RE: [SI-LIST] : Schematic tools for generating HSPICE file

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From: George Borkowicz (jbor@nortelnetworks.com)
Date: Wed Aug 30 2000 - 05:56:02 PDT


Has anyone tried the new (shown in early June) HSPICE schematic entry tool
from Avanti?

George

> -----Original Message-----
> From: MikonCons@aol.com [SMTP:MikonCons@aol.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2000 4:20 PM
> To: perry.qu@alcatel.com; si-list@silab.eng.sun.com
> Subject: Re: [SI-LIST] : Schematic tools for generating HSPICE file
>
> Perry:
>
> Your dilemma has been shared for years by circuit designers (as opposed to
>
> die-hard text editors). It is a painful task to draw schematics, assign
> nodes, do extensive text entry (with all of the normal human errors in
> simple
> transfer of the "picture" into text form), them type in all the related
> commands, options, time steps, etc., etc., etc. If you are not prohibited
>
> from using Windows-based programs (there is at least one large well-known
> company that severely frowns on Windows ... guess who), there are a few
> reasonably affordable programs you may find useful, and others that may
> make
> you switch altogether.
>
> I apologize in advance if the following dissertation offends anyone
> (Engineers and vendors alike), but I make my living by quickly arriving at
>
> correct answers that are also clearly communicable to both engineers and
> managers. I recently (and successfully) completed a consulting task that
> reduced the performance period by greater than 10:1 over using HSPICE for
> the
> same design decisions.
>
> I have both OrCAD Capture and Spectrum Software's Micro-Cap 6 (MC6) which
> offer schematic entry, as does Intuit's ISPICE, Tanner's TSPICE (which
> claims
> direct compatibility with HSPICE format), and I think Electronics
> Workbench
> as well. Micro-Cap programs have included schematic entry for ~15 years
> (which I think preceded most other SPICE-based programs by several years)
> and
> OrCAD now ports into PSPICE. All save the human error problems that
> represent perhaps 90% of the debugging time (of text-based entry) to
> simply
> get a model running. (Note: Debugging was NOT an issue in the time saving
> I
> noted earlier. There are many other Windows features that are conducive
> to
> high productivity relative to UNIX-based programs.)
>
> MC6 is based on SPICE and IMHO blows away the competition. It includes
> analog and digital multimode simulation with schematic probing, plotting
> DURING the run, performance plotting, 3D plotting, multidimensional
> stepping,
> analog and digital behavioral modeling, an optimizing parts model
> generator,
> BSIM devices, magnetics modeling, animated devices (e.g., LEDs),
> individual
> device temperatures, Monte Carlo analysis with 3D statistical plotting
> (with
> graded colors), and nearly automatic macro generation. You can enter or
> import text SPICE files and run them if that is your choice (but alternate
>
> model options are more efficient). An analysis dialog box allows you to
> review and specify all simulation time periods, time steps, parameter
> ranges,
> etc., and it writes the text lines automatically into the SPICE text file
> for
> you (again, with no human errors and less time consumed). It directly
> exports
> text netlist files to PSPICE or two versions of Berkeley SPICE (your
> choice)
> and (with very minor semantic changes) will run in HSPICE. Note that
> PSPICE
> or other netlists (with perhaps the exception of TSPICE) must also be
> altered
> before they will run in HSPICE.
>
> The MC6 schematic entry allows you to SEE your total schematic, with every
>
> connection and every node (numbered for you automatically, without
> errors).
> You can repetitively copy parts or entire sections of the circuit with
> sequential part reference designators and node numbers added automatically
>
> (again, no editing or errors). After a simulation, a mouse click can
> display
> the voltages at all nodes or current or power in every device, or the
> B-field
> strength in a coil, etc., etc., etc.
>
> If you have complete SPICE circuits and called subcircuits (and who
> doesn't),
> they can be imbedded into a macro and imported directly into an MC6
> schematic
> and mated with signal sources, passives, other digital or analog devices
> or
> macros which can be in any of the modeling formats supported by MC6 (which
>
> includes all SPICE formats as well). This mixed bag of models is
> efficiently
> simulated with the latest Berkeley SPICE engine while outputting real-time
>
> plotting displays of the analysis results.
>
> The sophisticated, multicolored plotting subsystem allows waveform/curve
> analysis with peaks, valleys, slopes, magnitude and time deltas, zoom
> functions, automatic rescaling functions, individually selectable curve
> widths, text weights, etc. And, the cursor always displays the time and
> magnitude of any point on any curve you place it on.
>
> The program allows plots to be captured in Windows metafile format (.wmf)
> and
> embedded into the schematic, or (as I do) placed into PowerPoint and/or
> WORD
> files for virtually universal (except perhaps at some companies where
> "Bill
> Gates" is considered worse than a four-letter word) viewing by all
> interested
> parties. The schematic can of course also be captured and transferred to
> other Windows programs.
>
> Like many other SPICE programs, MC6 does NOT (as yet) directly accept IBIS
>
> files, but it DOES support tabulated models. I routinely extract
> equivalent
> parameters from IBIS data and formulate MC6 models (e.g., drivers). The
> clamp circuits are also easily extracted from IBIS data (takes 3-4 minutes
> to
> build an equivalent Vcc/Vee clamp circuit model).
>
> MC6 does not yet support coupled T-lines; however, if SPICE models or
> cross-coupling equations (behavioral models) are available from other
> sources, they can be imported and run successfully. Standard SPICE RLCG
> T-lines, and telegraphers equations and equivalents are of course
> supported.
> I recently imported and ran a (proprietary) Teradyne cross-coupled
> connector
> model (received in HSPICE) that had over 2000 equivalent components
> without a
> hitch.
>
> Many SPICE programs are node or memory limited. The only limit to MC6 is
> the
> memory installed on your machine; i.e., RAM plus hard drive. I have
> successfully run large simulations (upwards of 5000 nodes with 1.75 GBytes
>
> resultant data) without problems.
>
> Although I haven't compared prices in the last year, the cost for the
> various
> programs varies widely. I think Electronics workbench goes at $1k. MC6
> is
> at $3.6k, and the others go from $5k to >$12k, depending on the tack-ons
> you
> want. MC6 is an integrated, schematic/file entry, >12k model library,
> simulation/analysis, and plotting program; i.e., no tack-ons. Most of
> these
> include free upgrades for a year and may only cost a pittance ($500 to
> $1k)
> for a major upgrade (PSPICE may be more).
>
> Hope the above didn't bore or offend anyone,
>
> Mike
>
> Michael L. Conn
> Owner/Principal Consultant
> Mikon Consulting
> (408)727-5697
>
> *** Serving Your Needs with Technical Excellence ***
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