Is there any good how-to's out there that can be shared? Because I'm stuck.
Perhaps a little more information might help.........
Do you want to know how to create them?
Do you want to know how to and where to download them?
How exactly are you stuck?
A little about me - I'm a mechanical guy learning electrical design AND solidworks electrical so feel free to explain things like I'm a total beginner.
Mainly I am needing to know how to create them and how to properly show them in a schematic.
I'm working from some pdf's of an existing schematic trying to re-create it in SWE.
So far, in regards to SWE, I am pretty comfortable creating and managing the manufacturer parts library including the circuits, creating and inserting symbols, relating them to a manufacturer part as well as assigning them to a component. I have a pretty good grasp of how all that works and how SWE handles the data.
Here's an example of how a terminal block is shown on the existing schematic:
The Incoming N line is coming from a connector, then it hits this terminal block and splits into 8 different wires that, quite frankly, create a spaghetti like maze of other terminal blocks and various components. I feel it could best be compared to something like this:
I was brought on to help bridge the gap between the MCAD team and their ECAD needs, to help make sense of the previous guy's efforts and to turn them into something usable. With that in mind, any tips on how to do so are more than welcomed.
Terminal strips are hard. I have been struggling with a lot of things that came naturally within AutoCAD Electrical and terminals strips have been high on the list.
From what I have found out, each terminal has its own "mark" number that is independent of the wire or equipotential value that most of us would use to assign them. If you want the equipotential value to be in the terminal strip drawing, you will have to edit the Terminal Strip Drawing configuration to do this. Also keep in mind that if you assign connection points to the terminal (like "1" for Top/Right terminal and "2" for Bottom/Left terminal) you will not be able to have 1 appear on the Right and 2 on the left. The software will flip it so that 1 is on the left and 2 is on the right. and the symbol will then be upside down. SW is currently working on this one....
The terminal numbers will not appear on the panel layout. That is what the terminal strip drawings are for.
Being able to create a list of terminals for printing required editing the SQL query to be able to generate the Excel spreadsheet. (newbie at that so it took most of the day)
I have seen some posts where people have been having trouble with bridging (jumper bars) but I have not tried that yet.
If you are connecting two different cores to the same terminal and are using Equipotential Labels, it will force one of the cores to change to the other (a 12awg and a 16awg became (2) 16 awg.) If you are using wire labels this is not a problem. We use equipotentials so I eventually figured out adding the equiptential tag to the wire label fixed this.
We bought the software 8 months ago and I still have not been able to create a drawing package with it. We ended up having to get the 3d portion to do all that AutoCAD Electrical could do. (Don't expect to have item balloons in the 2d panels. This is only available if you use the 3d portion.) This then necessitated me learning SolidWorks to be able to create the panel drawings with zoomed in detail views.
Sorry about the tangent....
Hi Robert Hanrahan,
I know, right?! I've been cracking away at SWE for about a month now. I'm more of a mechanical guy so learning both electrical design and SWE is definitely a steep learning curve but I've been able to make some pretty good progress.
Thanks for sharing your experience and what's worked for you so far. I'm coming to see that the Solidworks Electrical community is pretty small but it has some really helpful members. It seems like so many of us are in the same boat facing the same struggles. That's why I have decided to post any issues I came up with and how I solve them...that will make it easy for me to reference them later as well as hopefully help others out.
Have you tried using the search bar (magnifying glass, top right corner) on the home screen and just use "terminal strips" as keywords. There are quite a few threads relative to this which might help, or at least I hope so.........
I have, and while there are a lot of questions, there aren't any really good answers for what I need. I can find helpful nuggets here and there but not something that's a big help. That's why I asked if there were any good how-to's out there that explain it a little more thoroughly from start to finish.
I have the SWE Schematic course manual and, maybe I'm just missing it, but I can't find a very thorough explanation in there either.
Not being a Controls Engineer, you won't likely notice the changes you will have to go through to be able to use an ECAD program to its fullest; in many ways, you will not have to "unlearn" as much to get it to work.
Using an ECAD package typically requires the designer to change how he/she has been design panels/schematics to be able to use the software to its full potential.
A few quick things:
You will want to determine the spacing and structure of the schematics. This will drive all drawings going forward.
Many times, the old design would drive to fit as much as possible onto a drawing so as to minimize drawings. In todays design, it is better "spread out" to ensure that you can follow design parameters and that the level of detail required by the software can be accommodated.
The schematic symbol does not need to "look" like the physical component; in fact it really should not (that is for the panel layout). Develop a symbol structure and then have all you components follow it. (i.e., all connection on the sides of the symbol, power connections near the top, signals coming in on the left and going out the right, etc) These are just suggestion but create a standard and stick to it. By doing this, your drawings will be more uniform and easier to read.
If you have not already done this, develop a sheet drawing number structure. this will aid in organizing the drawings inside the ECAD package.
As far as terminals go, determine where you plan on placing them on the panel and have that determine the Terminal Strip number. It helps with grouping when it comes to wiring them in the panel shop. Then assign the terminals to the strip as you add them. Don't try to force them to be all together on the schematic. That is what the Terminal Strip Drawing is for.
I have been in the business for 25 years (using AutoCAD Electrical for 20 of them). Having an ECAD program does help simplify the design.
The learning curve can be daunting though....
This is some great info for a guy in my situation. Thanks so much for sharing your insights!
The way you described the old design is exactly right - they tried to cram so much on the page that it's really unclear. I'm trying to spread it out more so it's more legible and easy to follow. I remember reading something that is really sticking with me about schematics...It was something like "Good schematics show you the circuit. Bad schematics make you decipher them." I can see the truth to that in the old design.
Heading up the SWE initiative for this project gives me the opportunity to set things up from scratch, and set them up properly. I really appreciate your words of advice. They will definitely help me reach my goals with this project.
Since I have to create our schematics in just Solidworks I don't know the ins and outs of SWE, I found the following on terminal strips maybe it will help with the electrical side.
Full disclosure it seemed pretty basic but they do offer webinars if you register that you can watch to see in detail how to use the tools.
Hope it helps.
Hey Paul Risley,
Thanks for sharing! I'll check out what they have to offer.
I have to say i have no experience with SWE but the way you put together a post is hilarious, especially the new years balloon thing.
Haha, thanks! Dude, if you could see these things I'm working from...they have me feeling like this:
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