Multisim and Ultiboard

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Is MultiSim a fraudulent product?

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I'm thinking it is.  I'm thinking that way back when there was Electronics Workbench (EWB), a simple simulator that worked, but too simple for it to catch on any where but in schools, as students could afford it, but engineers couldn't use it.  Then, losing money, as graduating students can't use EWB for real engineering, so minimal return customers, the management of EWB decided to revamp things, via MultiSim, grab the schools' guaranteed cash flow on the coattails of EWB, but the original designers were no longer available to do it again as MultiSim.  But, going in the hole on the MultiSim planning, the product was released anyway, knowing it didn't work and was wall to wall bugs.  Now, years and years later, National Instruments has bought into the money pit that is the MultiSim design, once again seeing dollar signs through schools and the potential for persons such as myself to take MultiSim into engineering.  The problem is it still doesn't work enough to do that.  True, it's easier to use, but it doesn't work, so it can't be used.  The real testing and troubleshooting to fix it has not happened, even as of today.  The turnover rate over the years with EWB-MultiSim is high.  Few remain.  Anyone I've worked with is no longer there; I've gone through many names as I've been turning up these MultiSim bugs for all these years.  I look at it all and the "f" word looks more and more appropriate when it comes to MultiSim (and you pick the version, any version.)  They've jacked up the price fourfold on a product that has never worked enough to take it out of a school classroom.  Likewise, this is also why, as I've cruised around this forum, I've found loads of unanswered questions, students asking for help and getting little.  MultiSim works enough for unknowing students to buy what the teacher is selling, but in reality it's just smoke and mirrors full of industry-supplied parts fudged into somewhat working within the MultiSim kluge.  The bugs will keep coming up until MultiSim is actually troubleshot by knowledgeable people and fixed, but they won't remain with the company long enough.  Why?  Because MultiSim Inc can't pay enough for knowledgeable people to remain AND deal with the, no doubt, tons of bureaucracy that must develop from selling a bad product for this long.

But I started this thread to more hear your thoughts.  I'm so disgusted with MultiSim that I thought I'd just actually say what I've been thinking about the product, partially as a catalyst to hear people who know this product defend it.  However, that's not to say that if you tend to agree with my take above that you can't say something also.  As I see it, the worst that could happen is NI (the latest MultiSim owners) will kick me/us out and delete the thread.  But that won't hurt me a bit.  This forum has done me zero good, and, from the looks of it, NI doesn't even know what's said here.  (They may after my last correspondence with them though, but I doubt it.)   So, though it may be forum suicide, I don't fear such a death.  However, I do see some potential good coming in doing this.  Maybe, just maybe, I am right, that there is still a slight bit of hope for MultiSim.    
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Hello Euler’s Identity: 

 

I’d like to address some of the frustrations you present in your above post (in addition to the email responses you’ve received from our AEs and myself).  I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve had a negative experience with the software.  As always, our Applications Engineers would be very happy to assist you with any specific technical issues you might be having (I didn’t see any in the original post, and I believe the issue with the LM311 was addressed earlier today.):  

 

I’d like to provide some of the recent history of the Electronics Workbench line of software (Multisim, Ultiboard, Multisim MCU Module).  Electronics Workbench was acquired by National Instruments (NI) in February of 2005 for two primary reasons:

 

1.)     Provide a World-Class Software and Hardware Solution for Teaching Electronics Education
With NI graphical system design tools such as NI Multisim (industry-standard SPICE simulation) and NI LabVIEW and prototyping environments such as NI Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite (NI ELVIS), it is now possible to design, prototype, and compare the characteristics of simulated circuits with real-world measurements in a single electronics education platform.  This complete integration across the design cycle gives students a deeper understanding of the circuit theory they are studying, and ultimately prepares them for more productive careers as design professionals

2.)     Enhance Professional Electronics Design with Tight Integration of Measurement and Analysis Technology
The Multisim SPICE simulation environment integrates tightly with NI measurement technology such as LabVIEW to provide a seamless transfer of simulation and real-world test data.  Professional engineers can now more easily validate designs using simulation data as a benchmark and even create more accurate simulations using real-world data as stimuli.  

 

 

Additionally, as part of the acquisition, NI committed to develop Multisim and Ultiboard with the same strict focus on quality as the balance of the NI platform – it is one of the key focus areas for new releases.  Version 10, released in January 2007, was the first edition of the software released fully under NI standard software development practices (post-acquisition) and has received very positive feedback from existing users.  Of course, there is always room for improvement and innovation, and you can expect to see continued quality enhancements with each new release of Multisim and Ultiboard.

 

The NI Electronics Workbench Group team is passionate about making world-class capture, simulation, and layout products both for education and for professional design.  As always, we welcome your constructive feedback to continue to improve these products over time, and we will do everything we can to ensure that you have a good experience with the product.

 

Best regards,

 

Nicole McGarry

Director of Sales & Marketing

NI Electronics Workbench Group

 

 

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As I said,

"Maybe, just maybe, I am right, that there is still a slight bit of hope for MultiSim."

What I mean by this is a simple concept called "under new management."  It's like the pizza place that addresses past problems that have driven away customers by adding this to the marquee outside.  It means "come back, because this isn't the old place you didn't like."  As I see it, this is one of the best things that could have happened to MultiSim, because National Instruments has been in the test equipment business for some time; it has a reputation.  Hence, there is a considerable amount of potential that's been added to MultiSim, but potential energy and kinetic energy are two different things   I've seen potential before, which is the reason I did what I did, passing circuits to tech support.  But then I also saw new versions with much the same blunders, while, at the same time, I'd have to scratch out another name of someone I worked with to make MultiSim better.  It, whether it's a fact or not, started to become clear to me that actually fixing the product wasn't on the agenda.  All evidence so far shows it just might be on the agenda this time around. 

I'm still wondering how many parts I lost...  I'm a busy person.  I may play with MultiSim V10 this week, next week, next month, in a few months, who knows?  All I know is my first experience with V10, whether it works or not, was that I lost a V9 part.  In other words, my first experience was a deception, be it intentional or not.  My second experience was avoidance, which happened this morning: just how many parts have I lost via my "upgrade"?  Will you ever tell me?  Or will I simply find out on my own, surprise surprise, the next time I fire up the program and am depending on an old long-used part being there and it's not?  (I've stopped using V9, as V10's supposed to work.)

Oddly enough, it seemed to me there was more interest in why I chose the Educator's version over the Professional, why I'd stay with the Educator's version I bought as opposed to upgrade to the Professional.  Does Ohm's Law change depending on the version of MultiSim?  Or how about KVL or KCL?  (I can never remember how to spell Kirchhoff you see and never feel like looking it up.)   Do those laws change, become a function of MultiSim version?  As I see it, if the Educator's version is flawed, what are the chances the Professional isn't?  It's a no-brainer.  No, as I see it, you just tried to pull a fast one on me.  If I'm wrong, then please prove me wrong.  One day I'll find out who is right.  That day could be tomorrow, or it could be six months from now.

I still say you really don't care if I am ever satisfied with what I bought, but I could be wrong.  All I know is I'm spending yet more of my time, that I really can't afford, on MultiSim.  One of my favorite, if not my favorite television programs is House.  I just shared my House time with you.  That tends to upset me, being is I have very little time to watch television.  This may seem small too you, but it isn't to me.  No, I consider it a cost, another cost.  Here I could've been satisfied with my first experience with my "upgrade," but instead I'm paying yet more to MultiSim.  Exactly how much payment do you want from me?  How much of my life will I have to give to you just to get MultiSim to work in a satisfactory manner, just to be sure that an upgrade isn't an "upgrade?"

New management??  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...  
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"New management??  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... "

Well I have my answer.  Although MultiSim, in my experience, has had a rocky start, after the recent conversation I had with Nicole of the new National Instruments' MultiSim (I'm speaking of V10 and forward), I can say that it is indeed under new management -- the new boss isn't the same as the old boss! 🙂  I, for one, am happy about that, because I liked EWB, and I like MultiSim (the feel, not the burps, of course), but something had to change in order for me to continue with this product.  I can tell you it has.   Granted, that's not to say that everything is going to be smooth sailing,  but now I know I really do have support, that I'm not the only person finding stuff.  These people are different.  They really do care about their customers.  They want their customers to be satisfied.  Perhaps it's that National Instruments has a reputation to uphold; perhaps the people are better trained; all I know is after that conversation, it was like a weight was lifted.  My investment in this product was not in vain after all, not as long as these folks are on the case.  Do you know they have engineers who are more than happy to investigate and resolve anything that comes up with this program?!  It'd seem a no-brainer, as after all test and measurement is National Instruments' business, but no kidding!  This isn't just a small software company who tried to sell a simulator.  No, this is much much more.  Like I said, National Instruments has a reputation to protect, and from the impression I got from that conversation, they intend to do it.

National Instruments, thank you for taking over MultiSim!    
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