Introduction: Prototyping LED Circuits on Autodesk

In the past I made most of my circuit designs in my head, drew them by hand, and build them on a bread board. This worked but, the drawings were ugly and I often did not find out if my circuit had any chance of working until I built them on a bread board. If I needed to tweak the circuit, quite often that meant redrawing the schematics and making a new parts list. Circuit simulator programs like Autodesk Circuits make reworking a circuit much easier.

I like the graphics in circuit simulator programs like Autodesk; and there are some tricks to making nice looking easy to read bread board circuits, I am going to demonstrate these tricks in this Instructable.

Step 1: Autodesk Circuits

Autodesk Circuits; is an on line circuit simulator program, that is free to join and use. So go to their website and log in or join.

Just go to the Autodesk Circuits page.

https://circuits.io/

Click on Sign up in the top right or Join Now in the bottom center, and fill out the prompts.

If you are already a user, Sign in.

Step 2: Overview

Once you are a member and signed in the Overview page will come up, from there you can Create, Explore, and Learn.

From the Overview page there are two routes to the Electronics Lab.

The first route to the electronics lab; click the mouse on Create and it opens the create page.

When at the create page click the mouse on Open Electronics Lab Hub, and it opens the Electronics Lab page.

At the electronics lab page click the mouse on New Electronics Lab and it opens to The Unnamed Circuit page.

The second route to the electronics lab; click the mouse on Autodesk Circuits in the top left and a side menu pops out.

Click the mouse on Electronics Lab in the side menu and the Electronics Lab opens.

Then click the mouse on New Electronics Lab and it opens to The Unnamed Circuit page.

Step 3: The Unnamed Circuit Page

Once at the Unnamed Circuit page you want to give your circuit a name so you can tell this circuit from the other circuits you create.

There are two menu bars on top of the electronics lab work aria. The top menu bar has the circuits name on the left and seven icons on the right.

The first icon on the right side of the top menu bar is the Electronics Lab icon.

The second icon in the top menu bar is the Schematic page icon.

The third icon in the top menu bar is the Printed Circuit Board page icon.

The fourth icon in the top menu bar is the Parts List page Icon.

The fifth icon in the top menu bar is the Settings and details of your circuit page icon.

The sixth icon in the top menu bar is the Help icon.

The last icon to the very right of the top menu bar is the Overview page Icon.

Click the mouse on the Settings and details of your circuit icon in the top menu bar and it opens to the Settings and details of your circuit page.

You can add information to this page at anytime.

As you fill out the details of your circuit in the information boxes the details are checked off on the list to the right.

You do not need to fill out everything but I suggest you at least fill out the circuit’s name.

When you are finished filling out the information boxes click the mouse on the Electronics Lab icon in the top menu bar and it sends you to the newly named circuit in the Electronics Lab.

Step 4: Components

Now that the circuit has a name in the Electronics Lab it is time to explore the lower menu bar at the top of the Electronics lab and the components in the electronics lab.

The second menu bar has five icons on the left and three icons on the right.

The first icon on the left is the rotate icon.

The second icon on the left is the delete or trash icon.

The third icon on the left is the shrink or expand to fit icon.

The fourth icon on the left is the undo Icon.

The fifth icon on the left is the redo icon.

The first icon on the right is the Code icon, this is for programmable components like Arduino.

The second icon on the right is the Components icon, this brings up the four components menus.

The last icon to the very right is the Start Simulation Icon, this icon starts the simulator.

Start by clicking the mouse on Components icon on the right side of the lower menu bar, a popup menu of the four component menu’s should pop up from the bottom of the lab window.

All Components Grid and All Components List menu's, have the same components just in a different format.

Arduino Basic Kit menu, has the components that come with the Arduino basic kit.

DFRobot Basic Kit menu, has the components that come with the DFRobot basic kit.

Browse through the menu’s by moving the mouse over each of the menu's and clicking the mouse on the menu you want to look at.

After browsing through the menu's; decide on the menu to use, since I am building a simple LED circuit I will be using the All Components Grid.

Step 5: Choosing a Breadboard

Since I am making a small circuit; and I want to try to get all the components of the circuit on my work aria, as large as I can, I am going to switch from the large breadboard to the small breadboard.

Click the mouse on the Components icon in the lower menu bar.

Make sure you are in the menu of your choice.

If you are not in the menu of your choice, click the mouse on the menu you want and scroll down to breadboards.

Click the mouse on the small breadboard and it should appear on the work aria under the mouse.

Position the small breadboard by placing the mouse over the small breadboard and holding down the left button of the mouse. Move the breadboard and release the button when the breadboard is where you want it.

Then highlight the large breadboard by clicking the mouse on the large breadboard and delete it by clicking the mouse on the trash icon on the left side of the lower menu bar or pressing the delete key on the keyboard.

You can un-highlight any component by clicking the mouse anywhere on the work aria.

Now you have just the small breadboard in the work aria.

Step 6: Adding a Battery to Your Circuit

Adding a battery to the breadboard circuit is just like adding the small breadboard to the work aria.

Scroll the menu to the battery and click the mouse on the battery, the battery should appear on the work aria under the mouse.

Move the battery to where you want it just as you did the breadboard.

To orientate the battery so it faces the direction you want; start by highlight the battery, click the mouse on the battery and orientate the battery by clicking the mouse on the rotate icon on the left side of the lower menu bar until the battery is facing the direction you want it to face.

Then click the mouse on the work aria to un-highlight the battery.

Step 7: Adding a Straight Wire to Your Circuit

To add a straight wire to the breadboard circuit; click the mouse on a connection spot of the breadboard where you want one end of the wire to be, the connection spot should highlight.

Then move the mouse to the connection spot you want the other end of the wire to be, the connection spot should highlight.

Click the mouse and the wire should connect to the connection spot, at the same time the breadboard wire color menu should pop up.

Select the color of the wire by clicking the mouse on the drop down menu and clicking the mouse on the color you want the wire to be.

Now you have added a straight wire to the breadboard circuit.

Step 8: Adding a Bent Wire to Your Circuit

To add a bent wire to the breadboard circuit; is not much different than adding a straight wire to the breadboard circuit. Click the mouse on the connection spot where you want one end of the wire to be, the connection spot should highlight.

Then move the mouse to the point where you want the wire to bend and click the mouse on that spot.

Then move the mouse to the connection spot you want the other end of the wire to be, the connection spot should highlight.

Click the mouse on the connection spot and the wire should connect to the connection spot, then the breadboard wire color menu should pop up.

Select the color of the wire by clicking the mouse on the drop down menu and clicking the mouse on the color you want the wire to be.

You can make as many bends in the wire as you want in this manner.

Now that you have added a bent wire to the breadboard circuit it is time to add some more wires to the breadboard for the next components.

Step 9: Adding a Resistor to Your Circuit

Adding a resistor is much like adding the battery to the breadboard circuit.

Scroll the menu to the resistor and click the mouse on the resistor, the resistor should appear on the work aria under the mouse.

Position the resistor by holding down the left button on the mouse and release the button when the resistor is where you want it.

Then highlight the resistor by clicking the mouse on the resistor and rotating the resistor by clicking the mouse on the rotate icon until the resistor is facing the direction you want it to face.

Click the mouse on the resistor until the resistor is connected to the breadboard and the resistor pop up menu pops up.

Enter the resistors numerical value and select the range value by clicking the mouse on the drop down menu and clicking the mouse on the value you want the resistor to be. (ie mΩ, kΩ, Ω)

Now you have added a resistor to the breadboard circuit.

Step 10: Adding a Duplicate Resistor to Your Circuit

To add a duplicate resistor to the breadboard circuit; I start by adding wires to the breadboard to where the next resistor's placement is going to be.

Then click the mouse on the existing resistor to highlight it.

Press the copy shortcut keys on the keyboard, (Ctrl + C).

Position the mouse where you want the resistor to be and press the paste shortcut keys on the keyboard, (Ctrl + V).

The resistor should appear in the work aria under the mouse.

Click the mouse on the resistor, when the resistor is where you want it to connect it to the breadboard.

Now you have added a duplicate resistor to the breadboard circuit.

Step 11: Adding an LED to Your Circuit

Adding an LED is just like adding a resistor to the breadboard circuit.

Scroll the menu to the LED and click the mouse on the LED, the LED should appear on the work aria under the mouse.

Position and connect the LED the same way you did the resistor.

Then click the mouse on the LED until the LED is highlighted and the LED pop up menu pops up.

Select the LED color by clicking the mouse on the LEDs drop down menu and clicking the mouse on the color you want the LED to be.

Now you have added an LED to the breadboard circuit, you can add a duplicate LED the same way as adding a duplicate resistor.

Step 12: Adding a Transistor to Your Circuit

Add more wires to the breadboard circuit leading to next components placements and add the rest of the resistors and LEDs.

Adding a transistor is much like adding a resistor to the breadboard circuit.

Scroll the menu to the transistors and click the mouse on the transistor of your choice, the transistor should appear in the work aria under the mouse.

Position the transistor the same way as positioning a resistor.

Then click the mouse on the transistor until the transistor is highlighted and the transistor pop up menu pops up.

In the popup menu enter the transistors name. (ie 2N3904)

Now you have added a transistor to the breadboard circuit, you can add a duplicate transistor the same way as adding a duplicate resistor.

Step 13: Adding a Capacitor to Your Circuit

Adding a capacitor is just like adding a resistor to the breadboard circuit.

Scroll the menu to the capacitors and click the mouse on the capacitor of your choice, the capacitor should appear in the work aria under the mouse.

Position the capacitor the same way as positioning a resistor.

Click the mouse on the capacitor until the capacitor is connected to the breadboard and the pop up menu pops up.

Enter the capacitors numerical value and select the range value by clicking the mouse on the drop down menu and clicking the mouse on the value you want the capacitor to be. (ie pF, nF, uF)

Now you have added a capacitor to the breadboard circuit, you can add a duplicate capacitor the same way as adding a duplicate resistor.

Step 14: Running a Simulation

When the circuit is assembled you can run a simulation by clicking the mouse on the Start Simulation icon to the far right side of the lower menu bar.

If you built the circuit correctly the LEDs in the circuit should light up.

If you made a mistake in the construction of the circuit, the LEDs may not light up, the capacitors may be covered with a red star, or the Start Simulation icon in the menu bar may say Initializing and nothing else will happen.

Now you can make changes in the breadboard circuit until the circuit works as you planed.

Step 15: Adding Test Equipment

Adding test equipment like a meter or an oscilloscope is not much different than adding a battery to the breadboard circuit.

Scroll the menu to the test equipment of your choice such as oscilloscope and click the mouse on the oscilloscope.

The oscilloscope should appear in the work aria under the mouse.

Position the oscilloscope the same way as positioning a battery to where you want it.

To connect the oscilloscope to the bread board circuit is the same as connecting a battery to the bread board circuit.

Click the mouse on the connection spot you want to connect the probe to on the breadboard circuit, the connection spot should highlight.

Then like adding a wire move the mouse to the connection spot on the oscilloscope you want the other end of the probe wire to be, the connection spot should highlight.

Click the mouse and the wire should connect to the oscilloscope; at the same time the breadboard wire color menu should pop up.

Select the color of the wire by clicking the mouse on the drop down menu and clicking the mouse on the color you want the wire to be.

Do the same for the ground probe wire and now you have added the oscilloscope to the breadboard circuit.

When the oscilloscope is attached to circuit you can run a simulation by clicking the mouse on the Start Simulation icon on the very right side of the lower menu bar. If you added the oscilloscope to the circuit correctly you should see a line on the oscilloscope display.

Step 16: Schematic

When you want a schematic of the breadboard circuit; remove anything you do not want in the schematic from the electronics lab work aria. Start by clicking the mouse on the item you do not want in the schematic and highlighting it. Then delete it by clicking the mouse on the trash icon on the left side of the lower menu bar or pressing the delete key on the keyboard.

After removing all the items you do not want in the schematic; click the mouse on the Schematic icon in the upper right menu bar and it sends you to the Schematic page.

Chances are when the schematics page comes up the components in the schematics page are all a jumble and in need of rearranging.

The lower menu bar in the schematics page has four icons on the left.

The first icon on the left is the flip vertically icon.

The second icon on the left is the flip horizontally icon.

The third icon on the left is the rotate icon.

The fourth icon on the left is the shrink or expand to fit icon.

Highlight the components by clicking the mouse on the components.

Flip or rotate the components by clicking the mouse on the flip or rotate icon.

The wires move automatically.

Position the components by placing the mouse over the component and holding down the left button of the mouse, release the left button when the component is where you want it.

Do this until the schematic looks the way you want it to look.

Step 17: Printed Circuit Board

When you want a printed circuit board of the breadboard circuit; click the mouse on the Printed Circuit Board icon in the upper right menu bar and it sends you to the Printed Circuit Board page.

Chances are when the printed circuit board page comes up the components in the printed circuit board page are all a jumble and in need of rearranging.

The lower menu bar in the Printed Circuit Board page has four icons on the left and two on the right.

The first icon on the left is the rotate icon.

The second icon on the left is the shrink or expand to fit icon.

The third icon on the left is the undo icon.

The fourth icon on the left is the redo icon.

The first icon on the right is the View icon, allows you to view or remove the grid or the board.

The last icon on the right is the Layers icon, allows you to view the top or bottom of the board.

Highlight the components by clicking the mouse on the components.

Rotate the components by clicking the mouse on the rotate icon.

The wires move automatically.

Position the components by placing the mouse over the component and holding down the left button of the mouse, release the left button when the component is where you want it.

To change the size or shape of the printed circuit board; highlight the edge or corner by clicking the mouse on the edge or corner and moving it like a component.

The side menu basically does as it says the important icon is the Via icon; click the mouse on the via icon, then click the mouse on the end of a wire or component and the wire follows the mouse. When the wire is where you want it on the printed circuit board click the mouse and the wire stays there, repeat this if you want a second bend in the wire.

Do this until the printed circuit board looks the way you want it to look.

Step 18: Parts List

One of the advantages of Autodesk Circuits is if you change a part the parts list changed automatically.

When you want a parts list of the circuit; click the mouse on the Parts List icon in the upper right menu bar and it sends you to the Parts List page.

The lower menu bar in the Parts List page has the name Bill of Materials on the left and one icon on the right Download CSV. The Download CSV icon alows you to download a Microsoft Excel file of the parts list.

Step 19: Log Out

When you are finished making a circuit and downloading parts lists it is time to logout; click the mouse on the Overview icon in the upper right menu bar and it sends you to the Overview page.

On the right about the middle of the page is the logout icon; click the mouse on the logout icon and it sends you the the Home page with a banner marked, "Signed out succeasfully", and a icon Got it!.

Click the mouse on the got it icon and the banner goes away.

Comments

author
rafununu (author)2016-11-22

These autodesk utilities really work fine, specially for the analog simulation.

author

It works well.

author
Dragon940C (author)2016-11-21

Very cool, thanks.

There are a lot of tutorials on that site too which will help out beginners like me.

author

Yea I know what you mean most of the tutorials expect you to know the little things.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stories and poetry for the love of writing. I started ... More »
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