So you’ve created a circuit diagram with OrCAD Capture, you’ve already run a design rule check (DRC), and you’re ready to verify your circuit’s electrical performance. How do you do it?
While you may be tempted to bring out the breadboard and your oscilloscope, there is a simpler solution accessible to anyone already using EDA software: electronic circuit simulation. In this post, we’ll introduce Cadence’s PSpice, and how you can use it to prototype your circuit designs.
What is PSpice Simulation?
PSpice is Cadence’s electronic circuit simulation tool. The name is an acronym for Personal Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis. It typically takes a netlist generated from OrCAD Capture, but can also be operated from MATLAB/Simulink. PSpice lets you simulate and analyze your analog and mixed-signal circuits within OrCAD.
PSpice calculates complex node voltages and branch currents at each frequency across your design, allowing you to place probes and generate waveform plots for further analysis. With PSpice, you can perform:
DC Sweep: Change component value (e.g. resistor value, current, or voltage) and graph the results.
AC Sweep: Analyze the frequency response of a circuit (gain and phase).
Transient Analysis: Set a time period and analyze the response of your circuit.
PSpice goes beyond mere circuit analysis, it also lets you perform temperature and stress analyses on your designs and perform event-driven simulations with its extensive library of pre-modeled parts. Some of the more advanced simulations you can use with PSpice Designer Plus include:
Sensitivity: Variations in manufactured components are natural. Sensitivity analysis lets you test circuit performance across the minimum and maximum tolerances for different component values and identify which components are critical to your design goals.
Monte Carlo: Perform statistical Monte Carlo analysis on multiple components varied across their tolerance ranges to help predict your production yield under different conditions. This can be used to identify which parts can have their tolerances widened, reducing cost without sacrificing performance.
Smoke (Stress): Identify increases in junction temperature, secondary break-downs, power dissipation stresses, and voltage/current violations throughout your design.
Optimizer: Automatically optimize analog circuits and systems to find the best component values for your performance goals and constraints.
Parametric Plotter: Analyze/sweep multiple design and model parameters at once in plot or tabular form.
Why use electronic circuit simulation?
Imagine having access to an unlimited inventory of thousands of different components for prototyping your designs. Not only would it be infeasible to hold such an inventory purely for prototyping, but it would also take you significantly more time to set up physical breadboards and run electrical tests at each iteration of your design.
Therein lies the advantage in PSpice, which gives you access to an unlimited virtual inventory of 33,000+ components. Go straight from schematic capture into prototyping via PSpice, and make the necessary design changes to your schematic as you identify improvements in your design.
PSpice makes it easier to validate component yield and reliability, verify electrical performance, and optimize your designs. Eager to start simulating your own PCB designs? Check out OrCAD PSpice Designer today.