How to find all of the files that make up connectCAD.

Here’s the easy way to get to the folders where connectCAD plug-ins and data files are stored. Example shows Mac but PC works the same.

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Now you are two steps away from your goal !!!

1) choose the User Folders tab

2) click the Reveal in Finder button

And the folder will open in Finder or Windows Explorer

And_the_folder_will_open_in_Finder_or_Windows_Explorer.png

connectCAD has various components in different folders so while we’re here let’s give you the tour!

SignalTypes.txt and ConnectorTypes.txt are located in the connectCAD_Data folder

Where are the actual plug-ins?

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The plug-ins are all in the connectCAD folder. Most of the time you won’t need to go here.

And the Workspace?

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In the Workspaces folder…

And the template

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All user-created templates and the connectCAD template are stored deep in the user Libraries path. Takes quite a bit of getting to but now you know the way for next time.

Final word

Truth be told, operating systems have not made it so easy for normal users to get to these locations.

On Mac OS the user Library folder is even hidden yet this is their recommended location for developers to store Application Support data. Personally this seems bizarre. But Windows is not so far behind Apple in this respect. Once you’ve found the folder called App Data you then have make the mental connection to open Roaming…? We are running out of meaningful words.

How to make any device insertable into circuits

One of the unique features of connectCAD is the way you can insert any jackfield or connector panel or DA device directly into a circuit. But what a lot of people don’t know is that you can also use Insert Device to place any device in a circuit. But you have to set up the device symbol in the right way so that Insert Device “knows” which sockets to use as the input and output for insertion. Here’s how to do that.

What makes a device insertable?

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We always insert into horizontal portions of circuits running left-to-right. So an insertable device needs to have a primary input and a primary output horizontally to the right of it. That way Insert Device can break the circuit and connect the “cut ends” to the correct sockets.

It doesn’t matter if there are other sockets in the device provided the primary sockets are correctly aligned.

How does Insert Device identify the primary sockets

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Let’s take a look inside the device symbol definition ( locate the symbol in the Resource Browser, right-click and select Edit 3D Component ). Two important things to note here:

  1. the primary input is always located at the symbol origin
  2. the primary output is always horizontally to the right of the input.

 

Making an existing device symbol insertable

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When you first create a device symbol using Make Device or Edit, the symbol insertion point (symbol origin) will be put at a location set by connectCAD. This is designed to make the device non-insertable by default. Now having structured your device with the primary sockets opposite each other, you need to identify the primary input. We do this by moving the device so that the primary input is located at the symbol origin.

Let’s try that

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Using the Insert Device tool, we click on the circuit, then pick our TEST_SWITCH device from the symbol dropdown. Click OK and…

There it is

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You first custom insertable device !!!

Now what could you do with that …. ?

connectCAD serial numbers explained

From time to time we get asked “why is my serial number not working?”. And usually it’s from people who’ve been with us for some time and are trying to use an old serial to activate the current version. So here’s the guide to what is what:

connectCAD 2015 PRO serial numbers are like this:      cf0 + 10 characters

connectCAD 2015 EDU serial numbers are like this:      cf1 + 10 characters

connectCAD 2015 EVAL serial numbers are like this:    cf2 + 10 characters

connectCAD 2014 serial numbers are like this:               ce + 10 characters

So if you see an About box like this

AboutError

you probably have the wrong serial number. Either you can activate with the correct serial number or contact us to get updated.

Activation changes

We’ve removed a bit of hassle for you. When you activate connectCAD you no longer need to be logged in to our site. Much better 🙂

The reason for this is that as we expand through our new European distributor network the end user and the buyer are two different people often in different places. It’s also a hassle in bigger companies – so goodbye to that.

Update 2015_1_2

We’ve made an update to connectCAD 2015 fixing some minor problems reported by you. All the patches currently in the Downloads sections are included.

You can get the update by logging in to our website and downloading it from your order page (My Account / Orders).

To install the update, just back up your old connectCAD and connectCAD_data folders to a safe place, then install the update in the normal way. If you have made customisations to connector / signal types you should replace the connectCAD_data folder with your backup.

 

Cable or chassis connector?

connectCAD is about design cabling for installations. So when we set the connector type for a socket in a device we are talking about the connector that your installation team will put on the cables – not the chassis connector on the device.

The only point at which chassis connectors come into connectCAD is when you are defining custom connector panels.

In most instances this is noted in the dialogs.

Using Panel Templates

Panel templates are a new feature of connectCAD 2015. They let you quickly and easily set up the Conn Panel Object to the dimensions and connector centres of manufacturers standard panels. Let’s see how that works in more detail.

Setting up a panel using a template

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Here we’ve chosen the symbol called ‘pnl_PNL-1425. And just so you can see the result I already did the setup once before and clicked Snap to Loci to place the connectors correctly. Now let’s see where those symbols are stored.

connectCAD_Data folder

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All panel templates are stored in a file called ‘Panel Templates’ in the path ‘connectCAD_Data/Connectors’. You can see the full path on the Mac above. On Windows the path is slightly different and you can find this in the Vectorworks Options menu.

Panel Templates file

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Each template is a symbol stored in the ‘panel_templates’ symbol folder. And each template symbol name has the prefix ‘pnl_’. We need this prefix to filter out irrelevant symbols in the Conn Panel Setup dialog. So if you want to create your own panel template symbols you need to follow this naming convention.

Anatomy of a panel template

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I’ve just chosen to edit this symbol (2D part). It’s a simple drawing of the panel(1) with mounting holes (2) and loci (3) to indicate the connector centres. The drawing of the loci is important. They should be placed in the order you want the connectors allocated. Here we’ve started top-left and we work our way across and down in the normal way.

The panel label text (4) is linked to the ‘panel_title’ record which is attached to the symbol. This is how the panel label displays the text set in the Conn Panel Object. You can use normal Vectorworks text attributes to style the label.

Template import

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Panel templates are not part of the normal connectCAD resources. Not every design needs them and there’s no need to make files bigger than necessary. So these are imported into your drawing automatically by connectCAD when you need them. And the process is triggered by clicking the Conn Panel Setup button in the Object Info Palette.

Conn Panel Setup creates two new folders ‘panel_conns’ and ‘panel_templates’ and add the relevant symbols to these folders. Each time you do the setup dialog the symbols are re-imported. So if you need to make a permanent change to a panel template you should edit the Panel Templates.vwx file.

Plan & elevation workflow

Some years ago we completely revolutionised the way you design and define the physical layout of equipment. Now in addition to the classic rack elevation drawings you can also draw or import a 2D/3D plan of the building in which your system will be installed. You can then place racks, console bays and equipment items on the plan.

connectCAD will populate the racks and console bays on the plan from the elevation drawings allowing you to create exciting 3D views of your installation while doing all the design work in simple and easy 2D. Check out the video.

 

Assigning Equipment to racks

This article shows how you can use the Edit tool to pre-assign equipment to particular racks at the schematic design stage.


 

Let’s look at a typical schematic:

Let_s_a_typical_schematic

Two devices, a matrix and a video patch panel. (The funky new connector objects are coming up in connectCAD 2014 – just a sneak preview)

We already created a Rack Elevation layer with a rack on it.

We_already_created_a_Rack_Elevation_layer_with_a_rack_on_

You could have done this either by using Put Devices On Rack Layout, or by making a layer called ‘Rack Elevation’ manually.

Back to the Schematic, Edit tool, click on the Matrix device

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Let’s pre-assign it to rack 1 at U 7.

Now let’s use the Edit tool on our patch panel

Now_let_s_use_the_Edit_tool_on_our_patch_panel

We’ll assign this to rack 1 but not set a U position

Now do Put Devices On Rack Layout

Now_do_Put_Devices_On_Rack_Layout

MATRIX goes in as assigned, VJF_A is ‘parked’ under the rack ready for you to drop it in place. Parking is handy in large systems where you have to find space in existing racks to put new equipment. You know which rack it should go in but you have to shuffle stuff around to fit it in.

Matrix tool – changing the tool settings

Like most tools in connectCAD, the Matrix tool has various tweaks and settings that you may need to change to suit your needs. Here’s how to adjust these and some important notes on how Vectorworks stores these settings.

Select the Matrix tool and locate the “spanner”icon

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In the top – right just above the drawing you’ll find the spanner icon. You click this to set the tool preferences. Let’s do this now.

Matrix tool preferences

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I’ve widened the dialog by dragging the lower right corner so we can easily read all the text. Here in the Matrix tool we have 3 preference items:

1) this sets the point where the first socket is inserted – in grid spaces below the top of the device rectangle. Try it to see the effect.

2) this sets the distance in grid spaces between the last socket and the bottom of the device rectangle i.e. adds space at the bottom.

3) this sets the width of the device created.

Pressing OK saves the changes and these are applied in the current document.

If you want your new settings to become the default for new documents read on. There are two ways to do this.

Saving the settings in a template

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If you save the drawing with its modified settings as a template, each time you start a new drawing from that template it will have all the necessary tool settings loaded. This is a very powerful technique because you may have different styles for different applications or different clients. This way you don’t need to remember all the adjustments you’ve made for a particular job – you just load the template.

Changing the system defaults

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First open the VectorScript plug-in Editor.

Edit the Parameters of the Matrix tool

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1) select the Matrix tool in the list

2) click the Parameters buttons

3) select the parameter you want to change

4) click the edit button

5) Enter the default value – DO NOT CHANGE THE NAME OR TYPE OF THE PARAMETER THE TOOL WILL STOP WORKING !

OK everything to set the new default

Things to be aware of

The system defaults are overridden by the current document settings. So if you start from a template you will not see the changes you’ve made above. You will only see the system defaults if you are starting from a new blank document.