuits can be modelled in a virtual design environment using a range of schematic tools and digital components. Simulations are then run to identify the behaviour and performance of a circuit with different input signals and conditions, whether that's the combination of different components such as resistors and transistors or the level of current applied.

The multi-functionality of circuit simulators means they're a versatile tool that can be used to streamline the electrical design process from end to end, including making the challenging transition to production. Digital, analog and mixed-signal electronics can be worked on, helping confirm the practicalities of electrical systems, no matter how complex.

The importance of performance evaluation

Circuit designs are created with specific design goals in mind. These are often certain levels of efficiency, input and output voltage, and no-load input power. Once a layout has been modelled, performance evaluation must be carried out to assess whether the design specifications have been met by that circuit.

The specifications being achieved is crucial to ensure that a circuit can meet the requirements needed for real-world application and manufacturing. One of the valuable benefits of circuit simulation is that, if design goals haven't been met, models can be tweaked and reconfigured until a suitable design is found, all without the need for prototyping.

Reliability is another important consideration for circuitry. Electrical systems need to be able to manage performance through noise, signal interference, temperature changes and voltage surges. Evaluating a circuit's response to these factors and scenarios helps to test performance and reliability simultaneously, highlighting any areas of weakness in a design.

How circuit simulators assist performance evaluation

Performance evaluation can be completed with many of the in-built features and functions of a circuit simulator, including:

  • All-in-one design and simulation functionality: The best circuit simulators give you the entire range of features needed to model and simulate designs on one platform. For example, DesignSpark's Circuit Simulator allows you to effortlessly switch from design to simulation, giving you the tools you need to evaluate the performance of your latest configurations.
  • Accurate circuit simulation engines: The ability to replicate real-world circuit behaviour allows electrical engineers to evaluate performance in line with specific design specifications. If any faults or inefficiencies are identified, designs can be tinkered with to ensure circuits will be able to function as needed in real applications.
  • Customisable parameters, component values and input signals: Every aspect of a circuit design can be set to certain specifications. For example, applying varying resistance levels can help to assess the performance of circuits with a range of components and layouts. Input signals can be added to test reliability in line with different voltages and the impact of events such as surges.
  • Digital circuit probes and waveform viewers: Simulations are complemented by various monitoring and analysis tools such as circuit probes and waveform viewers to get a clear understanding of performance. With in-depth insight into the results of simulations, adjustments and optimisations can be made to deliver better performance in line with design specifications.

Advantages of circuit simulation for performance evaluation

As a critical part of the electronic circuit design process, performance evaluation done with a circuit simulator delivers several benefits for engineers and designers. The most valuable advantages include:

  • Time-saving: The process of simulating circuits is much more efficient than building prototypes and carrying out analysis on those. Performance can be evaluated and optimisations made in a fraction of the time, streamlining the whole design and development process from end to end.
  • Cost-saving: Without the need for physical materials and components to build prototypes, project costs can also be reduced. Prototyping iterations can be unlimited, and so can the costs. Therefore, the digital evaluation alternative is far more cost-effective.
  • Intuitive circuit analysis: With the range of digital design tools and simulation features, you can analyse and evaluate the performance of circuits under different operating conditions and in different configurations, providing invaluable insight to help you meet design specifications.

Why choose DesignSpark's Circuit Simulator for performance evaluation?

Meeting design specifications is crucial for the success of every electrical project. That's where the DesignSpark Circuit Simulator can help. In addition to our powerful and versatile software tool, we can offer you the following:

  • Plans to suit your needs: You can choose from three subscription plans depending on how you're likely to use our circuit simulator. Our Explorer plan is free and gives you basic access to the tool if you're looking to have a try before upgrading to a paid plan. Both our Creator and Engineer plans work on a paid subscription basis and give you extended access to our tools and services – perfect for electronic enthusiasts and trained engineers alike.
  • No need to download: Our circuit simulator is a cloud-based tool, so you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection and web browser. All your designs can be stored and shared online too.
  • Latest news and insights: We're experts in this space, so we like to share knowledge, guidance and the latest information on circuit simulation and a range of other technical topics. If you've got any more questions on circuit simulators, check out our FAQs on the subject, see the tutorials we've created or get in touch with our team for more help.

Login or register today to begin using circuit simulator software with DesignSpark.

I'm a Mechanical Engineer by qualification though I worked for a long time specialising in Motion Control systems and integration with various PLC systems. I've wide experience of many types of applications from packaging machines to military and some applications that I can't mention. At home, I like to tinker and make things with wood, metal, plastics, electronics and mechanical system. I'm never happier than with a hammer and a screwdriver in my hands....