The prototype toolbar:
I may also add in a (horizontal) move tool/icon, which may be easier than manually moving the electrical components.
First look at the draw switch menu:
Currently there are no advanced options but I am including that parameter since I am almost 95% sure that something will come along that will dictate the use of this parameter.
This plugin seems fairly basic when compared with the other plugins but I may be missing some additional parameters here.
Here is a first look at the switch symbols, I've shown them drawn at 4.5" in height but I've set it up so that the symbol height can be determined by the user in the global settings and everything (symbol spacing etc...) should scale appropriately.
Also note that the symbols are with the switch group so when you move the switch in the wall the symbols move with the switch.
The symbols are also placed on the electrical_2d_layer by default (again user definable in the global settings) so they can easily be toggled on or off.
As can be seen in the image below a gang of switches can all be different types:
In the image below I've turned on the "Labels" for the switch boxes. The Switch (box) name can be edited in the switch edit menu for each switch:
With weatherproof switches I will need to have a different faceplate but for now it will default to the generic toggle switch.
Tomorrow I will spend a few minutes and model up a low poly version of the Leviton Decora switch and outlet series and then we will have at least two options for switch and outlet styles.
Similar to the Wall Plugin the labels are assigned by default to the Dim3 layer and can be toggled separately from the symbols, or be turned off completely in the global settings.
After reviewing a few more electrical plans online it looks like the convention is to show the ganged outlets similar to ganged switches.
I've added Decora switches (and outlets) as well as the option for a simple blank face plate, which I am labeling as a junction (box):
For junction boxes or blank face plates I am following the same convention as I am for outlets and switches and showing a symbol for each location.
I will eventually add another icon in the toolbar for Combo Outlets (ie. switch, blank, outlet combinations), however I probably won't get to this until later.
I have a 1-gang GFCI as well as a two gang GFCI-Duplex and GFCI-Decora combo. What other combinations of GFCI/Outlets are common? (I will handle the GFCI/switch combo later)
The possible permutations are crazy so I am trying to limit things slightly for certain outlet types, I think this makes the most sense. Just trying to rein in the madness.
For instance I have never seen multiple GFCI outlets ganged up in a single box, only ever one with another switch or regular duplex/decora receptacles.
Also what type of weather proof outlet would you prefer I include as the default? I'm looking at Leviton's offerings and also at Taymac, too bad I can't seem to find readily made models for any of these. Oh well, I would probably have to remodel them anyways because the poly count would probably be obnoxious.
After digging through Leviton's website straight for the last 3-4 days I now know more about switches and receptacles than I care to really, but it certainly is an education. I'm still amazed at all of the possible combinations of switches and outlets that are possible and how the manufacturers do their best to provide as complete coverage as possible, there are literally hundreds of face plates (configurations).
It looks like I will need to add in one additional option, Weather Proof GFCI. It seems that this combination is fairly popular:
My weatherproof cover is based on the Taymac MM420C, probably a little more detail than it needs but I wanted it to look somewhat recognizable.
I also have the Decora option and the standard duplex option.
This question may have been covered. I have not studied all the posts in detail soam not sure.
Is there a provision to show an exterior outlet, switch, light fixture, or hose bib, on a mounting block when lap siding is used? Maybe it is not a big deal.
Below is a photo illustrating what I mean. A flat block, the same thickness as the trim is cut and placed where the item will be. Corner trim, etc.is also installed and then the lap siding installed. I should have installed a small piece of flashing on the upper edge rather than just rely on caulk. My excuse is it doesn't rain much in the desert and the wall has a good rain plane using vertical 3/4" furring strips.
I need to remove the blank plate and install the outlet and cover some day. ::)
Added the advanced option which will allow for a horizontal mount of any receptacle:
First look at the the following: GFCI, USB, Simplex, Horizontally mounted Duplex
I will also extend this same functionality to the switch module so that they can be mounted in any orientation.
Quote from: MountainDon on February 01, 2019, 10:52:34 AM
Is there a provision to show an exterior outlet, switch, light fixture, or hose bib, on a mounting block when lap siding is used? Maybe it is not a big deal.
I haven't really gotten this far yet but it is something that I should probably add in for lap siding since the trim block is a fairly common feature with something like this.
Option for weatherproof GFCI added:
I haven't gotten every combination but I think I now have about 85% of the most commonly used configurations added in for outlets. I will now return to the switch module and work that over for a while until it is also about 85-90% coverage.
I also still need to add in a completely new style: 240V
This will comprise single gang outlets for clothes dryers, welders, and ranges.
I've added in the option for 240V receptacles:
These are limited to single gang configurations as shown (2 gang electrical box). They can be mounted either vertical or horizontal. The annotation allows one to specify either a dryer (D) or range (R) outlet.
By default the color of the outlets is a dark brown (thermoplastic) but can be modified by the user as well as the wall plate material.
I was going to add in an option for a welder outlet but I'm not sure which outlet type is the most common for this application, it appear that the NEMA 6-50 is commonly used for welders but until I get more information or a direct request for this particular NEMA receptacle I will leave this one for now.
Dimensions for these outlets types are per Leviton's product lineup, as is the wall plate. For now I've employed the standard 2-gang Carlon PVC box but for a heavier circuit like these I personally would probably go with a metal box and the appropriate mud ring and cable clamps.
A few more options for the switches module:
One of my favorite switches, the Trimatron.
I will provide the same 14-xx outlet in 30 and 50 amp without the dryer or range designation, for those applications that are something other than those two typical residential usages.
I was looking at Square D service panels (load centers) last night and I'm most familiar with their QO product, not a huge fan of the cheaper Homelite product line. I can't seem to find any decent drawings or dimensions for these enclosures other than the overall size. If anyone can direct me to a resource which will allow me to model these up with some accuracy I would like to add in a handful of service panels.
I'm probably not going to dive too deeply into the load center module right now, only providing a basic model and label, but eventually it would be nice if one could assign specific outlets, switch and light fixtures to a given circuit/circuit breaker. There is a lot that can be done with this sort of thing.
For low voltage I am going to start with only one style for now and that is the Leviton Quickport system:
The advantage with this system in my opinion is that there will be less electrical boxes to install since you can get more than one outlet per box (max. is 6 ports for a single gang box).
My only problem now is how to show this type of port on the electrical plan. Typically I would have a symbol for TV, Phone and/or Data. However, what does one show when you have a situation like above where all three data types are compressed into one box. Even worse, what if I have the 6 port version and have one phone jack, two CAT6 jacks, two coax jacks and a blank?
What is the preferred convention? If there is one.
Additionally there is the 2-gang low voltage box (Carlon SC200AR) which can be fitted with a Quickport face plate and have a maximum of 12 separate ports, yikes.
The low voltage components that will be utilized in the Medeek Electrical extension:
This collection is only the QuickPort components there is also the QuickPlate and Decora styles that I have not gotten to yet.
I've also added in the RCA QuickPort by request.
You will be able to assign a unique QuickPort outlet to each port of the wall plate and also assign it its own unique color if you choose (this will be important for people who are color coding network jacks).
The updated toolbar:
I will leave it up to inquiring minds to figure out what all these icons mean. :)
The low voltage module is working pretty good now. I just need to wrap up the 2D symbols and then we will see if I can put together a few typical load centers, and then its out to the public for some BETA testing.
A 2-gang, 12 port low voltage box is probably your worst case scenario:
Each port can be assigned one of the following:
- PHONE (RJ11)
- RCA (Audio/Video, gold plated)
- BLANK (Plastic Insert)
Additionally each port has its own unique material/color which by default is "White". The faceplate can also be assigned a unique material/color.
Similar to other outlets the advanced options can be enabled which allows for vertical or horizontal mounting.
The number of possible QuickPorts is limited to the following:
1-Gang: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
2-Gang: 8, 12
There are additional 2-Gang QuickPort wall plates that I have not added. I will only add these if requested, since they are already covered by the 1-Gang option.
Various combinations of QuickPorts yields a number of possible 2D symbols:
I've tried to stay with conventional symbols as much as possible. Please let me know what you think on this.
Tomorrow I will finish modeling up some typical load centers (breaker boxes) like the one below (200 Amp, 40 Spaces):
I'm not going to put any special logic into this module yet, just a simply positioning and selection. However at some point it would be really cool to use the plugin to setup the various breakers and identify circuits as well as assign specific elements to a circuit.
For now three sizes of breaker components are provided and it is up to the user to manually configure their panel if they so choose to do so, otherwise is is more representational than anything else.
When it comes to setting the vertical height of the load center what is the method used to measure from the floor? Center, Top or Bottom of the panel?
I will provide some common panel sizes (spaces): 24, 30, 40, 42, 54, and 60.
My breakers are based on the SquareD QO series as are my load centers however they are considerably simplified to maintain a low poly count.
Also for now I am only going to provide flush mount and not surface mount however I will probably enable both in the future.
View model here:
Various load center sizes, view model here:
All load centers are 200 Amp except for the 24 space unit which would be rated for 100 or 125 Amp.
The inside of these boxes and the breakers are very simple and low poly. The idea is mostly to convey the number and location of breakers and overall dimensions:
First look a the output of the load center or service panel module:
Perusing the selection of electrical outlets and boxes at my local Ace Hardware this morning it became painfully obvious that I should have added the option for "amperage" to the outlet parameters.
Standard and Decora outlets now are available in 15A or 20A:
I've never actually seen this type of outlet (NEMA 5-20R) installed in any residence I've ever lived at or in any new construction I've worked on but I'm sure it has its place.
Currently the 240V outlets are limited to only 30A and 50A outlets. At some point I may add in NEMA 6-15R and NEMA 6-20R if there is call for it.
First look at the output of the Light Fixture Module:
The plugin allows you to drop your own light fixtures into the library sub-folder so you can have as many custom light fixtures as you like (and I don't need to spend anymore time modeling things up).
The fancy ext. wall lantern shown was simply downloaded from the warehouse, minor edit to make sure the origin of the file was in the correct place and then dropped into the light_fixture sub-folder. I will not be including this fixture in the distribution simply due to its size (1.2 Mb). However I will include some basic lampholders like the Leviton 49875 shown.
Another thing to note, since the light fixtures are custom I will not be attempting to apply any material or color to them. For that reason there is no need to explode the component into a unique group.
I will add some additional simple light fixtures and junction boxes as time allows or as requests are made.
Currently the light fixture tool is limited to wall mounted fixtures. I am still contemplating how best to deal with ceiling mounted fixtures and what type of system/organization to employ.
If you add a ceiling mounted fan, you might want to consider adding some support structure as well.
I've seen a few people install a heavy fan on a box that was just toe nailed in and they've sagged or fallen.
I think it should be standard practice to add a 2"x4" support on both sides of any ceiling fixture, in the chance that someone decided to install a heavy fan.
Pulling the global settings together:
The estimating piece will be after I release the BETA.
I'm almost ready to put this new plugin out there but I'm waffling on whether to spend some additional time on the draw tool and see if I can't make the plugin work with any (wall) geometry rather than just limiting it to an add on for the Medeek Wall plugin.
*** BETA RELEASE ***
Version 0.9.0 - 02.14.2019
- Created the Medeek Electrical Plugin, utilizing SketchUp's Ruby API.
- Added tools to create switches, outlets, low voltage outlets, load centers and lights.
Download the BETA version here:
Just a reminder that this plugin is currently dependent on the Medeek Wall extension to function. Also a new version of the Wall plugin is required in order to retain the electrical components within the wall panels. The upgraded version of the wall plugin will be released later tonight.
Items needing further attention:
- Ceiling light fixtures.
- Parametric ability (edit menus for all fixtures).
- Combo switch/outlets
- Ability to use the plugin with any wall geometry (non-plugin dependent)
- Link to purchase plugin within Account Manager (currently only a TRIAL version is available)
- Added additional Carlon and Raco octagon boxes into the Light Fixture module.
Per customer request I've added some additional electrical boxes.
The full list of junction boxes available for light fixtures is:
Junction Boxes: Carlon (B518, B520, B620H), Raco (111, 112, 119, 128, 146, 164, 175, 177)
The reason I have to add these boxes in is because I need to hard code in the dimensions so that the plugin knows what the width is when the box justification is toggled to left or right. Its not a big deal, it only takes me a couple minutes to add in a new box and its dimensions.
If you have a particular box or light fixture you would like to see added please let me know.
As far as other international standards (British, France, South Africa etc...), I would be excited to add these in as well but I don't have the time or the energy to model up quality, low poly models of typical boxes, faceplates and electrical components. If you would like to see these added to the plugin I would need to have low poly models provided to me.
Version 0.9.1 - 02.16.2019
- Enabled the ability to draw switches with any wall geometry (removed the dependency on the Medeek Wall extension).
I've been blasted with emails the last couple of days requesting that I make the plugin work with any walls, so I figured I might as well see if I can make this happen.
This is largely experimentally at this stage since dealing with random (walls) geometry can be a bit tricky.
I've only enabled this feature with the Draw Switches tool for now. Once I am satisfied with its performance I can easily migrate it to all the other tools.
The wall must be a group, and its faces must be only one level deep, not nested group within group.
Please download this latest release and attempt to break it, let me know your findings.
Tutorial #1 - Extension Overview:
Footnote: The bug encountered at the 16:00 min. mark has been identified and corrected.
There is always more that can be done. Just remember though I am juggling four different extensions now, single handed and each one is very deep (and broad). So my time to devote to any one plugin or request is becoming much more selective.
If you would like to have a feature added I need more details:
1.) Most common configuration and manufacturer.
2.) Some indication of how much this feature would be used (does it fit the 90% rule).
3.) Commercial or Residential application.
Version 0.9.1b - 02.19.2019
- Enabled the ability to draw outlets with any wall geometry (removed the dependency on the Medeek Wall extension).
Version 0.9.1c - 02.19.2019
- Enabled the ability to draw low voltage outlets, load centers and light fixtures with any wall geometry (removed the dependency on the Medeek Wall extension).
The plugin is now fully independent of the Medeek Wall extension and can function as a standalone extension.
Its funny how some of my best thinking is done when I am doing totally unrelated tasks. While I was cleaning out my garage and mini-van on Sunday afternoon I slowly started working out how to handle ceiling mounted light fixtures, almost unconsciously before I was aware that I was working on the problem.
After giving this topic a rest for a few days and then revisiting it again this evening it is now clear to me that in order for this to work properly I really need a "Story" or "Levels" module or plugin that actually works across all of the plugins. This Levels module is also needed for the other plugins in the mdkBIM suite, especially in relation to estimating.
This becomes critical for the electrical plugin because when you start placing fixtures into a ceiling you need to know where the floor is in relation to that ceiling. Or to be more precise you need to know which floor to assign the light fixtures to so that the 2D symbols are drawn at the appropriate Z height and hopefully are at the same level as the rest of the electrical symbols for that level (ie. wall mounted electrical fixtures), regardless of the ceiling height.
If the absolute Z height of the Level is changed then the 2D symbols assigned to it will need to move up or down to make the adjustment. The easiest way to do this is to place all of the 2D symbols (ceiling light fixtures only) in an over arching group that is separated from the separate light fixture groups themselves. When the Level Z height changes you only need to move this main group and not each 2D symbol.
The potential downside with this particular system is that if you manually move one of the light fixtures in the X-Y plane or laterally then the 2D symbol does not follow it and is out of sync (out of position). The way around this problem is to possibly setup an observer so that if a ceiling fixture is moved the 2D symbol is simply deleted and redrawn. When a ceiling fixture is deleted a similar situation occurs, however the symbol will always belong to the appropriate main group and have a tag (instance name) that matches the ceiling fixtures so that it can be easily purged from the main group.
The draw tool will not only be looking at the group (ceiling group) but also at the face when placing the fixture. The exact point selected on the face will determine the actual placement of the fixture. The height parameter (fixture to floor distance) as it is currently defined has no meaning and will be greyed out however for certain suspended fixtures it can be used at the "suspended height" thereby determining the height above the fixture to place the junction box within the suspended ceiling.
There is quite a bit to consider when it comes to ceiling mounted fixtures, I'm sure I haven't considered every possibility yet and there may even be a fatal flaw in some of the organization explained above but at least I wanted to get some of my thoughts down in writing before they evaporated away like a morning mist under the noon-day sun.
I will no longer be posting updates to this thread.
If you are interested in new developments or the continuation of this thread please visit:
Version 1.0.0 - 03.23.2019
- The Medeek Electrical extension moved from BETA status to initial full release.
- Created the HTML edit panel menu and enabled editing for load centers (service panels).
- Created the HTML edit safety device menu and enabled editing for wall and ceiling mounted safety devices (exit signs, smoke detectors, CO detectors, horn/strobes).
- Created the HTML edit light fixture menu and enabled editing for wall and ceiling mounted light fixtures.
Tutorial 2 - Light Fixtures (17:50 min.):
Justin Geis with SketchUp Essentials just posted a review of the plugin:
Overall I think the video is excellent however the demo was of version 0.9.6 so he was not able to demonstrate the parametric ability of the plugin.
I will be adding in an additional toolbar "Medeek Electrical II":
This toolbar will be for misc. electrical devices that do not fit neatly into the categories already provided (switches, outlets, low voltage, load centers, safety, light fixtures).
The first two items that will be added are: Heaters, Vent (fans)
Heaters will include items such as cadet wall heaters, shop/garage ceiling mount heaters etc...
Vents will include typical ceiling mount vent
fans for bathrooms, laundry and kitchens. Regular ceiling fans and ceiling fans with lights will actually be included with the light fixtures module.
Ultimately the number of included electrical devices and fixtures will probably exceed the amount of devices that I want to package as default with the plugin. My thinking on this is that down the road I can provide "packs" that the user can drop into the appropriate plugin library sub-folder to add more pre-configured components to the plugin.
For example the commercial electrician or designer may want a much larger selection of fire and safety devices than the average residential designer. It doesn't make much sense to overly bloat the plugin size to include all of these specialized electrical components when most of the user base will not use them. Rather it makes sense to provide these electrical device "packs" as an upgrade type feature where the user decides for themselves which additional devices they would like to have available for their use.
Also if enough people utilize this plugin it may also garner the interest of some of the manufacturers who then might be willing to provide some "official" models of their hardware (low poly preferably) for use within the plugin. Looking at a number of manufacturer's websites lately and there is only a handful that provide any sort of 3D models and those are usually in Revit. I would like to see more SketchUp models become available.
- Added an advanced option for outlets to display the outlet height with the 2D symbol.
If this advanced option proves popular I can also add it to switches, low voltage outlets, safety devices (wall mounted), and light fixtures (wall mounted).
This advanced option is per customer request.
On my own electrical plans I typically don't call out the switch or outlet height however in some cases I have provided a height call out with GFCI outlets installed in the garage.
First look at wall mounted (surface) fluorescent light fixtures:
First look at vanity light fixtures:
- Added the following light fixture categories and symbols: Surface, Recessed, Vanity, Ceiling Fan, Ceiling Fan w/ Light, Fluorescent (Surface Mount).
Now that I've reworked the light fixture module it is much more conducive to adding in additional light fixture categories/types, at some point I may even allow the user to add in custom categories. I still need to add in the fluorescent suspended and recessed categories and their corresponding symbols. However, I usually won't add in a category until I have a minimum of one default fixture to place into the library for that category.
- Added the following light fixture category and symbol: Fluorescent (Recessed).
Included fixtures are a 2x4 and 2x2 troffer.
- Added the following light fixture category and symbol: Fluorescent (Suspended).
The only other major type of lighting that is missing is track lighting and possibly some variants of existing lighting types that indicate they are LED rather than fluorescent or incandescent.
With fluorescent lighting there is a small text file in each library sub-folder that specifies the dimensions of the light fixture. Technically the numbers for each light fixture can be set to any value (width, depth, length), they are only used to provide the wireframe preview and help with the placement if you toggle the fixture justification. I will put out a tutorial on how to use these config files and setup your own custom fixtures.
- Added an advanced option for switches and low voltage outlets to display the device height with the 2D symbol.
- Added an advanced option for wall mounted light fixtures to display the device height with the 2D symbol.
I also resolved a minor bug with the placement of wall mounted light fixtures so I highly recommend upgrading to this latest release.
First look at the electrical symbols legend generated by the plugin:
The secondary toolbar has the icon for generating the legend:
The legend is parametric so every time you click the legend icon/tool it regenerates the legend based on what electrical devices are present in the model. You can also move (x, y or z) or rotate the legend and it will retain these new coordinates when it is regenerated.
Initially the legend is drawn at the origin but can be positioned at any location (and retained) by the user using SketchUp's native move or rotate tools.
The overall size of the legend and its text and symbol size is driven by the parameter in the global settings, as is the font of the text which will match the font used by the electrical symbols in the model.
It also appears that you can use SketchUp's native scale tool to scale the legend and it will also retain this setting when regenerated.
Outlets, Switches, Low Voltage and Load Centers.
I still need to add in lights, safety devices, Heaters and Vents.
- Added the "Draw Legend" function to the secondary toolbar.
- Enabled the ability to automatically create an electrical symbols legend for all electrical devices within the model.
After working my way down through the list of possible symbols I'm surprised to see that there are so many and the legend can get quite large.
I think the real power in this plugin is not the ability to insert 3D components into your model, technically you don't even need a plugin to do this, just a bunch of pre-configured components (.skp files). The real strength is the automation of the 2D symbols and the parametrics of the plugin (allowing you to swap out devices types, colors, height and rotation). Now with the addition of a parametric symbols legend it automates yet another tedious task.
I'm fairly happy with the way the legend has come out but for future work I may include a parameter in the global settings which allows the user to enable sub-titles (divides the legend into logical sections: outlets, switches, lights, etc...) as well as specify the number of columns that legend should be divided into, this becomes more of an issue when there are a lot of electrical symbols to display.
I think some people would argue that I go too deep with my plugins (too many settings, parameters, options etc...) I would agree that if possible simple is often better. The goal is to make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
On the flip side the addition of more options and parameters increases the amount of data or information that model contains and hence makes it more useful (BIM). Options also allow the user to further customize their workflow with the plugin and tailor it specifically to their needs. Many of the options I have added have been directly requested by users of the plugins
For those that are interested I will explain how the new "Draw Legend" tool works under the hood.
First the plugin finds all of the groups in the model (active_entities, if no group or component is open for editing then this will be the same as entities at the root of the model).
It then checks inside each of these groups and identifies the electrical groups that belong to the plugin (based on the group instance name). Once it has collected up all of the electrical groups in the model it then divides them into their appropriate categories: Outlets, Switches, Light etc...
It then examines each sub-category and dives into the attributes library for each electrical device (group). The attributes library tells it what 2D symbol is associated with that particular device. It then creates a new list of symbols to draw for the legend for each category at the same time discarding or preventing duplicates.
The symbols shown in the legend are drawn, for the most part, using the same methods as the symbols drawn for the actual devices however some of them have been altered slightly in order to customize them specifically for the legend.
As you can see there is quite a bit going on under the hood. When a model gets large with hundreds of walls and possibly hundreds of electrical components generating the legend may take up to 30 seconds.
- Added additional NEMA 240V receptacles into the Outlet module: NEMA 6-30R, NEMA 6-50R.
These additional receptacles (and symbols) were per customer request.
Tutorial 3: Electrical Symbols Legend
Since adding the symbols legend I've had a number of requests for a tool to draw a schedule (similar to how I am drawing the legend).
Now that I've got a fairly solid routine for pulling the electrical data (I will use much of this same code for the estimating tool) it isn't too big of a leap to draw a schedule.
My question is what information do you need or want in this schedule, how do you want it laid out? Every device listed with its parameters or do I group like devices?
Please give feedback in this regard. Also feel free to send me any sample electrical schedules that I can utilize as references.
If I know what I want to output I can probably knock this out in 2-3 hours, most of the underlying code is already in place.
Version 1.0.7 - 04.28.2019
- Fixed the show_modal bug for macOS in the Materials tab of the global settings.
A couple of things worth noting after working with a customer via Skype this morning:
1.) If your custom walls have reversed faces this will affect the plugin. The solution is to jump into the group, right click on the face in question and reverse the face.
2.) The plugin calculates the bottom of the wall by looking at the origin of the group that is the container for the wall geometry. If the origin of this group is below or above the bottom of the wall then the vertical distance for positioning various electrical fixtures (ie. switches, outlets, data etc...) will not be correct. I may change this up to consider the lowest point of the face rather than the origin of the group, I will need to give this some additional thought.
Version 1.0.8 - 09.28.2019
- Fixed a critical performance bug that affects all the modules within the extension.
*** CRITICAL PERFORMANCE UPDATE ***
If you are noticing a slowdown of the plugin performance after multiple edits to an electrical fixture, this fix will resolve that issue. This issue affects all previous versions of the plugin.
- Added the "Draw Floor Outlets" and the "Draw Misc. Fixture" function to the secondary toolbar.
- Enabled the ability to draw misc. fixtures with Medeek wall assemblies or any wall geometry. Enabled misc. devices include: Thermostats, doorbell buttons, doorbell chimes, and doorbell transformers.
View model here:
Additional fixture components (ie. other manufacturer's doorbell models etc...) can easily be utilized by placing them into the appropriate sub-folder of the plugin's library/misc sub-folder.
- Fixed a minor bug in the General tab of the global settings.
- Enabled the ability to draw floor and ceiling outlets.
The included outlets: Raco 5500, Leviton 25249 (Nickel and Brass) Series, Standard Duplex Outlet.
The plugin automatically detects whether the outlet is a floor or ceiling outlet and assigns the appropriate symbol. This may require some further refinement for outlets mounted to slightly inclined floor or ceiling surfaces, I will be testing this particular situation further.
User defined outlets can be utilized by dropping the component files into the appropriate library sub-folders: library/fc_rcpt/gang1 or library/fc_rcpt/gang2
The default label for floor/ceiling outlets is 'RCPT', however this can be set independently from wall mount outlets in the global settings.
Has anyone ever seen or used a symbol for a duplex switch?
- Added additional 240V duplex and simplex outlets to the built-in library: NEMA 6-15R and NEMA 6-20R.
- Added some simplex outlets to the floor outlet built-in library.
I'm wondering with the undesignated 240V outlets if I should provide the NEMA number (ie. 6-20R) next to the 2D symbol. I would assume that this would be very useful information, a 240V receptacle can take many forms and various amperages.
Version 1.1.1b - 12.04.2019
- Added more 20A (NEMA 5-20R) outlets to the outlet module: GFCI, WP GFCI, USB etc...
Creating a few new electrical components gives me a much needed break from the code and is actually quite relaxing. I'm at the most difficult part of the complex roof module, so I'm taking a couple days to clear my head so that I can take a fresh crack at it and allow myself to think outside the box if required. I find that sometimes it helps to take a break sometimes, which effectively takes the blinders off, and then alternative (better) solutions almost magically appear.
If there are any specific outlet or fixture types you would like added please email me.
I apologize that I have not provided a solution for other electrical standards yet. Eventually I will do this but I'm not ready to bite it off just yet.
Even if you do not purchase the plugin, I think it would be worthwhile to download the trial version just for all of the pre-built electrical components now available in the library sub-folder. Of course, I would prefer that you purchase the plugin but if you don't need the parametrics and some of the other automated features then even the trial version and the library files might be quite useful.
- Added the "Draw Low Voltage Panel" function to the secondary toolbar.
- Enabled the ability to draw low voltage panels with Medeek wall assemblies or any wall geometry. Included Structured Media Panels: Leviton 47605 (14", 21", 28", 42").
View model here:
For now only the flush cover models are included however if I find the time I will model up the hinged cover variants and include those as part of the standard library.
- Added an offset parameter (advanced options) for switches which allows the symbol and label to be offset from the wall.
Version 1.1.3 - 01.01.2020
- Added additional (120V, 20A) outlets to the built-in outlet library.
This update includes various (20A) USB and GFCI outlets.
For many of the electrical fixtures the designer can use their own electrical components as well as the ones included with the plugin. Here are a few hints/tips on how to do this:
1.) You need remove the spaces from file names with spaces in them. Either delete the spaces or replace them with underscores like I have done with my filenames.
2.) With your electrical light fixtures be sure that fixture base is located at the origin of the model within your component file. This actually applies to any electrical fixture. The location of the component with respect to the origin determines where it will land within the model once it is inserted by the plugin.
3.) When you insert the (ceiling mount) light fixture below make sure you select "ceiling" and not "wall" for the mounting position from the parameter list.
Per a customer request I will probably add in two additional user definable fields for all electrical fixtures:
Unlike other parameters these will default to a nil value.
Are there any other parameters like these that I should add while I am updating each electrical fixture type to include these additional two parameters?
- Added optional metadata parameters for switches: description, circuit.
Once I've received some additional feedback on this new feature I will probably add the metadata parameters for all other electrical fixtures.
Further down the road I can probably also setup a tool which will allow the user to quickly visualize which switches, outlets etc... are on a particular circuit.
Version 1.1.5 - 04.28.2020
- Added a Global Reset button in the General tab of the Global Settings.
- Plugin files switched from .rbs to .rbe encryption.
First look at a low poly UK outlet:
The model is based off of the .SAT models provided on the website of MK Electric.
View model here:
In the global settings there will be a new parameter for choosing the electrical standard. The default standard will be NEMA (North America) with a new option for the BS (British Standard).
When you enable the British standard the usual toolbars will be the same however you will also get a third toolbar for British standard specific outlets and switches (and in the future possibly other specific items). The regular NEMA switches and outlets will still be available with the main toolbar so in case the user wants a mixed installation of NEMA and BS components. I may change this in the future depending on customer feedback.
The initial UK toolbar will be:
I wish the Union Jack displayed with a bit more clarity but it is hard to get a lot of detail when the icons are as small as they are.
Version 1.1.6 - 08.11.2020
- Updated all electrical drawing tools to be compatible with Medeek gable, shed and hip walls.
- Improved compatibility with the SketchUp Grid Tool.
Slightly off topic but I really like using the Grid Tool to help with laying out walls, foundations and even electrical components:
My self imposed timeline for getting the UK switches and outlets released is Oct. 1, 2020. However I may be able to push that sooner if I am able to shuffle a few things.
After comparing my UK switch tool and the US (NEMA) switch tool it became abundantly clear that there isn't too much to do in order to get the UK switches up and running so I bit the bullet and opened another can of worms...
First look at some flush mounted MK Logic Plus switches with metal boxes:
I still need to enable the 2D symbols but now I am wondering if the symbols used by the Brits are different from what we use here in North America, knowing my luck they are probably not the same.
To be perfectly honest I didn't think this plugin would be widely used or adopted, kind of niche thing for a few electrical contractors or guys like myself who like to show a lot of details in their models. I actually got the initial idea from reading through John Brock's book and I really liked how he was placing electrical components into his models. It seemed like too much work to have to place pre-made components into the model at the right depth into the walls and also the height, hence the plugin was born, which automatically sorted out these details for you.
As with my other plugins as I have continued to develop them they have garnered more interest and I've tried to make them more flexible to accommodate more users and standards. I'm currently working to release the British Standard upgrade which will include some typical UK outlets and switches (and boxes). However, a lot more remains to be done to truly make this flexible enough for a worldwide audience.
Keep sending in the feedback, it ultimately helps me fine tune this plugin to better meet the needs of you the user.
Surface mounted MK Logic Plus switches:
- Created the Medeek Electrical UK (British Standard) toolbar, with two additional functions/tools: Draw Switch, Draw Outlet.
- Enabled the Draw Switch (UK) tool with the following switch types (MK Logic Plus): single pole, dimmer, blank.
Since I am using manufacturer's part numbers to specify the switch and box with the new UK module I thought it made sense to provide a thumbnail to aid in the selection process:
- Added preview thumbnails to the draw and edit menus of the UK switch tool.
After some further digging about on the internet I really only came upon three or four reference documents for UK outlet symbols. Based on those example here are my proposed symbols:
Please provide feedback or suggestions.
I planning on using the abbreviation "SW" for switched since I am trying to keep the length of the text in the legend to a manageable length, or I could spell it out in full.
There will probably be other outlet types (ie. fused outlets or connector outlets), but this is all I have for now.
- Enabled the Draw Outlet (UK) tool with the following outlets types (MK Logic Plus): unswitched, switched, switched w/ USB, weatherproof, blank.
- Added preview thumbnails to the draw and edit menus of the UK outlet tool.
- Added UK outlet (2D) symbols to the Legend tool.
Editing a UK outlet:
Tutorial 4: UK Toolbar
Version 1.1.9 - 09.10.2020
- Added optional metadata parameters for outlets: description, circuit.
Custom Wiring Feature:
I've been getting some requests for the ability to add in wiring.
After giving this some additional thought I think I can add in a rudimentary wiring module that will allow the user to create their own wire types. The basic parameters would be:
1.) Name: NM-B_14/3, NM-B_8/3 etc...
2.) Shape: RND or RECT
7.) Bend Radius
The second toolbar will include a new icon for wiring:
Additionally the wiring assemblies will not be embedded into any other assemblies (ie. wall, roof, floor etc...), this way they can be edited and regenerated. I will have two context menu items for wiring assemblies: edit and regen.
The bend radius is the parameter that is the most unique feature of this tool. One could easily use a tool like profile builder to generate the wiring but with the bend radius the tool will introduce another level of complexity.
In some cases the line segment(s) will be too short to allow for the bend to occur, in these cases the radius will not be applied, the segments will simply be followed as is.
The wire types can be configured in the global settings of the plugin.
First look at the Custom Wire Library tab in the global settings:
- Added a "Refresh Licensee Data" button within the License tab of the Global Settings.
- Added a Custom Wire Library to the Global Settings which allows user defined rectangular or circular cross section wires/cables/conduit.
- Enabled the Wiring Tool with three additional context menu functions: Edit Wire Assembly, Regen Wire Assembly, Edit Wire Path.
- Added a 4th dimensioning layer specifically for wire callouts in the Layers tab of the Global Settings.
- Added the following parameters to the General tab of the Global Settings: Wire Label Callout, Wire Label Prefix, Circle Segments.
I think I need a few additional tools to round out this wiring module and make it more intuitive and efficient to use:
- Move Segment Tool (rather than having to edit the wire path directly)
- Integrate the Estimating tool with the wiring statistics
Version 1.2.1b - 10.15.2020
- Draw Wire Tool input extended to two options: Points, Edges
Tutorial 5 - Wiring (11:15 min.)
- Added a "2d Symbols Only" parameter into the General tab of the Global Settings.
- Enabled the "2d Symbols Only" mode for the following electrical elements: Outlets, Switches.
Yet another update per customer requests. A number of users only want to use the plugin to show the 2D electrical symbols rather than drawing the 3D electrical components (and the symbols). (Technically one could achieve pretty much the same result by turning off the electrical rough and finish layers.)
The new 2D symbols only mode will allow this mode wherein only the 2D symbols are drawn. Note, that I have only enabled this feature for outlets and switches thus far and I will need to extend that functionality to all other electrical elements (ie. fans, data outlets, floor outlets, panels etc...)
The nice thing about this bimodal system is that all of the regular data is being stored for each electrical component in the model (attribute library) so one can switch between modes mid-stream without any problems if necessary.
Similar to the estimator found in the Wall plugin the user will be able to select "All" or a selection of assemblies to run the estimator on:
The non-Medeek wall and roof assemblies will also be selectable since the Electrical plugin also works with non-Medeek walls, roofs etc...
I don't feel like it is necessary to break the listings into the assemblies they are part of however I will include a column in each table which lists the main assembly the electrical component is found in, this should prove useful to some.
There are a lot of little details with regards to different electrical components (ie. outlets, switches, panels etc...) Each type of electrical component has unique characteristics, all of this data needs to be output by the Electrical Estimator
, it will probably take me a few days to assemble this new module.
Once it is complete it will make this plugin a much more useful tool.
P.S. I think it would be also quite useful at some point to incorporate a price database that works with the estimating module. This separate database would be referenced to determine the price, vendor etc... for a given electrical component. Additionally, the list of materials could then be conveniently broken into separate purchase orders for each vendor. I'm probably getting a bit ahead of myself here but with the ability to program just about anything with the API and the Ruby back end its conceivable that one could generate PO's that could then easily be imported into Quickbooks or any other accounting software. I've done a bit of Quickbooks API programming in the past where I integrated my own customer billing system and expense database with the software, its really not that hard to do.
When I ran my web hosting company back in the early 2000's I got really sick of having to manually enter in customer orders and business expenses into Quickbooks, the problem was my billing system and Quickbooks (my accounting system) were completely two different ecosystems. I would usually have to devote one entire day out of the month for this tedious task. I finally got smart one day and decided it would be really nice if I could somehow automate this process. After about two days of programming I had fully automated the manual entry problem and set it up as Chron job that would run nightly, it would even shoot me out an automatic email every morning letting me know how the process went and if there were any issues.
"Laziness is the mother of invention"
First look at the CSV output (imported into Excel) for the Electrical Estimator:
*Note, the additional formatting (column spacing, bold, underline) is done in Excel after the import.
Also note that I have the total lengths tallied for each wire type.
- Created the initial framework of the Medeek Electrical Estimating Module.
- Added wiring to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.
- Added the ability to export data from the Medeek Electrical Estimator in CSV format.
I also need to figure out what sort of CSI numbering to assign electrical components.
In the example shown below I've color coded my network cables based on whether they service the first or second floor of the building. The red cable is the designated switch-to-switch or router-switch cabling:
Note that the totals allows me to determine my cable amounts for each floor. I'm also able to determine that each cable run does not exceed a max. length.
View model here:
Once I created all of my cable paths I dropped them onto a separate layer so I could easily hide them (and keep them around for future use if needed) once my wires were created.
- Added outlets and switches to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.
First look at UK electrical outlets and switches in the electrical estimator:
- Added data (low voltage) outlets, lights, panels, UK outlets, and UK switches to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.
The following (six) electrical elements still need to be added into the Electrical Estimator:
Safety Devices, Heaters, Vents, Floor Outlets, Low Voltage Panels, Misc. Fixtures
Version 1.2.6- 11.13.2020
- Added Safety Devices, Heaters, Vents, Floor Outlets, Low Voltage Panels and Misc. Fixtures to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.
The Electrical Estimator is now complete. I still need to change up the CSI numbers for the various components but for now I've just used my own default numbering system. I will need to get with some electrical contractors on what are the appropriate numbers to use.
I will now turn my attention to more pressing matters involving the Truss plugin.
- Enabled the ability to draw outlets and switches with Medeek Polyline Stemwall assemblies.
- Enabled the ability to draw UK outlets and switches with Medeek Polyline Stemwall assemblies.
- Added optional metadata parameters for UK outlets and switches: description, circuit.
- Added a circuit callout parameter in the General tab of the global settings.
- Added a 5th dimensioning layer specifically for circuit callouts in the Layers tab of the Global Settings.
- Enabled circuit callouts for the following fixtures: Switches, Outlets, UK Switches and UK Outlets.
- Added an option for vertically offsetting text and symbols within the General tab of the Global Settings.
- Annotation text and symbols for outlets, switches, UK outlets and UK switches can be vertically offset a custom amount from the bottom of the wall.
- Added four additional parameters to the "User Interface" section of the General tab of the global settings. This allows the customization (colors) of the HTML menus and buttons.
Version 1.3.1 - 06.16.2021
- Updated the wiring module/algorithm to improve performance and overall robustness.
Version 1.3.4 - 06.13.2023
- Enabled switches, outlets and lights to be inserted into "component" walls.
Previously electrical fixtures could only be inserted into walls that were "groups", with this update the wall assemblies can be either groups or components.
This update per customer request.
I will still need to update the other misc. electrical fixtures (ie. panels, low voltage, safety, heaters, vents, low voltage panels etc...)
Version 1.3.4b - 06.15.2023
- Enabled all other electrical fixtures for "component" walls.
- Added six additional dimmer switch combinations.
This update per customer request.
- Added an offset parameter (advanced options) for outlets which allows the symbol and label to be offset from the wall.
- Added two additional advanced parameters for vertically offsetting text and symbols for switches and outlets.
The text and symbol vertical offsets are driven by the global settings however these two parameters can now be adjusted separately for each individual outlet or switch.
This update is per customer request.
- Added four timer switch combinations (Leviton VPT24-1PZ).
Added per customer request.
- Added two additional parameters for annotation formatting.
- Added the "Regen Electrical" function to the primary toolbar, enabled regeneration for all electrical fixtures.
- Moved the "Draw Safety Device" tool to the secondary toolbar.
- Added the "Symbol Text Scale" parameter for scaling superscript of 2D electrical symbols.
This update per customer request.
With this update one can scale the 2D symbol superscript of the electrical symbols and make them more visible and legible when exporting to Layout, PDFs or paper.
- Annotation Formatting (9:47 min.)
Version 1.3.9 - 01.08.2024
- Updated and improved the license verification module.
- Disabled redundant logging to improve plugin performance.
- Added a "PIPE" shape to the wire module for electrical conduit.
- Added an additional parameter for custom wires (conduits/pipes) within the library: Wall Thickness.
- Added standard PVC (Schedule 40) electrical conduit sizes into the custom wire library.
Note, that previous custom wire libraries will not be compatible with this latest update. If you have an extensive library already established please contact me directly with step-by-step instructions on how to bring an older wire library into this latest version of the plugin.
The dimensions for the OD, wall thickness and bend radius were taken directly from CANTEX and JM Eagle literature, and should match exactly the standard specs for SCH40 PVC in the American and Canadian markets.
- Improved the serial number verification logic within the License tab of the Global Settings.
- Added standard PVC (Schedule 80) electrical conduit sizes into the custom wire library.
- Fixed a minor bug with the edit wire profile logic of the wire module.
It turns out the outer diameter and bend radius of schedule 80 conduit is the same as schedule 40, only the wall thickness is different. I learn something new everyday.