Design Circuits in a Flash with Web-Based Circuit Simulator

Education Technology
Design Circuits in a Flash with Web-Based Circuit Simulator

cicruit simulator

Occasionally, I’ll find myself trying to describe how a circuit works, and pencil and paper just won’t cut it. I need to show them not just how the circuit diagram looks, but how the voltage and current flows through the various components. Rather than take the time to build up a complicated SPICE simulation, there’s one tool that is perfect for quick circuit modeling: Paul Falstad’s Circuit Simulator Applet.

In just a few minutes, you can build complicated circuits, and place probe points for virtual oscilloscopes, resulting in an easy to understand visual diagram that shows voltage and current flow through the circuit. While there are other applications that do the same thing (such as SPICEQucs, or TINA), this one runs on Javascript in the browser, and it’s extremely easy to use.

To place a component or wire, just click on the “Draw” menu, and select the part. Then click and drag to place the circuit component. The component values can be edited by double-clicking them, and sliders in the sidebar can control parts like potentiometers and voltage sources. You can also adjust the speed of the simulation and the speed at which the current (shown as dots flowing along wires and components) travel through the circuit. Circuits can even be saved as local text files to be opened again later, or exported as links to share them with other people.

If you’re just getting started in electronics, or looking to refresh your knowledge on how some common circuits and components work, the site features a large library of pre-built example circuits in the simulator. Examples include everything from the humble voltage divider, all the way up to sequential logic, phase-locked loops, and a spark gap Tesla coil. Strangely enough, there are even some memristor circuit examples!

Paul Falstad’s Circuit Simulator Applet is a great learning resource, and I highly recommend playing around with it. It’s definitely a site worthy of a place in your bookmarks.

8 thoughts on “Design Circuits in a Flash with Web-Based Circuit Simulator

  1. markroth says:

    Nation Of Love With Peoples by makez < Make It Easy

  2. nagordon says:

    great find. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been looking for a simple physics/mechanics/electronics simulator for mocking up ideas, and as you mention, if it works out, then analytically model it. Also, for sharing basic concepts, this is excellent.

  3. Ericajones says:

    Aren’t most people in Ohio in-m-a-k–e– -? < Make It Easy

  4. tracie.sebastian says:

  5. Michellejryan says:

    the succcessfull makezine < Make It Easy

  6. Seani Rankeen says:

    Amazing. However I have found much simpler circuit building programs.

  7. Hayden Evans says:

    I used this tool in college for my computer engineering degree. It’s great!

  8. MaxBlack says:

    It’s cool, just like the tool I have used,EasyEDA. It is also easy to drive,EasyEDA gives users exactly what the names says: an easier EDA experience.

    It offers schematic capture, spice simulation and PCB design – including Gerber download – for free.Also consider having a try at

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Technical Editor at Maker Media. Maker. Hacker. Artist. Sometimes Scientist. Pretengineer. Builder of things. Maker of stuff.

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