Tutorial 3 – Inside devices

In this tutorial we’ll look a bit more closely at devices and how to modify them.

Devices are groups


If you select a device and look over at the Object Info Palette you’ll see that a device is a Group, and it is in the class Sys-Devices.

A Group in Vectorworks is a collection of objects that you can select as one and move around. You can edit Devices in the same way as you would edit any Vectorworks group. Let’s have a look inside the device now.

Double-click on the device


When you double-click on a group you go into Edit Group mode. Vectorworks shows you that you are inside a group by putting a broad yellow border around the window, and a big yellow Exit Group button to get out of the group edit mode.

You can also edit groups by using the menu command Modify / Edit Group ( Cmd – [ ) or you can use a right-click and select Edit from the context menu.

Now we are inside the device, let’s see what’s in there.

Device Tag


connectCAD has all the information about a device in this Device Tag. It’s a Symbol in the class Sys-DeviceTag. Each device needs to have one and only one of these. The Device Tag is created by the Make Device command so you don’t need to worry about creating it yourself. Just be aware of what it is and its role.

By default it is placed top-center but of course you can move it if you want to.

Changing a device’s name and other characteristics


We use the Edit tool to modify or update device characteristics. Here’s the process step-by-step:

  1. Select the Edit tool in the connectCAD tool palette.
  2. Click on the device tag.
  3. the Edit dialog lets you make any changes needed.

Our Edit tool works both inside and outside the device group, so you don’t have to enter group edit mode to make changes. You can find full details in the User Guide – here is the short version to be going on with.

The Device Details area on the left allows you to change the Name, Make and Model of the device. These details are used in reports. When you change these the Tag and Description which are shown on the drawing are automatically updated. But often you need to shorten the text displayed on the drawing so as to save space. So you can also edit the Tag and Description separately.

On the right we have the Physical characteristics area. In here you can set the basic dimensions of the device and its mounting. Again see the User Guide for a full explanation.

Changing socket characteristics


Exactly the same process is used when you want to change the details of a socket.

  1. Select the Edit tool in the connectCAD tool palette.
  2. Click on the socket.
  3. the Edit dialog lets you make any changes needed.

Edit is a smart tool that shows you the relevant dialog depending on where you click. In this case it shows us all the details of the socket, and again you can modify or update sockets with new information at any time in the design process.

Now let’s see how to change the look of a device on the schematic. If you’re not in group edit mode, double click the device now to enter the group.

Select the rectangle and drag one of its handles


We can resize the outline to make the device bigger.

You can add extra graphics if you like – all Vectorworks drawing tools work within connectCAD.

We can add extra sockets


In the same way as we placed the original sockets, we can use the Socket tools to add more sockets.

We can move stuff around


You can drag the various parts of the device around to set it up to your convenience. Changing the position of sockets is particularly useful because you can use this to prevent circuits crossing over each other.

Let’s see that in action

Here we have a situation where we have connection lines crossed over. Simply by changing the position of the sockets and moving the circuits to match, we get a much clearer presentation. People often ask why we do not have “hop-overs”. This is the reason – you hardly ever need them.

Before we move on…

In this section we saw that connectCAD devices are just groups of graphics, sockets and a device label. We saw how easy it is to edit a device – at any stage of the design process. This lets you begin design far earlier on in a project while equipment choices are still being settled.

connectCAD is very different from other systems design software. It lets you configure devices to suit the needs of the drawing. You don’t have any clutter from unused irrelevant sockets and you can easily structure your drawings to communicate clearly.

When we return, we’ll shift gears to an even faster workflow and take a look at tools which let you create standard pre-configured devices .

Leave a Reply