From: Mike Monett
X-Mailer: Mozilla 2.02 (Win16; I)
Subject: Re: Transistor amplifiers v. frequency in SPICE
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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 20:02:32 -0500
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 20:02:00 EST
Organization: Bell Sympatico
Jim Thompson wrote:
> I'm curious, what is it about PSpice that you find "difficult"?
> I'm dense as a stump, yet I find PSpice completely intuitive.
> (Maybe you're using Capture... *that* can be a real hair-tearer.)
> ...Jim Thompson
I'm limited to software that runs on Win 3.11, so perhaps my version of
PSPICE is so outdated that most of my observations no longer apply. I'm
running V7.1 from 1996, and Microcap 5 from 1998. That's two years of
development in favor of Microcap, but I find that programs usually don't
change their overall structure once they have been released.
I like Microcap because it is fully integrated. The schematic entry and
analysis are all in memory, so there's no waiting for different modules
to load and initialize.
This also helps improve the error handling. Microcap checks for common
mistakes before running an analysis, and won't let you waste time when it
can't find signals to display, or other common mistakes.
Having everything in memory speeds things considerably. If I'm in the
middle of an analysis and spot something I want to change, I just hit Esc
and F3 and I'm instantly back in the schematic.
I like the parameter setup in Microcap. I can change the analysis
options, trace color, step settings, and anything else related to the
analysis. If I'm in the middle of an analysis and want to change
something, I just hit Esc, then F9 and I'm back in the setup. In PSPICE,
I have to exit the module, return to schematic entry, change the
parameter, then reload the analysis module. This wastes time.
When the analysis is complete, there is a bewildering array of options to
measure min, max, delta, frequency, risetime, and anything else you can
imagine. I can view a portion of a waveform just by drawing a small box
around it, and return to a full-screen view by pressing F6. After all
these years, I still haven't used all the options that are available.
When I return to the schematic, I can click on a small icon and Microcap
displays all the node voltages from the current analysis. Click the icon
again, and they disappear. There are many other similar features that
would take too long to describe, but the basic idea is everything is at
your fingertips and instantly available.
Component entry is fast and painless. The components are separated into
different categories for easy selection, where PSPICE gives me one huge
list to scroll through. Microcap also keeps track of the last ten
components you used so they are instantly available for reuse.
It is perhaps unfair to compare two programs that differ by two long
years, but the skill shown by the Microcap designers to minimize the
number of keystrokes and speed the analysis cycle does not seem to appear
in other software.
Again, I am limited to programs that run on Win 3.11, and cannot comment
on improvements that may exist in later versions.