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Scott C. Parker

Vectorworks, Inc Employee
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Posts posted by Scott C. Parker

  1. 4 minutes ago, JustinVH said:

    I don't believe you can have a corner block without the adjacent piece of truss attached

    Correct, a straight truss with a corner block does not calculate unless another truss goes off to the side. It's a long time limitation that's annoying, to say the least. You need to use a 12" straight truss vs. a corner block.

    • Like 1
  2. On 1/23/2024 at 12:04 PM, Wood said:

    How do I piggy back onto this functionality for other values, without defaulting to the 'notes' field

    Have you played with the new 2024 EntQuipUniversal record now attached to each spotlight object upon insertion? You can add your fields to this record for your drawings and add the record to your template files. Whenever you insert spotlight items, the item first checks for the record in the local file. If it's there, it gets used and includes any/all extra fields you've added. Once you have it, you can use the Data Manager to map when you need it, and you can make your reports reference the record. Bonus, data tags can also look at this record.

    • Like 1
  3. Just now, Jiajing said:

    I'm with you as well, the inventory list is stored locally, which makes it way hard to share files with team. I haven't found a good work around yet.


    If you have workgroups set up, the inventory XML files are stored in the workgroup inventory folder rather than the local user folder flavor. Therefore, you should be able to share with your team.
    Always keep a back up of the original VWX file used to create the inventory. Anyone using the shared inventory file can make updates, right or wrong. 🙂


  4. The Equipment list and Inventory dialog will keep a count of your units and compare them to the inventories you build. The summary key you're showing has a bug that keeps it from showing inventory quantities when you use the symbol version of the lighting device. if you change that to the Plug-in version of the symbol, you'll have better luck, but we have a second bug we're working on dealing with.
    We have two videos showing the new inventory and equipment list functions.


    • Like 2
  5. 2 hours ago, tspilman said:

    'compare to inventory' I just get #/0 for each line item.

    Hi Tim,

    I'm sorry to say we're hunting some bugs and an implementation issue. Both are being worked on. 

    The implementation issue is a system limitation that currently restricts the comparison to inventory to work with used plug-in symbols only and not the regularly used equipment symbols we are used to using. Fixing this is a longer process than anyone wishes.

    To have your counts work, please insert the plug-in version of the symbols, and then the counts should work.


    I just found a new bug when I made the above screenshot. If you assign items to inventory sources, the compared quantities (10 in this example) revert to zeros. I'm reporting that now.



  6. 17 hours ago, Wood said:

    guide for this that can get us a bit more detail on best practices for importing DWG

    USITT had an article several years ago covering this. Here's a link to a text version that could be helpful. Unfortunately, it's missing the screenshots. https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Vectorworks+to+AutoCAD+and+back.-a0472370414
    I'm looking for the actual article, but spring cleaning from the past may have spelled its demise. 


    • Like 3
  7. Hi Tomas,

    I've found two workarounds for this. Neither are solutions, but temporary fixes.

    First, make a report and filter it by your floor layer.

    Second, create a floor position, anchor all units on the floor to it, and place a position summary key.

    The worksheet has everything in the layer, while the position summary key only has items on the floor, not on ladders or the four strip lights up high. I explain both in the attached video.










    • Like 1
  8. Create an inventory for each supplier by generating a new Vectorworks file per supplier. Develop an inventory from each file and store it in an easily accessible location for updates when supplier offerings change. Utilize workgroup folders to share inventories with team members, as the inventory XML files will be stored there if available.

    • Like 1
  9. Here's place to start. It's really basic at the moment. https://app-help.vectorworks.net/2024/eng/VW2024_Guide/MEP/Creating_a_circuit.htm#h

    I think these are the right steps, but I've not tested step by step.

    1. Open your Vectorworks project and navigate to the desired drawing where you want to create the room electrical layout.
    2. Make sure you have the MEP toolset activated. You can do this by going to the top menu and selecting "Tools" > "Workspaces" > "Tool Sets" > "MEP".
    3. In the toolset, locate and select the Circuiting tool. It should be represented by an icon resembling a plug and socket.
    4. Click on the first electrical device or outlet that you want to include in the room electrical layout. This will be the starting point of your circuit.
    5. If the selected device is a custom symbol without a Circuiting record attached, the tool will automatically attach the record to the symbol. You may need to specify whether it is an electrical or communication circuit.
    6. The Circuiting Tool dialog box will open, allowing you to enter information for the circuit and the objects within the circuit. Fill in the desired information, such as circuit number, phase, and any other relevant details.
    7. Continue clicking on the remaining devices or outlets in the order you want the circuit loop to be drawn. The tool will automatically connect them and assign circuit numbers accordingly.
    8. To complete the circuit, click in an empty area of the drawing. A confirmation message may appear asking if you want to place the Home Run marker. Click "Yes" to place the marker.
    9. The Circuiting tool will generate a Home Run marker and denote the phases as specified.
    10. Repeat steps 4 to 9 for any additional circuits or devices you want to include in the room electrical layout.
    11. Once you have finished creating the room electrical layout, save your work to ensure you don't lose any progress.


    ConnectCAD is another route, but it's designed to make riser diagrams vs. room mapping and layouts.

  10. Have you checked in:

    1. same location as you keep the VWX file.
    2. VW your user folder
    3. your documents folder.

    Are you running Mac or Windows? Have you done a search for the file using the OS search? The file should be the same name as the file you're working with.

    OH! and have you actually saved the new file you're working with? If not, the XML file wouldn't have a name to use. 

  11. VW creates many XML files in the background. What XML file are you looking for? I suspect you want to use Lightwright. If I'm right, you need to check the "Use automatic Lightwright data exchange" box in the spotlight preferences dialog. If you need a different XML file, let us know.


  12. 14 minutes ago, Conrad Preen said:

    I find the antics of our US counterparts hair raising! But this is our reality.

    Oh... Here's one that has surprised my EU colleagues here at VW.

    Dimmer Doubling from ETC. Single cable, TWO DIMMING circuits. I used these in a theater with only 12 circuits to the front-of-house cove position to give me 24 dimming power circuits. Great device.

    From ETC:

    "Dimmer doubling uses the ability of a SCR dimmer to separately control the top and bottom halves of the voltage waveform. A dimmer doubler uses a high power diode arrangement to split the output of the dimmer into two halves, controlling two separate channels. This allows a single power cable to control two lights, but special 77V lamps must be used.

    ETC's Source Four fixtures have a keying pin arrangement to prevent 77V lamps being accidentally inserted into 110V or 230V fixtures. Dimmer Doubled circuits typically use NEMA L5-15P connectors to differentiate them from 110V stage circuits.

    Dimmer doubling is only supported on US (110V 60Hz) power types."

    • Like 1
    • Laugh 1
  13. 18 minutes ago, Conrad Preen said:

    Neutrals are often undersized on the assumption of proper phase balance etc. Would we need to be alert to a possible overloaded neutral?

    We almost always use the same size wire for both ground and neutral in entertainment via rented temporary cable sets.

    When needed, USA power distributors are available with double neutrals. With the increased use of gear that causes phase harmonics, which throw balances off, the neutrals are carrying more power than many electricians are used to dealing with. It's becoming more common to meter the neutral and adjust the neutral wire size/need.


    In a 208V 3-phase electrical system, current can be present in the neutral wire due to the imbalance of loads across the three phases. In a perfectly balanced system, where each phase carries an identical load, the currents in each phase would cancel each other out in the neutral wire, resulting in no current. However, this ideal balance is rarely achieved.

    Here's why current would flow through the neutral wire:

    1. Imbalanced Loads: If the electrical loads connected to each of the three phases are not equal, the differences in current will not completely cancel out, resulting in a net current flowing through the neutral wire. This is common in the entertainment industry, where lighting, audio equipment, and other devices may not be evenly distributed across the three phases.
    2. Harmonics: Electronic equipment like LED lighting, dimmer packs, and audio amplifiers can introduce harmonics into the electrical system. These harmonics can cause neutral currents even if the fundamental loads are balanced because they do not cancel out like the fundamental frequency.
    3. Single-Phase Loads: In many practical systems, single-phase loads are connected between one of the phases and the neutral. If these loads are not evenly distributed among the three phases, there will be a current in the neutral wire. We have several distributors offering 120V & 208V power from the same box. Thus, the 120 uses the neutral, and the 208 supposedly does not.
    4. Switched Loads: In an environment like a concert or show, loads can be switched on and off frequently. This can lead to transient imbalances and varying neutral currents as different equipment is energized or de-energized.

    It's important for electrical systems to be designed to handle the potential neutral current safely, as excessive current in the neutral wire can lead to overheating and pose a fire risk. 

    • Like 2
  14. I've looked at the file, and I think there's something about the corner blocks not seeing the drape all the way to the outside end. I'm reporting it as a bug. The different names didn't matter in my test.

    The good news is that the calculations are actually continuing, even with the note about the drape length. Here's a screenshot of my test. On the right, I removed the offending drape, and the calculations show a difference between the two systems. I haven't double-checked the math, but the different numbers tell me Braceworks is seeing the outside drape despite the yellow warning.
    If you select all the hoists and turn on the display hoist ID via the checkbox near the bottom of the OIP, you'll see the numbers I'm seeing.

    hth, Scott


    • Like 1
  15. Hi Rob,
    First, I agree with everything you've said. As a career entertainment person, I find many things in the current (new) cable planning workflow fall short for entertainment electricians working on intricate projects. The team in Germany does actually understand. We regularly meet with distributors; cable tools have been a hot topic. 


    To recap your post:

    The primary issue with the power planning software is that it does not allow users to copy work, including all the connections and data, from one file to another without losing the patching information. This is a significant problem because:

    1. The software is prone to crashes, and while there is an auto-save feature, it doesn't help with preserving power planning data.
    2. There are practical needs for duplicating projects, managing different versions, or sharing with other companies, which necessitates the ability to copy content without data loss.
    3. Manually repatching many instruments and power sources is not feasible and undermines workflow efficiency.

    #1: I've tested, and my backup copies retain all the connections to the point of a crash. I set my backups to save every ten operations and I save two copies of the file. If your backups are not working this way, we'd want to see both the actual file and the backup version made via the VW preferences backup setting.


    #2: Like you, I've tried to reuse connected systems from one file to the next. In my work, I save entire systems or past show files as favorites to grab what I need. This doesn't work like we want, as you've noted.

    I have a workaround that I've tested and that works. Instead of favorites for the patched systems, use template files. I've taken a few files of my past shows that tend to have systems I use repeatedly and saved them as template files. For each new project, I start the file with the appropriate template with a system closest to the new show's needs. Using the template retains all the connected systems. This doesn't help when combining gear from two files, but it's a start.


    #3: Totally agree. I'm working on several improvement tasks for the development pipeline. In my opinion, the cable tools need more than simple fixes to this and that; it'll take longer than either of us would like.


    Keep the comments coming. 

    Thanks, Scott


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