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Circuit Simulation for Time and Cost Saving

The electronic circuit and system design process has traditionally been both labour and cost-intensive. The process of jumping between schematics and physical prototypes for modelling and optimisations, although inefficient, has been necessary for the development of functional circuits to apply in the real world; that's where circuit simulators come in.

Circuit simulation has been a game-changer in the electrical design process, helping technical professionals streamline the development process from end to end. In this guide, we'll discuss how tools like the DesignSpark Circuit Simulator help save time and money for engineers in a range of industries.

What is circuit simulation?

Circuit simulation is the process of replicating the behaviour of a circuit and all its components using digital software. Doing so helps designers to model, test and optimise circuits and wider electrical systems all on one platform. The development of circuit simulators has meant the need for physical prototyping, which was once a necessity, has been greatly reduced.

Circuit simulators are accessible tools used across a variety of industries. Most allow users to design circuits with digital schematic tools and symbols representing components such as transistors and capacitors. Once modelled, circuit configurations can then be subjected to customisable input signals and parameters. The impact of these on the circuit is then displayed and the circuit can be evaluated for performance, reliability and real-world validity.

This simulation process means that design flaws can be identified and circuit schematics tinkered with to optimise performance before moving to the production phase. As such a versatile and powerful tool, there are plenty of benefits to users.

What are the challenges of circuit design?

Without simulation capabilities, the circuit design process is significantly more expensive and drawn out. It typically starts with schematics to create the layout, which are then manifested in prototypes using physical components, materials and resources.

These are then tested with current running through the circuits and evaluations made in line with the desired design specifications. If any flaws or inefficiencies are identified, it's back to the drawing board and further iterations until the optimal circuit is created. With a potentially unlimited number of prototyping stages, the costs associated with this phase of the design process can quickly add up.

Jumping between schematics and prototyping is not only expensive, but it also disrupts project flow and can significantly extend the time between concept and production phases, as well as delay getting to market. Fortunately, circuit simulation helps conserve resources and streamline the entire process.

How the design process is streamlined with circuit simulation

The power of circuit simulators means almost every aspect of the circuit design process is optimised. We've outlined some of the key benefits below:

  • Intuitive schematic tools: These modern circuit design tools are intuitive and readily available to a wide range of people, making schematics accessible for all private and commercial users. The simple drag-and-drop features mean that models can be created in a matter of minutes, cutting the time needed for design to a fraction of what it used to be.
  • All-in-one design and simulation functionality: Jumping back and forth between schematics and physical prototyping is time and cost-intensive. With a circuit simulator, you've got the tools needed for design and simulation all on one platform, streamlining the process dramatically. This cuts the cost of components and materials needed for prototypes and the time needed to assemble them.
  • Real-world performance evaluation, without prototypes: Ensuring a circuit functions as it should in the real world is key. With circuit simulation, this can be done without prototyping for the most part. Performance evaluation, verification of systems, and ticking design specification checklists off can all be done online, saving time, labour and investment.
  • Quick turnarounds for optimisations and design changes: If any design flaws are identified, there's no need to remake another prototype. You can simply amend designs in the software and run simulations to test the effectiveness of your changes instantly. This cuts the optimisation process down significantly, boosting project speed and shortening the time to production and market.
  • Easy transition to the production phase: With circuits designed and optimised in line with project specifications, the transition from design to production can be more seamless. Using digital design software means schematics can be uploaded to manufacturing systems more easily and obstacles can be overcome more quickly, reducing the threat of wasted time and money.

DesignSpark's Circuit Simulator is here to save you time and money

Circuit simulators are offered by a range of providers, but we believe the DesignSpark Circuit Simulator has all the tools you need to save time and money in your electrical design process. With us, you can benefit from a lot more than just our innovative software:

  • Three plans to suit your needs: We offer a range of subscription plans to suit your simulation needs. The Explorer plan gives you free, limited access, while our Creator and Engineer plans work on a paid subscription basis – ideal for engineers and firms alike.
  • Easy access: The DesignSpark Circuit Simulator is cloud-based, so you don't have to download anything to get started. This also means you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection and a web browser.
  • Expert insights: We write and publish a range of articles on circuit simulation and other technical topics to help you make a success of your projects. If you need help using our tools, check out our tutorials and FAQs or get in touch for more help and advice.

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....