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Title: OrCAD  
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Subject: PSpice circuit file, MNL, BeagleBoard, I.T.S. Engineering College, Aldec
Collection: Electronic Design Automation Software
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OrCAD Schematic Capture Program
Original author(s) Cadence Design Systems
Developer(s) Cadence Design Systems
Stable release 16.6
Written in C/C++
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Electronic design automation
License Proprietary

OrCAD is a proprietary software tool suite used primarily for electronic design automation (EDA). The software is used mainly by electronic design engineers and electronic technicians to create electronic schematics and electronic prints for manufacturing printed circuit boards.

The name OrCAD is a portmanteau, reflecting the company and its software's origins: Oregon + CAD.


  • Company 1
  • Products 2
    • OrCAD Capture 2.1
    • OrCAD EE PSpice 2.2
      • History 2.2.1
      • Analyses 2.2.2
    • OrCAD PCB Designer 2.3
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Founded in 1985 by John Durbetaki, Ken and Keith Seymour as “OrCAD Systems Corporation” in Hillsboro, Oregon, the company became a supplier of desktop electronic design automation (EDA) software. In 1984 Durbetaki began designing an expansion chassis for the IBM PC. Durbetaki, who had left Intel Corp. after five years as an engineer and project manager, decided, along with brothers Keith and Ken Seymour, to start his own company to develop add-on instrumentation for the PC."[1] Durbetaki began creating his own schematic capture tool for his use in the PC expansion chassis project; but eventually shelved the hardware project entirely in favor of developing low-cost, PC-based CAD software. The company's first product was SDT (Schematic Design Tools), which shipped first in late 1985.

In 1986, OrCAD hired Peter LoCascio to develop sales and co-founder Ken Seymour left the company. The flagship SDT product was soon followed with a digital simulator, VST (Verification and Simulation Tools) and printed circuit board (PCB) layout tools.[2] Over time, OrCAD's product line broadened to include Windows-based software products to assist electronics designers in developing field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), including complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs). Durbetaki, then CEO and head of R&D, left the company in the 1990s. He was succeeded as CEO by Michael Bosworth.

In June 1995, OrCAD acquired Massteck Ltd.,[3][4] a small company that offered a printed circuit board layout tool and a sophisticated autorouter,[5] and Intelligent Systems Japan, KK, OrCAD's distributor in Japan. In 1996, OrCAD made a public offering.[6][7] In late 1997 and early 1998, OrCAD and MicroSim Corporation merged, a business combination that ultimately proved to be disappointing (MicroSim, was a supplier of PC-based analog and mixed-signal simulation software for designing printed circuit board systems).[8][9] In 1999, the company and its products were acquired by one of its former competitors, Cadence Design Systems.[10][11]

Since 16 July 1999,[12] OrCAD's product line has been fully owned by Cadence Design Systems. OrCAD Layout has been discontinued. The latest iteration of OrCAD CIS schematic capture software has the ability to maintain a database of available integrated circuits. This database may be updated by the user by downloading packages from component manufacturers, such as Analog Devices and others. Another announcement was that ST Microelectronics will offer OrCAD PSpice models for all the power and logic semiconductors, since PSpice is the most used circuit simulator.[13] Intel offers reference PCBs designed with Cadence PCB Tools in the OrCAD Capture format for embedded and personal computers.


OrCAD is a suite of products for EDA, and includes a schematic editor (Capture), a circuit simulator (PSpice) and a PCB designer.

OrCAD Capture

OrCAD Capture is a schematic capture application, and part of the OrCAD circuit design suite.[14]

Unlike NI Multisim, Capture does not contain in-built simulation features, but exports netlist data to the simulator, OrCAD EE. Capture can also export a hardware description of the circuit schematic to Verilog or VHDL, and netlists to circuit board designers such as OrCAD Layout, Allegro, and others.[15]

Capture includes a component information system (CIS), that links component package footprint data or simulation behavior data, with the circuit symbol in the schematic.[15]

Capture includes a TCL/TK scripting functionality that allows users to write scripts, that allow customization and automation. Any task performed via the GUI may be automated by scripts.[15]

The OrCAD Capture Marketplace enables customers to share and sell add-ons and design resources. Such add-ons can customize the design environment and add features and capabilities.[15]

Capture can interface with any database which complies with Microsoft's ODBC standard etc. Data in an MRP, ERP, or PDM system can be directly accessed for use during component decision-making process.


OrCAD EE PSpice is a SPICE circuit simulator application for simulation and verification of analog and mixed-signal circuits.[16] OrCAD EE typically runs simulations for circuits defined in OrCAD Capture, and can optionally integrated with MATLAB/Simulink, using the Simulink to PSpice Interface (SLPS).[17]

PSpice is an acronym for Personal Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis.

PSpice was a modified version of the academically developed SPICE, and was commercialized by MicroSim in 1984. MicroSim was purchased by OrCAD a decade later in 1998.

A circuit to be analyzed using PSpice is described by a circuit description file, which is processed by PSpice and executed as a simulation. PSpice creates an output file to store the simulation results, and such results are also graphically displayed within the OrCAD EE interface.

OrCAD EE is an upgraded version of the PSpice simulator, and includes automatic circuit optimization and support for waveform recording, viewing, analysis, curve-fitting, and post-processing.[16][18] OrCAD EE contains an extensive library of models for physical components, including around 30,000 analog and mixed-signal devices and mathematical functions.[16] OrCAD EE also includes a model editor, support for parameterized models, auto-convergence and checkpoint restart, several internal solvers and a magnetic part editor.


SPICE was first developed in the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 1970s. Subsequently an improved version SPICE 2 was available in the mid-1970s especially to support computer aided design.

PSpice was released in January 1984, and was the first version of UC Berkeley SPICE available on an IBM PC. PSpice later included a waveform viewer and analyser program called Probe. Subsequent versions improved on performance and moved to DEC/VAX minicomputers, Sun workstations, Apple Macintosh, and Microsoft Windows. Version 3.06 was released in 1988, and had a "Student Version" available which would allow a maximum of up to ten transistors to be inserted.


The type of simulation performed by PSpice depends on the source specifications and control statements. PSpice supports the following types of analyses:

  • DC Analysis - for circuits with time–invariant sources (e.g. steady-state DC sources). It calculates all nodal voltages and branch currents over a range of values. Supported types include Linear sweep, Logarithmic sweep, and Sweep over List of values.
  • Transient Analysis - for circuits with time variant sources (e.g., sinusoidal sources/switched DC sources). It calculates all nodes voltages and branch currents over a time interval and their instantaneous values are the outputs.
  • AC Analysis - for small signal analysis of circuits with sources of varying frequencies. It calculates the magnitudes and phase angles of all nodal voltages and branch currents over a range of frequencies.

The operating temperature of an analysis can be set to any desired value, and nodal parameters are assumed to be measured at a nominal temperature, by default 27 °C.

OrCAD PCB Designer

OrCAD PCB Designer is a printed circuit board designer application, and part of the OrCAD circuit design suite.[19] PCB Designer includes various automation features for PCB design, board-level analysis and design rule checks (DRC).

The PCB design may be accomplished by manually tracing PCB tracks, or using the Auto-Router provided. Such designs may include curved PCB tracks, geometric shapes, and ground planes.[20]

PCB Designer integrates with OrCAD Capture, using the component information system (CIS) to store information about a certain circuit symbol and its matching PCB footprint. [15][19]


  1. ^ Oregon Business | 1 May 1989 | Paul Gerhards, "Designing software for "real" engineers: OrCAD Systems Corp.", accessed 2012-04-01
  2. ^ EDN, "Putting a new spin on an old approach: Software design project management at OrCAD Systems", accessed 2012-04-01
  3. ^ The Free Library, "ORCAD COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF MASSTECK; Company Marks Tenth Anniversary With an Expanded Design Desktop for Windows: OrCAD Capture, Layout, Layout Plus, and Simulate; OrCAD Home Page Now on Internet", accessed 2012-04-01
  4. ^ Highbeam Business, "Orcad absorbs Massteck. (Massteck's MacEDA circuit board design tool also acquired)", accessed 2012-04-01
  5. ^ EDN, "Improving on PCB design", accessed 2012-04-01
  6. ^ All Business, "OrCAD completes its initial public offering", accessed 2012-02-09
  7. ^ Blog, "Ethical Capitalism", accessed 2011-01-12
  8. ^ Electronic News, "OrCAD, MicroSim plan $26M merger", accessed 2012-04-01
  9. ^ Electronics Weekly, "OrCad/MicroSim finish dream merger", accessed 2012-04-01
  10. ^ Portland Business Journal, "OrCAD needed a suitor, found one in Cadence", accessed 2012-04-01
  11. ^ Electronic News, "Cadence Buys OrCAD for $121M", accessed 2012-02-09
  12. ^ Bloomberg Business Week, "Company Overview of OrCAD, Inc.", accessed 2012-04-01
  13. ^ EETimes, "ST licenses Cadence's OrCAD PSpice", accessed 2010-09-08
  14. ^ OrCAD Capture, OrCAD Website
  15. ^ a b c d e OrCAD Features, OrCAD Website
  16. ^ a b c OrCAD EE PSpice Designer, OrCAD Website
  17. ^ PSpice Matlab Simulink Integration - Overview, OrCAD Website
  18. ^ OrCAD EE Features, OrCAD Website
  19. ^ a b OrCAD PCB Designer, OrCAD Website
  20. ^ OrCAD PCB Designer Features, OrCAD Website

External links

  • Cadence
  • OrCAD PCB design
  • OrCAD PCB Editor
  • OrCAD Capture
  • Open Source OrCAD Circuits Archive
  • Request page of the free, limited-feature demo version of OrCAD (that includes PSpice) at Cadence website.
  • PSpice Schematic, a product that has been discontinued with the OrCAD 10.0 release, but is still available for download.
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