When you're getting started with electronics, it's easy to buy a kit like our ARDX and put together a few circuits; it's somewhat harder to get a really low-level understanding of exactly what's happening within that circuit. If your aim is to truly understand electronics, rather than simply to build something, the shopping list grows: multimeter, oscilloscope, logic probe, and more. There is, thankfully for those with limited budgets and even more limited workspaces, an alternative: circuit simulation. Our friend Iain Sharp of Lush Projects, a fellow UK Maker Belt Association member, has been working on just such a simulator for use directly in a browser with nothing to install - and has now released the fruits of his labour under a permissive licence. Dubbed CircuitJS, the simulator is based on a Java version created by Paul Falstad and offers a wealth of features: pick a pre-designed circuit, or draw your own using the tools provided, and watch as it comes to life on-screen. Graphs at the bottom act as oscilloscopes, while each component can be probed individually. For bridging the gap between practical projects and theory-heavy education, it's a great tool - and because it can be run in any modern browser with no software to install, one of which we're hoping to see more in the future.
This electronic circuit simulator is highly interactive giving the feeling of playing with real components. It's very helpful for experimentation and visualization. Best of all, thanks to the power of HTML5, no plug-ins are required! The original implementation, in Java, belongs to Paul Falstad who kindly gave his permission for me to build this port.