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WHY SIMULATE?

Test design ideas
Before you break out the soldering iron, SPICE helps you explore circuit alternatives and play "what if" games. The sky is the limit with electronic devices and topologies. You can start with some high-level functional blocks. As the design takes shape, fill in the details with components until Presto! - your creative synthesis has given birth to a circuit ready for actual prototype and further verification.

Save Time
One benefit is the time saved up front by avoiding theoretical oversights early in the game. You don't have to spend a week in the lab discovering the topology selected draws way too much power. Simulation gives you a quicker answer.

Predict Circuit Performance
SPICE helps predict your circuit's performance when conditions and component values vary. You know, once the circuit goes out into the real world, the changing temperature or power supply level will effect your circuit. The question is - how much? Even before the circuits leave the shipping room, how will the 100 low-pass filters perform - given the resistor and capacitor tolerances - compared with the prototype you've tweaked over the last week in the lab? Simulation helps test the robustness of your design.

Make Difficult / Dangerous Measurements
Measuring some circuit voltages and currents can appear like a mission impossible. Here are some difficulties simulation can avoid. Some measuring equipment may load your circuit producing misleading results. Other measurements may require special test equipment you don't have or can't afford. Still others may be dangerous ( high voltage or current measurements) or may inadvertently destroy the real circuit.

Hands-On Learning
SPICE is a great way to learn a lot in a short time. Also, busy lives and limited budgets can make experimenting with real parts and expensive equipment nearly impossible. What may take you an hour to wire up in the lab - to get a minor concept - could be covered in a few minutes with SPICE. For example, how does an amplifier's gain vary with bandwidth? Before the circuit parts were even collected, you can get hands-on experience with the gain-bandwidth tradeoff. While text and equations tell you the story, a simulation can clarify the concept and drive it home.

It's Fun
Two words I've heard associated with SPICE are "fun" and "addicting." Its true - getting a circuit to work as you envisioned can be fun and satisfying. Trying one more RC combination can be addicting as you optimize a circuit. Simulation gives you an open-ended sense of play, a set of circuit blocks ready to be combined in some interesting or useful way. There's a challenge in creating a SPICE model for an electrical or non-electrical component in your system. Its easy to get lost in a circuit adventure. What better way to learn the art and develop a passion for circuit design?

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