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Old 23-01-2014, 03:47   #1
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Schematic Software

Hello Cruisers,

I am starting the bit of our boat rejuvenation I am most comfortable with, the wiring. Our boat came equipped with a lot of good electrical goodies, but, being an older boat, much of it has been wired in in a somewhat ad-hoc manner. My inclination at this point is to start from scratch, but I would like to do so with a clear plan in mind.

To this end, I figured I would post my proposed schematic to those on CF "in the know", and ask them to critique it, but I have fallen at the first hurdle, a decent bit of software to plot out my proposed wiring.

Normally I would grab a pen and paper for this sort of thing (being a Luddite, despite my profession) but this is one of those areas where I actually think computers are pretty useful.

Googling returned a list of seriously suspect software, most of which is probably spyware or malware of some sort, and much of it inclined to electronics rather than electrical schematics. Don't know about you guys, but I can't see the need for NAND gates in any of my house electrics.

So, as a first step, can anyone recommend some decent schematic software, and for what it is worth, I am not of the generation that I feel everything should be given to me free of charge, I am quite happy to pay for something good.

Matt
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Old 23-01-2014, 04:28   #2
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re: Schematic Software

Matt, when you mention schematic software and wiring am I to understand you don't want to draw to a scale, and hence that CAD software is not what you want? It is just that there may be reasonably priced CAD s/w out there that could do a whole lot more than just schematic work. Food for thought. cheers
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Old 23-01-2014, 04:33   #3
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re: Schematic Software

Try Designspark , free no adware , supported by RS.

Draft sight for free 2D mechanical CAD.

autocad electrical do a free version to selected groups

Dave
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Old 23-01-2014, 04:42   #4
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re: Schematic Software

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjames View Post
Matt, when you mention schematic software and wiring am I to understand you don't want to draw to a scale, and hence that CAD software is not what you want? It is just that there may be reasonably priced CAD s/w out there that could do a whole lot more than just schematic work. Food for thought. cheers
Hi Kjames, no, doesn't need to be to scale, just need to layout the logic so that the experienced hands here can help me fill in the missing bits of logic.

Do you have some CAD software suggestions, this is an area I had not considered.

Matt
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Old 23-01-2014, 04:45   #5
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re: Schematic Software

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Try Designspark , free no adware , supported by RS.

Draft sight for free 2D mechanical CAD.

autocad electrical do a free version to selected groups

Dave
Thank you, just looking at those now. Which would you say had the shortest learning curve for simple electrical schematics?

Matt
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Old 23-01-2014, 04:55   #6
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re: Schematic Software

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Thank you, just looking at those now. Which would you say had the shortest learning curve for simple electrical schematics?

Matt
Hmm, possibly design spark. All require a reasonable learning effort

Dave
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Old 23-01-2014, 05:00   #7
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re: Schematic Software

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Hmm, possibly design spark. All require a reasonable learning effort

Dave
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Old 23-01-2014, 05:26   #8
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re: Schematic Software

In suspect you can find some basic graphic or CAD program. All you really need are lines of different weights, colos... some shapes and the ability to ass text and perhaps make some symbols.

I use VectorWorks for work so I was able to create schematics from them. I chose not to follow strict protocol for schematics... so they are more readable to me... sort of dumbed down schematics.

You should be able to find a basic free program to do this.
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Old 23-01-2014, 05:38   #9
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re: Schematic Software

You may like to try Dia https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Dia

"Dia is roughly inspired by the commercial Windows program 'Visio,' though more geared towards informal diagrams for casual use. It can be used to draw many different kinds of diagrams. It currently has special objects to help draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams."
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Old 23-01-2014, 08:39   #10
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re: Schematic Software

Matt,

Try this; ExpressPCB - Free PCB layout software - Low cost circuit boards - Top quality PCB manufacturing
It's free software for prototype PC boards but there is a simple schematic drawing option that's very easy to use. There are pre-drawn symbols for switches, fuses, relays and so on but you can also make up your own symbols. The software supports multiple sheets and has a title block so you can make your drawings look professional and keep track of any revisions as you add more stuff to your system. The only down side is that the wires are only in black and can't be edited for color or thickness, it is a schematic you know.

I have also used the PC board layout software to make templates for drilling custom switch panels. Simply print your layout full size, holes have center lines so you can drill a panel perfectly every time, or at least close enough.

Of course you can have an actual PC board made up to hold all the NAND gates you will be using.

Steve
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Old 23-01-2014, 09:01   #11
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re: Schematic Software

I draw a lot of electrical diagrams and technical drawings and though I know there must be a better way, I never got around to finding what it is. Instead I am using MS Paint. I take advantage of the shapes, the copy and paste, the flip and rotate, the text. Sometimes it is effective, particularly as I saved all the frequently used symbols and copy and paste them. Sometimes it turns out tedious. Like when I have to select and move a major portion of the schematic over to make more room for another component and than have to reconnect all the severed lines. I'll try to attach an old example.
Stan
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Old 23-01-2014, 10:18   #12
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re: Schematic Software



Have a look at SmartDraw they have electrical libraries, you can import from other libraries, or build your own. Learning curve isn't to steep. To many other options to list. It's a fair price.

Lloyd

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Hello Cruisers,

I am starting the bit of our boat rejuvenation I am most comfortable with, the wiring. Our boat came equipped with a lot of good electrical goodies, but, being an older boat, much of it has been wired in in a somewhat ad-hoc manner. My inclination at this point is to start from scratch, but I would like to do so with a clear plan in mind.

To this end, I figured I would post my proposed schematic to those on CF "in the know", and ask them to critique it, but I have fallen at the first hurdle, a decent bit of software to plot out my proposed wiring.

Normally I would grab a pen and paper for this sort of thing (being a Luddite, despite my profession) but this is one of those areas where I actually think computers are pretty useful.

Googling returned a list of seriously suspect software, most of which is probably spyware or malware of some sort, and much of it inclined to electronics rather than electrical schematics. Don't know about you guys, but I can't see the need for NAND gates in any of my house electrics.

So, as a first step, can anyone recommend some decent schematic software, and for what it is worth, I am not of the generation that I feel everything should be given to me free of charge, I am quite happy to pay for something good.

Matt
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Old 23-01-2014, 11:31   #13
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re: Schematic Software

Since one poster recommended a product based on Visio, why not take a look at that product (assuming MS still offers it). I do my schematics in a 20 year old copy of Visio Technical, which has a library of electrical symbols and connectors. Professionals would probably not want it, but it is a whole lot easier (and maybe cheaper) than using AutoCAD.
My version of Visio does not run under Windows 7 so I run it in Xp emulation mode. I haven't checked to see if emulation mode is available in Windows 8. So I may have to find a new product in the future.
There are old versions of Visio for sale on eBay for less than 50 USD.

John
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Old 23-01-2014, 13:09   #14
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re: Schematic Software

List of usable tools Here Tried several, found Schemelt worked best for me. Here is a simple (in progress) schematic for Solitaire drawn with Schemelt.

Online (no-download req) and tied to DigiKeys parts database, its geared more towards electronics than straight electrical, but ability to create your own components is helpful. BlueSea fuse block and meters in referenced schematic are "custom" components. Little learning curve, but I was drawing right along within an hour.

Have fun...
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Old 23-01-2014, 13:28   #15
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re: Schematic Software

Thank you all, great suggestions, I will look at each.

Looking forward to posting my proposed schematic, there a few areas I know I will need help with.

Matt
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