Freeware is great and can be a wonderful way to help expand the use of simulation and provide a great learning ground for users. However, when you are using simulation results to verify design performance, reliability, and quality for commercial products, certain items are important to consider before relying on freeware.
1. Timely Support
Although having freeware is great for now—will it be down the road? When you’re up against a tight product release schedule and have questions, will the online community be enough? One of the main issues with simulation freeware is that you don’t have the resources you need when you need them. When deadlines are looming around the corner, having the technical support you need is critical.
2. Product Updates and Maintenance
Depending on how your free simulation software is developed and financed updates may be few and far between. Can you afford the time to work around bugs and software issues until they are fixed by the community? Is it ok for a lengthy lag between new features and model support upgrades from your freeware version vs. the regularity of commercial software upgrades?
Some free simulation tools may be offered by companies who have a vested interest in the components you select? Can you be sure the results you receive will be accurate across every component you would want to simulate (even the ones in direct competition with the company offering the tool)?
Using freeware simulation is great, but only when you know the risks. OrCAD Lite offers a free version of PSpice to let you design in a reliable, easy-to-use environment while providing the option to upgrade to a paid commercial license when needed. This gives you the ability to take advantage of live support, consistent product updates, and access to the latest models and technologies. Get the best of both worlds and try OrCAD Lite today.
Click here for more information on OrCAD Lite.