An Introduction To EDA Tools (Part 1 of 2)

Manu Prasad



Multisim is one of the most-commonly-used EDA tools in industries. It supports drawing and simulation of electronic circuits. It provides schematic capture and simulation application of National Instruments Circuit Design Suite, a suite of EDA. Multisim is designed for schematic entry, simulation and feeding to downstage steps such as PCB layout. It also includes mixed analogue/digital simulation capability and microcontroller (MCU) co-simulation.

Ultiboard is used to design PCBs, perform certain basic mechanical CAD operations and prepare these for manufacturing. It also provides automated parts placement and layout. The same circuit used for illustrating the previous section will be used here for familiarising with this software.

Follow the steps given below for drawing and simulating the circuit. Here we use Multisim 12.0 and Ultiboard 12.0 for simulation.

1. Double-click on Multisim icon on the desktop or in the program list. The icon can also be found in the installed folder (normally in C:/Program Files/National Instruments/Circuit Design Suite xx/).

2. As in other EDA tools, a schematic window will open along with a navigation window.

Component window of Multisim
Fig. 8: Component window of Multisim

3. Next, place the components in the schematic window by clicking PlaceComponents. This will open a new component window (Fig. 8).

4. From the component window, select the required components. Multisim supports most of the components present in the market. Selecting each component will show the details related to the particular component, like symbol, manufacture, model, footprint and so on.

5. Place the required components on the schematic window and connect each terminal using mouse cursor drag-and-drop technique. Right-clicking options will give other changes like rotation, value of the components and rate.

Astable-multivibrator simulation in Multisim
Fig. 9: Astable-multivibrator simulation in Multisim

6. After successful connection and parameter entry, simulate the circuit. Before running the circuit, save the project. Then, run the circuit from SimulateRun in the menu (Fig. 9).

7. For PCB design, ensure that each and every component has its own PCB footprint as shown in Fig. 10. (In Multisim, if footprints are available, components will be in blue colour, otherwise these will be in black.) These footprints will ensure the size and pin positions of components. A footprint may vary according to the range and rate variation and even the manufacturer. In Multisim we can create or duplicate a footprint.

Footprint recognition in multisim
Fig. 10: Footprint recognition

8. After confirming the presence of footprint of each component, move to the next tool, Ultiboard, for PCB design. Either open the project file in Ultiboard or go to option TransferTransfer to Ultiboard. Select the file with extension .ewnet and open it.

PCB designing in Ultiboard
Fig. 11: PCB designing in Ultiboard

9. The opened black window will show a yellow square and components are placed outside the yellow square. This square is the area of PCB layout whose size can be decided later. Arrange the components in their proper places so that there is good routing (Fig. 11). We can also use the provision of automatic-place-and-routing option from menu AutorouteStart/Resume Autoroute.

To be continued…

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Manu Prasad is M.Tech in VLSI and embedded systems and is currently working as assistant professor at AWH Engineering College. His interests include VLSI, EDA tools, MATLAB, Latex and so on


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