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Old 08-11-2008, 19:05   #1
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Electrical Design Programs - Visio and the Rest

I have beel perusing the web the last week trying to find a program to do the layout of the electricals in the yacht. I have done 70% of the rewire work but only sketched the circuit on A4 paper with pencil. Now, I need to do something better so I can copy it and bring it up to date.

I tried numerous downloads and ended up with three good ones. One was excellent, but the trial version limited and when I looked to see what it cost, it was .................................................. ..................about 2000 Euros !

Next was a download from download.com, it read well though there was one comment from a user saying that it was all in Italian. I downloaded it and Presto ! It is all in Italian. Now our extent of Italian is limited to food terms such as Pizza, Foccacia, Tiramisu, Pasta, etc. I could figure out 60 % of the program but it is just too hard I am afraid. If you speak Italian I can give you the name of it.

Finally VISIO - I really relegated Microsft to last but in the end had to relent and downloaded the trial verison and have to do all the plans by the 31st of Jan 2009 (expiry date).

Now on first look Visio looks good. But, it would seem like reinventing the wheel to put all the stuff on that diagram when I may be able to start with a template that someone else has done for their boat.

If anyone has an electrical plan that they are not too posessive over, then we would love to start with that. Our boat is all 12V, with diesel aux motor, solar array, wind gen, and most of the usual gear on a 35' cruising yacht. It does not have a 240V AC system (110V for those on the American continent).

Any offers appreciated.
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Old 08-11-2008, 20:20   #2
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This is one we worked on in an earlier thread. Normally I can only post PDF's here but you can try this Zip file for the Visio format.

http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/att...elec-visio.zip
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Old 08-11-2008, 22:53   #3
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I do all mine in kicad, but I've also used tinycad. Both are free...

These are real schematic capture programs so there's a bit of a learning curve, but the results are great. I just create component libraries for each thing I want to add to the schematic, then just wire them up and add notes. Works great for me, and the price is right!
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:12   #4
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Knottybuoyz - Thanks, that is excellent, we have several terminal strips like you have so that will be a good start for us. Our version of Visio opened it without problems. I will have a thorough play with it latter this evening.

Scotte - Those two programs look great at first glance. I will download one of them (Tinycad) and have a play, though I will give Visio a go as well seen we now have such an excellent template to work with. It will be interesting to see what is the more user friendly for a Cad newbie like me. I use OpenOffice now days and I find it is 98% as good as the MS office 2003 programs that we use to have. I like the concept of Opensource development.
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:12   #5
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I posted my VSIO wiring diagram last week see:
New rewire contimplated this winter and...
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:37   #6
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I've done a series of schematics for my boat using VectorWorks which I use in my work. It's pretty intuitive for something like a schematic. I don't follow technical drawing protocol for electrical schematics in all cases so the drawings are a hybrid between a schemtic and an actual wiring layout drawing

What I have done is created schematics for different systems with a note on each to where they interface with another schematic. I include whenever possible the color and AWG of the wire. I have done:

A. Mains - Power: includes batteries, charging sources, monitors, windlass, always on (bilge pump, radio memories) includes all fuses and buss bars. cabin heater,

B. Monitor - Link 20 and regulator wiring (basically redoing the manual for my installation) fuse size and type

C. Distribution panel - loads for lighting, instruments, pumps, fans etc, breaker size, fuse size and type

D. Engine instrumentation

E. Navigation Instruments & NEMA: B&G, AIS, radar,radios, GPSs, plotters, fluxgate NEMA busses

F. 110v AC wiring - convenience outlets, battery charger, interverter, water htr, shore power, transfer switch

G. Mast wiring diagram - lighting, AWI, VHF antennas, Radar

Each one is on an 11x17 and done with color, but printed in B&W and in a binder on board. I tackled this beginning several years ago when I looked at my wiring and hadn't a clue as to what many of the wires were, where they were going and where they came from. Now I have this worked out, cleaned up and properly labeled as well as diagrammed. It's a project which has stretched over 3 years, involved replacing some wires, re routing some, wire ties and looms and it continues to this day - a work in progress.

If anyone is interested in seeing these diagrams email or PM me for a PDF
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:37   #7
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I only use real schematic capture when doing circuit design (and my fave for that is Design Works, followed by Eagle). Most of the time, the drawings are much more relaxed and illustrative, and for those I use Concept Draw. Below is an image export of the N2K network aboard Nomadness, and over on my server there are larger drawings of a stand-alone system called Shacktopus as well as my Microship network from a few years back.

This tool is particularly handy for a "live" documentation project since it is easy to make image objects linkable for ready access to PDF files or web pages. You can see this used on some parts of the Microship one linked above. Also, Concept Draw is good at rubber-banding lines, making new library objects, exporting to PDF or images, and so on... without too painful a learning curve.

Incidentally, I've been experimenting with a new ship-documentation method that is proving to be useful. Since keeping up with drawings in the middle of a project is prohibitively time-consuming, I have set up a relational database system (in FileMaker) that has a record for every device and another for every link. Auto-assigned ID numbers match labels attached to the physical objects, and the relational trickery allows each record to have a window that automatically shows all the links from a device... or all the devices associated with a connection.

This sounds kind of complicated compressed into a paragraph like that, but it's actually pretty cool... and it easily handles all the "multi-domain" objects like pumps, with both electrical and plumbing components. It doesn't give that comforting graphic overview that a drawing does, but it grows organically with the reverse-engineering of ship systems (and construction of new ones), and becomes the umbrella for all the associated documentation files. Also, each record includes vendor, serial number, cost, location, and so on... the image below is a screen capture of a typical device window.

It is really hard to keep up, though, and in my case, the 20-year-old boat came with a sheaf of drawings that represent a snapshot of some point in the distant past before a lot of changes took place. I bet that sounds familiar...

Cheers from Nomadness,
Steve
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:58   #8
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What a magnificent vessel you have "Nomadness", we love the layout in the pilothouse.
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Old 14-10-2010, 08:22   #9
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Electrical Design using Visio

Hi,

I have used an Electrical Engineering Design Package that uses Visio and SQL as the database . It's called Engineering Base. I think its available on a 60 day free trial if thats enough time for you to do your drawings.

Mark
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Old 14-10-2010, 14:11   #10
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Hi Mark

Thanks for that, with spring arrived here we are heading for the boat in a couple of weeks and doing the drawings are still on our list. I am looking into the program that you have mentioned.

A program that I tried out for a different purpose, doing flow charts, surprised me as it had electrical symbols and was capable of doing simple circuits. Alas the trial was for 30 days and I had to do the flow charts as the priority. Nice program to use though, it is called RFFlow and you can get a 30 fully functional trial from their site RFFlow Flowchart Software

Cheers
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Old 15-10-2010, 15:51   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbony View Post
Hi Mark

Thanks for that, with spring arrived here we are heading for the boat in a couple of weeks and doing the drawings are still on our list. I am looking into the program that you have mentioned.

A program that I tried out for a different purpose, doing flow charts, surprised me as it had electrical symbols and was capable of doing simple circuits. Alas the trial was for 30 days and I had to do the flow charts as the priority. Nice program to use though, it is called RFFlow and you can get a 30 fully functional trial from their site RFFlow Flowchart Software

Cheers
Don't know if this program is any good but it's free. I've used a lot of these portable apps and they have always served me well. It does have at least some electrical symbols.

Dia Portable | PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB drives

Regards,
Extemp.
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Old 15-10-2010, 16:10   #12
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Update to my post of 2 years ago... I no longer use Concept Draw. My current drawing package of choice (for the Mac) is OmniGraffle. I love it, and although it's not an electronics package per se, it handles rubber-banding and library devices very well. Mostly I use it for block diagrams (like this), and switch to Eagle when doing schematics and board design.
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