Sockets represent on schematics the connectors found on physical pieces of electronic equipment. In connectCAD these are parametric objects that both store the properties of the socket and display them either as text or graphics.
When you select a socket the parameters are shown in the Vectorworks Object Info Palette. There are lot of them so let’s take it slowly. The most obvious are:
- Name – this is the name of the socket that will be shown in reports ( device or cable lists ).
- Tag – the tag is the text label of the socket on the drawing.
Socket Names must be unique within each device. Otherwise connectCAD may get confused, and so will any installer working from a report.
Tags tend to be shortened versions of Names. On drawing long names waste a lot of space and you can tell much more from the context. The socket tools automatically make sensible abbreviations for you.
A Socket can be placed on any side of a device so it can be either:
But wait, what’s this mysterious X orientation?
X is a special kind of socket used in connector panels, termination (demarc) panels and other situations where you have a feed-thru connector.
An X-oriented socket can accept a connection from the left, and originate a connection from the right. So it’s effectively an INPUT and an OUTPUT. You won’t normally use these in your devices but it’s nice to know how it all works.
Sockets can be either INput, OUTput or IO. The socket type affects how you can connect it. The rules are:
- IN you can end a connection at an input, but you cannot start a connection from it
- OUT you can begin a connection at an output, but you cannot connect to it
- IO sockets can be the beginning or the end of a connection
The point of this is to make sure that circuits follow signal flow – from output to input. Where there’s a bi-directional flow of signals ( network cables for example ) then this is not important and IO sockets let us model that.
Signal and Connector Type
These dropdowns let you set the Signal and the Connector type of the socket.
To save space both here and in reports we use common abbreviations for the various types. If something is not clear then if you use the Edit tool instead you will see the long-form version in the dialog box. For both Signal and Connector the choices available of loaded from two text files SignalTypes.txt and ConnectorTypes.txt stored the connectCAD_Data folder. If you need to add extra types you can do so by editing these files.
Some sockets have multiple circuits coming in or out of them. So it’s useful to be able to represent this on a schematic. The #Circuits parameter lets you do that. Normally it is set to 1 for single-circuit sockets. But the moment you type in a larger number e.g 12, a ‘x12’ text is displayed next to the socket.
ConnSymbol and TextSymbol
connectCAD gives you a lot of control of the look of your drawings. Here’s how that works with sockets.
What the Socket actually does is to draw a pair of Vectorworks symbols. It chooses what symbols to draw based on its parameters. The socket graphics (e.g. the green triangle) are the ConnSymbol ( connector symbol ). The Socket chooses which symbol to use by combining the ConnSymbol parameter value ‘skt_con_’ with the value of Type ‘IN’. So now the Socket draws the symbol ‘skt_con_IN’ which you can see highlighted over in the Resource Browser. There are 3 symbols whose names start with ‘skt_con_’ for IN, OUT and IO type sockets.
The socket text drawing is controlled by the TextSymbol field. The Socket selects the symbols to draw combining the value of TextSymbol ‘skt_txt_’ with the value of the Orientation. So now the symbol drawn to display text is ‘skt_txt_L’. The reason for this is that the text needs re-formatting for each orientation while the graphics can just be rotated.
If you edit the text symbols you’ll see that all the text items are driven from record values linked to the text. And the way the Socket object drives the symbols text content is through the Vectorworks Link Text to Record function.
Customising the socket symbols is task of medium difficulty that does need a little careful reading of Vectorworks and connectCAD documentation.