123D Circuits Gets New Superpowers

  • Design circuits in a web browser?  Check.
  • Simulate buttons, motors, resistors, and LEDs?  It’s got that too.
  • Let you write, compile, and simulate Arduino-compatible code?  Yes, yes and YES.
  • Accurately simulate capacitors and inductors in real time?  New!  
  • Display signals on a virtual Oscilloscope?  Also New!
Actual simulated waveforms.  These are not Photoshopped®
Three virtual oscilloscopes.

People who own an oscilloscope will tell you it's useful for probing into parts of a circuit and literally watching voltages change over time.  This is important because most of the time in electronics, things happen so fast you can't see them change, but with an oscilloscope you can seemingly slow time and examine things that happened in the blink of an eye.  For that reason, oscilloscopes are an incredibly useful tool and now that Transient Analysis is part of the 123D Circuits simulator you can add virtual oscilloscopes to your circuits.  It's like having a microscope for your circuits, you can see what's happening on the inside.  Wow, right?!
Here's an example that illustrates how powerful this is when you're learning about electronics: You connect a capacitor to a battery and the capacitor charges up -- it happens almost instantly, but exactly how almost-instantly?  With 123D Circuits's new oscilloscope you can catch that brief moment where the capacitor charged up and look at it closely.  You'll see the curved graph of the cap's voltage rising.  You can then click on the capacitor, change it's value and immediately see the difference it makes in the time it takes to charge up.  Sounds nerdy (and perhaps it is...) but being able to see this phenomena is a big step towards understanding one of the most important concepts of electronics: how things change over time, AKA Transient Analysis.
Scroll down to see the actual simulation of this circuit.
You could already simulate circuits in real time so... what's new?  Up until now 123D Circuits was simulating the behaviors of a circuit that happen instantaneously - like the current through and voltage across a resistor.  Ohms law stuff.
With accurate Transient Analysis built-in, it can now simulate things that are not instantaneous, like the current flowing through an inductor and the voltage rising across a capacitor.  And not just one capacitor or inductor -- you can build a complex circuit with dozens of parts (including microchips) and simulate the entire functional circuit in real time!

Here's an embedded version of the above circuit.  Click the little PLAY button in the upper right.
(best viewed in the Chrome browser)
Keep reading to find out more about what you can simulate.

There are a ton of simulatable components in the breadboard editor.  We've included many logic chips, transistors, and a couple Arduino-compatible boards.  We're building the simulation models for each new component, so if you have a request, we're definitely listening.  Login to 123D Circuits to leave a comment with what you'd like to see us add next.
Some of the simulatable components.
A few examples of what's available in the simulator.

With so many new components and the oscilloscope, you now have the power to take your circuits to the next level -- it's time to build a servo controlled robotic hand, or a techno sound making motion sensor.
The power is in your hands.  Go forth, design, simulate and create!
PS. Stay tuned into the blog for fun example circuits and announcements of new simulatable components.


  • http://prologic.shortcircuit.net.au/ James Mills

    This is really cool! I love this stuff :)