Medeek Electrical Plugin

Started by Medeek, January 25, 2019, 07:14:57 PM

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Medeek

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:

https://extensions.sketchup.com/extension/a784fd64-f0ae-492b-8ca4-06aaec6afec6/grid-tool

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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer


Medeek

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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Surface mounted MK Logic Plus switches:

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.1.7 - 08.13.2020
- 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.

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer


Medeek

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:

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.1.7b - 08.13.2020
- Added preview thumbnails to the draw and edit menus of the UK switch tool.

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.1.8 - 08.15.2020
- 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.






Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer


Medeek

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.1.9 - 09.10.2020
- Added optional metadata parameters for outlets: description, circuit.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

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
3.) Dia.
4.) Width
5.) Depth
6.) Color
7.) Bend Radius

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer


Medeek

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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

First look at the Custom Wire Library tab in the global settings:

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.2.0 - 10.11.2020
- Added a "Refresh Licensee Data" button within the License tab of the Global Settings.

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.2.1 - 10.14.2020
- 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
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.2.1b - 10.15.2020
- Draw Wire Tool input extended to two options: Points, Edges

Tutorial 5 - Wiring (11:15 min.)

https://youtu.be/DAYZf3cDZhk
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.2.2 - 10.16.2020
- 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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer


Medeek

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"
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.2.3 - 10.20.2020
- 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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

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:

https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model/ba4a8a90-9eb1-41c8-8e8c-b6b72723dfce/Network-Cables-Example-1

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.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer

Medeek

Version 1.2.4 - 10.22.2020
- Added outlets and switches to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
Designer, Programmer and Engineer