TESTING SOFTWARE

Hello Experts,

I am not sure this is the correct forum to ask this question, but I have designed a printed circuit board, and I would like to be able to test it before incurring the actual fabrication cost, so that I can make sure it actually works.  I am a little new to the design side of PCB's, so I would like to know of an affordable software application that will allow me to import the schematic and/or the Gerber files and test the design.  Any guidance on this would be greatly appreciated.

Aj
aj85Asked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I only hobby in electronics; however, in my reading, you need fairly complex equipment for testing circuit boards in a production environment.

I have an Arduino board and prototyping book for making circuits. It has a simple microcontroller on the board.

I think I would suggest Arduino as a starting point to see if you can run the circuit with it.

... Thinkpads_User
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Take a look at this YouTube Video by David Jones.  I have watched a number of his videos. This one is EEVblog Episode 127.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXE_dh38HjU

Also watch parts 2 and 3.

... Thinkpads_User
aj85Author Commented:
Hello Thinkpads,

I will view the YouTube links and get back to you shortly.

Thanks,
Aj
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
What software are you using to create the schematic and PCB?  The "Design Rule Check" is your most basic check for errors but it just tells you whether your PCB matches your schematic without any erroneous connections.  If you want to check to see whether the circuit should work electronically, you want a simulator.  But the 'free' simulators like Spice only work with the schematic and not the PCB.
aj85Author Commented:
Hello Dave,

I created the schematic and PCB using Orcad 16.  I have the gerber files as well, and I am willing to spend a little budget on the software simulator, if it will allow me to test what I have designed.

Thanks,
Aj
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Cadence Pspice is intended to work with Orcad.  However, you have to go back to the schematic and make sure that the 'device' models that Pspice uses are 'attached' or whatever they call it to your schematic.  Simulators work from 'device models' which are mathematical models, not just the simple symbols in your schematic.

Note that 'simulations' are a mathematical approximation of your circuit.  While there are simulators that can do complete circuits and board layouts for motherboards, they are extremely expensive and you can't even get the models unless you are a Intel or other manufacturers client.

http://www.cadence.com/products/orcad/pspice_simulation/pages/default.aspx

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aj85Author Commented:
Thanks Dave, I will check out the link and get back to you.

Regards,
Aj
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