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How to make/edit a flattened electrical route?

Question asked by Ken Lux on Feb 28, 2014
Latest reply on Oct 24, 2019 by Brian Riehm

My question is not flippant. How can you flatten an electrical route and edit the flattened route? SW help has maybe 20 words to say on these subjects - none of them beyond repeating what is written in buttons and menus readily visible in SW.


I thought that Solidworks might have made some improvements in the electrical routing since 2009, but with SW2013, it's as awful as ever.


Can anyone provide any useful information on how to flatten a route?


Here are my problems:

  1. I build my routes by mating the components to which wires will be attached to other components or reference geometries in the top-level assembly.My component positions are NOT to be defined by the wires, the wires are to be defined by the component positon (e.g., I don't say that this connector is at position (x,y,z) in space and then move the object to which the connector is connected into position - it's the other way around).
  2. If I have more than a trivial harness, I usually end up getting one of two errors: a) the route cannot be flattened because of loops or disjoint segments (good luck finding a definition of what SW means by "loop" and "disjoint segment") and b) there is something wrong with the route which means it cannot be flattened (what's wrong-who knows? what's life without a little mystery? It just seems like lazy coding to bail out of a procedure without telling the user what the reason for bailing out is - is it because a connection point is missing, the from-to xml file is out of date, or the moon is 3 days past a new moon and it's a Tuesday? Take your pick!)
  3. Sometimes before giving me one of these errors, SW will crash hard (no SW crash dialog, Win7 catches a page violation 0xc0000005) - good thing considering all the things that can go worng when the flatten procedure is completed.
  4. Sometimes I drag components/asssemblies that have wires attached to them into the components folder of the route assembly - which brings them into the route assembly, but outside of the components folder. I then drag them into the components folder. Through trial and error sometimes this ends up with something that SW can flatten. However, if I dragged an assembly into the route assembly, you cannot drag it back out. If I decide that I really didn't want to add the component to the electrical route assembly and exit the assembly, I get asked if I want to save changes. Of course I don't because that's why I closed the assembly. Then the top-level assembly rebuilds and voila - the component/assembly has been deleted from the top-level assembly!
  5. Once I resigned to have my top-level assembly parts moved to the routing assembly, I flatten the route. However, the result is mainly gibberish. 3-D connectors are positioned at odd angles, wires do not connect to the connection points in the conectors, and wires that run from one connector to another are sometimes sent way out of their way (like driving from San Francisco to LA via Washington, DC)
  6. I'm not willing to try to make 2D block connectors as I wasted so much time on that in SW2009 (followed instructions to the letter and connectors either wouldn't show up at all in drawings or wouldn't be in the right orientation) that with all the continuing problems with electrical routing, I hardly expect that functionality to be working.


So my specific questions are:

  1. What are the  requirements for a route to be flattened into a) schematic flat rote and b) manufacturing flat route
  2. In a flattened route, how are connectors positioned? They seem to move relative to the wires, but most of my connectors end up at about 45deg angles and discrete wires (for parts with multiple connection points) are drawn with no relation to the component.


I've had just about all I can take with electrical routing. I should have avoided it on this project and just made the harness physically routing each wire - it would have taken a LOT less time than using this "tool".