Nate Holt's Blog

October 18, 2010

Tutorial – Terminal Strip Editor (Part 2) – AutoCAD Electrical

Filed under: Electrical, Tutorials — nateholt @ 9:32 pm

Terminal block management and the “Terminal Strip Editor” tool

Note: access part 1 of this tutorial here.

Autodesk’s Nathan Eliason hosted a webcast last week that focused on AutoCAD Electrical’s ability to insert, track, and manage terminal blocks / terminal strips in a project drawing set. I helped put the demo together and was responsible for real-time Q & A support while Nathan was “on stage”. 

Also thanks to Doug McAlexander for some of the images and samples.

Part 2

This posting is a brief summary of what Nathan covered in the third quarter of the hour-long webcast. This part deals mainly with the panel-layout end of things, using AutoCAD Electrical’s “Terminal Strip Editor” tool.

Hopefully this posting can serve as a simple overview / tutorial of this Terminal Strip Editor feature.

Using the Terminal Strip Editor tool

The first part of the tutorial ended with field terminals inserted for these five three-phase motor circuits. The first and last motor wiring go thorugh terminal strip “TB-1” and the middle three through terminal strip “TB-2”.

Fifteen terminals added… but we have not made any part number assignments to these terminals. In the first part of the tutorial, when we added these terminals, we left the MFG/CAT attribute edit boxes blank when we popped them in.

That’s okay. In fact, it may be the preferred approach… just pop in terminals in the schematics and don’t worry about assigning part numbers. Do that later with the “Terminal Strip Editor” tool.

 Here’s how. Let’s first go to our Panel Layout drawing.

What we want to do is insert a physical representation of our “TB-1” terminal strip on to this panel layout drawing, right there near the top of that piece of DIN rail.

In the process of doing this we will actually make our catalog assignments to the terminals of “TB-1”, create a to-scale representation of the terminal strip, and then automatically update all of the schematic terminals with the catalog assignment we picked in the Terminal Strip Editor session.

Launch the “Terminal Strip Editor” as shown above.

The initial dialog lists all of the terminal strip “Tag strip” values found in the project drawing set.

 Pick on the “TB-1” entries and hit the “Edit” button.

The Terminal Strip Editor tool displays the above dialog and fills it with a list of all of the TB-1 schematic terminals found in the active project.

A key missing piece of data is the catalog assignment, highlighted in yellow here. Without this assignment, it will not be possible for Terminal Strip Editor to generate a to-scale representation of the terminal strip.  Instead the Terminal Strip Editor will resort to generic terminal symbols that it uses when no specific part number assignment has been made.

So, let’s make a catalog assignment…

First, highlight all of the terminals displayed in the window. We want to assign the same part number to all terminals in this terminal strip.

Hint: You can use the SHIFT or CONTROL keys on your keyboard, or simply left-click in the row for the first terminal block and drag the mouse cursor to the last terminal block, while keeping the left click button pressed.

Select the “Catalog Lookup” button.

This brings up the normal AutoCAD Electrical catalog lookup dialog, pointing at the TRMS terminals table.

Let’s select manufacturer “ENTRELEC”, type “FEED-THROUGH”, and rating “65AMPS”…

Pick the 0115 228.27 selection shown here…. OR…

… the type-ahead-filtering feature is a nice improvement found starting in AutoCAD Electrical 2011’s catalog lookup dialog. Just start typing the part number in the box here. The dialog will dynamically filter down to the remaining possibilities with each key-stroke.

 Note: Make sure that you’ve selected “Select All” in the MANUFACTURER, TYPE, and RATING columns.

So, at this point we’ve selected the catalog part number for the terminals. The ENTRELEC part number gets assigns to all six of the highlighted terminal rows.

Now select the “Layout Preview” tab.

Here’s what the terminal strip will look like (below). Looking good. The wiring from the motor starter overloads comes in on the left and the field wiring out to the motor safety switches exits on the right.

Hit “Insert” and place it over the top part of the DIN rail in the panel layout drawing.

Hint: You can select an angle on insert setting of 90 to insert a terminal strip horizontally.  The Terminal Strip Editor defaults to a vertical orientation so we can view the terminal text from left to right  to keep from turning our head sideways (!).

There it is (above)… “TB-1”. Six terminals, each one annotated with data pulled from the schematic.

Note: The screen-shot above shows AutoCAD Electrical 2011. But if you are running AcadE 2010 or prior, there is one anomaly in the insertion… both the wire number and terminal number attributes are visible between the two screws of each terminal footprint symbol. You can use the tool shown below to do some adjustment.

As necessary, use this “Hide Attribute” tool under the “Schematic” section of the ribbon menu to carefully hide the wire number attribute on each terminal symbol.

Switching “internal wiring” side of terminal strip with Terminal Strip Editor

Let’s say that we decide to bring the field wiring for TB-1 into the panel on the left-hand side of the enclosure. It makes sense to just move things around and put the TB-1 terminal strip on the left side of the back-plate.

But, there’s one thing we need to clean up. The terminal strip shows field wiring on the right-hand side of the terminal strip.  We really need to flip the wiring from side to side… put the internal wiring from the overloads on the right-hand side and the field wiring leaving on the left-hand side.

 Re-launch Terminal Strip Editor and go to the “Terminal Strip” tab. Follow the sequence illustrated below.

Select each entry in turn and flip the wiring as shown above. Then, when all have been swapped between left and right, take a look at the “Layout Preview”. If it looks good, hit the “Rebuild” button to push these changes out to the panel layout terminal strip representation.

Terminal Strip Editor will automatically go back to the schematics and add some data to these schematic terminal symbols to indicate the swapped internal/external wiring configuration.

There it is! That concludes part 2.

Next time we’ll insert tripe-level terminals with the Terminal Strip Editor tool to deal with the three middle motor circuits.

UPDATE: here are panel-related postings

Tutorial – Basics of ‘Smart’ Panel Layout (Part 1)  
Tutorial – Basics of ‘Smart’ Panel Layout (Part 2)  
Tutorial – Basics of ‘Smart’ Panel Layout (Part 3)
Tutorial – Mapping schematic components to panel layout
Tutorial – Automatic Wire Annotation from Schematic to W/D (Part 1)


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: