Nate Holt's Blog

October 26, 2010

Tutorial – Mapping schematic components to panel layout – AutoCAD Electrical

Filed under: Electrical, Tutorials — nateholt @ 7:34 am

Here is a step-by-step illustration of how AutoCAD Electrical maps schematic components and part number assignments back to the panel layouts. This just uses an example of a motor contactor to make the point. But the concept will be exactly the same as we apply it to pretty much all control schematic devices.

The example just uses the existing “WDDEMO” project that installs with AcadE. On one of the schematics we’ve gone to the “Icon menu” –> “Motor control” and popped in a motor starter symbol, tag-ID “M427”.

When we pop in the motor starter coil, the Insert/Edit dialog pops up (above). We hit the “Lookup” button to more easily make a part number assignment.

We pick a Siemens part number for a NEMA 2 contactor, hit OK, and the assignment gets pushed out to the MFG and CAT attributes (invisible) on the parent coil symbol for “M427”.

Now, later on, we’re ready to modify our panel layout to take into account our additions in the schematic. We have a blank spot shown above where we’d like to land our new NEMA 2 starter. We pick on the “Panel” –> “Schematic List” command as shown above.

After a few picks we arrive at this schematic listing shown above. This lists all of the schematic components found in our project. The left-hand column shows what is currently found in the panel layout drawings. Looks like “M427” needs to be added to the layout. We highlight our “M427” entry and hit “Insert”.

AcadE finds a footprint representation and attaches it to our cursor. We position the footprint where we want it to land and click. In it goes and get’s marked off of the “list” of schematic stuff not found in the panel layouts.

So, how did it know that this particular footprint went with our Siemens part number selection? This is set up in the “Footprint lookup” database file. A portion of the “SIEMENS” table is shown above. Our part number selection matched in the record that points at footprint block’s partial filename of “SIEMENS/MS-MOTOR STARTERS/14F-A.dwg”.

 The full path to this footprint block “.dwg” file is illustrated in the next screenshot.

This partial path is added as a suffix to the main base path for the footprint library. This is shown in the “Project Settings” dialog above.

Assuming that the target footprint is found, AcadE gets a copy of the block and auto-attaches it to our cursor. We position it and pop it in at our pick-point!

 So, what happens if we have to change the part number assignment on the schematic? Let’s try it.

 Let’s say that our load requirements for motor contactor M427 have increased. We need to bump up our part number assignment to accommodate this change. Our original part number assignment for M427 was for a NEMA 2 starter (and our panel layout drawing already shows the outline for our originally selected Siemens NEMA 2 motor starter part number 14FSH32AE).

So, back on the schematic, we right-click on M427 and select “Edit Component”. This re-displays the dialog shown above. There’s the old part number assignment. We pick “Lookup” and select a larger motor starter part number. We hit “OK” to dismiss the edit dialog.

AcadE updates the schematic symbol with the new part number assignment (on the “CAT” attribute). But it sees that there is an “M427” representation on the panel layout too.


And it auto-opens the panel drawing and changes the part number assignment to match. BUT, it also pulls out the smaller NEMA 2 footprint and pushes in a Siemens footprint for a NEMA 3 starter!

How did it know to do this?

 Back in the Siemens table of the Footprint Lookup database, the new part number selection matched on a different record which pointed at a different footprint block name. AutoCAD Electrical sensed this and auto-swapped-out the panel footprint to keep the schematic part number and the panel footprint in synch.

All this is possible to do in electrical controls design! Just a matter of making sure that there are the proper footprint representations available for the devices you’ll be using and the mapping is set up between them and the part number assignments.

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