As time goes on and we answer sales and support questions from prospects and users, it seems that some questions are asked a lot more commonly than others.
In the hopes of answering such questions before you need to ask them, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions on this page. If you do not find an answer to your question here, check the support forums, contact us at 780-906-2888, or email us at:
Customer Service Availability
I work odd hours, how am I to get a hold of someone for assistance outside your regular office hours?
Outside regular business hours, our support team can either schedule (through email ) a mutually convenient time to call you or we can assist via email. You can also try posting to the support forums--our support representatives often check in during off hours.
Using Architect Drawings
I am working with an architect that uses Revit Architectural, the DWG exports he sends me are in 3D and don't make good source for DraftLogic Electrical. What can I do?
Revit has several options for exporting plans out to DWGs. The 2D plan view export creates excellent data for use with DraftLogic Electrical. Due to its standards-compliance to a definitive set of layers and method of exporting line segments to represent the drawing elements, the data exported from Revit 2D plan view will be even better than some data you will receive from architects working directly in AutoCAD.
The architect has probably been sending you one of the two 3D DWG export options. These are both visually impressive, but excessively complicated source for DraftLogic Electrical. Request the architect to perform a 2D plan view export of each floor to DWG and you will have great data to use with DraftLogic Electrical--ensure to ask them to check off the checkbox to include space boundaries, this will give you a floor plan that is almost ready for systems placement! See this webpage that has more detail on using Revit exports as your architect source.
I am working on an office building that has large areas of space demised by cubicle walls, should I tell DraftLogic Electrical to treat these as walls?
Only full height walls that you want to interrupt the lighting pattern should be identified as walls to DraftLogic Electrical. If you did recognize partition walls as full walls, DraftLogic Electrical would try and place fixtures to light each cubicle space individually--resulting in excess luminaires being placed.
We often receive updated drawings from the project architect, how does DraftLogic Electrical deal with this?
With DraftLogic Electrical, you have some choices of how to deal with these changes.
In order to select a method, DraftLogic Electrical first provides a Compare Feature that will show you each and every change that the architect made between the recently provided drawing and the last one that you synchronized with. Once you know the extent of the changes, you can decide on how to handle the change.
A change that does not materially affect your electrical work will most likely be easiest to handle by just modifying room boundaries, wall / window / door lines, and device locations as required. This is for when there are not many changes to walls, windows, and doors or objects that you need to provide service to.
When the changes are more extensive, you can choose to take either the whole drawing (if changes are prevalent throughout the floor plan) or the changed sections of the drawing (where one floor or part of a floor is changed but the rest are not) through one or all of the DraftLogic Electrical processes.
Our training, our support, and your experience will all help you to select a method of handling each architect change in the most efficient manner--minimizing the time you spend on dealing with architect changes while still maximizing the quality of your deliverables to the client.
Symbols and Layers
We have our own symbol and layer standards, can we modify those included with DraftLogic Electrical to match ours?
Customization of symbols and layers is possible, but each comes with some requirements and cautions.
Firstly, it will be less work for your DraftLogic Administrator in the long run if you use the symbols and layers provided. The reason is that certain changes will need to be made each time we make enhancements to DraftLogic Electrical and deliver a new version to you (although symbol changes will be very rare). We would like the opportunity to discuss the reasons you desire to change the symbol and layer standards, as it is possible that we will want to absorb your desired change into DraftLogic Electrical as a whole. We have found that many requests to alter the symbol or layer standards come down to aversion to change or cosmetic preference rather than being related to a functional requirement to get the job done.
Most likely, the electrical contractors and others who are the 'users' of your electrical design floor plans don't really care if your receptacle has two legs or three and whether or not the legs face toward or away from the wall. What they care about is that they can easily distinguish which symbols are which versus a digestible Legend of Symbols (like DraftLogic Electrical's that only shows the symbols used instead of including a few hundred extras).
After discussing your desires with us, if modifications are still desired there are some lower impact customization opportunities: the appearance of the symbols (aka blocks) are easily modified, the attributes of the symbols can be added to, and layers can be added to the system. Other changes may trigger the requirement for software source code changes. See this forums item for details on modifying symbol appearance.
There is lots more information about this on our Integration Q&A page.
Schedules and Reports
Are the schedules two-way, i.e. if I change a value in a schedule that is related to something in the floor plan, does the floor plan automatically update?
When developing DraftLogic Electrical, we examined the feasibility of building all our schedules to act two-way. We opted not to support two-way schedules since our schedules take only seconds to create a new, completely updated one from scratch, and to support two-way communication would have increased coding time and load the CPU down somewhat. We were also concerned with the extra risk of a two-way schedule getting 'out of sync' with the drawing and thus causing you to make a delivery with errors to your client.
I see that the schedules are placed on layouts separate from the system specific floor plan layouts. Do they have to stay that way?
Once the schedules are created by DraftLogic Electrical, you can do whatever you want with them--they are built using standard AutoCAD blocks. This means you can copy and paste them onto other layouts, into model space, into other DWGs, or export them to their own DWGs and use them as xrefs to other drawings.
My client requires that I deliver a file to them using AIA layers, does DraftLogic Electrical support this?
DraftLogic Electrical's current shipping version uses layer names selected for the application that are not AIA standard.
You can, however, create a script to run before each required client delivery that changes DraftLogic Electrical layer names to the AIA equivalent. Creation of this script would be a one-time task for each different client layering requirement and then it would be reused as-is.
We are soon going to add a 'one touch' client deliverable generator that will allow you to produce a shipping drawing with all the electrical devices on AIA standard layers (or any other standard you have to support). It is expected that this enhancement will be included in the product in 2013, possibly sooner if your needs require it.
Our schedules look different than yours...can you change the schedules to look more like those we are used to?
First and foremost, we recommend you try our schedules out as-is for a while. If you end up satisfied with them, it will save some effort in customizing. For those schedules with formatting that just won't do, there a number of easy customization options, detailed on this page.
My floor plan includes a few rooms that include a variety of ceiling types and we desire to use a variety of light fixtures in the space. Will DraftLogic Electrical do this automatically for me?
DraftLogic Electrical has two methods of automatically placing lights in a space. Foot candle based lighting will place the needed number (based on a zonal cavity calculation) of a single fixture type into a space to meet the foot candle requirement you set. Rule based lighting will place a particular fixture type in a location or locations relative to other points or objects, like the center point of the space for example.
Using a combination of these tools, you could possibly muscle DraftLogic Electrical into using its automated placement tools to do the space how you want it. Doing so, however, would not be the best use of your time! The automated tools are not meant to replace the use of your judgement and skills in complex situations, like using a variety of lighting in a space or where there is a variety of ceiling types in a space.
For scenarios where the foot candle based lighting or rule based lighting are not going to directly meet your needs, it is best to instead use any combination of DraftLogic Electrical's manual drafting aids, regular AutoCAD symbols placement tools, or specialized tools your company may have built to use in AutoCAD. Regardless of placement method, as long as you use the DraftLogic Electrical blocks and select the proper values for the attributes of those blocks, the fixtures will be fully supported for automated circuiting, the luminaire schedule, and the luminaire catalogue.
How are the number of fixtures needed to light a space determined?
DraftLogic Electrical's foot candle-based lighting automated placement function uses the zonal cavity method to calculate the number of fixtures to light a space. The fixtures are then spread evenly throughout the space. See the automated lighting page for more details.
The zonal cavity lighting calculation uses the following space-specific values and fixture-specific values to calculate the number of that fixture type required to light the particular space in question to the foot candle level that was specified for the room type in question from the Room Library database.
Space specific values: you assign project wide defaults for ceiling height, wall reflectance, floor reflectance, and ceiling reflectance that are provided as defaults for each room (aka space). You can modify any of these defaults on a per room basis.
Fixture specific values: each one of the thousands of different fixtures included with DraftLogic Electrical (and those that you add to the database) has its lumens, LLD, LDD, and CU numbers captured in the Luminaire Library database.
DraftLogic Electrical includes a luminaire adjustment tool to allow you to try out different foot candles, fixture types, and CU values in a room. The same tool allows you to force a particular fixture count in a room and have DraftLogic Electrical spread them evenly through the space for you.
Remember, however, that the automation is not designed nor suitable for lighting each and every space. To light spaces, you can also use any combination of DraftLogic Electrical's manual drafting aids, regular AutoCAD symbols placement tools, or specialized tools your company may have built to use in AutoCAD. Regardless of placement method, as long as you use the DraftLogic Electrical blocks and select the proper values for the attributes of those blocks, the fixtures will be fully supported for automated circuiting, the luminaire schedule, and the luminaire catalogue.
It seems that the architect requests at least one new fixture we have not used before on each project. How does DraftLogic Electrical handle this?
The DraftLogic Electrical Luminaire Library comes with thousands of fixture definitions ready-to-go. It also gives you the ability to add new fixtures as you desire.
In a matter of a few minutes, you can fill in the easy-to-use Luminaire Library dialog and have your new fixture in the database. By selecting one of the DraftLogic Electrical luminaire symbols to represent the new fixture, your new fixture will be immediately on the list of selectable fixtures for anywhere that the specific block is used.
Once any of the users at your site adds a fixture to the Luminaire Library database, it is immediately usable by ALL the users at your site for all projects current and future.
I see that DraftLogic Electrical assigns a wire / feeder length to both power tree (aka panel to panel and similar) and branch circuit wiring connections and gathers the wire and conduit values together in the bill of materials. Since DraftLogic Electrical is not 3D, how are the wire and feeder lengths determined?
DraftLogic Electrical uses a combination of drawing distances for 2D distances between devices on the same floor, floor match block & floor to floor distance to relative position for devices on different floors, and various modifiers to accomodate for the differences between floor, wall, and ceiling mounted devices. By doing so, we virtualize the 3D path of the conduit/cable to extrapolate reasonably accurate device to device distances while still working in a 2D environment.
There is a swath of user determined modifiers for you to put force to your electrical design preferences for what results in the Bill of Materials and in the Export to IntelliBid. See the user manual for detail on what modifiers are applied for each particular connection type.
Does DraftLogic Electrical support cable tray and bus ducts?
The current release of DraftLogic Electrical does not include any automation supporting cable tray or bus ducts. This means that you can continue laying out each of them as you currently do, but that you would need to manually add them to the DraftLogic Electrical Bill of Materials report.
How To Learn
I really dislike cuddling up with a massive manual for days on end...what are my options on learning to use DraftLogic Electrical?
Ah, yes...you have a case of 'documentation aversion', which is very common amongst homo sapiens! As you implied, we do have a comprehensive user manual for those that learn best from reading documentation. For those that learn better by seeing and hearing and then doing on their own, we offer classroom training and the DraftLogic Electrical Video Training Program. We offer a two hour quick start set of videos to enable you to get up and running quickly.
It is great that you recognize the need for training, taking the time to learn to perform your electrical design work in DraftLogic Electrical will ensure you take full advantage of the productivity and deliverable benefits we offer!