Friday, August 27, 2010

AutoCAD Electrical and Inventor – Follow Up

As promised here are a few things to watch for when using AutoCAD Electrical and Inventor’s Cable and Harness environment together.

  1. Wires want to be controlled by AutoCAD Electrical.
    a. If the wires don't exist in AutoCAD Electrical (when pulling from Inventor) they are created. After that the wires inside of Inventor have read only properties. Electrical wants to control them.
    b. Wire Numbers and Wire Types will push from Inventor the first time.
    c. When properties are changed in AutoCAD Electrical they can be pushed back across to Inventor. This includes Wire Types/Gauges.
  1. Auto wire placement in AutoCAD Electrical.
    a. I noticed on a cluttered drawing it was possible to have the “Wire It” button push some wires off the wrong side of the connector. If your point to point harness was laid out properly with no overlapping layers of connectors I don’t think this would ever be a problem.
    b. In the drawing below “Wire1” should have run up and around the connector. Because of the cluttered layout it chose the pin on the bottom of PJ4. If JP4 and JP5 were horizontally aligned it would have ran up and over.
  1. Deleted wires in either program do NOT transfer.
    a. If you delete a wire in one you must remember to go delete in the other. The XML file is only bringing data about current wires. It knows nothing of past wires. If you delete in one software package, make sure to delete in the other as well.
  1. Wire Types Library.
    a. Make sure your Inventor Wire Types matches your AutoCAD Electrical Wire Types. If the wire layer from Inventor doesn’t exist in AutoCAD Electrical or it isn't a valid Wire Type the AutoCAD layer will be created but that layer is NOT automatically added to the Electrical Wire Types List.
All in all, I worked it quite hard trying to find little issues that users may find out to late in their design. I think the best work flow is to do all wiring in AutoCAD Electrical and then push the wires across and Automatic Route them into the harness. If for some reason you have some serious changes, delete all the wires from the browser and re-push them from AutoCAD Electrical. If you want to do all the wiring inside of Inventor, keep your connectors spread out as much as possible in AutoCAD Electrical.

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