Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Customizing The Marking Menu in AutoCAD Electrical

imageFirst we should discuss what the marking menu is and how it works. If you recently upgraded from 2012 or previous, you noticed the right click menu has changed into a circle of commands instead of the usual menu.

This menu can be used exactly like the previous one. By first right clicking and then left clicking the desired command. However once you know the location, or direction, of the commands, simply hold right click and drag in the general direction and the command in that direction loads.

imageDepending on your workflow, you may find that several of the options on the marking menu are not used that often. In my case I use Copy Wire Number far more than Bend Wire. In this example I will replace the Bend Wire command with Copy Wire Number.

For the most part, everything about the user interface is driven by the .cuix file. Modify this file by selecting CUI at the command line. There are may things that can be done here but we will focus on modifying the right click menu on this post. image

The marking menus are found under the heading “Shortcut Menus.” Expanding one of them shows the commands that would be shown on the marking menu when that menu was called for.

Not the number of menus… this isn’t as simple as changing one menu and your done. These menus are context sensitive. So there are several of each type.

For wires there are the following menus: Wires, Hot Wire menu only – Wires, and Hot Wire menu only - Wires with no gaps. So all three may need to change depending on the command.

Next we need to make sense of the order of the commands. The CUI editor shows them in list form. But the right click menu is a circle. I know we can simply swap out the one being replacing but its good to know the order. From the Electrical help I found the following.
So that translates into the following.
menu   image
On to making the command swap. I have found the command I wish to swap out…
And now to find the command I wish to replace it with. Simply type the name of the command into the command search bar of the CUI window.

Next drag the command from the search results up into the menu above.

After Removing the Bend Wire command I’m done with this menu. On to the other wire menu with Bend Wire.

             And finally test the menu.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Working with Multiple Level Terminals – AutoCAD Electrical

As multi-level terminals grow in popularity, we continue receiving questions about how to make them work in Electrical. Multi-level terminal blocks are unique in that they are represented by multiple schematic symbols but have a single BOM entry and panel footprint.

There is nothing special about the blocks or footprints. The real magic happens in the database. There are a number of extra fields in the default.cat.mdb that store the extra information needed for associating the different levels together.

The Properties

Lets first look at the properties. In this document I am using AutoCAD Electrical 2015. If you have 2014 or older, you will have a slightly different method for getting to these properties. I’ll post some screen grabs at the bottom of this post that show the older tools.

Simply edit a terminal and press Catalog Lookup. Then press the “Edit” button image and scroll all the way to the right.

Here you can see the additional properties dedicated to multi level terminals. Modifying them is quite easy. Simply enter the number of levels in the LEVELS cell and then click the image button to open the edit terminal property form. Enter all known information and press OK.
To add/modify internal jumpers between the levels, click on the INTERNALJUMPER cell then click the image button. Select the levels to jumper and then press the Assign Jumper button.

The Workflow for Associating Terminal Levels Between Symbols

imageThere are a number of ways to create the association between the terminals. In this short tutorial I will only show one. After the symbols have been placed, edit one of them. If multiple levels are present they will be listed in the Edit Terminal dialog.

If no additional levels are present, press Details >> button, and then Catalog Lookup and select a multi-level terminal block.

To create level associations press the Add/Modify button.

From the resulting dialog, select the terminal you wish to associate, then click the level to add it to, and finally press the Associate button.


After the level associations are created, the order of the levels can be modified by using the Move Up and Move Down buttons.

That’s pretty much it. If this was too confusing, or involved too much clicking, terminals can be associated using the right click menu as well. Simply right click, Associate Terminals, and then click the “other” terminal.

Placing/Updating the Terminal Strip will show the new associations.

Terminal Properties For AutoCAD Electrical 2014 and Previous Users

Edit the terminal properties by using the Terminal Properties Database Editor. Look at existing multi-level terminals and note the format needed for each field. (for example 2,2,2)