Electronic System Design: Begin With XSCHEM

Shanosh Kumar is technology journalist at EFY. He is BCA from Bangalore University and MBA from Christ University, Bengaluru

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The whole nine yards of XSCHEM simulator

To create a new circuit, start at an empty window—all you have to do is run XSCHEM and select New in File menu. If you wish to place a NAND gate, with two inputs A and B, and one output Z, all you have to do is place the input and output schematic pins, later using Insert key, and locate the devices using symbols.

Editor that commands all.

Principles of a design are governed by the circuit that is being created by you. With XSCHEM you can also decide what to do with a selection. If you decide to change the property of a selected object, a simple press of property key q does the job.

Now there is more emphasis given to the bind key. Multiple objects could be moved using multiple clicks and holding onto shift key while pressing on m key. You can find almost all editing commands available in Editor menu. With interactive icons on the editor, mouse actions and keyboard shortcuts, it is easy to build complex schematics in very little time.

Net-listing and pre-designed modes.

To help better the designs, XSCHEM is bundled with three pre-defined net-listing modes. These are SPICE, Verilog and VHDL. Each net-listing mode opens to an Options menu complete with VHDL, Verilog and SPICE radio buttons. You can select through the netlist modes, which are found on the top-right part of Menu bar.

Net probes and colour highlighters.

XSCHEM has the ability to highlight nets and propagate the highlight colour to all nets or instance pins attached to the net. With this feature, it becomes really easy to net through the hierarchy, and there is greater visibility while working with large and complex designs. Click a net and press k key, and the highlighter comes to life.

Final simulation.

The software fulfils almost all design goals of optimally launching simulation without additional manual file editing. XSCHEM accomplishes this by storing not only the schematic of the circuit but the simulator settings including all additional files.

Schematic-ready simulations could be made ready just by clicking Simulation button. Icarus Verilog simulator gets executed to compile (iverilog) and run (vvp) the simulation. Finally, a terminal window will show the simulation output.

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