Good, efficient engineering requires a working knowledge of ECAD and EDA tools. Some favorites are listed below. Some of the listed tools are simply links to their webpages while others may have a dedicated wiki page here with further information or tutorials.
Signal Integrity Analysis
- QUCS (FOSS)
- Both transient and frequency-domain simulation similar to Keysight ADS. Great functionality for an open-source tool, but no IBIS capabilities nor do S-Parameter models work in time-domain simulations.
- Micro-Cap (Free): http://www.spectrum-soft.com/download/download.shtm
- Micro-Cap was recently made completely free as the developer has retired. This may be the only free IBIS-capable EDA simulation tool available.
Channel Simulation (IBIS-AMI)
2D/2.5D Field Solvers
- +TNT-MMTL Field Solver (FOSS)
3D Field Solvers
- Simbeor: https://www.simberian.com/
- Kicad: https://kicad.org/
- Incredibly full featured open-source PCB design package under active development. Better than any ECAD suite that costs less than $1000, in my opinion.
- Cadence OrCAD: https://www.orcad.com/
- Full-featured, enterprise level software with tons of capabilities. Look for sales to get the basic version for ~$500 at certain times of the year. Cadence provides many companion tools such as SI/PI analysis. The anaysis capabilities are not at the same level as standalone tools such as Keysight ADS or Ansys Electronics Desktop, but when working at low to moderate speeds the convenience of keeping everything under the Cadence umbrella is helpful.
- Altium: https://www.altium.com/
- Probably the most popular ECAD tool in the current market, Altium has a flashy, up-to-date GUI and is highly capable. The biggest downside to Altium is that it lacks the SI/PI analysis integration of the true enterprise-level suites from Cadence or Mentor. Hopefully the recent partnership with Simbeor means Altium will introduce more analysis features in the near future.
Smith Chart Visualization
- Iowa Hills Smith Chart: http://www.iowahills.com/9SmithChartPage.html
- General RF/Microwave Python library:
- Scikit-RF: http://scikit-rf.org/
- Series stub tuning:
- Emacs: The best text editor, calculator, IDE, and general all-purpose tool
- Zim personal wiki software (used to create this wiki)!
Contact Stephen with any questions: Stephen@ShieldDigitalDesign.com
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