Been searching for that perfect FREE software too, here are some which i have tried (images taken from the source websites):
Online Design and simulation - Circuit Lab
Not bad for drawing some circuits out, but never quite worked out easy way to run the simulation side of it. Shame, has great potential.
Yenka (the result of the OLD-SCHOOL Croc-Clips)
An excellent program, with excellent simulation, although has a very annoying timed free licence so that you can't use it during the day (there may be ways to resolve this, but extra hassle).
A nice looking program for schematics, breadboard and pcb designs. My main issue with it is that the side view of components (designed to make it easy to see what it is) makes it hard to design compact layouts. Also the stripboard layout (which was my main need) support is limited (track cuts are between holes only, and side view of components make it difficult). The schematics, breadboard and pcb are even linked, so that you can confirm that connections are matching (can be difficult to confirm it is correct though, may be bugs in that aspect). Editing components is also difficult but they are clearly working on that, hopefully they will bring in a top-down view for designing - option to use PCB component view on the layout). Has massive potential, but just doesn't quite work YET.
Stripboard layouts - VeeCAD
This basic looking program in fact is one I like the most... It's main use is for laying out components on stripboards, which is essentially all it does. However, it is simple (once you get used to it - creating components manually and then laying them out) and allows you to layout stripboards and play with the design.
It does support importing of netlists, which is a standard output of a circuit designer such as Sparkfun - although I've not tried this so I don't know how much is available for the free version (details to try this here
). So far all the circuits I've done I've just used it for layout and traced through in my head (still easier than using paper, but anything complicated is sure to make your head hurt!).
Android App - EveryCircuitFree
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... free&hl=en
I like this app a lot but unfortunately the free version is VERY limited (you get tiny prototype area) and the full app is expensive for a phone app (although it may be worth it perhaps, since it seems to be quite extensive). In fact, having another try with it, it is superb for basic level stuff, could do with some IC support though.