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AutoCAD Electrical 2004

Technical Overview

AutoCAD Electrical 2004 High-Level Overview.................................................................3
Fast Control Schematic Generation .............................................................................3
Automatic Wire Numbering and Component Tagging .....................................................4
Automatic Creation of PLC I/O Drawings from Spreadsheets ..........................................4
Smart Panel Layout Drawings ....................................................................................5
Automatic Reports ...................................................................................................6
Reuse of Existing Drawings .......................................................................................6
Real-Time Coil and Contact Cross-Referencing .............................................................7
Share Drawings with Customers and Vendors and Track Their Changes ...........................7
Web Publishing........................................................................................................8
Open and Flexible API ..............................................................................................8
Interface to Autodesk Inventor Professional Cable and Harness ......................................8
Feature Summary ....................................................................................................9
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview................................................................. 15
Guiding Philosophy................................................................................................. 15
Structure of an Intelligent AutoCAD Electrical Drawing ................................................ 17
Structure of an AutoCAD Electrical Multidrawing Project .............................................. 21
Ladders and Line Reference Numbers ....................................................................... 22
Compatible Library Symbols .................................................................................... 24
Component Insertion and Automatic Tagging ............................................................. 28
Component Catalog Lookup and Assignment.............................................................. 32
Retagging Component and Reusing Drawings in New Projects ...................................... 42
Automatic Wire Numbering...................................................................................... 47
Wire Reports ......................................................................................................... 52 1
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Cable/Conductor Tracking ....................................................................................... 55

PLC Module Insertion.............................................................................................. 57
Terminals and Terminal Reporting ............................................................................ 61
Three-Phase Motor Control ...................................................................................... 63
Panel Layout Drawings ........................................................................................... 63
Pneumatic Layout .................................................................................................. 65
Publish to Web ...................................................................................................... 66
Mark and Verify Feature for Revision Tracking............................................................ 66
AutoLISP and Script File Programming Hooks............................................................. 67
Conclusion............................................................................................................... 70 2
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

This document provides an overview of AutoCAD® Electrical 2004. For ease of use, it is
organized in two sections. The first section, “AutoCAD Electrical 2004 High-Level Overview,”
introduces and summarizes the key benefits of using the product. The second section,
“AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview,” provides more detailed information on the
core functional areas of the software.

AutoCAD Electrical 2004 High-Level Overview

AutoCAD Electrical 2004 is for anyone designing or laying out ladder-style control
schematics or point-to-point wiring diagrams. If your design includes programmable logic
controller (PLC) I/O, motor control, or discrete electrical control components, then AutoCAD
Electrical can help you save time and improve drawing accuracy.
AutoCAD Electrical uses the AutoCAD® DWG file to store important project information and
so does not require a proprietary database. As a result you can edit and manipulate
AutoCAD Electrical drawings using standard AutoCAD software and maintain complete
drawing compatibility with other AutoCAD users.
AutoCAD Electrical provides the following high-level benefits.

Fast Control Schematic Generation

AutoCAD Electrical is an industry-specific version
of the AutoCAD software application designed for
an electrical engineer or designer who designs or
documents industrial control systems. With
AutoCAD Electrical, you can quickly design
control schematic drawings. The intuitive menu
system is easy to follow and understand.
AutoCAD Electrical ships with a comprehensive
set of JIC and IEC electrical symbols as well as a
set of pneumatic symbols.

Figure 1. Users can select components from

the icon menu or from a quick pick list that
recalls the last six components inserted. 3
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Automatic Wire Numbering and Component Tagging

AutoCAD Electrical automatically places
sequential or reference-based numbers on all
wires and components based on the configuration
you choose. It also attaches a suffix to reference-
based numbers and tags to ensure unique names
(for example, 406, 406A, 406B).
This numbering convention is flexible enough to
meet most design requirements. If AutoCAD
Electrical determines that an inserted wire will
interfere with another object, it searches for a
clear spot to place the wire number and
automatically draws a leader back to the wire, if

Figure 2. Wire numbers and component tags

are automatically inserted based on the
project configuration.

Automatic Creation of PLC I/O Drawings from Spreadsheets

With AutoCAD Electrical, you can automatically generate a complete set of PLC I/O drawings
by defining your project’s I/O assignments using any spreadsheet program. Simply import
your finished spreadsheet into AutoCAD Electrical. It draws the ladders per your drawing
configuration, places the I/O modules, inserts the addresses and description text, and even
drops in component and terminal symbols connected to each I/O point as defined in your
As AutoCAD Electrical works its way through your spreadsheet, it creates new drawings as
required to accommodate the inserted modules. If a module doesn’t fit in a column,
AutoCAD Electrical automatically breaks it at the bottom of the ladder and continues it at
the top of the next ladder column or in the next drawing. 4
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

A few clicks can turn this…

into this.

Figure 3. AutoCAD Electrical can automatically create PLC I/O drawings from the data
contained in a spreadsheet.

Smart Panel Layout Drawings

Once schematic creation is complete,
AutoCAD Electrical extracts a list of schematic
components for placement into panel layout
drawings. All you have to do is select a device
from this list and insert it. The footprint
representation of each schematic device is
inserted into the layout at your selection
point. A link is established between the
schematic and panel representations of a
device so that changes to one prompt for
permission to update the other. For example,
when you change the tag ID of a schematic
pilot light symbol, the software updates the
equivalent panel representation of the pilot
light. Items that do not exist on the
schematic, such as wire duct and mounting
Figure 4. The components in the panel
hardware, can be added to the layout and
layout drawings are linked back to the
automatically combined into a
components in the control schematics. When
“smart” panel bill-of-materials report.
one device changes, it is automatically
reflected on the other drawing in the project. 5
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Automatic Reports
You can generate many different types of reports at any stage of the project, including
• Bill of materials (BOM) reports (tallied, purchase list format, or by tag ID)
• From/to wire reports
• Cable reports
• Terminal reports
• PLC I/O reports
• Component reports
• Connector plug/jack reports
• Various exception and design rules
check reports
You can insert reports into a drawing as a
table or save them directly to Microsoft®
Excel, Microsoft® Access, XML, ASCII, or
CSV format. You can also sort and
customize reports to meet your specific Figure 5. Many reports, such as a bill of
needs. materials, can be automatically exported
from the design and saved to various file
Reuse of Existing Drawings
When was the last time you started a design from a clean sheet of paper? Reusing drawings
from another project is easy with AutoCAD Electrical. You simply incorporate a copy of that
drawing into your new project, and AutoCAD Electrical takes care of the rest. Or, when you
want to reuse an entire drawing set for your new design, you can use the Copy Project
Simply running the Insert Wire Number command and the Retag Component command
resequences the drawing into your project based on the configuration you have set up. You
can also use the global Find/Replace/Edit command to substitute new values for component
tags, descriptions, and catalog numbers or use the From/To Spreadsheet utility to export
your project to a spreadsheet, edit it, and then import the new data into the drawing. 6
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Real-Time Coil and Contact Cross-Referencing

How many times have you assigned
too many contacts to a relay in your
design? Did you catch it before the
drawings reached the shop floor? With
AutoCAD Electrical, you no longer have
to keep track of your coils and
contacts. AutoCAD Electrical sets up a
parent/child relationship between the
two and keeps track of how many
contacts are assigned to any coil or
multicontact device. The software
alerts you when you have reached the
limit. It can even assign the next
available set of terminal pin numbers
to each inserted child contact, based
on the parent coil’s assigned part
Figure 6. Relay coils and contacts are
number. Real-time cross-referencing
automatically cross-referenced. Utilities are
information is displayed on the
available to easily browse contacts on
drawings, and cross-referencing
different drawings.
reports are available at any time.

Share Drawings with Customers and Vendors and Track Their Changes
Any flexible software package enables you to share drawings with customers and vendors,
but AutoCAD Electrical goes one step
further. AutoCAD Electrical drawings can
be viewed and edited by any DWG-
compatible program such as AutoCAD or
AutoCAD LT® software. When you get
drawings back from outside sources,
AutoCAD Electrical can create a report of
what was changed. And when it’s time for
a drawing revision, AutoCAD Electrical can
create a report of changes made since the
last update.

Figure 7. You can generate a report that

tells you every change made to a drawing or
project since it was last revised. 7
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Web Publishing
With AutoCAD Electrical, you can
publish your designs to the Internet
for better collaboration with customers
and vendors. AutoCAD Electrical
automatically creates the HTML pages
and links needed to post your design
to the web. If you choose, users can
drag these drawings directly from the
web into an AutoCAD session.
Drawings maintain all AutoCAD
Electrical intelligence.

Figure 8. You can easily publish AutoCAD

Electrical projects as web pages.

Open and Flexible API

The AutoCAD Electrical API (application programming interface) enables you to extend the
software’s functionality to address your company-specific needs. The API consists of two
hundred programming entry points into the software executable. You can use it to create
powerful, custom applications such as automatic schematic generation or special drafting
and design utilities. These applications can be written using AutoLISP®, Visual LISP®,
Microsoft Visual Basic®, Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications, C, Visual C++®, or AutoCAD
scripting. As a programming example, full source code is provided for the Spreadsheet to
PLC I/O drawing generator utility.
Interface to Autodesk Inventor Professional Cable and Harness
AutoCAD Electrical enables you to create
a from/to wire list that you can import
directly into Autodesk Inventor®
Professional for creating 3D wire harness
and cable designs. This list contains
point-to-point connector and pin
information and helps you further
reduce the time needed to create 3D
cable and harness designs.

Figure 9. AutoCAD Electrical is

interoperable with Autodesk Inventor
Professional. 8
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Feature Summary
The following list is a summary of AutoCAD Electrical features.
Ladder Layout
• Unlimited ladders per drawing, with horizontal or vertical orientation.
• Ability to add new ladders at any time, even on an existing drawing.
• Multiple ladder widths and rung spacing on same drawing.
• Support for line reference, X-zone, and X-Y grid reference modes; automatic X-Y axis
• Support for nonladder-style, point-to-point wiring diagrams.
• Ability to use existing drawing format and title block.
• Ability to automatically scale to metric units.
• Renumbering of ladder references at any time; support for embedded alphas and leading
Component Insertion and Automatic Tagging
• Icon menu access to 500+ symbols.
• Ability to automatically adapt to your layer naming convention on the fly.
• Ability to easily modify or expand JIC/IEC libraries.
• Reuse of your existing libraries; conversion tools provided.
• Automatic wire break and reconnect; automatic component alignment with wire.
• Ability to move component from one wire to another with automatic break, retag, and
• Automatic sequential or reference-based component tagging with flexible format.
• Utility that builds custom, multiconnection devices on the fly.
• Manual tag annotation mode with real-time “tags used so far” list feature.
• Semiautomatic component annotation by referencing external text file.
• Support for component tags with leading zeros and IEC-style tagging.
• Automatic component retag for drawing rename or reuse in a new project; automated
contact update.
Contact Tagging and Cross-Referencing
• Annotate by
• Selecting “parent” or “sibling” component;
• Selecting from projectwide component extraction list;
• Manually typing annotation.
• Use bidirectional cross-referencing with flexible format.
• Set limits on coil maximum contact counts; automatic alert when you attempt to exceed. 9
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

• Use Toggle Spare Fill feature to include unused references in cross-reference annotation.
• Automatically track pin numbers, and automatically assign next pair of terminal pin
numbers when new contact is inserted and tied to existing coil or other parent device.
• Flip cross-reference annotation to smart multiline text to make it fit.
• Easily generate full reports and exception reports; quickly review coil and contact
exceptions, viewing and editing each one in context.
Automatic Wire Numbering and Reports
• Sequential or reference-based automatic wire numbering; PLC I/O address-based wire
• Flexible wire number format.
• User-defined wire number suffix list for reference-based wire number tags.
• Support for embedded alpha characters and leading zeros.
• Predefined wire numbers.
• On-off drawing wire number signal “jumps” and daisy chains, with multiple arrow styles.
• Automatic wire number placement in clear spots and automatic wire leaders as required.
• Smart color/gauge wire labels inserted at any time and automatically updated if wire
color/gauge assignment changes.
• Ability to number or renumber at any time: “new” only, windowed, whole drawing, or
• Automatic wire renumbering for connected wires if PLC I/O address changes.
• Wire connection, from/to, terminal plan, and wire number reports on demand, with
spreadsheet export option.
• Cable or conductor color tracking, catalog lookup, reports on demand with spreadsheet
export option.
• Wire number exception report that lists duplicated and missing wire numbers
projectwide; quickly review exceptions, viewing and editing each one in context.
PLC I/O Modules
• I/O modules are parametrically generated on the fly, with automatic address annotation.
• Major PLC manufacturers included, new modules can be added easily.
• Modules adapt to underlying rung spacing on the fly.
• Break or stretch module at any point during insertion; multiple breaks; independent
• Stretch module after insertion to provide space for parallel devices.
• Include or exclude no-connection terminals during module insertion.
• Automatically generate I/O drawings from spreadsheet listing, complete with text and
connected components.
• Apply five different looks across all modules or manufacturers, or define your own. 10
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

• Instantly list module addresses used so far; edit individual I/O addresses and
descriptions; support for modules with both inputs and outputs.
• Module and I/O connection point reports available on demand.
• Supports single I/O points distributed throughout drawing set; tracking tools provided.
• Supports “sideways” parametric PLC module generation.
• Supports complete PLC “shoebox” units, such as AB 1761 series.
• RSLogix™ import provides a way to create a spreadsheet from the RSLogix output.
Bills of Materials
• Use extensive, online catalog lookup files in industry-standard Microsoft Access MDB
• Create or modify new catalog item entries from AutoCAD software or externally using
Microsoft Access.
• Generate comprehensive, real-time BOM reports at any time, including indented
subassembly BOMs, total line-item purchase list BOMs, and by tag BOMs.
• Use three user fields for every catalog item and extract them into BOM reports.
• Extract BOMs by total project or by component location code (for example, BOM of PNL1
• Instantly check BOM on a single component at any time.
• Reference previous project’s BOM assignments in making new catalog assignments.
• Edit reports to add items not shown on any drawing, change order, and so forth.
• Save BOMs to Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, or comma-delimited files, or insert as a
table into an AutoCAD drawing.
Drafting and Editing
• Well-designed icon menus are easy to use and can be customized with a wizard.
• Insert Component command retains last six component insertions for quick selection.
• Devices automatically break and reconnect wires (without need for AutoCAD snap).
• Wire gap or loops are automatically drawn at wire crossings, if desired.
• Support for in-line wire text labels (in-line text breaks the wire).
• Trim wire segment utility automatically removes connection dots.
• Stretch Wire utility automatically stretches or trims wire end to connect to nearby
• Wire leaders are automatically generated in congested areas.
• Scoot command aids circuit manipulation and editing.
• Multicontact dashed link lines automatically reconnect when one contact is moved.
• Alert when new contact insert exceeds maximum allowed on parent coil device;
provision to automatically annotate new contacts with next available set of terminal pin
numbers. 11
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

• AutoCAD Electrical “surfer” quickly displays related components in context across

multiple drawings. Trace wire signal jumps from drawing to drawing. Go to any
component or wire number simply by entering its tag name.
• Automated component location marks (graphical symbols) represent different device
• Terminals automatically increment during multiple insertions.
• Software provides terminal strip and terminal number tracking, terminal and wire
number reports, terminal strip generator utility.
• Supports circuit insertion via WBLOCK as well as automatic retag, automatic wire break,
and reconnect.
• Powerful block swapper utility swaps one component for another in place, preserving
text and reconnecting wires.
• Quickly swap an entire drawing’s symbols from one library to another (for example, JIC
to IEC or IEC to JIC).
• Retag component and wire at any time in windowed area, drawing, or projectwide.
• Easily search and replace text substring and catalog number across entire project.
• Edit component tags, descriptions, and catalog assignments from a spreadsheet or
database table; automated drawing update from spreadsheet or database table edits.
• Edit and update PLC I/O addresses and descriptions, stand-alone terminals, wire
numbers, and wire color and gauge settings from spreadsheet data.
• Use three-phase bus and motor control drafting tools and libraries.
• Use API hooks to call AutoCAD Electrical routines and menus from your own AutoLISP,
Visual LISP, VBA, or script programs. Call external catalog part number lookup routine
from AutoCAD Electrical.
• Report types include BOM, cable reports, terminal reports, from/to wire reports, terminal
reports, component reports, connector plug/jack reports, and various exception and
design rule check reports.
• Reformat report data, and select column order, primary/secondary sort, page numbers,
time, and date.
• Add items, remove items, edit data, or change item order.
• Save report data to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, an ASCII file, a comma-delimited file,
an XML file, or a Microsoft Access database file.
• Automatically export report data to user-defined script or batch file for printing or
• Insert report data in tabular form right on the drawing with dynamic text height and
width adjustment.
Panel Layout Capabilities
• Integrated with schematic drawings, pick and place from extracted schematic list. 12
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

• Use vendor footprint library symbols as is. AutoCAD Electrical adds intelligence at
insertion time.
• Create new footprint symbols on the fly.
• Use bidirectional update capabilities between AutoCAD Electrical schematics and panel
layout drawings.
• Generate ballooning, panel BOM, panel nameplates, and panel component reports and
exception reports.
• Extract and merge schematic wire number, terminal pin connection, and wire
color/gauge data right onto panel drawing symbols. You can also include far-end device
connection information in this annotation.
• Define wire connection sequencing on schematics, which then determines the format of
various from/to wire reports and wire connection data annotation applied to the panel
drawing symbols.
• Panel BOM can include unreferenced schematic items for a combined BOM report.
Pneumatic Layout Capabilities
• Easily access pneumatic library symbols via icon menu.
• Automatically break and reconnect pipe, and automatically align component with pipe.
• Use drafting and editing features to modify pneumatic layout, including commands such
as Just Like, Stretch Pipe, Trim Pipe, and Scoot.
Drawing and Project Management
• Use simple tools to add or remove drawings from a schematic or panel layout drawing
set of dozens to hundred of drawings.
• Flip back and forth between AutoCAD drawing file names and one-line drawing
descriptions using project drawing list, making it easier to find the drawing you want in a
large project set.
• Use the copy project utility to quickly create a new drawing set based on an existing
AutoCAD Electrical project set.
• Subdivide large project set into sections and subsections for reports, wire lists, and so
• Use Mark/Verify utility to automatically track drawing changes related to components
and wire numbers. Printed reports can be valuable for revision control.
• Automatically resequence when you insert or remove drawings from the middle of a
project drawing set using Renumber Sheet utility.
• AutoCAD Electrical automatically establishes links between project information and your
attributed title block.
• Use projectwide full or partial batch plotting, optional preplot and postplot user script
• Use projectwide ZIP file capability.
• Change text size globally or by category (for example, change all wire number text
sizes) with text size change utility. 13
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

• Use projectwide component and wire number retagging and ladder line reference
number resequencing.
• Publish a web page of selected drawings from an AutoCAD Electrical project.
Compatibility with Other Users
• Uses standard AutoCAD blocks with attributes and extended entity data.
• Does not require a proprietary database. All drawing intelligence can be extracted from
AutoCAD DWG files.
• Customers and other team members can view and plot AutoCAD Electrical drawings and
edit them with standard AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT software. The Mark and Verify
command provides a report of all changes made to the drawing since the last snapshot. 14
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

This section provides in-depth information on the core functional areas of AutoCAD Electrical
2004 software.
Guiding Philosophy
The following section focuses on the key development principles to which AutoCAD Electrical
Simple to Use
You access all AutoCAD Electrical commands from a single pull-down menu or from a
floating toolbar with flyouts. The following table lists a few of the top-level icons with a
description of their function.

Insert a new, blank ladder.

Insert any of hundreds of components.

Insert PLC I/O modules.

Insert wires.

Cut wires.

Start automatic wire numbering.

AutoCAD Electrical commands and drafting utilities are streamlined and intuitive. Dialog
boxes are designed to help you—not get in the way. Color is abundant both in the icon
menus and in the resulting drawings. The drawings are attractive and easy to read because
component annotation is applied to user-defined layers and colors, on the fly, at insertion

Figure 10. Floating toolbar. 15
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Conforms to Your Standards

You select horizontal or vertical ladders—any quantities, lengths, widths, or rung spacing.
You select ladder line reference numbering, X-zone, or X-Y grid referencing system. You
choose whether automatic wire numbering is sequential or reference-based, and you define
the default wire number format. The
same goes for automatic component
AutoCAD Electrical requires no
predefined layer names. Layer
names conform to your standards
and are easy to set up in a drawing
configuration dialog box. AutoCAD
Electrical automatically adapts, on
the fly, to whatever layer naming
convention you set up. You can
even set up different naming and
color conventions for different
clients—just create client-specific
prototype drawings and AutoCAD
Electrical adapts automatically to
that client’s standards.
No matter what layer is current, Figure 11. Set up your layer naming convention
AutoCAD Electrical always puts new
and AutoCAD Electrical automatically adapts to it on
wires on a wire layer and wire the fly.
number tags on the defined wire
number layer. The parts and pieces
of inserted electrical components always go to your defined layers (for example, tag
attributes go to one layer, description attributes to another, switch position attributes to
another, cross-reference attributes to another).
No Predefined Drawing Formats
Your existing drawing border and title block can be used as is, without modification. You can
insert ladders in any combination, in random locations, with varying rung spacing and
lengths. You can insert a new ladder onto an existing drawing at any time and at any
location (as long as there is no overlap with other ladders). A ladder can be added, moved,
stretched, or compressed without compromising the drawing’s integrity. AutoCAD Electrical
can tie in to your existing title block’s text or attributes for projectwide automatic updates.
No Proprietary Database
Standard AutoCAD blocks and attributes are used throughout the application. Your DWG
files themselves form AutoCAD Electrical’s multidrawing project data set for interdrawing
cross-referencing, wire numbering, and report generation. You do not need to maintain a
proprietary, underlying database.
For performance reasons, AutoCAD Electrical creates a Microsoft Access database, but this
data is derived wholly from the AutoCAD DWG files and regenerates automatically if the file
is deleted. Because of this openness and flexibility, you can use AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT
software to make minor edits to AutoCAD Electrical drawings. This generally means that a
client, customer, or vendor can view and edit your AutoCAD Electrical drawings with
standard AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT and send the drawings back to you with no loss of 16
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

drawing intelligence (for example, cross-reference, wire tagging, BOM, and report extraction
still function correctly).
Open Architecture
You can modify AutoCAD Electrical software’s default symbol library to fit your design
needs. You can also make your own symbol library compatible with AutoCAD Electrical by
using the convenient symbol building utility provided. Easily expand and customize the icon
menu system. Add new modules and manufacturers to AutoCAD Electrical’s automatic PLC
I/O drafting utility. Expand and modify catalog data files—add your own internal stock
numbers and watch AutoCAD Electrical format them into BOM reports.
Built on AutoCAD 2004
AutoCAD Electrical is based on core AutoCAD functionality. All AutoCAD commands are
available in AutoCAD Electrical.
Structure of an Intelligent AutoCAD Electrical Drawing
AutoCAD Electrical drawings are native DWG drawings. The following section illustrates
some of the methods the software uses to turn normal DWG drawings into designs for
intelligent electrical controls.
Standard Blocks and Attributes
Standard AutoCAD blocks and attributes are used throughout the product. AutoCAD
Electrical adds some extended entity data in certain operations (wire numbering, linking
components with dashed lines, tying a location mark to a component, tying ends of a wire
together that break across another wire).
Drawing Settings
One special block with invisible
attributes must be present on your
drawing for AutoCAD Electrical
commands to work. This block,
WD_M.dwg, is inserted
automatically when an AutoCAD
Electrical command detects that
this block is not present on the
current drawing (you are prompted
to confirm block insertion). This
WD_M block carries about 55
attributes with various AutoCAD
Electrical settings for the drawing. Figure 12. Adding an invisible block makes existing
drawings compatible with AutoCAD Electrical software. 17
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Drawing Configuration
AutoCAD Electrical’s configuration dialog box gives you an easy way to adjust the settings
for your drawing’s invisible WD_M block. These include ladder defaults, PLC module
defaults, reference mode, and component and wire number formats.

Figure 13. Quickly adjust settings from easy-to-use configuration dialog box.

A wire is a line entity that is on a wire layer. You create the
wire layer or layers and then tell AutoCAD Electrical the
names of these layers that are to be reserved for wires. You
can specify one layer or many layers for wiring. You can give
them names that describe their wire color and gauge values
(for example, RED_16_THW). You can use wild cards (RED*,
WHT*, YEL*, and so forth) to tell AutoCAD Electrical what
layers are valid. This means any line entities that AutoCAD
Electrical finds on layers with names such as RED_14_THHN,
RED, and WHT_12_THHN are treated as wire entities.

Figure 14. Use this dialog

box to edit wire layer
assignments. 18
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 15. Sample circuit that has wires assigned to specific color
and gauge layers.

Figure 16. Portion of wire from/to report. 19
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

How Wires Connect

Two wire lines connect when the end of one falls within a trap distance of the end of another
or the end falls anywhere along the other’s length (that is, Tee intersection). This trap
distance is 0.025 inches and 25.4 times larger in a full-size metric environment.
Smart Ladders
For reference-based numbering, ladder intelligence is carried by a single block on each
ladder. This block has one visible attribute—the ladder’s first line reference number. This
Master Line Reference (MLR) block also carries invisible attributes that include ladder rung
spacing and the ladder’s line reference increment value. All reference numbers after the first
one are text entities.

Figure 17. Ladder intelligence is carried by the first line reference number—the Master
Line Reference block.

Reading Across Multiple Drawings

When AutoCAD Electrical needs to access data on other drawings in your drawing set, it
reads across the binary DWG files using a special high-speed AutoCAD ARX program. This is
why AutoCAD Electrical needs no underlying, proprietary database—the AutoCAD DWG files
themselves are scanned in real time for the information that AutoCAD Electrical needs for
sequential component tagging, wire numbering, cross-referencing, BOM generation, and
wire connection reports.
AutoCAD Electrical creates and uses a runtime database file in Microsoft Access format to
speed up certain projectwide operations. AutoCAD Electrical automatically maintains this file 20
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

and regenerates it from the drawing set if it gets lost or erased. This database file includes a
wealth of information that is open to your own external applications.
Automatic Link to Your Title Block
AutoCAD Electrical has provisions to tie in to your existing title block if it uses attributes (or
can be retrofitted with attributes). This allows for drawing and projectwide title block
updates. Several methods are available to make this happen: one method maps AutoCAD
Electrical information to your existing attribute names, thus allowing your existing title block
to be used as is. AutoCAD Electrical can even link to title blocks on a per-client basis,
automatically adapting to whatever title block it encounters.
Structure of an AutoCAD Electrical Multidrawing Project
The typical controls design consists of several drawings. AutoCAD Electrical designs function
in a project format. The following section describes how a project is defined.
Simple ASCII Text File
An AutoCAD Electrical project is organized by a simple ASCII text file. In this file is a list of
the AutoCAD drawing file names that are to be processed together as the multidrawing set.
Each drawing is listed with its complete path. Drawings can have paths from different
locations. Some additional projectwide settings are also included in this ASCII file.

Figure 18. Multidrawing projects are created and managed from

this easy-to-use dialog box.
Standard AutoCAD, No Proprietary Database
Since it is nothing more than a simple ASCII file that defines a multidrawing AutoCAD
Electrical project, there is no underlying project database to maintain. You can edit, view,
and plot AutoCAD Electrical drawings with AutoCAD commands. Backup and archival is 21
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

simple. If an AutoCAD Electrical project list file is accidentally erased, you can create a new
drawing list manually.
Note: AutoCAD Electrical now creates a runtime database in Microsoft Access format to
speed up certain projectwide operations on large drawing sets. This database file is open
and nonproprietary, and automatically regenerates if necessary.
Freedom to Design
You can call up any AutoCAD drawing at any time, whether you have selected a project or
not. Since AutoCAD Electrical does not take over your system, you are not locked out of
doing whatever you want at any time.
Ladders and Line Reference Numbers
Ladder Insertion
You can insert vertical or horizontal ladders in any combination, at random locations, with
varying rung spacing and lengths. Nothing needs to be preset. You can insert a new ladder
onto an existing drawing at any time and at any location (as long as it does not overlap with
other ladders). You can move, stretch, or compress a ladder without compromising the
drawing’s integrity. You can insert multiple ladder fragments into a single vertical column as
long as the left bus of all ladders is collinear.

Figure 19. This dialog box helps you insert a new

ladder into any drawing at any time. 22
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Preinserted Ladders
You can set up your own border/format drawing with preinserted ladders, which can then be
treated as a prototype drawing or copied to a new name as you begin a new drawing. The
ladder line reference numbers can be automatically resequenced, at any time, using a
Revise Ladder Format dialog box.

Figure 20. Resequence existing ladder line reference

numbers at any time.

The Revise Ladder Format dialog box also enables you to assign a unique wire number
format to a single ladder on your drawing. For example, a ladder of low-voltage control
wiring might require special markings. When AutoCAD Electrical processes the drawing for
wire numbers, each wire network found on this marked ladder column is processed per its
special wire tag. Wiring in the other ladders is processed using the drawing’s normal wire
tag format.
Line Reference Numbers
Line reference numbers are not integers but are treated as character strings. As a result,
there is no 65000 barrier (2 to the 16th power) found in some products. Line reference
numbers can begin or end in an alpha character or have embedded alpha characters and
punctuation. AutoCAD Electrical increments the text string as it inserts line reference
numbers along the ladder’s column. 23
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

X-Y Grid Referencing

AutoCAD Electrical supports X-Y grid reference
numbering for component tags, wire numbers, or
cross-referencing annotation.
X-Zone Referencing
X-zone referencing, common in IEC-style tagging
and referencing, is another option you have with
AutoCAD Electrical. A simple selection in the
configuration dialog box enables this mode and
guides you in setting up your zone spacing and
numbering values.
Point to Point Wiring Diagrams
You don’t need to use a ladder to get the full
benefit from AutoCAD Electrical. Just insert your
components and wire point to point after either
Figure 21. X-Y grid reference tagging
setting up X-Y or X-zone referencing, or inserting
a set of reference numbers (without a companion
ladder) along the left edge of your drawing.
Making Existing Drawings Compatible with AutoCAD Electrical
You can add intelligence to an existing AutoCAD drawing by manually inserting AutoCAD
Electrical’s special ladder line reference block at the correct location on each of the
drawing’s ladders, using a
ladder setup dialog box.
After you have set up an
existing drawing in this
manner, new wiring and
components respond to
AutoCAD Electrical features.
Your existing drawings, even
those converted to AutoCAD
from other products or other
CAD systems, can be quickly
set up to take advantage of
some of AutoCAD Electrical’s
automated drafting features.

Figure 22. Use this dialog box to add intelligence to existing

drawings created in programs other than AutoCAD Electrical.
Compatible Library Many AutoCAD Electrical features can then be used on
Symbols existing drawings.
AutoCAD Electrical symbols 24
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

are standard AutoCAD blocks with attributes. The following section describes the
characteristics that make them intelligent electrical symbols.
Standard Blocks and Attributes
Standard AutoCAD blocks and attributes are used for AutoCAD Electrical–compatible library
symbols. No XDATA is used at the symbol library level.
Wire Connection Points
Component wire connection points are marked by tiny, invisible attributes with the name
X?TERM*—the question mark is a code that identifies which direction a wire normally
connects from. The asterisk (*) is a sequential number code that matches the wire
connection point attribute with a
corresponding, visible, terminal number
ATTDEF called TERM*.
For example, a push button symbol might
have these attribute pairs:
for the left and right connection points,
respectively. This technique essentially allows
an unlimited number of terminals and terminal
numbers to be present on a library symbol.
When you insert the symbol into your circuit,
AutoCAD Electrical can correctly match wire
number connections with terminal numbers
and correctly report them in various terminal Figure 23. AutoCAD Electrical symbol
and wire connection reports. A line wire HPB11.DWG—symbol for N.O. standard
connects to a component when the end of the push button. Note wire connection and
wire falls within a trap distance of a terminal number attribute pairs.
component’s X?TERM* attribute.
Symbol Insertion
Library symbols are constructed on layer 0 with color BYLAYER. At insertion time AutoCAD
Electrical moves various parts of the inserted symbol to your configured layers and colors.
There are about a dozen layer categories that you set up to match your layer naming
Horizontal and Vertical Symbols
Horizontal symbols are not rotated for insertion into vertical wires. There is a separate
vertical library symbol for each horizontal symbol. Horizontal symbols begin with H and
vertical with V. AutoCAD Electrical keys off this naming convention to automatically insert
the correct version of a selected symbol based on the orientation of the underlying wire
segment. This produces a more attractive output.
Symbol Width and Automatic Wire Break
Symbols can be any width. AutoCAD Electrical automatically determines symbol width on
the fly at insertion time and correctly breaks any underlying wires. It does this by reading
the locations of the symbol’s X?TERM* attributes, matching them with nearby wires (within
the trap distance), and breaking, trimming, or extending the underlying wires as required.
The underlying wire need not be continuous. AutoCAD Electrical correctly inserts a symbol 25
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

into a gap in a wire (if the ends of the gap fall within the trap distance of the connection
points) or at the end of a wire stub.
Modifying Symbols
You can modify the appearance of the default AutoCAD Electrical symbol libraries to
conform to your standards. You can adjust the library symbols’ attribute definition text sizes
and locations. You can even do this after you have created your drawings. AutoCAD
Electrical has easy-to-use tools to adjust attribute position, width, and individual or global
Making Existing Symbol Library Compatible with AutoCAD Electrical
You can make your existing symbol library compatible with AutoCAD Electrical by adding or
renaming attributes to those expected by AutoCAD Electrical. A symbol building utility
makes this a relatively simple task. AutoCAD Electrical also requires that your symbol
names follow its naming convention. It is easy to add your new symbols to AutoCAD
Electrical’s colorful, streamlined icon menu system. You don’t have to remember symbol
names—just pick them from the easy-to-use menu system or program them into your
existing tablet or custom menus.
Creating Fully Compatible, Custom Symbols on the Fly
AutoCAD Electrical’s symbol building utility enables you to create a fully compatible, custom
component in place on your drawing. For example, you might need a symbol for a special
power supply, drive, or controller. Draw the shape, and then use the utility to insert the
wire connection points, pick placement for key text, and then instantly turn it into an
intelligent AutoCAD Electrical symbol. When you position it, it breaks and reconnects to
underlying wiring. Assign a catalog number to it, just like a regular AutoCAD Electrical
component. BOM, component, and wire connection reports include these custom-built
devices as well as the regular AutoCAD Electrical components.
Adjusting Symbol Scale
You can automatically scale symbols up or down at
insertion time by presetting an overall AutoCAD Electrical
drawing scale factor. This affects the size of newly inserted
components, wire number size and offset from wire, wire
gaps, and wire leaders. Make this change in the dialog box
shown here, accessible from the main configuration dialog

Figure 24. Change all scaling

factors from this dialog box.
Here, everything goes in 25
percent bigger than the default
size. 26
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Working in a Metric Environment

If you are working in a metric environment, then you can
instruct AutoCAD Electrical to use a scale factor of 25.4.
This allows use of AutoCAD Electrical’s default inch unit
symbol library in a metric environment. Alternatively, if
you create your own full-size metric symbol library, select
mm Full Size in this dialog box. This directs AutoCAD
Electrical to use a 1.0 scale factor, but the wire connection
trap distance is scaled up to millimeter units.
Note: A full-size metric IEC-style library and icon menu
are also available.

Figure 25. Set up AutoCAD

Electrical to work in a metric
environment using inch
symbols scaled up to
millimeter units. 27
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Component Insertion and Automatic Tagging

The following section covers
inserting components and the tags
that get placed on them
Component Selection
There are several ways to choose a
component to insert:
• Select the icon from the icon
• Use quick pick—retains last six
components inserted. This
option is along the right column
of the opening page of the icon
• Type in the component’s file
name in the bottom-left corner
of the menu. Figure 26. Select components from the icon menu or
• Browse to the library symbol from a quick pick list that retains the last six
DWG file name. components inserted.
• Use quick pick Just Like
command—enables you to use
the drawing itself as an icon menu.

AutoCAD Snap mode does not need to be active during component insertion. AutoCAD
Electrical’s symbol insertion utility automatically moves an inserted symbol in line with the
underlying wire if the symbol is inserted slightly above or below the wire (but within trap

Automatic Component Tagging

Automatic component tags can be sequential or reference
based. You make your selection on the Component Tagging
area of the main configuration dialog box. The default
component tagging format is set up in the edit box. It is a
text string with replaceable parameters. You arrange the tag
format to meet your conventions. Valid parameters are %F
for family code (for example, PB, CR, SS), %S for assigned
sheet number, %D for user-defined drawing name, and %N
for the sequential or line reference number.
Figure 27. Set component
Examples: tagging mode and format in
%F%N Yields tags like “PB100” this area of the drawing
%N-%F” Yields tags like “100-PB” configuration dialog box.
%F-%S%N Yields tags like “PB-4100” where “4” is the
drawing’s assigned sheet number text string 28
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

IEC-Style Tagging Support

AutoCAD Electrical includes component tag
replaceable parameters for IEC-style project,
installation, and location codes. These are given
by parameters %P, %I, and %L. You set up
values for these in the drawing’s configuration
dialog box, and they are applied to the entire

Figure 28. IEC style installation and

location codes can be easily configured.

Reference-Based Component Tags

Reference-based tags
automatically get a suffix attached
to ensure unique tag names, to
avoid multiple push buttons on the
same line reference with the same
tag name, for example. You choose
one of the default suffix lists from
this configuration dialog box or
create your own custom list to
match your company’s tagging

Figure 29. Select a default suffix list for reference-based

component tags or insert your own suffix list in the row of
edit boxes.

Sequential Component Tags

For sequential component tags, each drawing is assigned a beginning number for all parent
components on that drawing. You can assign either a range of numbers per drawing or the 29
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

same beginning number for every drawing in your project (for example, 1). In this case, as
you insert a new component, AutoCAD Electrical automatically scans the complete drawing
set to find the next available number in the sequence.

Tagged from External File

You can reference an external
file to quickly annotate a new or
existing component or contact
on your drawing. AutoCAD
Electrical can reference a motor
list text file or field device list
exported from a spreadsheet or
P&ID drawing.
The example shown here is a
comma-delimited export from a
P&ID application. Some of the
components on the P&ID also
need to show up on your
electrical drawings. Simply
instruct AutoCAD Electrical to
display the file, select the item
from the list, and guide
AutoCAD Electrical as it
annotates your component. A Figure 30. Quickly annotate your component from a list
predefined, fixed file format is extracted from a spreadsheet or drawing such as a P&ID
not required. drawing (shown here).

Figure 32. Solenoid valve tag,

Figure 31. Pick values from selected line, and location code, and description pulled
position. from external file. No retyping
required. 30
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Child Contact Tagging

In addition to manual entry, there are two automated ways to annotate a relay contact (or
any child contact):
• Parent/sibling—just select the
parent coil or sibling contact (if it is
visible onscreen). The contact is
annotated, and the parent coil’s
cross-reference is updated in real

• Dialog box list—instruct AutoCAD

Electrical to quickly extract and
present a list of all parent coils
used in the project—complete with
tag name, sheet number, and full
description text. Simply pick from
the list. The contact is then fully
annotated. Figure 33. Quickly and accurately annotate a
contact by simply selecting it from a real-time
coil/description list.

Coil and Contact Cross-Referencing

You can run cross-referencing on a single drawing or for all drawings projectwide in batch
mode. With either mode, the software automatically generates an exception report and a
full cross-reference report. With the exception report, you can “surf” automatically from
reference to reference, checking each coil or contact in context, and edit each as necessary.

Figure 34. Cross-reference exception report. This report found some coils
with no contacts. 31
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Contact Count Check

Select any component and get a real-time
check on the number of contacts assigned
to a given relay (or any parent
component). AutoCAD Electrical quickly
scans the entire project’s set of DWG files.
This tool also enables you to confirm that
the parent’s BOM catalog selection is
correct for the required number of contact
Automatic Check
Alternatively, you can preset the
maximum number of N.O. and N.C.
contacts allowed on a per-coil basis.
AutoCAD Electrical then flags you when Figure 35. Pick any parent component or
you try to insert a contact that exceeds contact and get a complete rundown on
the coil’s preset limit. contact tally, parent BOM catalog
assignment, and reference locations. Make
catalog changes on the fly when necessary.

AutoCAD Electrical “Surfer”

Select any component in Surf mode and AutoCAD Electrical
presents a list of all related references across all drawings of
your project. Pick from this list and AutoCAD Electrical quickly
zooms in on that component reference, showing it in context in
the schematic drawing. Quickly surf from reference to
reference, even across multiple drawings. Stop and make quick
edits to any component as you move through the list.
You can also use the AutoCAD Electrical surfer feature to find
and go to a specific component or wire number, even if it is
hidden in some obscure corner of your drawing set. Say that
you want to find where motor M45 appears in your drawing set.
Just type M45 at the prompt. AutoCAD Electrical returns a surf Figure 36. List for all
list of all M45 references. One click on the surf list and you’re CR406 references. Select
there, zoomed in on M45 and ready to go. Or say you want to from the list to go to the
find where wire number I:10012 appears on the schematics. device even if it is on
Just type in the number and, if it exists, in moments you will another drawing.
see it in context.
Component Catalog Lookup and Assignment
One of the most valuable benefits of using AutoCAD Electrical is the ability to assign catalog
information to components in the design. This section discusses the process of assigning
catalog numbers to components and the added benefits of doing so.
Catalog Files in MDB Format
Component catalog data is provided in standard Microsoft Access format (MDB). Each
catalog item is represented by record fields giving catalog number, manufacturer, 32
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

descriptions, ratings, and optional subassembly BOM links. The catalog database is not a
single lookup table but is broken down in many smaller tables. A catalog database table is
available for each parent or stand-alone component type. The component symbol’s block
name defines the name of the catalog file that AutoCAD Electrical references to service it.
For example, a standard N.O. push button symbol, HPB11 or VPB11 (horizontal or vertical),
triggers AutoCAD Electrical to reference catalog table PB11 in the database file. For a
mushroom head PB, N.O. (symbol HPB11M or VPB11M), AutoCAD Electrical accesses catalog
table PB11M. Optionally, you can use a familywide catalog table (for example, OL, for
AutoCAD Electrical comes with several dozen sample catalog lookup tables for push buttons,
selector switches, pilot lights, relays, and PLC I/O modules. Each table includes part
numbers, descriptions, and ratings for many dozens or hundreds of components from major
manufacturers. You can easily expand and modify these tables or create new ones as
needed in AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD, or Microsoft Access software applications.
Note: Microsoft Access is not required to create or edit AutoCAD Electrical’s catalog lookup
tables—see following sections for details.
Making Catalog Assignments
You can make catalog assignments at component insertion time or at any time later with
the Edit Component, Copy BOM, or Quick Check command. In each case, select Catalog
Lookup in the dialog box. AutoCAD Electrical opens the appropriate catalog table (based on
your component’s block name). Pick from three pull-down selections narrowing search
criteria (for example, Allen-Bradley, Master 600V relay, 120 AC Coil). AutoCAD Electrical
instantly displays all catalog numbers that meet your search criteria. Pick the one you want
and the information is copied to your component. Only the vendor and catalog number are
actually saved on the block (as invisible data on MFG, CAT, and optional ASSYCODE
attributes). Later, for BOM reports, the catalog tables are again accessed to retrieve the full
description of each component and output to the report. 33
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 37. Access online catalog data at any time to quickly search and
find the manufacturer and catalog number you want. Your selection is
saved on the component for later extraction into a BOM.

Quick BOM Checks

You can do a quick catalog BOM data check at any time on a selected component or during
insertion to confirm that you have found the exact catalog item you wanted. The display
shows you what the item looks like in a BOM report.

Figure 38. One quick pick brings up the full catalog description of your selected
drawing component. This quick BOM check feature is built in to several of
AutoCAD Electrical’s insertion, editing, and selection tools. 34
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Consistent Use of Standard Components

AutoCAD Electrical helps you stay consistent in component selection across your
multidrawing project. For example, when you insert a standard red pilot light, you can have
AutoCAD Electrical quickly check the entire project to see how many standard red pilot
lights you, or others working on the project, have inserted into the drawing set so far. Once
it scans your drawing set, AutoCAD Electrical then presents a dialog box showing the
quantities, manufacturer, and catalog numbers of all red pilot lights found in your project.
Pick from this list. Click the Quick BOM Chk button, if necessary, to confirm your choice and
then click OK to make your newly inserted pilot light catalog number match the dialog box

Figure 39. Here are all standard red pilot lights used on all drawings in the
project. Just select from this list to assign the same manufacturer and
catalog numbers to your new pilot light. Click Quick BOM Chk for full catalog
information on your selection.
Catalog Record Structure
The catalog record structure is used for all AutoCAD Electrical catalog lookup database
records. Three user fields are provided (for example, internal store room code, cost, special
instructions). If present, user field values are formatted right into the BOM reports.

field name width description

CAT 60 catalog number
MFG 24 1st query field—manufacturer code
DESC 60 generic description
TYPE 60 2nd query field (field name may vary)
RATING 60 3rd query field (field name may vary)
MISC 60 1st misc field (field name may vary)
MISC2 60 2nd misc field (field name may vary)
ASSYCODE 60 code to flag that this item has subassembly items
ASSYLIST 24 code to flag this is a subassembly item of a main item
ASSYQTY 8 subassembly quantity (blank = qty of “1”)
USER1 24 field #1 for user’s use
USER2 24 field #2 for user’s use
USER3 24 field #3 for user’s use
TEXTVALS 80 predefine attribute values
WEBLINK 255 associate .pdf file or web URL to component 35
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Creating and Editing Catalog Files

You can view and edit catalog lookup files in AutoCAD Electrical. You can add new catalog
entries to an existing catalog file or a new MDB catalog table created without ever leaving
AutoCAD Electrical. You can also edit these catalog tables using Microsoft Access.
BOM Reports on Demand

Figure 41. You can extract BOM reports such as this one at
any time.

Figure 40. Quickly edit or expand catalog data files using Microsoft Access.
Here is a small portion of the database table for standard red pilot lights.

BOM reports are available at any time on a per-drawing or per-project basis. You can create
a BOM report for schematics only, panel items only, or a combined schematic and panel
BOM. You can extract a BOM report based on a single component location code (for
example, all CAB3 items) or extract a BOM for all items in the project, no matter where they
are. To be extractable into a BOM report, a component must have a catalog number. For
location-specific BOMs, components must be marked with a location code attribute value.
AutoCAD Electrical editing tools make this easy to set up. BOM reports can also include a
“where used” tag as a column option in the BOM display/output. For example, if the BOM
reports five AB green pilot lights with a catalog number of 800H-PR16G, the five pilot light
tag ID names can be listed in the report. 36
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Inserting BOM as Table

You can insert any AutoCAD Electrical BOM, wire, terminal, PLC, or component report into
your AutoCAD drawing in tabular form. Formatting options enable you to dynamically
stretch or compress the table to fit in a given space. Each cell is inserted as a stand-alone
text entity so you can make edits without disrupting the alignment of other cells in the row.

Figure 42. Insert BOM or other reports right onto your drawing in table form. 37
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

BOM Report Export to Spreadsheet

You can save AutoCAD Electrical’s BOM output directly to a Microsoft Excel or Access file as
well as to an ASCII text file. The opportunities for doing useful things with the data in this
format are almost unlimited.

Figure 43. An AutoCAD Electrical BOM report imported into an Excel spreadsheet.
Catalog Database User Fields
Each catalog record in every component database table has three blank user fields that you
can use in any way you see fit. Information entered into these user fields is extracted into
the BOM report along with the record’s other fields. For example, one field might be
assigned to carry in-house storeroom stock numbers. This means the BOM shows both the
manufacturer’s part number and description and the storeroom code. 38
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 44. Add a new catalog item to the Standard Red Pilot Light
catalog database table, right in AutoCAD Electrical. Assign your own
internal part number to the item in one of the user fields.

Figure 45. Example of how an internal part number, entered into a

user field in the catalog data table, appears in the extracted BOM
report for this project or any project that uses a BOG-123R pilot
light. 39
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Subassembly or Indented BOM

AutoCAD Electrical supports subassembly or indented bill of materials. For example, a
Siemens relay with six N.O. and two N.C. contacts requires two separate catalog numbers.
You can set up subassembly relationships in the catalog files using three fields set aside for
this purpose (ASSYCODE, ASSYLIST, ASSYQTY). Then, when you pick the main item (for
example, Siemens relay with 6NO, 2NC), AutoCAD Electrical automatically finds and
extracts the multiple catalog items that make up the relay assembly.

Figure 46. AutoCAD Electrical supports automatic subassembly or

indented BOM extraction and reporting. 40
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Component List Report

In addition to a tallied BOM report, AutoCAD Electrical gives you the option to extract
reports listing every individual component along with its catalog assignment and other
attribute values. You can even instruct AutoCAD Electrical to search the online catalog file
for a catalog number match and then format additional information pulled from this online
catalog database. Any user information you previously tied to the catalog number also
appears, formatted neatly into your report output. You can use component reports for
schematic items or for panel layout items (including nonschematic items like enclosures,
hardware, wire duct, and so forth).

Figure 47. Extract projectwide component reports on demand. Save as

text file, insert on drawing, or export to spreadsheet or database
program. 41
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

An easy-to-use dialog box enables you to add or remove reported data columns or
rearrange them to give you the report format you want. Just like the BOM report, you can
save this component list report to a Microsoft Excel, Access, or ASCII file, or insert it in
tabular form right onto an AutoCAD Electrical drawing.

Figure 48. Choose fields and field order for reports.

Retagging Component and Reusing Drawings in New Projects

This section discusses reusing existing project sets and some of the different tools available
to resequence component tags to fit the new project requirements.
Reusing an Existing Drawing
Reusing a drawing copied from a previous project is easy. For a single drawing, use the
CONFIG dialog box to set component tagging and wire numbering modes and formats as
required by the new project. Then use the Revise Ladder utility to resequence ladder line
reference numbers. For multiple drawings, or an entire project set, use the Project
Resequence command to revise ladders, retag components, and even update the cross-
references. If necessary, you can rerun the Wire Numbering command to resequence wire
numbers. You can also update component tags, descriptions, and catalog numbers as
described in the following section.
Retagging Components
You can retag components at any time—just one, all components in a window, the entire
drawing, or the entire project drawing set. This makes reusing an old drawing or changing
tag formats midway through the design easy to do. During retag, the command removes
component tags from all selected stand-alone and parent components. It then retags them
based on current line reference numbers or next available sequential number. All child
contacts in the selection set are updated per the new tag name on the parents. Child
contacts with no parent in the retag selection set are not updated. You even have the option
to update child contacts (of retagged parents) not included in the selection set, even if they
are on another drawing in the project set. 42
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Global Find/Replace/Edit
This utility enables you to
quickly find and substitute
new values for component
tags, descriptions, and
catalog numbers. This
works on one drawing or
across the entire AutoCAD
Electrical project. Set up
simple or complex search
criteria in a dialog box. For
example, say you have
three identical transfer
lines, and the associated
drawing sets are
differentiated by little more
than different keywords in
descriptions, location
names, and tag names. You
can create one set of
drawings, make two copies,
and then use AutoCAD
Electrical’s Figure 49. Set up simple or complex search and replace criteria in
Find/Replace/Edit utility to this dialog box.
make global substitutions
across each drawing set.
You can also switch to Surf
mode, which lets you first view each wired component and then edit it in context.

You can set up fairly complex search criteria. The example shown in the following dialog box
causes AutoCAD Electrical to search the
entire project for all relay components
(tag contains substring CR) that are in
MAIN CAB. For each match, if AutoCAD
Electrical finds the word RAM in the
relay’s first line of description, then it
substitutes the word PLUNGER.

For each match, AutoCAD Electrical

displays this dialog box and gives you the
opportunity to accept, skip, or manually
type in additional changes.

Figure 50. A match on projectwide Find and

Replace query. 43
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Using a Spreadsheet for Projectwide Edits and Retag

Another way to update or retag components is through a
spreadsheet edit utility. AutoCAD Electrical lets you take a
snapshot of your multidrawing project and then export it to
your favorite spreadsheet program.
Make your edits on the spreadsheet, and then let AutoCAD
Electrical update the components on each drawing based on
your spreadsheet edits. In the spreadsheet you can assign
or change component tags, descriptions, location codes,
vendor and catalog number assignments, component
ratings, switch position names, and much more. For each
drawing, instruct AutoCAD Electrical to reference this
common spreadsheet output file and update component
annotation accordingly. You can even assign a different
component block name in the spreadsheet and AutoCAD
Electrical automatically swaps it out and inserts the new
one. All spreadsheet updates are automatically noted in a
log file.

Figure 51. Save your

This spreadsheet edit and drawing update concept has multidrawing component data
some useful possibilities. For example, standard circuits directly to a Microsoft Excel
could be set up in the form of a project template. Then, spreadsheet for editing.
based on
snapshot of the
drawing set is
location codes,
device ratings,
and such are
annotated with
edits. Then
each drawing in
the template
set is called up
in AutoCAD.
Electrical is Figure 52. Use spreadsheet editing tools to modify extracted component text
instructed to from your drawing set. Then instruct AutoCAD Electrical to update the
drawings to match. 44
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

reference the common spreadsheet output file to update the drawing’s component
annotation and settings as required.
The spreadsheet edit concept can also be applied to stand-alone terminal symbols,
projectwide, and to wire numbers and wire color/gauge layer assignments.
Copy Circuit
AutoCAD Electrical
includes a Copy Circuit
utility. It works just like
the AutoCAD Copy
command—you select
the circuit you want to
duplicate and then copy
it with a from/to set of
location selections.
automatically retag
based on the new line
reference location or
next available sequential
number. Child contacts
Figure 53. Use Copy Circuit utility to duplicate portions of your
that have their parents
circuit. Copied components automatically retag and cross-
included in the copied
circuit retag and cross-
reference automatically. Those that do not have parents included in the copied circuit revert
to their generic state (for example, orphan contact CR101 reverts to CR).

Using Standard AutoCAD

Since AutoCAD Electrical does not depend on an underlying project database, you are free
to use the standard AutoCAD Copy command, in most cases, to copy components or
untagged wires. Run AutoCAD Electrical’s Retag command to automatically update your
newly copied components and the Wire Numbering command to update copied wiring.

Save Circuit to Menu

AutoCAD Electrical also has a save circuit feature. Select a standard circuit you plan to reuse
on a regular basis. AutoCAD Electrical saves this circuit to disk, just like a standard AutoCAD
WBLOCK operation. It also creates an icon menu representation of the circuit and inserts it,
automatically, into AutoCAD Electrical’s icon menu system. Later, when you need to reuse
that circuit, you just select its icon from the menu and insert it into your new drawing.
Components in the inserted circuit automatically retag based on the current line reference
or starting at the next available sequential tag numbers.
A good application of this feature might be to build and save several commonly used three-
phase motor starter circuits: full-voltage reversing, nonreversing, with and without safety
disconnect at the motor, with and without power factor correction capacitor. Then,
whenever you need one of these standard circuits, you can quickly insert it from the
automatically generated icon menu. The circuit goes in and automatically retags based on 45
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

its inserted location or next available sequential tag numbers (if sequential tagging is
Inserting Wblocked Circuits
This is another way to insert complete circuits or partial subcircuits into your drawings on an
as-needed basis. First, build up a Wblock library of these standard circuits, for example,
different configurations of motor control. Draw each, one at a time, and then use the
SaveAs or Wblock command to save it to your hard disk. Then, when you need a special,
predrawn circuit, choose AutoCAD Electrical’s Insert Circ command, and find the target
circuit using the dialog box shown here and insert it into your drawing.

Figure 54. Use this dialog box to find and insert a predrawn
circuit into the current drawing.

In this example, the components of the motor circuit automatically retag based on the
drawing’s selected tagging mode. Add wiring and components, if necessary, to complete the
circuit. Run the Wire Numbering command to finish the job. 46
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 55. Wblocked three-phase motor circuit inserted into the current
drawing. Add components and wiring as required.

Automatic Wire Numbering

This section discusses how AutoCAD Electrical numbers the wires in your designs
automatically. It also covers the different options for configuring the wire numbering format.
Wire Number Block and Attribute
A wire number is a block consisting of one visible attribute. AutoCAD Electrical places the
block’s origin on a wire segment of the wire network, generally midway between the
endpoints of the network’s upper-left (or only) segment. Wire numbers are not numbers but
text strings (with no 65000 character limit). A
wire number can begin or end with an alpha
character or have embedded characters or
Automatic Wire Number Leaders
If AutoCAD Electrical determines that a new wire
number will bump into something, it
automatically searches laterally along the wire
for a clear spot to position the wire number
attribute. If no clear area is found, AutoCAD Figure 56. Wire numbers automatically
Electrical then searches up or down, away from pop up (or down) on wire leaders when
the wire, for a clear spot and then automatically they bump into existing text or
draws a leader back to the wire. 47
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Wire Numbering Mode

Wire numbers can be sequential or reference-based. You
make this selection in the Wire Numbering area of the
main configuration dialog box. You also use this section of
the dialog box to set the default format for the drawing’s
wire tag. A format of %N means that each wire number is
just the calculated sequential or reference-based number.
A W%N puts the letter W in front of every wire number. A
%S-%N puts the drawing’s sheet number and a dash in
front of every wire number.

Figure 57. Wire numbering


Reference-Based Wire Numbers

AutoCAD Electrical automatically attaches a suffix to reference-based wire number tags to
ensure unique tag names and to avoid multiple wire networks with the same wire number
beginning on the same line reference. You choose one of the default suffix lists or create
your own custom list to match your company’s tagging convention.

Figure 58. Select a default suffix list for reference-based wire

numbering or insert your own suffix list in the row of edit
boxes. 48
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Sequential Wire Numbers

With sequential wire numbering, each drawing is assigned a beginning sequential wire
number. You can either assign a range of numbers per drawing or assign the same
beginning sequential number for every drawing in your project (for example, 1). In this
case, as you insert a new component that triggers a new wire number (or you run the
AutoCAD Electrical wire numbering utility), AutoCAD Electrical automatically scans the
complete drawing set to find the next available sequential wire number and confirms that
each new number is unique as it is inserted.
Scope of Wire Numbering and Renumbering
Automatic wire numbering can be run on a single wire, a windowed portion of a drawing,
the whole drawing, or the entire drawing set. You can instruct the software to process only
new wire networks, leaving existing wire numbers alone. It verifies the uniqueness of each
new wire number at insertion time (based on a check of the active drawing only for
reference-based wire numbers, but the whole project for sequential-based wire numbering).
Whenever you run the Wire Number command, AutoCAD Electrical verifies the integrity of
the selected wire networks and any previously inserted wire number blocks. If it finds
anything amiss, AutoCAD Electrical automatically performs a cleanup. This means that if you
send your drawings to a client who uses standard AutoCAD to move things around, AutoCAD
Electrical can generally repair the intelligent wire numbers once the drawings come back to
Extra Wire Number Copies
You can insert extra wire number copies at any location on a wire network. These numbers
automatically update with the network’s main wire number. A wire network has one main
wire number block or attribute but can have many of these extra wire number copies. These
copies automatically go on their own layer (set up in the Layers dialog box). Generally, this
layer is assigned a different color so you can easily differentiate the main wire number from
the copies.
Setting a Wire Number to “Fixed”
You can switch any main wire number to a fixed wire number. A fixed wire number is one
that does not change when AutoCAD Electrical is instructed to retag the drawing with new
wire numbers. For example, you might always want your hot and neutral bus wires to be
tagged 1X1 and N2 respectively—you don’t want AutoCAD Electrical to renumber these
You can change a wire number to fixed by changing the attribute name on the wire number
block. This is done in place. Changing a wire number to a fixed state also moves the
attribute to a layer preassigned for fixed wire numbers. This means that fixed wire numbers
can show up as a different color from normal wire numbers (or extras). You identify this
layer in the AutoCAD Electrical Layers dialog box. AutoCAD Electrical provides a means to
change a windowed area or the entire drawing to fixed—good protection when drawings are
complete and on their way to the panel shop or the field. 49
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Wire Number Signal Jumps

Assigned wire numbers can jump
from drawing to drawing using
AutoCAD Electrical’s
Source/Destination signal concept.
The wire number that gets
assigned to a wire network marked
with a source arrow automatically
migrates to one or more
destination networks marked with
a corresponding destination arrow.
There is no limit to the number of
signal source/destination Figure 59. Insert wire signal jump source and
relationships you can set up in destination arrows from this dialog box. Choose from
your project. You can daisy chain different arrow styles.
source and destination arrows
from one ladder column to the next and from the bottom of one drawing to the top of the

Source arrows carry an invisible attribute for which you assign a unique value such as
NEUTRAL or PNL-4 CB3 HOT or LS-123 NO. At every destination network, you insert a
destination arrow and reference the alias name of the desired source network. AutoCAD
Electrical makes this easy—it extracts all source network names from all drawings, in real
time, and presents them to you in a dialog box list. During wire tagging, AutoCAD Electrical
matches these source/destination links across the drawing set. It takes whatever wire
number gets assigned to each source network and copies it to each of the corresponding
destination networks. 50
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 60. AutoCAD Electrical supports on- and off-drawing wire number jumps. Wire
number 25 leaves this drawing and goes to line reference 113. Wire number 18 comes
from another drawing’s line reference location 205.

Wire Crossing Gaps and Loops

A gap and loop pair is automatically created when one wire crosses another (using AutoCAD
Electrical’s Insert Wire utility). XDATA links the two gapped pieces together so that a wire
number on one side of a gap automatically carries over to the other side of the gap. Two of
these crossing wires are shown in the preceding figure. In AutoCAD Electrical’s configuration
dialog box, you select to show loops across the gaps, just the gaps, or no gaps.

Figure 61. Define how

AutoCAD Electrical
handles wires that cross. 51
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Wire Reports
AutoCAD Electrical stores a lot of information about a design in the DWG drawing itself.
Some of that information pertains to the wires and the devices they are connected to. This
section discusses several different wire and cable reports.
Wire From/To Report
The key to taking full advantage
of AutoCAD Electrical’s from/to
report is this: as you construct
your drawings, mark components
with location codes (for example,
PNL1, JBOX2). AutoCAD Electrical
has tools that make this task
easy. The following sample
drawing fragment shows
components that have been
marked with location codes.

When you run AutoCAD

Electrical’s from/to wiring report,
AutoCAD Electrical first extracts
wiring and component
information along with all the
different location codes (for Figure 62. Text based from/to wire lists can be easily
unmarked components the software generated from a control schematic such as the one above.
uses location code “??”). It then
displays a dialog box that shows a list
of the extracted location codes along the left and right sides. You choose the combination of
From and To locations that you want AutoCAD Electrical to use to format your custom
from/to wiring report.
You pick the From locations from the list on the left and the To codes from the list on the
right. Your selections move to the center of the dialog box. 52
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 63. This combination reports all wiring that goes from
JBOX1 and passes to all other locations.

When you have the combination you want to report, click OK. AutoCAD Electrical then
applies your selection to the extracted wiring and component data. It formats and displays
the report. You can then manipulate the report format and write it out to a text file,
spreadsheet, or ruled table right on the drawing. 53
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 64. AutoCAD Electrical formats the data and displays

the result. You can modify the report format; add or remove
columns; sort; output to a report file, spreadsheet, or
database; or insert the report on the drawing as a ruled table.

If you select all location

codes for both From and To,
then AutoCAD Electrical gives
a full report of all wiring.
Using the previous circuit as
an example, here is the full
output exported to an ASCII
report file.
AutoCAD Electrical attempts
to report each wire the way
it is actually connected on
the drawing.
Wire Connection Sequence
For wire networks with more
than two device connections
(for example, hot or neutral
bus), you can predefine the
wire connection sequencing Figure 65. Full from/to wire report (between all location
right on the schematics. This combinations) in ASCII output format.
is as simple as picking near
each wire connection point in
the order that the wire
connections are to be made.
This information then affects the various AutoCAD Electrical wire and cable from/to reports
and also wire connection data annotated onto panel layout drawings. 54
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Component Wire Connection Report

This type of wiring report lists each component wire connection pin number and what wire
number and wire color/gauge (that is, wire layer name) connects to it. As with other
reports, you can reformat and sort the report on the fly and then output it to an ASCII text
file or spreadsheet, or insert it as a ruled table right on your drawing.

Figure 66. Component wire connection report.

Cable/Conductor Tracking
AutoCAD Electrical gives you the ability to assign cable numbers, perform catalog lookup,
and make conductor color assignments to wires that are to be considered cable related.
AutoCAD Electrical tracks how many conductors are available in each cable (based on
catalog number lookup), what conductors have been assigned, and a list of what conductors
are available. All this is done from easy-to-use dialog boxes. 55
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Cable Marker Assignment and Catalog Lookup

Insert a parent cable marker in any existing wire.
Like a component, it gets a cable tag number
(which you can override) and cable description.
You can perform a catalog lookup to assign a part
number to the cable. This process establishes how
many conductors are available and their color
As you mark additional wires with child markers,
AutoCAD Electrical tracks which conductors have
been used so far and automatically increments to
the next available conductor color (or you can
manually pick from those that are still available
for assignment). AutoCAD Electrical alerts you if
you happen to manually assign two or more wires
to the same cable conductor.
Figure 67. AutoCAD Electrical tracks
which conductors in a given cable are
already in use, projectwide.
Cable Reports
As for a wiring report, you can extract cable connection list reports or cable from/to reports.
You can insert these report outputs right on the drawing as a cable connection table or, like
any AutoCAD Electrical report, you can divert them to an ASCII, comma-delimited, Microsoft
Excel, or Microsoft Access file.

Figure 68. Simple cable from/to report. You can also instruct
AutoCAD Electrical to include conductor pin number data in your
cable reports. 56
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

PLC Module Insertion

This section discusses how AutoCAD
Electrical eliminates many of the
redundant tasks involved in designing
PLC I/O drawings.
Select and Insert
Quickly insert any of hundreds of PLC
I/O modules. You select the PLC
manufacturer and module number
from an easy-to-use dialog box. Then
pick where you want to insert the
module onto your drawing. The
software inserts the module with
underlying wires automatically
breaking and reconnecting. You
provide the beginning address and
incremented address numbers for Figure 69. PLC I/O Module Selection/Insert dialog
each I/O point. box.

Parametric Generation
Modules are generated parametrically on the fly. This process allows the resulting module to
automatically adapt to the underlying rung spacing. It lets you break the module into two,
three, or more pieces at any point and position the pieces anywhere on the drawing during
insertion. You can even split a module across drawings. You can also add spacers after any
I/O point during insertion to add extra space for parallel devices or outputs. 57
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 70. Identical I/O module inserted normally, with spacers added in three
places, and broken into three pieces with one piece having a spacer added. The
resulting modules remain single blocks. The split module is made up of separate

Open System
The I/O module parametric build process is based on ASCII text files. There is at least one
file per manufacturer. You are free to expand these files and add new ones. 58
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Graphical Styles
The software includes five parametric libraries for PLC module generation. Each library
provides a different module
style, or look. You select
which style you want from
the main PLC menu, and
the software uses that
library to generate
whatever vendor or module
you then select.
To create a new look for
PLC modules, you copy an
existing style’s small set of
parametric library symbols
to new names. Then edit
each to give the desired
look. There are about 24
simple symbols per library
(for example, left terminal,
right terminal, I/O point
with left terminal). That is
all. You do not have to Figure 71. The same PLC module (AB 1771-IA) inserted with
make any changes to the each of the five different looks, or styles. You can apply each
existing PLC vendor data look to all modules from all manufacturers.
files. Just select the new
style’s number at insertion time, and AutoCAD Electrical accesses your new parametric
library set to create your custom I/O module graphics. It’s easy to switch from look to look
on the fly.

Address-Based Wire Numbering

AutoCAD Electrical supports wire
numbering based on the
connected PLC I/O address
number. Because it uses the
replaceable parameter concept
used for regular wire numbering,
you can add a prefix or suffix to
the address-based wire number.

Figure 72. PLC I/O address-based wire numbering. 59
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Single, Stand-Alone I/O Points

AutoCAD Electrical supports stand-alone I/O points spread out over your drawing set (as
opposed to showing all points grouped together into a module). The software includes tools
to help you track what I/O points have been used and the address of the next available

Automatic PLC I/O Drawings from Spreadsheet Data

AutoCAD Electrical
enables you to define a
new project’s I/O
assignments using your
favorite spreadsheet
program. You then
instruct AutoCAD
Electrical to
automatically create
the appropriate
drawings to match the
spreadsheet data.
AutoCAD Electrical
inserts ladders and the
I/O modules in
sequence. It breaks
modules as required to
fit in each ladder and
continues any extra on
Figure 73. You can use a spreadsheet I/O listing to automatically
the next ladder or new
generate I/O drawings.
drawing, depending on
configuration and
drawing space. If your spreadsheet includes connected component information, AutoCAD
Electrical inserts and annotates those components too. 60
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Figure 74. First of five drawings generated automatically from the spreadsheet data shown in
the previous figure. Modules automatically break at the bottom of each ladder and continue on
the next ladder or drawing.

You can adapt this utility to meet your specific drawing requirements (number of ladders,
placement, spacing, title block border name). This program is supplied in AutoLISP source
code format and thus serves as an example of how you can create custom script files and
AutoLISP programs that make calls into the AutoCAD Electrical software.
Terminals and Terminal Reporting
This section covers how AutoCAD Electrical helps you use and track terminals within your
Terminal Types and Shapes
AutoCAD Electrical’s default library includes six terminal shapes in four stand-alone terminal
family types:
• Terminals with no annotation
• Terminals that automatically carry a copy of the connected wire number
• Terminals with terminal number annotation independent of wire number
• Terminals that force a wire number change through them
Inserting and Tracking
Drafting tools streamline terminal insertion and annotation. Terminals automatically snap to
intersections and break the wires. Wire number annotation goes in automatically. For
nonwire number terminals, AutoCAD Electrical helps you keep terminal number annotation
straight by tracking what numbers have been used on the active drawing and the entire
project. When inserting multiple terminals, the software automatically increments the
terminal number with each new insertion. 61
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Terminal Plan Report

You can extract a terminal report at any time. It lists terminal number, assigned terminal
strip code, assigned location code, attached wire number on each side, and wire layer name
on each side (that is, color and gauge), and what component is at each end of each
connected wire.

Figure 75. Terminal plan report for circuitry shown.

You can save this report as an Excel, Access, or ASCII text file, or insert it as a table right
onto your AutoCAD Electrical drawing. You can strip out various columns of data and, if you
want, insert the terminal number list as a table on your drawing. This would resemble a
terminal strip layout diagram. Alternatively, you could leave the connected wire number
column on each side of the terminal number. Inserting this representation as a table would
resemble a terminal strip that includes wiring information. 62
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Three-Phase Motor Control

AutoCAD Electrical has library symbol support for drafting three-phase motor control
circuits. Three-pole breakers, switches, and motor contactors automatically adapt to the
underlying three-phase rung spacing, on the fly.

Figure 76. Icon menu and library support for both three-phase and single-
phase circuits.

Panel Layout Drawings

AutoCAD Electrical’s panel layout features give you tools to create intelligent mechanical
panel layout drawings. Here are the key features:

Figure 77. Standard three-phase motor circuits can be saved out as

blocks and then reinserted as needed—components renumber
automatically. 63
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

• Layouts can be derived from information from the AutoCAD Electrical schematic
drawings, or they can be constructed independently of schematics.
• AutoCAD Electrical has no special naming or attribute requirements for mechanical
footprint symbols. This means that vendor-supplied footprint symbols, in AutoCAD
format, can be used as is with AutoCAD Electrical.
• Bidirectional update capabilities mean that certain schematic edits automatically update
the panel drawings, and vice versa.
• AutoCAD Electrical can show schematic wire numbers, color/gauge, terminal pin
numbers, and far-end component connection information on each panel footprint
symbol. The software can force an automatic update of this information after making
changes to schematic wiring.
• AutoCAD Electrical extracts various reports from these smart panel layout drawings,
including panel BOM reports, panel component and item lists, wire connection reports,
name plate reports, schematic reports, and panel exception reports.
• AutoCAD Electrical uses Rockwell Software’s RAISE/ABECAD utility for panel footprint
insertion. 64
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Pneumatic Layout
AutoCAD Electrical includes a pneumatic icon menu and associated symbol library. All
AutoCAD Electrical schematic features apply to this drawing type as well. Here are the key
• Easy-to-use icon menu for
inserting pneumatic symbols.
• Ability to insert pipe as easily as
you insert wires on a schematic.
• Pipes that automatically break
and reconnect on component
• Access to all AutoCAD Electrical
schematic drafting and editing
capabilities to modify the
pneumatic layout, including
Insert Just Like, Stretch Pipe,
Trim Pipe, Catalog Part Number
Lookup, and Scoot.
• Projectwide utilities, including
BOM reports, title block updates,
and batch plotting.

Figure 78. Pneumatic icon menu. 65
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Publish to Web
This utility builds a web page of selected drawings from your current AutoCAD Electrical
project. Your web page and its configuration files are stored in your file system so you can
preview and test before posting to the web. Outside AutoCAD Electrical, you post your web
page by copying the files to a website.
If you choose to include your drawings in the web file pages, the i-drop® function is
available from your web page. Browse to a drawing on your web page, and click the i-drop
icon below the bottom-left corner of the image. You can then drag the DWG file from the
web page straight into your AutoCAD Electrical session.

Figure 79. A sample project web page.

Mark and Verify Feature for Revision Tracking

This powerful feature has a couple of possible uses:
• When you get AutoCAD Electrical drawings back from a customer, AutoCAD Electrical
can print a report of any changes.
• When it’s time to issue a revised drawing set, AutoCAD Electrical can print a report of
changes made to the drawing set since the last revision update. 66
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

For example, AutoCAD Electrical can detect and report (after an initial Mark command on
the drawing set) any changes to a fuse or circuit breaker rating value, a timer’s timing
range, terminal number, component tag, wire number, beginning ladder reference number,
manufacturer or part number, or pressure or temperature switch rating label.
For example, just before transmitting the drawing set to the customer, you can run
AutoCAD Electrical’s Mark command. This command adds invisible data markers to AutoCAD
Electrical schematic and panel items. These markers track any edits, copies, or new block
insertions made to electrical-related entities with AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD, or AutoCAD
LT software. When the drawings return, you run AutoCAD Electrical’s Verify command for a
report on what has been added, copied, and edited. You can browse through this list to
quickly see each customer change in context. You can quickly reset these markers to begin
a new period of revision tracking, perhaps from the point of a project revision or version
Here are the categories of edits that AutoCAD Electrical can report using the Mark and Verify
• New inserts: component, stand-alone terminal, wire number, panel footprint, signal
source/destination arrows
• Copied items: same as above
• Edited items: tag, manufacturer, catalog number, location, description text, location
code, terminal numbers, ratingx values
• Deleted items: components, wire numbers
AutoLISP and Script File Programming Hooks
You can write powerful custom applications that tie into AutoCAD Electrical. The following
are just a few of the many entry points available to programmers and integrators.
Insert electrical component at specific X-Y coordinate, automatically orient with and then
break any underlying wires:
(c:wd_insym2 symname basepoint scale dlgflag)
symname = symbol name (for example, HCR1)
basepoint = insertion point
scale = insertion scale (default = 1.0)
dlgflag = nil to suppress the Insert/Edit dialog box, 1 = display dialog box
RETURN = entity name of new insert
Example: (setq comp_en (c:wd_insym2 “HCR1” “8.125,10.0” 1.0 nil))

Insert a WBLOCKed circuit into the current drawing and trigger automatic retag update:
(c:wd_ins_circ2 dwgname basepoint scale wireflg)
dwgname = AutoCAD drawing to insert
basepoint = insertion point
scale = insertion scale (default = 1.0) 67
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

wireflg = 1 to preserve any fixed wire numbers on WBLOCKed insert,

nil=erase all
RETURN = none
Example: (c:wd_ins_circ2 “/cim/AutoCAD Electrical/user/2sp_rev”
“10.5,12.0” 1.0 1)

Insert or change a wire number related to specified wire entity:

(c:wd_putwn wire_en wirenum)
wire_en = wire line entity name
wirenum = wire number text string
RETURN = handle number of wire number insert, nil if failed
Example: (setq hdl (c:wd_putwn wen “1X2”))

Retrieve an attribute value from a block insert:

(c:wd_getattrval comp_en attrname)
comp_en = entity name of block insert
attrname = attribute name to find and retrieve (wildcards okay)
RETURN = attribute value (or nil if attribute not found)
Example: (setq val (c:wd_getattrval comp_en “TAG1”))

Modify an attribute value on a block insert:

(c:wd_modattrval comp_en attrname newval)
comp_en = entity name of block insert
attrname = attribute name to find and modify (wildcards okay)
newval = new value to insert on attribute
RETURN = 1 if success, nil if attribute name not found
Example: (setq rtrn (c:wd_modattrval comp_en “TAG1” “PB1001A”))

Load a different AutoCAD Electrical–compatible icon menu data file (that is, file in same
general format as the default /cim/AutoCAD Electrical/AutoCAD Electrical_menu.dat file but
perhaps referencing a different set of symbols such as pneumatic or hydraulic):
(c:wd_loadmenu filename)
filename = AutoCAD Electrical–compatible menu ACSII data file name
RETURN = none
Example: (c:wd_loadmenu “pneumat.dat”) 68
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

Parametrically build a PLC module, break underlying wires, automatically increment address
(c:wd_inplc_nd plc_xy style firstaddr veryfirsta base_carry beg_ix end_ix usr_rv
(c:wd_find_sel_plc catkey) a%%lst)
plc_xy = beginning insertion point
style = PLC style number (digit 1 through 9). Defines the look of the graphics
that will be generated
firstaddr = first addr for module or this piece of broken module
veryfirsta = first addr of the overall module
base_carry = numbering method (8=octal, 10=decimal, 16=hex, nil=prompt
user if necessary)
catkey = PLC module part number (for match in AutoCAD Electrical’s
parametric data file)

Insert a new ladder and autonumber:

(c:wd_in_ladder Lc_ph pt1 pt2 rungl isvert rungw rungv Lc_3sp
rungi gridxy_mode Lc_dr def_1st nonums)
Lc_ph = 1 for single phase ladder, 3 for three-phase ladder
pt1 = XYZ coordinate of left, top-most reference of ladder
pt2 = XYZ of bottom reference of ladder. If pt2=nil then the bottom point is
calculated as offset from pt1 given in length value rungl.
isvert = V to create a ladder with vertical rungs (that is, horizontal ladder)
or = H to create ladder with horizontal rungs (that is, vertical ladder)
rungw = ladder width
rungv = vertical distance between successive rungs
Lc_3sp = spacing between three-phase bus (real value) when Lc_ph = 3
rungi = rung ref number increment (default = 1)
gridxy_mode = nil for line-ref based ladders, = 1 for X-Y grid or X-Zone
ladder that will not have line reference numbers attached to it
Lc_dr = –1 to suppress drawing all rungs, =0 draw all, =1 to skip every other
rung, =2 skip two, draw one
def_1st = first line ref value (alphanumeric string, not integer)
nonums = nil to insert line ref text ents along column; =1 to suppress 69
AutoCAD Electrical 2004 Technical Overview

This technical overview document provided a brief overview of the capabilities of AutoCAD
Electrical software. We encourage you to explore the powerful capabilities of AutoCAD
Electrical 2004 by asking your reseller for more information or for an AutoCAD Electrical
test-drive CD. Your local reseller can also conduct local training events that will help
increase your productivity and efficiency with the software.
If you have any questions about AutoCAD Electrical 2004 software or to purchase a license,
contact an Autodesk Authorized Reseller or your local Autodesk representative.
Thank you for your interest in AutoCAD Electrical 2004. We think you’ll agree that AutoCAD
Electrical 2004 is today’s best system for electrical design and drafting.

Autodesk, Inc.
111 McInnis Parkway
San Rafael, CA 94903

Autodesk, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, Autodesk Inventor, AutoLISP, i-drop, and Visual LISP are registered trademarks of Autodesk,
Inc., in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

© 2003 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved. 70