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  1. #1
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    AutoCAD Thinking of purchasing AutoCAD Electrical

    We are currently using AutoCAD Lt 2002 at our company and we are thinking of purchasing AutoCAD Electrical.
    I have used Promise 2007 with my previous employer. Therefore I have had some experience with automated electrical software.

    I have several questions to ask. You may not be able to answer all of them but can you please answer as many as possible:
    1. What are pros & cons of this software?
    2. How often does this software get corrupted? Sometimes or very often?
    3. Do think that you are saving time with this software compared to AutoCAD?
    4. Is it easy to migrate drawings from AutoCAD Lt to AutoCAD Electrical (refer to drawing & tell me what do you think)?
    4a. Can you modify drawings after they have been migrated from AutoCAD Lt to AutoCAD Electrical?
    6. Can you do other drawings besides electrical (e.g. a simple interior building design) or do they have to be done in AutoCAD? {This means that I have to purchase both AutoCAD softwares}.
    7. How easy is it to do modifications (e.g. rewiring components, new components) after the drawings have been completed at the 'As Built' stage?
    8. AutoCAD Electrical is a Multiuser program so is it possible for one person to do the schematics while the other person does the panel layout at the same time?
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  2. #2
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    Glen Smith's Computer Details
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    The company I work for is 'using' AutoCAD Electrical. We are not using it to its full potential, but we are slowly making progress. We have not had problems with AutoCAD E. crashing any more frequently than AutoCAD regular did at my previous place of employment, If you do purchase Electrical, be sure to check the min. specs for the computer published by AutoDesk and meet them with room to spare.

    I think that FOR WHAT WE DO, AutoCAD regular and some custom LISP routines would better serve our needs. But we don't have any LISP gurus, so thats kind of a non starter.

    The drawings themselves will open with no problem from LT to Electrical. The file format is the same (except for the standard deviations from release to release.) Do not expect, however, that that is the end of the conversion process. You will need to change each of the symbols to AutoCAD Electrical COMPONENTS. Some of the components may exist, the rest you will have to build yourself. Until you get a base library built, this will be a tedious process.

    AutoCAD Electrical is a full copy of AutoCAD, with some extra stuff added to handle the electrical side of things. Anything that you can do in Vanilla AutoCAD, you can do in Electrical.

    I'm not sure what you mean by multiuser, you will need to pruchase a license for each person who will be running Electrical. To my knowledge, you can not have 2 users editing the same drawing, Electrical does however have a project manager which collects individual drawings into a single project. This allows you to have different users working on different pages of the same project - within reason. Don't expect to have real time updates as user 1 adds components to page 1 while user 2 works on page 2.

    Modifications for As-Builts are always a pain, but no more so with Electrical.

    The drawing that you posted looks more like what Electrical is designed for than what I'm doing. So I'd say that it should work for what you want to do. That said, BEFORE you drop the $$$ for the software, get a reseller to look at some of your existing drawings. Have them tell you what will and won't work. Develope (or use the one that you already have) a relationship with that reseller and make them work for the sale. You WILL need a class for your users. In fact you will probably need a couple different classes over the first 6 months of use.

    Initially, you will want to go to a class on the basics, using project manager, adding components and so forth. Pay particualr attention to creating custom components. (You will be doing a lot of this.) Make the teacher go through this aspect while you create components for your application. Creating components for the excersizes in the book is all well and good, but not what you will be doing on a daily basis. Your existing blocks can be converted to components - but the process is far from automagical (like you will be led to believe).

    After you have used the software for some time, you will probably want a second class with a less formal lesson plan - more geared towards answering specific questions about process in Electrical and how things are done.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Glen
    “Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something." Lazarus Long in Time Enough For Love

  3. #3
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    Thanks Glen,
    The information you have provided is very useful.
    If anybody else wants to add to this, feel free.

  4. #4
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    Registered forum members do not see this ad.

    So, I am not sure if you are still looking for help; but let me try and give it a shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesconti View Post
    1. What are pros & cons of this software?
    The pros you can get from an the Autoodesk marketing site; but I have to say the worst problem I have with Electrical is it does not like PaperSpace and view ports. This is great for schematics; but we have a few panel drawing methods that we like to have details. AutoCAD (vanilla) is great at this they have had almost 30 years to master this; but Electrical only likes to have one border in the DWG, so it limits you to one Paper Space, which means you cannot use the single 1:1 Model and zoom into it from Paper Space.

    Another smaller con is the setup is big, you have to adjust blocks to your standards, setup your title blocks, setup your report layouts, and that is just what I can think of. It is not like AutoCAD (vanilla), when you just have to create a deployment file and you are off. It takes time to setup, just factor that in if you have not already.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesconti View Post
    2. How often does this software get corrupted? Sometimes or very often?
    I find I have the most trouble with the Access databases, which is the smarts essentially. I am not sure if it just us (we use it in a server environment); but Access either does not want to unlock or I cannot access the database and it really slows things down. The locking that is definitely Access and if you wait long enough it unlocks; but the "cannot access the database" (from AutoCAD) is the biggest mystery. I recently had to "delete" my Windows login because AutoCAD would not access the databases and this was after a long talk with the Autodesk subscription center.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesconti View Post
    3. Do think that you are saving time with this software compared to AutoCAD?
    Once you understand the software and develop a process, it is definately a more efficient the hard part is developing this process, especially if you are like us and only hired the resellers for "basic" training.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesconti View Post
    4. Is it easy to migrate drawings from AutoCAD Lt to AutoCAD Electrical (refer to drawing & tell me what do you think)?
    I think it will be very easy, we had to convert out drawings from another drafting software and this is a lot more difficult. However, the difference between AutoCAD and AutoCAD: Electrical is simply the blocks and layers. There are some cool Conversion tools to do this by, including a "Swap block", "Converting lines to wires", "Coverting to smart ladders" and probably a lot more. If you check out Autodesk University 2008 there is a lesson on hope to do this.


    Quote Originally Posted by jamesconti View Post
    4a. Can you modify drawings after they have been migrated from AutoCAD Lt to AutoCAD Electrical?
    I do not really get this question of couse you can modify drawings in AutoCAD Lt or in AutoCAD: Electrical. I also do not believe you get any "missing proxies" if you open an Electrical drawing in plan AutoCAD, like we get occasionally with AutoCAD: Mechanical and AutoCAD: Civil drawings (which we do not have)
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesconti View Post
    6. Can you do other drawings besides electrical (e.g. a simple interior building design) or do they have to be done in AutoCAD? {This means that I have to purchase both AutoCAD softwares}.
    Once you purchese AutoCAD: Electrical you get AutoCAD (vanilla), so you can do everything AutoCAD can do too.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesconti View Post
    7. How easy is it to do modifications (e.g. rewiring components, new components) after the drawings have been completed at the 'As Built' stage?
    Modification of an already smart drawing is the easiest, the hard part like I said before is developing the process and creating the first few Electrical drawings. It does get exponientially easier with easch complete smart drawing you do.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesconti View Post
    8. AutoCAD Electrical is a Multiuser program so is it possible for one person to do the schematics while the other person does the panel layout at the same time?
    It is; but only if you get Auto Vault, which is the document management software and it does come with it for free. However, there are no "lock down" features with the free one. As far as I know there is no other Document Management software that works with AutoCAD: Electrical and I have gone to a few Autodesk Universities and have asked the vendors this question. I am waiting for that day because when one has it, then others will.


    I hope this helps and that it is not too late.

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