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Design & Simulation Tool Reviews
Page 3

SSS Online is proud to highlight our favorite design tools, software and reference books on this page. We have had many useful hours of faithful service from the tools / items listed below. We make our living developing new products for OEMs and as such have a detailed (if not intimate) knowledge of these tools. If you need any help designing circuits, systems or equipment / instrumentation with any of these tools, please call us at TEL: 865-717-9339, FAX: 865-717-9904 or email: -- to find out more about these tools, just click on one of these topics:

Editor's Note: These reviews were prepared by Randy Roberts of RF/SS Consulting (now retired), and were originally posted on this page in February 1999. As time permits, we will update the information and provide additional reviews on new tools.


Contents of This Page

Related SSS-Online Pages

[Reviews: Meters & Hardware] [SPICE Page]
[PLD Tools Page] [CAD / CAE Page] [Tech Notes & Tips Topical Menu]
[EMI / EMC Page] [EE Page] [Radio Propagation Page]

Other Tools-Related Links

CalTech's PUFF Info & Ordering
Agilent EEsof EDA Home Page


MATHCAD from Mathsoft, Inc.

Mathcad — It's the most advanced Mathcad ever. With more of the features you need to solve complex technical problems.

Mathcad is the only technical calculation program that turns your computer into a live worksheet, so you can use real math notation to solve problems -- and get instant feedback as you try different approaches. It also lets you analyze data, build models, and test different scenarios.

Download a free Mathbrowser Web browser, which allows you to explore Mathcad's unique live worksheets over the Internet.

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SysCalc 4

SysCalc 4.0 from Arden Technologies, Inc.

SysCalc is a Microsoft Windows based program for modeling the noise, gain and intermodulation performance of a system of cascaded blocks where each block is characterized by known parameters. SysCalc's powerful features allow you to intelligently weigh the tradeoffs between dynamic range, sensitivity, spurious levels and gain distribution. And with its presentation quality output you can impressively document your designs. SysCalc uses a unique tabbed-NoteBook metaphor to organize blocks into logically independent pages or sub-systems. This organizational approach is far more intuitive and convenient than the MDI (Multi-Document Interface) scheme used by many Windows products on the market.

See a review of SysCalc in the Dec 1994 issue of Microwaves & RF, "Program Analyzes Complex Systems"

Download a DEMO version of SysCalc (SCW_DEM1.ZIP)

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ECLIPSE from Arden Technologies, Inc.

Eclispse for Windows is an unparalleled RF/Microwave linear simulator for the PC platform. The program uses a unique tabbed-notebook interface with "drag and drop" capabilities for building netlists and graphical output. The element library includes a wide variety of lumped, distributed, active device, microstrip, stripline and control-block models. Eclipses features include:

Comprehensive Element Library Resistors, inductors and capacitors (ideal/lossy, self-resonant), reactances, complex impedances, dependent sources, ideal transformer, multiport blackbox devices (S, Y, Z-parameters), port terminations (impedance, gamma or black box), transmission lines, coupled lines, attenuator, transformer, control blocks (summing, integrator, differentiator, pole, zero, gain), bipolar, FET and diode semiconductor models, microstrip and stripline structures.

Element Assistant Eclipse's unparalleled Element Assistant makes remembering element parameters completely unnecessary. Click the right mouse button on an element in the netlist and the Assistant pops up with data fields clearly labeled for all element parameters. Each field displays context sensitive help with full on-line documentation a mouse click away.

User-defined variables provide powerful input and output processing capabilities. This powerful feature lets you combine constants, Program Variables (such as Y, Z or S-parameters, gain, current frequency, etc.), Program Functions and other User Variables into interrelated complex mathematical expressions. Once defined, your "programmable" User Variables can be graphed or used as element parameter inputs.

Flexible Sweep Capability You have complete control over circuit stimulus and output processing through Eclipse's project notebook. Each page contains its own definition regarding how the circuit is to be swept. Eclipse can sweep a circuit by changing the frequency, an element parameter or User Variable. Element sweeping allows you to directly vary any single parameter of any element over a chosen range of values at a single frequency. Variable sweeping allows you to similarly vary a User Variable; however, since User Variables can be assigned to element parameters, elements can be indirectly varied as well. The possibilities are limitless.

Manual Element Tuning Rapidly tune multiple elements and/or User Variables using standard EIA increments (1%, 5% and 10%). Independent save/recall registers are available for intermediate storage of tuning values.

Optimization Use Eclipse's powerful optimization features to automatically minimize the difference between desired and actual circuit performance. Performance goals are formulated in terms of mathematical expressions comprised of Program and/or User Variables. You can mix relative as well as absolute specifications when defining goals. Eclipse's summary box will show you the contribution of each goal to the overall error.

Output Parameters S, Y, Z-parameters (1 to 4 ports), Maximum Available Gain, group delay, voltage gain (three types), Series or Parallel impedances (reactance displayed as ohms, inductance or capacitance), Stability Criteria (K, Rs_min/Rp_max for guaranteed stability). Output can viewed in graphical or tabular form.

Network Analyzer-style Markers Eclipse provides four independent markers for each graph. Each marker's X and Y values are automatically tracked and displayed during simulation, tuning and optimization. Various marker functions are available to enhance displayed information.

Custom Graphs Just right mouse click on any graph to independently customize its appearance using the Graph Properties dialog box. For instance, with the Autolines feature you can define additional boundary lines to be drawn on each graph. Save traces to memory for comparison with "live" data or enable Eclipse's history feature to dynamically retain and display up to 5 of the most recent traces.

Industry Standard Data Files Data files may be imported/exported in industry standard format.

Power Comprehensive element library, programmable user-variables, unlimited graph sheets, multiple sweep types, manual tuning, optimization, custom graphs, complete on-line help, project notes - it all adds up to raw power.

Productivity Intuitive notebook interface, drag and drop objects, context sensitive pop-up menus and object properties dialog boxes - not only will you get it donefast but you'll have fun doing it.

Download a DEMO version of Eclipse (ECW402DM.ZIP)

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WEBB LABS' RF / Microwave CAE Tools

Editor's Note 3/11/03: This link is broken and there is no longer any website for Webb Labs.

Webb Labs is dedicated to the conception, development and support of unique, powerful, accessible and affordable CAE tools for the discriminating electrical engineering professional. Unlike offerings from other firms, Webb Labs applications include multi-user network support at no additional cost!

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PENZAR's Top Spice

Download a Demo Version of PENZAR's Top Spice for WIN 3.XX or Win95

TopSPICE is still the price/performance leader in true analog/digital/behavioral mixed-mode simulation for the PC. It offers the most advanced simulator in its price range, compatibility, and a quick and easy to use integrated design environment from schematic capture to graphical waveform analysis.

TopSPICE is a native full-featured mixed-mode mixed-signal circuit simulator capable of simulating circuits containing any arbitrary combination of analog devices, digital functions and high-level behavioral blocks. With TopSPICE you can verify and optimize your design from the system to the transistor level. By using the built-in logic simulator to simulate the digital sections of your circuit instead of analog equivalents, mixed-mode simulation times can be reduced by orders of magnitude.

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Technical Reference Books

Click on a Topic to find recommended books on that subject:

Books on SS and RF Subjects (Note: these links will take you to other pages on SSS Online. Use your browser's "Back" button to return to this page.)

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