Designing a circuit board is not an easy task, and it can get even more complicated if you’re not using the right tools for the job. This corner of the tech market is full of attractive offers and various applications that can knock off a good portion of time in your projects, and it’s definitely in your favor to explore what’s available in detail.
Logisim seems like a simple application, but it offers a lot that can surprise even a more advanced engineer. It’s one of the best tools for testing the logical design of electronic circuits, and its capabilities are quite impressive for something of its scale. It can even go up to simulating relatively complex processing units.
Another simulator with a slightly different angle, SimulIDE is something you should also have in your toolbox. It’s a great solution for simulating more advanced circuits, and for seeing the results presented in a way that’s easier to navigate at a glance. Don’t be fooled by that description though – it still offers plenty of power under the hood and is one of the more advanced solutions on the market for circuit simulation.
A comprehensive package that includes many things under one hood, the Geppetto software suite is quite well known on the market these days, and it’s a beloved solution by many enthusiasts and professionals alike. It takes a while to get used to, but once you understand its basics, it will be one of your most actively used tools, especially if you have a lot of complex designs to do and want to make sure that they are done properly from start to finish.
While not directly related to circuit design and simulation, Matlab is a great tool for churning through large volumes of information, which can sometimes be useful when designing a more complex circuit and you want to make sure that some aspects of the design are statistically sound. It can also be integrated easily into a variety of other solutions, making it the perfect general-purpose mathematical tool to have in your toolbox. Keep in mind that it has a bit of a steep learning curve though, so be prepared for that.
And for another tool that’s not directly related to designing the actual circuits themselves, Blender is a great 3D design application that’s completely free – and even open-source – and can be very useful when you want to create designs for 3D printing or just verify the physical layout of your device. There are other solutions on the market that can work just as well, but Blender is pretty much the only one that offers such a powerful set of features at no cost.
These are just some general suggestions, but keep in mind that you’ll likely develop a highly individual taste for the kinds of applications you need in your work as you progress through learning about electronic circuits. There’s a lot you can use to simplify your work, and it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with what the market has to offer.