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Monkeying around ahkab

a SPICE-like electronic circuit simulator written in Python

The code should be easy to read and modify, the main language is Python -- 2 or 3 -- and it is platform-independent.


  • It's with a heavy heart that I write that @ggventurini passed away on September 15th, 2015, at the age of thirty-two. He will be remembered fondly as a friendly and helpful engineer, always excited about his work at CERN and his numerous labors to improve the accessibility of tools for science, research, and development.
  • Ahkab v0.18 was released on July 12 2015, including new features, bugfixes and improved documentation. It is recommended to upgrade. Check out the release notes for more!
  • The whole codebase has been going through a (yet incomplete) refactoring and documenting effort. The new documentation is available on RTD.

If you are interested in the project or the technology, have an issue with an example, or you would like to contribute by requesting, refactoring or documenting a particular feature, please reach out to us on GitHub!

Build Status Coverage Status PyPi version GPLv2 license DOI

Supported simulations:

  • Numeric:
    • Operating point, with guess computation to speed up the solution. See example: Downscaling current mirror
    • DC sweep
    • Transient analysis, available differentiation formulas: implicit Euler, trapezoidal, gear orders from 2 to 5. See for example the simulation of a Colpitts Oscillator.
    • AC analysis
    • PZ analysis
    • Periodic steady state analysis of non-autonomous circuits, time domain shooting and brute-force algorithms.
  • Symbolic:

The results are saved to disk, plotted or printed to stdout and can be read/processed by the most common tools (eg. Octave, gnuplot, Matlab, gwave and others)


The program requires:

  • the Python interpreter version 2 or 3 (at least v.2.6 for Python2, v.3.3 for Python3),
  • numpy>=1.7.0, scipy>=0.14.0, sympy>=0.7.6 and tabulate>=0.7.3.

Matplotlib is strongly recommended and no plotting will work without.

If you need more information about the dependencies, check the Install notes.


1. ahkab can be run as a Python library

Example schematic: a 5th order 1kHz band-pass Butterworth filter

from ahkab import new_ac, run
from ahkab.circuit import Circuit
from ahkab.plotting import plot_results # calls matplotlib for you
import numpy as np

# Define the circuit
cir = Circuit('Butterworth 1kHz band-pass filter')
cir.add_vsource('V1', 'n1', cir.gnd, dc_value=0., ac_value=1.)
cir.add_resistor('R1', 'n1', 'n2', 50.)
cir.add_inductor('L1', 'n2', 'n3', 0.245894)
cir.add_capacitor('C1', 'n3', 'n4', 1.03013e-07)
cir.add_inductor('L2', 'n4', cir.gnd, 9.83652e-05)
cir.add_capacitor('C2', 'n4', cir.gnd, 0.000257513)
cir.add_inductor('L3', 'n4', 'n5', 0.795775)
cir.add_capacitor('C3', 'n5', 'n6', 3.1831e-08)
cir.add_inductor('L4', 'n6', cir.gnd, 9.83652e-05)
cir.add_capacitor('C4', 'n6', cir.gnd, 0.000257513)
cir.add_capacitor('C5', 'n7', 'n8', 1.03013e-07)
cir.add_inductor('L5', 'n6', 'n7', 0.245894)
cir.add_resistor('R2', 'n8', cir.gnd, 50.)

# Define the analysis
ac1 = new_ac(.97e3, 1.03e3, 1e2, x0=None)

# run it
res = run(cir, ac1)

# plot the results
plot_results('5th order 1kHz Butterworth filter', [('|Vn8|',"")], res['ac'],

Example: AC simulation results

2. ahkab can be run from the command line with a netlist file

The syntax is:

`$ python ahkab -o graph.dat <netlist file>`

See ahkab --help for command line switches, also online on the documentation pages.


The documentation is available on RTD.

There, you can find a documentation and examples regarding how to simulate from a Python script.

Refer to the netlist syntax page if you prefer to write netlist files that describe the circuit.

Experience with running SPICE or related commercial simulators can be very useful: this is not for the faint of heart.

Development model

  • The development happens on the github repository,
  • Mostly on the master branch, with feature branch being created only for special purposes or non-trivial features.
  • Snapshots are released on a (hopefully) regular basis and are available on the Releases pages, complete with changelog, and on PYPI.

Patches and pull requests are welcome!

How this project was born

Writes @ggventurini:

"This project was born when I was an enthusistic undergrad, apparently with plenty of free time, attending "Simulazione Circuitale" (Circuit Simulation) taught by Prof. A. Brambilla back in Italy at the Polytechnic University of Milan.

I am grateful to prof. Brambilla for teaching one of the most interesting courses of my university years. -GV"

Bugs and patches

Does it work? Bugs? Do you have patches? Did you run some noteworthy simulation? Let us know on GitHub! You can also reach the maintainer at @itdaniher, he's happy to talk about Python.

Support the development with a donation

If you wish to support the development of ahkab, please donate to cancer research:



Authors: Giuseppe Venturini, with contributions from Ian Daniher, Rob Crowther, and KOLANICH.

Maintainer: Ian Daniher

Code: the module is (c) 2013 - the Jinja team.

Dependencies: many thanks to the authors of numpy, scipy, sympy, matplotlib and tabulate!