Spectrum Software closed its doors this summer, but has provided the free Micro-Cap Simulator. If you like designing electronic circuits, you may want to check out this industrial strength product.
Back in the 1980’s, an engineering friend of mine gave me a copy of Micro-Cap on a bunch of floppy disks. He used it at work to do electronic circuit design and thought I would like it. I did, but most of its features were way above my head at the time.
Flash forward more than thirty years. In my retirement, I have more time for my hobbies, including learning more electronics. You have probably read about my frequent use of LTSpice for analog circuit schematics, simulation and waveform display. LTSpice has become an indispensable tool in my arsenal, along with KiCad for PCB development.
Like LTSpice, Micro-Cap uses SPICE, which stands for Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis. It’s been around since the mainframe days. Originally open source, many companies have created extensions and enhancements, Some, like LTSpice are free; others are very expensive.
Spectrum Software created its electronic circuit simulator, Micro-Cap, around forty years ago. The program is “industrial strength” and quite expensive. Or, at least, it was.
This summer, Spectrum Software closed its operations and released its efforts as a free Micro-Cap simulator. Although it is no longer supported, you can download the final three versions of Micro-Cap and use all of of its features at no cost.
Free Micro-Cap Simulator May Be Worth Trying
While I am generally happy with LTSpice and well down the learning curve, I may spend some time with the free Micro-Cap simulator this winter.
You will find some interesting features available. These include mixed analog/digital circuits, Monte Carlo analysis and 3D plotting. In addition, Micro-Cap has special tools to measure inter-modulation and harmonic distortion, as well as transfer function and stability analysis. If you want to learn more, check out the Micro-Cap 12 Reference Manual online.
One thing I have not checked is the completeness of its model library, or the ease with which you can import manufacturer’s SPICE or S-Parameter models.