With the crisp fall air comes a new school year for many future electrical engineers. We’ve assembled a free back to school kit of the resources we think will be most helpful as engineering students build their skills and networks. If you’re already a working EE, you’ll likely find these free tools and sites useful too – let us know if there are others we’ve missed.
The Analog Circuit Simulator is an applet that simulates the activity of electronic circuits, which is useful for electrical engineers during the design process. The simulator shows an animated schematic of a simple LRC circuit, with different colors showing positive voltage, ground, negative voltage and current. Mouse over any component of the circuit to see a short description of that component and its current state.
CalculatorEdge has hundreds of free online engineering calculators and formulas to help you solve complex equations in the fields of electrical, mechanical, civil and chemical engineering, electronics, metallurgy, physics, math and more. For example, the Electronics Engineering section offers tools to help you work with Ohm’s Law, voltage drop, air core inductor inductance, heat sink temperature, battery life and more.
EE HomePage offers tools, educational materials and advice for electrical engineering professionals, educators and students, with a great section on managing and promoting an engineering career. Tools include a browser-based RPN calculator, filter design software, reusable robotic software and more.
The Engineering ToolBox is a resource guide for everything related to design, engineering and various technical applications. With references from Prandtl’s number for air temperatures to the chemical resistance of CPVC pipes, as well as 2D and 3D drawing tools, instrumentation and process control system information, and much more, this is a terrific resource to keep on hand. You can also create a custom “Short List” of links that are particularly useful, which can be very helpful on a per-project basis.
GoCracker is a UK-based resource for students of all ages to discover and explore careers in science, engineering and technology. With career advice and lesson plans, this site is a good overview for students looking to learn more about life as an engineer.
It’s never too early to start networking, and there are many active engineering groups on LinkedIn. Two we like are:
This group is for engineers who share a need for, well, anything—whether it’s a whitepaper, consulting services or an engineer to help you draw up your design. ELFS was created by an electrical engineer and is a great resource for getting your project up and running or back on track.
With over 10,000 members, Electrical Engineers World is one of the largest electrical engineering communities on LinkedIn. You can participate in discussions on topics ranging from electrical engineering ethics to the proper way to measure insulation resistance, as well as crowdsource answers to tricky electrical engineering questions.
And finally, some free tools from Arena that can help you get ahead on any engineering project:
Need a quick and easy way to build a bill of materials (BOM)? Researching possible parts for your prototypes? PartsList automatically gathers documentation and real-time pricing and availability on parts from leading distributors and creates a purchase-ready BOM that will save you hours of research and data management.
The PartSaver bookmarklet is the fastest way to capture part information from distributor websites. With one click, you can add detailed information about parts to a Google Docs spreadsheet without the hassle of copying, pasting and formatting the data.
What other free tools have you used as a student or in your Electrical Engineering career? Share your finds in the comments section!