CIRCUIT SIMULATION Four power electronic circuit simulation tools you should know
Modern electronics continuously evolve into new devices and technologies that require robust hardware. Circuit simulation is a method to digitally test circuits without the physical need for connections. The article explains circuit simulation and the power electronics industry-standard tools to test circuits for obtaining desired output accurately.
What is electronic circuit simulation?
Electronic circuit simulation is a representation, and analysis of an electronic circuit or a device using a software tool to predict its physical behavior, characteristics, and output. A circuit is created and tested digitally using appropriate software, without the need for hardware implementations that may waste time and increase cost. The software tool used for circuit simulation, known as a “circuit simulator” is an EDA (Electronic Design Automation) software that follows mathematical models, programming languages, and characteristics of electronic components.
The EDA Tool for circuit simulation contains libraries of extensive real-world components by a large number of manufacturers. The library contains devices like transistors, converters, microcontrollers, microprocessors, ICs, and basic components like resistors, capacitors, transformers, inductors, etc. The result of circuit simulation can be characteristic curves, output values, waveforms, and several other test values. In simple words, an electronic circuit simulation is a process where circuits are connected and analyzed “digitally” on a computer for understanding the functionality and obtaining output.
Why is circuit simulation important in power electronics?
Circuit simulation is important in power electronics because of several reasons:
The tester has to buy every power component and conduct physical experiments. Each component has its own demand and supply, making the process time-consuming. In case of wrong implementation, the heating effect of the current may damage the components and require replacement. However, digitally tested circuits enable eliminating expenditure as it reduces the chances of component failure and damage.
Power electronics circuit simulation saves time by producing optimal digital output. Testers can try multiple combinations and check the best for their systems. Most research-based projects save time through continuous testing.
Functionality check of converters
Power electronic converters involve power semiconductors that act as switches, along with supply, control circuitry, and loads. For checking converter functionality, circuit simulators, and programming languages solve nonlinear mathematical equations with boundary conditions for obtaining correct values of currents and voltages.
Four EDA tools for power electronics circuit simulation online
There are many tools for simulating power electronic devices for your projects. Choosing the right online circuit simulation software tool varies from project to project and depends upon the application. Another crucial factor is the circuit simulation budget for power electronics. The following list contains ten software tools for online circuit simulation that power electronics engineers must consider:
1. Ansys Simplorer: The multiphysics circuit simulator
Also known by the name of “Twin Builder”, Ansys Simplorer is a software tool that offers multi-functionality and integration of schematics in electronics, electrical, electromechanical, hydraulic, and thermal components. The software has the capability to integrate all these multi-physics components in a single project and perform complex mathematical functions. It can also integrate with third-party tools like Simulink to provide cross-power functionality for circuit simulation. Most engineers use this software for coupling control drives in power electronics, and industrial automotive projects.
2. Power Stage Designer: The effective power supply simulation
Power Stage Designer by Texas Instruments is an online circuit simulation software tool for switch-mode power supplies. The software offers transient and frequency domain analysis of power electronic virtual devices. The intuitive schematic enables engineers to perform rapid calculations and obtain values for required values for each stage in the power supply design. Power Stage Designer displays clear waveforms of voltages and currents with accurate values. The topology window of the software features 20 different power supply topologies to choose from. Some of these topologies include current mode control, boost, inverting buck-boost, flybacks, and many more.
3. EMTP: The legacy software for power systems
The EMTP- Electromagnetic Transient Program is a historically fast, stable, capable, accurate, and user-friendly software for online circuit simulation of power systems. With over 35 years of market dominance, EMTP provides effective simulation and analysis of power systems. The features include a multi-phase load-flow solver that calculates accurate values required for large-scale transmission and distribution lines. The software supports time, and frequency domain simulations and analysis and provides seamless integration with PSSE, Simulink, and CIM. The EMTP-RV package is the latest enhanced version for power simulation, analysis, and many more exceptional capabilities.
4. Proteus: Beginner-friendly circuit simulator
Proteus is one of the most-used circuit software for engineers and hobbyists alike, offering the scope of mixed circuit simulations. The user-friendly interface and multi-analysis tools enable engineers to integrate multiple electronic systems together. For power electronics, the software has a huge library of components and allows the simulation of various inverters, converters, rectifiers, op-amps, regulators, power semiconductors, and many other devices. However, proteus is used extensively in embedded systems and communications to interface various modules. Apart from power electrons online circuit simulation, proteus offers a PCB design package as well.