International (IEC/European) Resistor Symbols

Mar 17 2012, 11:30 PM PDT · 7 comments »

While CircuitLab has a US-based team of developers, we've been pleasantly surprised by how much international attention our tool has received over the past few weeks. We've seen articles and posts about CircuitLab in Chinese, Czech, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portugese, Russian, Swedish, and Spanish. In fact, we've got just about as many website visitors from Europe as we do from North America!

The resistor is the most basic of circuit elements, and it's often the most common discrete component in many analog circuits. Many Americans are used to seeing a "squiggle"-styled line segments like we've included in CircuitLab. However, in the rest of the world, the normal resistor symbol is just a simple outlined rectangle (the IEC-standard symbol choice).

Today we've added support for the IEC / European style resistor symbol. Simply double-click the resistor and change its display type "DISP" parameter from US to IEC. Everyone deserves to have a pleasant circuit-drawing experience, and CircuitLab is here to help!

In-browser Graphing Calculator (Happy Pi Day!)

Mar 14 2012, 4:25 PM PDT · 0 comments »

CircuitLab's simulation and plotting engine has the ability to evaluate arbitrary mathematical expressions. That makes it easy, for example, to plot the voltage across an element, such as "V(A)-V(B)" to plot the voltage difference between those nodes.

You can also try other powerful expressions, such as "P(R1)" to plot the power dissipation in element R1. This is especially useful for multi-terminal devices like transistors when you want to make sure that the power dissipation won't cause thermal problems or even device failure. Power users can also use these expressions in frequency-domain analysis, for example when evaluating the performance of differential amplifiers. Check out the documentation for more about plotting expressions in CircuitLab.

Many basic mathematical expressions can also be used when setting parameter values. For example, if we want to create an RC low-pass filter with a corner frequency of 60 Hz, and we have a resistance of 100 kOhms, we can double-click on the capacitor and enter a capacitance of "1/(2*PI*100k*60)" -- CircuitLab will compute the value automatically.

Since today is Pi Day, we thought we'd show off the fact that you can actually use a tiny subset of CircuitLab to act as an in-browser graphing calculator! In time-domain simulation mode, you can use expressions with "T" to plot functions of time, so for example "T^2" to plot a simple parabola.

You can get even fancier: "-0.5*9.81*T^2 + 20*T" would show the parabolic vertical trajectory of an object launched upwards at an initial vertical velocity of 20m/s. And "2.5*COS(2*PI*T)" would make the appropriate cosine signal. DC Sweep mode can also be used to create parameters that you can adjust on both sides of zero, or even plot against a logarithmic scale.

Check out this demo circuit for a few examples:

Drag, Drop, and Roll!

Mar 08 2012, 7:35 PM PST · 0 comments »

We have added a few features to the CircuitLab GUI that many people have requested. It is now possible to add a circuit element to the grid by clicking and dragging an element out of the Build Box. The old behavior, where you do a full click on an element in the build box and then click where you want to place the element, is also still available.

Some of you also wanted the ability to place a particular element more than once without going back to the Build Box. You can now accomplish this by holding the Shift key before you click on the grid to place an element.

Thanks for all the great feedback. With your continued support we will keep making CircuitLab a better and better tool!