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The circuit to be analyzed is described to SPICE by a set of element lines, which define the circuit topology and element values, and a set of control lines, which define the model parameters and the run controls. The first line in the input file must be the title, and the last line must be ".END". The order of the remaining lines is arbitrary (except, of course, that continuation lines must immediately follow the line being continued).

Each element in the circuit is specified by an element line that contains the element name, the circuit nodes to which the element is connected, and the values of the parameters that determine the electrical characteristics of the element. The first letter of the element name specifies the element type. The format for the SPICE element types is given in what follows. The strings XXXXXXX, YYYYYYY, and ZZZZZZZ denote arbitrary alphanumeric strings. For example, a resistor name must begin with the letter R and can contain one or more characters. Hence, R, R1, RSE, ROUT, and R3AC2ZY are valid resistor names. Details of each type of device are supplied in a following section.

Fields on a line are separated by one or more blanks, a comma, an equal ('=') sign, or a left or right parenthesis; extra spaces are ignored. A line may be continued by entering a '+' (plus) in column 1 of the following line; SPICE continues reading beginning with column 2.

A name field must begin with a letter (A through Z) and cannot contain any delimiters.

A number field may be an integer field (12, -44), a floating point field (3.14159), either an integer or floating point number followed by an integer exponent (1e-14, 2.65e3), or either an integer or a floating point number followed by one of the following scale factors:

T = 1012 G = 109 Meg = 106 K = 103 mil = 25.4 10-6

m = 10-3 u = 10-6 n = 10-9 p = 10-12 f = 10-15

Letters immediately following a number that are not scale factors are ignored, and letters immediately following a scale factor are ignored. Hence, 10, 10V, 10Volts, and 10Hz all represent the same number, and M, MA, MSec, and MMhos all represent the same scale factor. Note that 1000, 1000.0, 1000Hz, 1e3, 1.0e3, 1KHz, and 1K all represent the same number.

Nodes names may be arbitrary character strings. The datum (ground) node must be named '0'. Note the difference in SPICE3 where the nodes are treated as character strings and not evaluated as numbers, thus '0' and '00' are distinct nodes in SPICE3 but not in SPICE2. The circuit cannot contain a loop of voltage sources and/or inductors and cannot contain a cut-set of current sources and/or capacitors. Each node in the circuit must have a dc path to ground. Every node must have at least two connections except for transmission line nodes (to permit unterminated transmission lines) and MOSFET substrate nodes (which have two internal connections anyway).