Engineers from a variety of backgrounds use Multisim and its companion product NI Ultiboard to quickly design, simulate, lay out, and route their PCB prototypes. With an emphasis on usability, Multisim helps engineers optimize their design performance. This tutorial explores some of the key Multisim 12.0 enhancements that can help you with your design process.
2. More Parts With Component Database Enhancements
By partnering with the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers, NI provides the components you need to evaluate, and integrate into, your circuit design. Multisim 12.0 has over 22,000 components with models that are developed and verified by the semiconductor manufacturer. For a complete list of parts in the Multisim database, click here.
Analog Amplifiers: Working with Analog Devices, National Semiconductor, and Texas Instruments, NI has added more than 225 of the latest operational amplifiers with pin-accurate symbols, footprints, and SPICE simulation models.
Discrete Models: Working with NXP (and Philips), NI has added over 1,800 new discrete models to increase variety in the Multisim database.
Power Components: Power application designs continue to require greater sophistication, so NI is expanding the capabilities of Multisim to effectively simulate for these applications. To learn about the power components from companies such as On Semiconductor, click here.
Part Availability Information
Engineers need to know that the parts they select are still supported by manufacturers. NI is working directly with companies such as Analog Devices, Microchip, National Semiconductor, NXP, On Semiconductor, Philips, and Texas Instruments to understand the availability of each part. You can find this information during part selection through the “Obsolescence Information” link:
- Open Multisim.
- Go to Place»Component in the file menu.
- Click on the desired component, and a link with this information appears at the bottom right-hand corner of the window if the component is obsolete.
- Clicking that link opens a dialog box containing the obsolescence information and part replacement options.
Figure 1. Obsolescence Information in Multisim
3. Easier Collaboration With Multisim Snippets
To successfully complete a design, engineers need to be able to collaborate. Sometimes this means developing detailed documentation, accessing user forums, or posting to websites. The idea is to quickly show an image of a circuit diagram and provide simulated results to help make decisions and drive consensus or to reuse a snippet of important circuitry.
In Multisim 12.0, you can generate a snippet that includes a PNG picture of your design with file information embedded in it. The snippet contains ALL symbol, simulation model, footprint, and connected net information.
You can share design images on the web. For example, you can open the Figure 2 audio filter circuit in Multisim with a simple drag-and-drop click from your web browser.
Figure 2. Sample Snippets
Watch a short video on how to use snippets to improve your collaboration with other engineers.
View this tutorial for guidelines on how to use snippets in Multisim.
4. Improved Digital Signal Visualization in the Multisim Grapher
NI has added an easier, more intuitive way to visualize digital signals to the grapher tool. The grapher works automatically with various analyses and uniquely displays both native digital and analog signals that have been digitized using configurable digitization thresholds.
The digital graph is useful for accurate evaluation of timing and control circuits.
Figure 3. Analog and Digital Graphers in Multisim
You can easily access these new digital signal graphing capabilities. In the analysis setting, when choosing which signals to depict on the graph, you can see how Multisim recognizes the digital ones and assigns them to the digital grapher.
- In the Multisim menu, go to Simulate/Analyses/Transient Analysis.
- Under the Output tab, you can see all of the possible voltage, current, or power signals that you can depict in your grapher as well as the option for entering mathematical expressions.
- Double-click different analog and digital signals to place them on the corresponding graph as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Transient Analysis Analog and Digital Outputs
Watch this video on the new grapher function to learn how it can help with your digital or mixed-signal simulation.
5. Improved Text Handling and Sheet Properties Color Scheme
The ability to quickly input, edit, and modify text can help you communicate design decisions and collaborate with greater efficacy. Working with Multisim users, NI has prioritized some enhancements to text and color handling in every design. These include the following:
- Rotate and flip any text on the workspace (including a component's "RefDes")
- Select the font, text size, and stroke weight style as well as adjust the text color and alignment using the new text toolbar
- Change the bus color and connectors from the Sheet Properties dialog box
With these adjustments, you can manipulate large design sheets more easily. Watch this short video and learn more.
6. Improved Integration With Layout Using Gate Swapping
The netlist is the fundamental communication “language” between the schematic and the layout. With Multisim 12.0, NI focused on the usability of the netlist and the accessibility of net information.
- The PCB tab of the Sheet Properties dialog box features a new pin and gate-swap configuration dialog.
Figure 5. New PCB Tab in the Sheet Properties Dialog Box
- Select a component, a net, a bus, or placed text to see those attributes in the status bar.
Figure 6. Net Information Displayed in the Status Bar When You Select an Attribute
Watch a short video on these improvements.
7. Faster Design Creation With Thumbnails and New Startup Settings
Multisim users say that quicker access to files can help them jump into a Multisim or Ultiboard design. With Multisim 12.0, you can see thumbnail-sized previews of files, designs, and windows. To see the thumbnails of the opened designs, hover over their names in the Design Toolbox as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7. Thumbnail of Opened Designs in the Design Toolbox
To see thumbnails of the most recently opened designs, click on the Recent Designs View button on the top right-hand corner of the Design Toolbox.
In addition, you can now set your program to automatically load your last design file on startup by going to the Options menu and selecting Global Preferences. Under the General tab, you can check/uncheck the last checkbox to edit this option as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8. How to Load the Last File on Startup
Watch this short video on thumbnails.