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Old 20-05-2015, 14:21   #1
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Using Excel to diagram circuits

Just passing this on. I am a documentation freak since my memory is bad and I can't remember how I wired/plumbed something about 5 minutes after I pick up my tools. So I document and diagram everything on my boats, and when I was a working electrician/electronics tech, I would do it for customers as well. I also find that diagramming things helps point out what is sometimes wrong and/or missing in a circuit or system.

Pencil and paper work fine but you all know the pluses and minuses of that. I can't afford a CAD system nor do I have the time/skill to learn one. Some of the more basic drafting systems can work but all the ones I have tried were either too hard to use, brain-dead, or had other problems. I have used Microsoft Excel for years and found that it gave the basic drawing tools I needed, had colors, and has worked through several generations of operating systems and hardware. I still have battery system diagrams for customers from 12 years ago that I did on a PC running XP and I can still use them on my MacBook running the Apple version of MS Office. They have changed some things and it isn't quite as easy as it used to be but after I play around with it and learn the quirks it does the job.

I use the "Shapes" (on latest Excel) tool for basic forms and then use lines and arrows and some other features to fit it all together. Once I create a special object like a terminal strip, fuses, circuit breakers, antennas, etc. I group and ungroup as needed. I can type words in all the shapes just like a text box. Anyway, I have attached a few that I have done. Someone might find it useful.

I don't know if these can be opened/modified with anything other than MS Excel (e.g. Open Office) so they may only be looked at if you have Excel. I'll try to put an image on for those who can't open them. I can email the .xlsx files to anyone who might want them since I can't attach those file types.

Hope this works but no guarantees.

ACWiring1.xls

BattWiring1.xls

Waste_Plumbing1.xls

Wiring - berth.pdf Views: 144 Size: 78.4 KB ">Argonauta-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-System-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-Diagram-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww---IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-copy-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-MFD-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-Data-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-&-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-Power-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-Wiring-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww---IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-berth.pdf

Electronics Block Diag.pdf Views: 137 Size: 83.9 KB ">Argonauta-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-System-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-Diagram-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww---IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-copy-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-Electronics-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-Block-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-Diag.pdf

Well the PDFs didn't work so I'll try something else for that.
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Old 20-05-2015, 14:29   #2
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

I'll try the PDF's again to get those who don't have Excel a look at my latest circuits. I used these to just complete my Furuno NavNet3D integrated with the Vesper 850 Watchmate installation. I was very happy when I fired it up and it all worked first go. I have AIS targets on my MFD from the 850 just fine.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Electronics Block.pdf (83.0 KB, 382 views)
File Type: pdf Electronics NMEA.pdf (77.5 KB, 216 views)
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Old 20-05-2015, 14:37   #3
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

Having trouble posting the .xls file for the two PDF diagrams in the second post but will try again here. Three worksheets, one of which has just copies of objects/symbols I created.

Oops - file too big so can't post the file.
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Old 20-05-2015, 22:43   #4
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

Impressive.
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Old 21-05-2015, 05:44   #5
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

FWIW. I use TurboCAD. it can be had for cheap in eBay, is very accessible compared to AUTOCAD or the likes, and is a true CAD solution for real folks.

When I was designing I would often do my work in TurboCAD and then give it to the CAS guys to format for the project specific requirements. It imports into AUTOCAD.
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Old 21-05-2015, 08:22   #6
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

Very neat Diagrams!

You may find this is the easiest way to make the diagram, the problem with packages for electronic diagrams is you usually need a library of defined parts.

If you are still looking for potential programs to use, you could use Inkscape as well, which is free and is a very good packages: http://inkscape.org/ or if you want to try electronic packages, try kicad, which is very capable, but will have quite a learning curve: KiCad EDA Software Suite - Kicad EDA - KiCad EDA

For an example of what a car owner did with Inkscape have a look at:
Spitfire MkIV Wiring Diagram : How-To Library : The Triumph Experience

Although, I'd say you have it covered from the wiring diagram point of view. (It is actually alot more readable than some commercial diagrams)
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Old 21-05-2015, 08:28   #7
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

Quote:
Originally Posted by exMaggieDrum View Post
Just passing this on. I am a documentation freak since my memory is bad and I can't remember how I wired/plumbed something about 5 minutes after I pick up my tools. So I document and diagram everything on my boats, and when I was a working electrician/electronics tech, I would do it for customers as well. I also find that diagramming things helps point out what is sometimes wrong and/or missing in a circuit or system.
Awesome job. I didn't know you could do that in Excel. Will have to start doing it for some of my stuff. Again, awesome job, and thanks for sharing.
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Old 21-05-2015, 08:42   #8
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

Your files open and display just fine in this Linux/Libre Office system. I also did not know you could use Excel for that. I use the open source program GIMP, a graphics editor, to create my diagrams. Potato, po-tah-to... the key is to actually get those diagrams out of one's head and documented.
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Old 21-05-2015, 08:43   #9
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

You can do much the same in Word as well - it has Shapes now. I used the Word drawing tools to document New Moon's wiring.
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Old 21-05-2015, 08:45   #10
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

Did not know you could do that with Excel. Looks great. Thanks for posting.
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Old 21-05-2015, 09:49   #11
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

Try TinyCad instead. It is free open source software for drawing electrical circuit diagrams and schematic drawings. I have been using it for quite a while with good results. It can be downloaded at TinyCAD download | SourceForge.net
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Old 21-05-2015, 10:14   #12
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

I have been using the publisher and powerpoint software to do same thing.
Actually, I am currently using Open Office software which is similar to Microsoft, but it is free. Was not aware Excel had this capability. Nice work and a very valuable tool!
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Old 21-05-2015, 10:26   #13
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

I've attached the diagram done in Open Office Presentation software. If you don't have Microsoft, the Open Office suite can be downloaded from the internet for free.
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File Type: pdf Wiring Diagram.pdf (45.3 KB, 137 views)
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Old 21-05-2015, 10:28   #14
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewMoon View Post
You can do much the same in Word as well - it has Shapes now. I used the Word drawing tools to document New Moon's wiring.
I used Wood, too.

There are lots of options out there. The trick is to be disciplined enough to first do them and then keep them up when other changes are made.

Drawing Wiring Diagrams
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Old 21-05-2015, 10:36   #15
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Re: Using Excel to diagram circuits

I used Edraw Max 7.7. It is trial ware and the learning curve was very low. The drawings of my electrical systems came out very professional looking.
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