123D Circuits (from Autodesk) is a free, online tool for designing, building and testing a variety of different electrical circuits. Working within their web-based Electronics Lab, you start with an empty, virtual circuit breadboard. A pop up menu reveals a variety of electronic components that can be quickly added to your breadboard. Batteries, resistors, capacitors, servos and motors are just a few of the components available to the user. There is also an option to use and program a virtual Arduino board and incorporate it into your circuit.
Testing and running circuits is done quickly as you run the simulation online and allows for quick troubleshooting and feedback. Projects are automatically saved to your account and can be shared with other users. New accounts for 123D Circuits are free to create or users can opt to login using an existing FaceBook, Yahoo, Microsoft or Google account. As this is a web application, 123D Circuits works well from any Mac, Chromebook or Windows PC but as of the date of this post there are no dedicated applications for Android or iOS devices.
For teachers looking for a new and innovative way for students to learn about and play with electrical circuits, you are going to want to check this out.
– K. Takahashi