Schematic design software
October 31, 2008
I'm not positive this is the right place to post this. Admins please move it if I'm asking in the wrong place.
As I'm learning more and more about electronics I've found it useful to draw schematics to "test" things out and visualize them without having to actually put anything physically together. Often when I'm curious about how to do something I'll come up with a design in my head and I won't realize the flaws in my design until I put it on paper (oooh .... I need a diode here and a resistor there ...). I'd probably be ruining more components if I went straight to the breadboard with all the things I want to try out (I blew up a transistor and burned out multiple LED's within my first few days of playing with electronics ... safety first, kids).
Anyway, doing this on paper isn't so bad, but I'm sure there's software out there that would make it a ton easier. They probably even have software that allows you to simulate circuits. A quick Google search didn't turn up much useful info, though, so I'm hoping that someone here can help. I primarily run Mac OSX, but I have the ability to run Windows and Linux on my work computer as well (I work from home ... my Mac Pro has all the OS's installed -- to some degree -- via boot camp). So I'd prefer a Mac application, but any other would work as well.
Also ... and I'm sure this goes without saying ... anything FREE is preferred. :)
Furthermore, I'm curious how you guys lay out your circuits before prototyping. Do you go straight to the breadboard? Strait to soldering?? If you design the schematic first, do you do it on paper or in an application?