Electrical Design Software | Elecdes Design Suite by Scada Systems Ltd

EDS Frequently Asked Questions

Company, Market and Distributors

Who are Scada Systems?
Scada Systems was founded in 1988. Scada Systems has been active supplying turnkey control systems in the Australasian market since then. As part of an in-house requirement, control and power systems applications were developed. These were first marketed in 1991. Since 1991 the Cad development department has been supplying software solutions for electrical engineers instrumentation engineers, designers and draughtsmen in 50 different countries. They are based in Auckland, New Zealand and have offices in England, India and the United States.
What is the size of the company?
There are 35+ staff 1/3 in development/support 1/3 in engineering and 1/3 in sales/admin.

Existing customer base, Typical users

How many customers have their products?
There are now 10000+ of our Software modules world-wide.
Who are typical users?
Elecdes has been sold to anyone requiring electrical design software. These include engineering consultancies, electrical utilities, electric power generators, switchgear manufacturers, electrical contractors, manufacturers, oil companies, and mining companies.
Who has the product in our area?
GEC, National Nuclear Corporation, Alstom, Schneider, Bechtel, ABB, NASA, Toyota, Toshiba, Hyundai, and Simon Engineering are some of the more recognisable names. For more click here
Which existing users can we contact?
If you wish to speak to reference sites, Scada Systems should ALWAYS be contacted. This is as a courtesy to the reference site and so Scada Systems can ensure the site status is comfortable with a reference call.

Distribution

Who distributes the products?
Distributor information - Scada Systems should be contacted. click here for detail.
What about global distribution?
Distributor information - Scada Systems should be contacted. click here for detail.
Who supports the products locally?
UK - EURO, USA, ASIA-PACIFIC and INDIAN/MIDDLE EAST Time zones are covered by Scada Systems Offices. click here for detail.

Training

Do I need to be Electrically competent to drive Elecdes & Paneldes.
Yes. The products have been designed to be used by electrical staff. Drafts-people, who are only Tracers, will find the product hard to understand due to the use of electrical terminology.
Do I have to be a proficient AutoCAD user to use Elecdes & Protogen?
It is certainly desirable to be familiar with using AutoCAD. AutoCAD has several hundred commands, however using Elecdes you commonly use only 20 to 30 of them (e.g. COPY, ERASE, MOVE, STRETCH, SAVE etc.). Elecdes removes the requirement to know the full repertoire of AutoCAD commands, saving you time.
Do I have to be a proficient AutoCAD user to use Paneldes?
It is certainly desirable to be familiar with using AutoCAD. Paneldes performs much of the difficult 3d construction and analysis work required in your plant and panel layout. You do However need to know the 20 - 30 base AutoCAD commands, e.g. COPY, ERASE, MOVE, STRETCH, SAVE etc. Paneldes also requires that you understand AutoCAD 3d techniques and terms e.g. MODEL SPACE, PAPER SPACE, VIEW PORTS etc. The Paneldes manual has a section devoted to teaching 2d people the 3d basics of AutoCAD.
Where is Scada Systems product training undertaken?
This depends on the dealer. Training may either occur at the dealers office, at a Scada Systems office or in the customers drawing office. We are currently working on an internet based training system.
How long does it take to be trained to operate Elecdes?
For Electrically competent persons it takes from 4 to 5 days. Low levels of AutoCAD familiarity or English familiarity can make this longer by 1-2 days.
What is involved in training for Elecdes?
Training is best broken into 2 parts. First part 3 days... Navigating and Using the product, Second Part 2 days... after some product exposure...Advanced topics - Customisation, database work.
How long does it take to be trained to use Paneldes?
For Electrically competent persons, 4 to 5 days - depending on customer AutoCAD familiarity.
What is involved in training for Paneldes?
The product is simple in structure and easy to become familiar with. The 3d construction and analysis aspects are the areas that electrical people find hardest to cope with. This usually takes 4 to 5 days.

Product Evolution, Upgrades

How long have the products been available?
The first version of Elecdes was released in 1991 and the first version of Paneldes in 1995, Instrument Manager in 2001.
What versions are currently offered?
EDS is currently version 8.0.
How often are updates released?
The average time between releases of each product has been approximately 12 months.
How much do upgrades cost?
Major upgrades cost $800-$1000 per product, minor upgrades are free on the web. Maintenance contracts include 12 months of free upgrades.
Is there any planned development path?
The software is continually being enhanced, and further upgrades of all modules are planned. Contact Scada Systems for details
When AutoCAD, Windows and other operating systems change do we need to upgrade?
Yes, Scada Systems will support all new versions of AutoCAD and Windows.
How is development driven?
Development is driven two ways: First of all, the staff of Scada Systems are continually developing new ways of making their software more powerful and easier to use (and obviously supporting AutoCAD and Operating System changes). Secondly, Scada Systems receives monthly reports from all distributors, which include customer requests for enhancement - We endeavor to include all customer requests in the subsequent releases. Some requests, which are single customer specific, will not be included. If you have a request, consult your dealer and you can find out if the request has been included in release plans. Those on maintenance have priority on wish-list requests. Over 60% of the Scada Systems products functions are customer requests.
How do I request a change to products?
Scada Systems will compile and qualify all requests described clearly and received on fax / email.
When are the next releases due?
The next major releases of both Paneldes and Elecdes will occur in March 2007

Maintenance Agreements

Are there maintenance agreements/contracts available for Scada Systems software?
Yes. Maintenance involves cheaper upgrades and possibly two upgrades in one purchase – also wish-list priority and free phone/fax/email support.
What is the cost of the maintenance agreements?
Recommended - $700 for each seat of Elecdes OR Paneldes.
If a maintenance agreement is ordered, what is covered?
For the 12 months of the contract: Any upgrades of the software released during the maintenance agreement period. Wish-list priority and free phone/fax/email support.

Product Demonstrations

Do I need to come in to your offices to see the products?
No. Demonstrations are more convenient by web conference or on customer sites - All relevant people can attend. To request a demo Click here. To download movies Click here
How long does it take to demonstrate the software?
Elecdes & Protogen normally requires about 1.5 hours to demonstrate, with Paneldes requiring an additional 30-40 minutes.
Do I need to supply anything for a LIVE demonstration?
The Demonstrator will provide all hardware and software, with the following exceptions. Projection screen or large monitor capable of at least 1024*768 resolution. For 2-4 people a 20-30 inch monitor is OK, for 5+ people a projection system is desirable.
Is there any cost for a demonstration?
No.
Who should attend a demonstration?
In order of priority.... Chief electrical and chief instrument engineers, (May be titled -Electrical Manager/Principal) CAD Manager. Drafting office Manager. Electrical and Instrument engineers. Senior Designers and drafts-people.

Trialing the products

Can I trial the products to ascertain suitability, efficiency?
Yes. We have found that being able to trial the products have proven to be one of the factors responsible for customer satisfaction. Versus other products, Scada Systems software is often seen to be much easier to install and to use and displays more productivity benefits.
Are the trial products full versions of the software?
Almost. Project size limits of 15 sheets apply!
How long can I trial the products for?
30 days.
Can you post me the product for a trial?
Yes. To request a product trial Click here
What do I have to supply/pay for a trial?
You must supply: An electrically competent staff member familiar with AutoCAD, for enough time during the period of the trial to fully evaluate the products and for basic training. A computer running AutoCAD that meets the system requirements.

Installation

Is the software easy to install?
Yes. Feedback has been that our products are extremely easy to install, much easier than other products. Dealers should assist over the phone where possible.
What do I have to have already in house to make Scada Systems products go?
See System requirements

Purchasing product, quantity discounts

How much do the products cost?
Contact your dealer or Scada Systems for Pricing.
Are there any discounts for multiple copy purchases?
Yes. Contact your dealer or Scada Systems for Pricing.

General Product Questions

Is the product hardware locked?
No - It is software locked - needs an authorisation code.
Can the software be run on networks?
Yes. The software can be completely standalone OR completely server based.
Are software locks required for each machine running the software on a network?
Server Based - floating network licences are available.
Are unlocked copies available?
No.
What do I need to run the software?
See System requirements
Will the products run with a digitiser?
Yes. However, Scada Systems to not supply any of the products with a digitiser menu. The trend is toward the mouse!!!
What Operating System is required?
See System requirements
What versions of AutoCAD?
See System requirements
What Scada Systems products run in conjunction with AutoCAD LT?
None.
Do Scada Systems products run on Microstation?
No. We do however supply an accurate export function that converts all DWG files to DGN (Microstation version 8) for those customer that need this output format.
What database do you use? (Interpreted as "How do you store database data?")
We use dbase 3 compatible files for report files, specification catalog files and for interfacing project data with external database packages already used on end user sites. All modern database packages and spreadsheets can manipulate and use these files. MS Access and MS SQL Server are now options for storing project data for those with "store bought RDBMS" preference.
What database do you use? (Interpreted as "Do you use a database programming package e.g. DBASE or FOXPRO or MS ACCESS to create and run your applications?")
We use dbase 3 compatible files for all data storage. We have written a 'C' language interface, used by all of our programs, which can create Dbase 3 files and manipulate data stored in Dbase 3 files. We have no need of a third party database programming package. Our interface is smaller, faster and more flexible than the commercially available alternatives. NB: MS Access and MS SQL Server are now options for storing project data for those with "store bought RDBMS" preference.
What database do you use? (Interpreted as "Can we, the end user, use a database programming package e.g. DBASE or FOXPRO or MS ACCESS to create applications or link our existing applications, used with your programs?")
Yes, We use dbase 3 compatible files for all data storage. If you wish to access our input data (catalogs), maintenance/project database, or output files (reports) you can use ANY package that can read and write Dbase 3 files. You can create your own applications inside the database-programming package of your choice (as long as it can read and write Dbase 3 files). Applications can be as simple as printing a Scada report formatted with Microsoft Word to complex relational programs (working with Scada project databases) written in Microsoft Access. MS Access and MS SQL Server are now options for storing project data for those with "store bought RDBMS" preference. Users can  create their own applications to interface to EDS with development environments and API's provided with these databases.
Compatible database programming packages, WP/s, and spreadsheets: DBASE , Microsoft Access (recommended), Oracle 7, Lotus 123, Microsoft Excel, Lotus WordPro, Microsoft Word, SQL Server.
To what standards do symbols conform?
Electrical symbols conform either to the international IEC standard, or the American ANSI/IEEE standard. Instrument symbols conform to the ISA standard.
Which standards are included with the software in Elecdes?
Customers receive symbol libraries conforming to all the above standards.
What is the difference between IEC and ANSI/IEEE?
ANSI is the American National standard. It differs significantly from IEC. It is gradually being merged with the IEC standard, which is becoming a true international standard. We are bold enough to suggest that 20 years from now ANSI will be a subset of IEC (this has already occurred with BS - British, JIS -Japanese, AS -Australian and many others). The USA is one of the only western leaders, which has not completed the transition.
Is the software written in LISP?
Some of the software (1%) is written in LISP, but only in those areas intentionally left open to user customisation (drawing defaults, attribute settings etc.). Most (99%) of the software utilises the 'C' development language, which is the fastest option available in terms of software speed. SCADA programs use Autodesk ADS 'C' and ARX 'C' language tools during a drawing session.
Can I do my own development using LISP, ADS, ARX and ObjectARX?
Yes, to a certain extent. There are a number of LISP files open to user modification, and LISP may be utilised when customers wish to write their own macros. The products have often been described as very open.
Can I use my own layers?
Yes. Additional layers may be added to suit the customers needs. Some Elecdes layers are reserved by Elecdes and should not be modified.
Can I decide which colours I use when drawing?
Yes. The only restrictions as to which colours to use are those imposed by AutoCAD.
Can I use any linetypes or thickness'?
Yes. The only restrictions as to which linetypes and thickness' are used, are those imposed by AutoCAD.
Am I able to use Polylines, as well as lines?
Elecdes uses line segments only to represent conductors. Polylines should be used for other construction.
Are Polylines used for 3d construction (in Paneldes)?
All Paneldes construction must be, and is, done with AutoCAD 3d Polylines and Polyface Meshes.
Are imperial units available for Elecdes?
Yes. Elecdes is available using either metric or imperial units.
Can I get both?
Yes. Both are on the Same CD and Run from the same license.
Are Elecdes symbols etc. the same size in metric and imperial?
No. Metric and Imperial packages function identically BUT can not be mixed due to drawing scales, error margins etc.
Regarding metric vs. Imperial, what about Paneldes?
Paneldes can handle metric and imperial units and is fully scaleable. You can mix units in a Paneldes model if desired. Paneldes can convert imperial units to metric and vice-versa during construction and analysis operations.
Does Elecdes use extended entity data?
Yes. Minimal use for Status Data – which is not used by many customers.
Does Paneldes used extended entity data?
Yes. Paneldes uses extended entity data.
What is extended entity data?
Extended entity data is user definable data, which AutoCAD may attach to any AutoCAD entity (line, arc...).
What does Paneldes use extended entity data for?
Paneldes uses extended entity data to attach specifications and tagging information (+ parametrics) to Paneldes objects on a Paneldes drawing.
Do we use 3D blocks in Paneldes?
Users can now add 2D blocks (for a component "facia" or plan view) or 3D blocks, as they wish, to represent their components inside Paneldes. The block is overlayed on the parametric shape to give a more "realistic appeareance". Vendor suplied libraries can be used directly for this purpose.

Elecdes

What is Elecdes used for?
Elecdes is a drafting and analysis package for automating the creation of. Schematics, One Line diagrams, Loop diagrams, Terminal strip diagrams, Wiring diagrams, Materials Reports, Cable and Wire reports.
What does it do for me?
It will significantly reduce project time. Santos Oil in Australia achieved a 50% time reduction in project time. This saving was in comparison to using base AutoCAD and a symbol library. It will assist you in standardising company - wide and ensure you are using current standards. It will make your drawings intelligent. It will allow you to integrate your designs with your company database system. It will reduce your in-house software development costs.
How does it work?
A collection of hundreds of software tools for drawing automation, reporting and database integration PLUS a full-standardised symbol library.
List the reporting facilities?
Bill of Materials, component quantity lists, coil and contact cross referencing, error summary, wire label list, cable and cable core schedules, and panel wire schedules.
Can RELAY cross-referencing information be loaded on to a drawing?
Yes, automatically. There are also a number of options available as to the style of cross-referencing.
Can RELAY contacts be picked from a list once a coil is inserted/duplicate Tags checked on line?
Yes, automatically.
What about termination schedules and diagrams?
Termination reports may be generated OR pictorial terminal strips and wiring diagrams can be constructed automatically.
Is there any automation of drawing?
Yes, a number of semiautomatic drawing routines are provided, including 3 phase, ladder and instrument loop drawing routines.
Are we locked in to any particular way of drawing?
No. In fact the flexibility of the package tends to be one of its greatest assets. More detailed answers are found in the General Product FAQ.
Does Elecdes draw both horizontally and vertically?
Yes.
Does Elecdes break lines for symbol insertion?
Yes.
Does the package do automatic wire numbering?
Yes.
Does it produce wiring diagrams automatically?
Yes.
How are device tag names generated in Elecdes?
All cable, wire, device and other tagnames are fully user programmable - Including auto increments.
Is there any LOAD or FAULT CURRENT electrical analysis performed?
No. Elecdes is supplied with a simple method of attaching analysis data to one line diagrams, for use with EDSA analysis software. EDSA is the Number 1 package in the USA for this purpose.
Is Protogen a separate module to Elecdes?
Yes. Protogen can function without Elecdes.
Is Paneldes a separate module to Elecdes?
Yes. Paneldes is sold as a separate package.
Can I create my own symbols?
Yes. You can add symbols to any part of Elecdes.
Can I modify Elecdes symbols?
Yes. You can alter symbols in any part of Elecdes.
Can I use existing symbols that I have already created?
No. The graphic part of existing symbols may be used when creating new Elecdes symbols. Elecdes requires that attributes conform to a set pattern. Your blocks are unlikely to conform.
Can I use existing symbols that I have already created with minor modification?
Yes. The graphic part of existing symbols may be used when creating new Elecdes symbols. You must also make your symbols attributes conform to a set Elecdes pattern.
Can I replace Elecdes borders with my own?
Yes. We find that all customers replace Elecdes borders with their own.
Is the style of cross-referencing modifiable?
Yes. The customer may modify the style of cross-referencing. I.e. cross-referencing may be horizontal, vertical, and map style, contiguous or zonal.
Is there any drawing management with the package?
No. Elecdes is fully compatible with several commercially available drawing management packages such as Cyco's Automanager Workflow or Autodesks drawing management products.
What are catalogs?
Lists of component and conductor specification data stored in database files. The files are DBASE 3 format. The specifications can be real manufacturer data or GENERIC commonly used parts.
How are they used?
When inserting a symbol or editing the specification of a symbol, Elecdes catalog selection is offered. You may select a new specification from a list of compatible components the catalog will offer you. The catalog data chosen will be attached to the symbol you are working with.
Why use them? It appears to make the drawing process slower?
At first catalogs appear to an unfamiliar user to be slow. Once you calculate the time taken to type "400V" and "20A" 300 times (the number of fuses used in your project) and compare it with typing in a FULL specification ONCE and picking it with your mouse 300 times. You realise the reasons for using the catalogs. You only ever need to enter a specification ONCE for a component. (Another bonus: your drawings become fully documented and intelligent for Bill of Materials cross-referencing etc.)
Do you supply real catalogs?
Some. As we are selling the package in over 50 countries, it is impractical to supply and maintain catalogs for all users. We have developed catalogs for some of the major component suppliers. Contact Scada Systems for more information.
Can we create our own catalogs?
Yes. We supply catalogue prototypes for easy file creation.
Can we add new specifications to catalogs within a drawing session?
Yes.
Can we use catalogs relevant to a particular project?
Yes. In fact, this is what we recommend. This reduces the time taken to select components.
What are the database maintenance tables?
Database maintenance tables are database files extracted from a drawing or set of drawings. Discrete files are produced according to the type of electrical component i.e. wires, cables, terminals, devices. These files represent an IMAGE or SNAPSHOT of all of the components used in your set of drawings at the time you requested the data.
How do we use them?
You may edit these files, performing MASS/GLOBAL specification and tagging changes with Elecdes tools or a third party database package (external to AutoCAD). Once your editing is complete Elecdes can transfer all of your changes back to the drawing files. This can save large amounts of time spent opening drawings in AutoCAD for minor text and attribute edits.
How many drawings can we work on at one time?
Up to 4000.
What form are the reports?
They are generated as DBF format files.
How many drawings can be included in one report?
Up to 4000 drawings.
Can we customise the format of the reports?
Yes. As they are standard dbf database files, the manner in which they are presented is up to the user.
Can coil and contact cross-referencing information be loaded on to a drawing?
Yes, automatically. There are also a number of options available as to the style of cross-referencing.
What about other reports?
Yes. Any DBF file may be loaded on to a drawing, with user defined presentation style.
Is there any error checking?
Yes. Elecdes will check for duplication errors and catalog mismatches, e.g. relay coils with extra contacts, open circuit, short circuit.
What about terminal strip generation?
Termination reports may be generated as a DBF format file. Termination information may be represented as a terminal strip drawing - created automatically.
Can I use ACCESS to manage database files?
Yes. We would recommend that Access be used as an alternative database package. Access is a relational database and can be used to link all of the Elecdes database files as attached tables. You may create your own applications under Access to manage Elecdes Data.
Can I customise Elecdes menus?
Yes. The user can modify menus.
Can I do my own development using LISP?
Yes. All Elecdes LISP files are open to user modification, and LISP may be utilised when customers wish to write their own macros.
To what standards does Elecdes conform?
The electrical symbols conform to IEC, or IEEE/ANSI, while the instrument symbols conform to the ISA standard.
What revision management does Elecdes have?
Revision "milestone" tracking, control with auto-project backup AND revision-revision comparison reporting.

Paneldes

What is Paneldes Used for?
Creation of Panel layout diagrams/models, Creation of Plant layout raceway system diagrams/models, Materials lists for the above, Interference checking for the above, Automatic cable and wire routing for the above.
Why do these jobs in 3D?
Adding the third dimension allows accurate interference checking and visual arrangement of models AND allows accurate cable length reporting. 2D causes major approximation and hence costing and materials errors occur.
Briefly describe Cable route optimization?
All cables in a plant and their source and destination panels or devices must be listed in a database file. You must build a plant model of all raceway systems with Paneldes construction functions. You can the run the cable routing program, which will: Auto routes all cables. ( Assign the shortest compatible AVAILABLE route to each cable), Report Lengths and Routes for all cables, Report all existing routes and their full path of segments (each piece of tray, conduit making up a route), Report each segment's cable cross section and its CABLE FILL percentage.
Can Paneldes Automatically create Wiring Loom/Wiring Harness diagrams?
Yes. You need circuit diagrams and trunking layout, Paneldes will do the rest.
Can we use Paneldes with Elecdes?
Yes the output data from Elecdes (device lists, cable lists) can be used as input data for Panel and Raceway models. Paneldes can handle metric and imperial units and is fully scaleable. You can mix units in a Paneldes model if desired. Paneldes can convert imperial units to metric and vice-versa during construction and analysis operations.
Can I produce 2d views of my Models easily?
Yes. Both Paneldes and AutoCAD provide simple methods of doing this.
What reports does Paneldes produce?
Paneldes produces all files in DBASE 3 format, they are; Bill of Materials, Updates existing cable schedule and wire schedule with length and route data, Route cross sections, Route or Pulling List.
Can I customise Paneldes menus?
Yes. The user can modify menus.
Can I do my own development using LISP?
Yes. All Paneldes LISP files are open to user modification, and LISP may be utilized when customers wish to write their own macros.

Instrument Manager

What is Instrument Manager used for?
Instrument Manager new "data-centric" Instrument design and documentation system. Used for the automated production of instrumentation documents such as, Data Sheets, Loop Diagrams, Hook up Diagrams, Wiring /Terminal Strip diagrams, Instrument Index report, Bill of materials report, Cables Schedule report, Interconnection reports and many other documents.
Why do these jobs in a database system?
Repetitive diagrams such as loops and hookups and documents such as data sheets and instrument index's are ideally suited to tabular work procedures. Using CAD and text formats is slow and error prone for these large arrays of repetitive data.
Does it integrate with Elecdes Cable block diagrams and lists?
Yes.
Does it integrate with Elecdes parts lists catalogs?
Yes.
Does it integrate with Paneldes cable routing, plant layout and raceway layout?
Yes.
Which databases does it use?
SQL server or MS-Access.
Can it "live link" to P&ID data?
Yes live SQL/Access tables can be hooked to internal instrument components and modified as required.
Can I statically import P&ID data?
Yes SQL/Access/Excel/TXT tables can be statically imported.
Can I statically export data?
Yes SQL/Access/Excel/TXT tables can be statically exported.
Can I modify the table structure and add tables?
Yes.
Can I use my own OR the internally supplied EXCEL based data sheets?
Yes.
Can I build by own diagram symbols/components?
Yes.
Is it a "multiple user", "concurrent access" system?
Yes.
What documents does it produce?
See Document Production
What standards does IM use?
ISA is native however the standards are flexible and can be modified.
What user management does IM have?
There are 3 levels of user security - "Admin" thru to "viewing only". All or a subset of user defined events can be logged for user tracking.
What revision management does IM have?
Revision "milestone" tracking, control with auto-project backup AND revision-revision comparison reporting.

Protogen

What is Protogen?
A Prototype based drawing generation package. Protogen is used for cloning drawings, which have similar graphical content and variable text content. (E.g. Instrument loop diagrams, Hook ups OR data sheets). You can create a prototype or template drawing which contains the base graphic, and link database fields to text or attributes in the template. Once a template is complete, you can use Protogen to make multiple copies of the base graphic and load your database data to the copies ...without starting AutoCAD.
Can I generate a plant or panel layout in 2D or 3D with Protogen?
Yes, Protogen is fully compatible with Paneldes model templates.
Is it a separate module?
Yes, Protogen can be installed and run without Elecdes.
Can I buy Protogen without buying Elecdes?
No. Protogen is supplied only with Elecdes.
When do I use Protogen?
Protogen should be used in any situation where a customer requires multiple copies ("clones") of a drawing, with similar graphical content and variable text content/annotation. (Loop diagrams, motor starters, data sheets...)
Can I modify a drawing that has been created using Protogen?
Yes. Drawings created using Protogen are fully open to AutoCAD or Elecdes and may be modified as in a normal AutoCAD/Elecdes session.
If my drawings are not exactly the same graphically, but very similar can I use Protogen?
Yes, This is very common in practice. Clone as much of the drawing as you can then open the drawing to finish the non-clonable parts. If you clone 30% of a drawing over several sheets you will get the following benefits: Drawing uniformity, Time saving.
Can I use many tables in one database?
Yes.
Can I change the graphical appearance of the drawings from the database?
Yes.
Can I split my templates into many parts then assemble/create varying diagrams, all controlled from within the database?
NEW: The database can now be relational, and the template diagrams can consist of many small parts. This allows you to create one (or many) complete diagram's, completely designed in your database.
Can Protogen update data on drawings that have been revised in AutoCAD?
Yes, Protogen retains its links to clones even after manual AutoCAD editing.
Can Protogen update data on databases from data on drawings revised?
Yes, Protogen can move data both ways even after manual AutoCAD editing.
Can I use many prototypes (or templates) with one database?
Yes, for instruments for instance flow, temperature and pressure loop prototypes my be used with the same database.
Can I enter one item of key information and have many text parts of the drawings change?
Yes, Protogen can link a database column to many points on the drawing allowing "key" numbers to retag many components on the drawing (e.g. M20, S20, CB20). Protogen also allows mathematical tagging i.e. place the first wire number or rung number on a drawing and have all of the others calculated mathematically from it (e.g. Wire1, Wire2, Wire3 ...).
How do I create a template?
Templates are created using either base AutoCAD or Elecdes.
What is involved?
To create a template the following steps are necessary.
1) Draw the template using either AutoCAD or Elecdes.
2) Text and attributes on the template that are to be linked to a database must be defined. (This is a matter of typing a simple field-name inside # signs, to the text or attribute.
We have supplied an application inside of Elecdes to automatically link database columns with your drawing. This is called PROTOEDIT.
Does Protogen need Elecdes to run?
No. Templates can be created using base AutoCAD or AutoCAD Lite.
So I can use Protogen for non-electrical drawings?
Yes, Protogen is often used in conjunction with non-electrical templates. Examples are - using Protogen to create a template for a customer border, or data sheets.
Are there advantages obtained in using Protogen in conjunction with Elecdes?
Yes. Elecdes can: Significantly reduce the time required to produce a template. Analyze data, produce materials and connection reports and terminal strips from the Protogen produced set of clone drawings.
How do I define the fields in the template drawing, which I wish to link to the database?
Instead of typing in the final data to an attribute type the following formula - " # <fieldname>, <fieldwidth>, <fieldorder> # "
Do I have to define the field order and field width?
No - but it is advised. If the field order and field widths are not defined as above, Protogen will assign random order and 20-character width. In most cases you will wish to control your database structure and define these items.
Can I use the same field (e.g. a TAG) many times on the same template?
Yes.
If I have used the same field twice on my template do I have to define width and order in both instances?
No. The field width and order need only be defined once, the second time just use " # <fieldname ># "
What is the maximum width of a field?
60 characters.
What is the maximum number of fields allowed using Protogen?
There is no limit, Dbase however will allow a maximum of 128 fields. Microsoft Access and Protogen accept files with 256 fields.
Can I use any text fonts in a Protogen produced drawing?
Yes.
Can I link AutoCAD block attributes to database fields?
Yes.
Can I link AutoCAD text to database fields?
Yes. But not MTEXT.
How do I create a database file for use with Protogen?
Protogen can create a database file for you to match the fields you have defined in your template.
Can I create a database file manually instead?
Yes. To do this, create a .DBF file (for example with Dbase) which contains identical fields or a superset of the fields in your template. The file must have any name.
Can I modify the database file structure manually after creation?
Yes. Use the right button option.
Is one database file required for every template?
No. A database can be made to suit as many templates as desired.
Can I create a super template?
Yes. Many customers create "Super Templates". These contain a global set of fields, only some are used on each template. This gives the same format to all template database files.
Can I create batches of multiple clones?
Yes. Protogen can be "fed" a file containing a list of clones to make from several templates. Protogen will create all clones in a single action.
Can I use other database packages to edit my database files?
Yes. We would recommend that Microsoft Access be used as an alternative database. Access is a relational database and you can link all of your Protogen template database files. A sample Access application is available from Scada Systems upon request.