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Free EDA software

Free EDA software

Click here to go to our main page on computer-aided design

Note: all of the links on this page were working, on 4 July 2018. It today's date is later than that, all bets are off.

On this page we provide links to free EDA software.  Not all of it has been checked out by us, so buyer beware. If anyone can rate these tools for us, we have a free tool for you!  Please send us an email if you have any information for this page.

RF measurement and data analysis software

WinCal

From Simon: I’m using also widely WinCal for another purpose : viewer of S-parameter files. Wincal from Cascade can be freely downloaded. No restriction for using as a S-parameter file viewer.

https://www.cmicro.com/support/wincal-support/downloads

NIST

The NIST site offers a variety of free software, including various on-wafer calibration software (MultCal, for TRL and LRM), transmission line calculators, uncertainty calculators etc.  It is well worth a few minutes of your time to see what they have.

http://www.nist.gov/ctl/rf-technology/related-software.cfm

Paraview

For data review ParaView is a fantastic program it accepts all sorts of data files and  automatically will plot, animate etc.

https://www.paraview.org/

http://www.paraview.org/Wiki/images/f/f4/ParaViewTutorial42.pdf

EM solvers

openEMS

This suggestion came from Phil:

If one needs EM 3D software, they should check out openEMS at openems.de.  I've found this very useful and quite well-supported for free software. It does FDTD full 3D simulations and I use it for both optics and RF simulations.

According to the website, openEMS is a free and open electromagnetic field solver using the FDTD method. Matlab or Octave are used as an easy and flexible scripting interface.

openems.de

Sonnet

Sonnet provides a free student version of their planar EM solver. Look for it here:

http://www.sonnetsoftware.com/products/lite/download.html

Characterization of Printed Transmission Lines at High Frequencies, Software Tool (MATLAB tool) 

This offering is somewhere between an EM solver and a linear simulator... it's free MatLab code that will help you calculate radiation loss, thanks to Sven van Berkel! It is based on a quasi-analytical approach and was written at TU Delft.  Check it out and tell us how it works for you. It is a stand-alone executable file so you don't need a MatLab license. All the libraries needed are included in the executable. Thanks!

http://terahertz.tudelft.nl/Research/project.php?id=74&ti=27

Linear simulators

scikit-rf

Developed by Dr. Alex Arsenovic from University of Virginia, scikit-rf (aka skrf) is an Open Source, BSD-licensed package for RF/Microwave engineering implemented in the Python programming language. It provides a modern, object-oriented library for network analysis and calibration which is both flexible and scalable. 

When baby-boomer microwave engineers retire we can rest easy knowing that smart, motivated, stick-shift-driving engineers like Alex will take up the slack.

Start here, then try some of the free downloads.  

http://scikit-rf.org/

http://scikit-rf.org/install.html

scikit-rf 800

Blam.

Z0lver

Z0lver is a cross-platform transmission line and circuit "z0lver" (solver) that links schematic capture, analysis and visualization, and fabrication of printed RF/microwave circuits.  This input came from Jeff in June 2015:

I'm one of the founders of Raven Standard LLC. We are a group of emag enthusiasts that have spent the last bit (1.5 years) of time developing a free, open-source emag app. I am now happy to say that this is free for download for 7 in. and 10 in. tablets (Apple and Android), and for all desktops. The app was based on the old 'Puff' app that many of us used back in the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, Puff wasn't maintained that well but can still be compiled on some Linux machines. Thus, we built Z0lver to add on to the features of Puff, while leveraging the benefits of new mobile technology. We have tested many of the designs  from Microwaves101 in Z0lver and heavily used Microwaves101 over the years. We are eager to give back to the community and are therefore hoping that you find the app interesting and worthy of the site. If so, feel free to help point users towards using the app and providing feedback.  We hope to release a version for phones soon and the open source files will be made available at the end of this summer for people to contribute to.

Check out Z0lver at:

http://www.z0lver.com/

Here's two snapshots of a free shirt that Z0lver provided to Microwaves101.  Thanks, guys!

clownhead 400 tshirt back 400

AppCad

AppCad originated at HP many years ago and is now offered by BROADCOM:

https://www.broadcom.com/appcad

AppCad is very useful to get very quickly engineering answers for transmission lines.

QucsStudio

This also from Phil:

Please look at QucsStudio for Windows.

I've tried it and it appears to work for linear, transient, harmonic balance, and also supports Verilog device modelling. QucsStudio is not Qucs. While the two share some developers and they are very similar user interfaces - similar to Agilent ADS, QucsStudio has harmonic balance whereas Qucs does not and QucsStudio has a greater integration with Verilog compilation and support than Qucs. Moreover, QucsStudio appears to be upgraded at more regular intervals than Qucs. The only downside to me is that QucsStudio runs only on Windows and not Linux and has problems with saving projects when used under WINE with Linux.

http://dd6um.darc.de/QucsStudio/qucsstudio.html

Qucs

Qucs is a similar package but has only support for linear and transient analysis and less support for Verilog.

http://qucs.sourceforge.net/ (thanks to Matt!)

Puff

Puff  was a program developed at CalTech, back in the days when IBM was marketing the original PCs (mid 1980s).  Here is a historical document that describes its use:

R. C. Compton; W. L. Williams; D. B. Rutledge, "Puff, an Interactive Microwave Computer Aided Design Program for Personal Computers"  1987 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium Digest, pp 707 - 708.

You might be able to find a copy of a second article on Puff here:

https://authors.library.caltech.edu/79089/1/01150017.pdf

Around 2000, someone converted Puff from DOS to Windows. Around 2010, it was offered in version 2.1 for Windows 7.  It does not appear that it has since been updated, and we can no longer find a free copy of it for you to download. There are two sites that will sell you a Puff for Windows DVD (CD?) for maybe $40 (depends on exchange rates). Use their search tools to look for Puff.

https://stecker-shop.net/ (you might want to translate from German...P

http://www.vhfcomm.co.uk/

At this point, maybe the world should give up on Puff, and work on developing some modern, free apps. Be careful what you wish for, modern and free mean tons of ads and possibly spyware...

Vipec

Vipec is free open-source program for analysis of high frequency, linear electrical networks.

http://vipec.sourceforge.net/

Ansoft (Ansys) Designer SV

Ansoft used to provide a free "student version" of their "Designer" software product.  Then they were aquired by Ansys.  Ansys shows a free student version on their web site, but we have not tried it.  Someone let us know if this is useful or not please...

http://www.ansys.com/Student

We are too lazy to try this 10 year old link, can someone log in to RFglobalnet and tell us if it is still working?

Time domain simulators (Spice)

This from Simon (thanks!) Linear Technologies' (now part of Analog) LTspice IV is free and kicks ass. Note that Analog offers some other great downloads, including a system cascade analysis tool... Editor)

http://www.analog.com/en/design-center/design-tools-and-calculators.html

Check out our modest Spice analysis page on Microwaves101 and consider contributing to it!

Qucs and QucsStudio (see above) also perform Spice analysis.

Layout tools

KLayout

KLayout is open source.  If you ever need to convert between DWG, DXF, GDS files, download it. That's not a request, ist eine bestellung.  Jawohl!

https://www.klayout.de/forum/

FreeCAD

For 3D solid modeling, there is FreeCAD

http://freecad-tutorial.blogspot.com/

Autodesk

Autodesk currently offers two free environments, TinkerCad and Sketchbook:

https://www.tinkercad.com/

https://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/sketchbook

PADS PCB Editor

https://www.pads.com/downloads/pads-pcb-viewer/

KiCad

http://www.kicad-pcb.org/display/KICAD/KiCad+EDA+Software+Suite

 MatLab-like software

For MATLAB-like software there is Octave, FreeMat, and scilab.  Start looking here:

https://perso.crans.org/besson/matlab-clones.en.html

Author : Unknown Editor

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