Thoughts On Future Harness-Design Functionality

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#1 Thoughts On Future Harness-Design Functionality

While it would be nice (but probably overkill) to eventually get to the point that SkyCAD might rival the likes of Vesys, all you really have to do right out of the box is enough to stomp AutoCAD, which isn't far off from what you already have. I recently met with a head engineer at our harness supplier's facility and lot of their customers (including us) are still using regular AutoCAD drawings without any intelligence whatsoever, along with an accompanying excel wire/BOM file. No linking to 3D CAD dimensions or P2P schematic files; everything is done manually and prone to error.

I can already almost do this better in SkyCAD right now, but it'd be really awesome if a connection symbol type was created to look like convoluted tubing (we use "train-tracks" that look like a line of continuously-connected '+'), or heavy-duty wrap, and the branches could polar snap every 5.625* (or snap-to-grid) instead of every 90*. I could draw symbols that resemble the connector profiles, and then the drawings would already look cleaner, and be faster to make. Then, while I currently insert manual pinout tables next to the connector (connector cavity # / inserted wire #), it would seem to be fairly trivial to be able to link said connector profile symbol to a given component within the schematic design, and generate an attribute table automatically.

This feature set alone (along with a color editor on the Drawing toolbar) would be enough to fully replace AutoCAD for wire harness drawings at our firm.

That's the plan!

Thanks for your suggestion Bobby,

The harness features you wish to see in a futur version of SkyCAD are pretty much what will be available when we release the PRO licence features.  Our features page quickly addresses these future harness features.

That said, your input about what you expect out of SkyCAD is very important to us.  Could you (eventually) give us example images of what you mean by :

(...) polar snap every 5.625* (or snap-to-grid) instead of every 90*.

Thanks again!  Keep these suggestions coming!

Right on! Is there a time

Right on! Is there a time frame for when the pro license will be available yet?

Got a little mixed up and off topic with the above-- was referring to schematic drawings, not bundle drawings, for polar snapping (illustrated poorly in the attachment). It'd be nice to be able to enable the option of either polar snap or grid snap (that scales with zooming) when drawing wires.

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Thanks for the drawings!

Thanks for the explanations Bobby.  Your drawings are far from being poorly drawn, by the way!

The Pro features are planed to be available sometime around March 2019. That said, we will need soft-release users who will get the features before everyone else.  So just let us know if you wish to be a part of those, and we'll make sure to send you an early version when it's ready.

As for connections that snap to grid, we do already have that.  Here's how you can enable it yourself.

1- Select a connection thumbnail in the library, right click, and choose 'Explore connection'.

 

2- In the following dialog box, you should find a property named 'Orthogonal', which is checked.

3- Simply uncheck the value and click OK.

4- Try inserting this connection, and you should notice that it is no linger forced orthogonal, but rather snaps on the grid. 

 

As for polar snap, that we don't have yet...

 

Excellent, thank you!

Excellent, thank you!

For what it's worth, polar snapping would only really be beneficial at all for a harness-layout drawings (having the option to switch between polar and grid snapping with object snapping always enabled would be nice- but not necessary); grid is the only way to go for schematics

Another Question Re Linking Schematic to Bundle

How will SkyCAD link symbols in the schematic set to connectors in the harness design? Specifically for PLCs-- I have a PLC with 6 connectors on it, and a lot of it is GPIO so general functionality is shared across several. Am I free to lay out my PLC module symbols by function (whereas my blocks wouldn't be representative of my connectors) or do I need to organize my PLC module symbols by connector?

I guess another way to ask this question is: will it be possible to link individual signals from a given PLC module symbol in a schematic set to a connector cavity on a harness drawing?

Potential Solution For Connectors on IO Modules

Alright, so I'm not sure how you're currently pulling in connector data for the harness drawing, but here's my suggestion that might hopefully allow multiple mating connector assignment to a single device without breaking things:

For every device in the catalogue, add an optional parameter for 'Mating Connector', with a (+) to add rows for additional mating connectors for devices with more than one. That entry for the mating connector will then link to another item in the catalogue- the mating connector part itself; there would contain the number & types of cavities, profile graphic for the harness drawing, and ideally even links to compatible passive parts in the catalogue like backshells and dust covers (which could then be imported into the harness drawing via properties menu on the connector while in the harness drawing, or something-- that was just the first thing that came to mind). I assume you're already doing this, as I can't imagine another way of making it work without manually entering everyting.

So basically, you're in the blank harness drawing-area of SKyCAD, and I import my schematic file. Boom, now there's a list of mating connectors sitting in an add queue under the project tree, waiting to get pulled into the drawing-- all of which pulled from the parameters described in the paragraph above. The very same thing could be done for splice points (all the same, I see no other way).

So that's roughly how I imagine the linking logic would work between SkyCAD schematics to SkyCAD harness design, which brings me to the part that I think will make multiple connector assignments to a device less painful:

It appears to me that the symbol creator is capable of doing nearly everything that the block generator can come up with (except for complete IO tables up-front, which I don't need), with the added bonus of being massively more versatile in appearance. If I were able to assign IO types to the insertion points on the attached symbol, I'd be able to have my own custom PLC symbol that I believe will allow a work-around for the current issue plagueing myself and another user on the forums regarding connector/cable assignment.

Along with being able to assign IO types to the insertion points, we should also be able to assign a connector ref (from a drop-down list populated by the component's catalogue values "Mating Connector X Ref" & "Mating Connector X Part Number") and cavity # in the insertion point's properties. That way, your point-to-point tables still get pulled into the harness drawing automatically, with the added feature of being able to assign any number of mating connectors to a device (but the only ones that get pulled into the harness drawing are ones tied to terminals in the active schematic file-- good for devices with optional connections).

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