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DIN Rail Mounting - ConnectCAD


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@tom-SPL I'm wondering if we can bend the RackFrame object to be a DIN rail? Essentially we are talking about a mounting that has a fixed number of equal-sized slots into which we can drop modular equipment that can occupy one or more of those slots. That's basically what a rack frame does - it just doesn't look anything like a DIN rail. What do you think? would that fit the bill if we had DIN-rail-style graphics?

 

Let me know.

 

Conrad

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I would be interested in more DIN rail functionality as well. I think the Rack Frame idea could have legs, but some other thoughts:

 

- I think it would need to have some integration in to DIN schematic devices. I can see it being confusing for people if they draw out all of their DIN devices on the schematic and it has no link to the physical DIN modelling.

- Because ConnectCAD schematics are inherently at the signal level, DIN schematic devices are a bit ambiguous as to cores vs circuits. One circuit of two cores might use one DIN terminal on the schematic, which is actually two DIN terminals in real life. We've had a stab at this by adding a 'DIN Data' record, where the user can input how many cores are contained and how many ways each DIN terminal should be - 2 way, 3 way etc.

- Labelling also comes in to this - generating labels for DIN terminals is one of the many boring tasks that needs doing, and is dependent on the actual model of DIN terminal used.

 

Some users here really like the WAGO Configurator, which is worth having a look at as inspiration.

 

I think it might be valuable to think of something like:

 

- Each Term Panel device set to DIN mode reveals extra PIO parameters of 'Number of Cores', 'Number of Ways Per Core' and possibly some input for 'Part Number'. This fixes the ambiguity of DIN devices by making it clear that the schematic device represents the group of DIN terminals serving an entire Signal. 

- That data is used to generate suitable physical items to drop in to a rack frame for the terminal side of DIN work.

 

- As a later phase, there could be a drop down of common DIN terminal models as symbols (so that you can just provide a few and power users can go to town), which would include labelling integration.

 

- The physical data that is present on Devices and Equipment Items changes from 'Rack Width' to 'Form', with options on half rack, full rack, non-rack and DIN. The HeightRU then becomes 'size' or something, which can show 1U, 2U or common DIN intervals, depending on the choice of Form. Devices then generate as DIN-mountable equipment items.

 

Put together, this means DIN equipment and DIN terminals can be represented on the same rail, as they are often used in real life.

Edited by spettitt
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From my experience on PLC control panels using devices on DIN Rail, I think the fixed size slots will be a problem. There are many, many different size objects that all mount onto the rails. I know that ConnectCAD is not intended for use on this type of panel, but I would like to be able to use it for this. 😉. Might as well at least put the ideas out there while it is being considered.

 

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42 minutes ago, Pat Stanford said:

I think the fixed size slots will be a problem

 

Actually this is very true for DIN equipment yes, even if less so for terminals.

 

43 minutes ago, Pat Stanford said:

I know that ConnectCAD is not intended for use on this type of panel

 

Maybe not, but audio-visual installations use them routinely, so it's definitely a feature that I think should be on the roadmap.

 

I guess it depends whether there is a need for 3D or 2D - I can certainly see value in 3D because some equipment can stick out a lot further than others. That would probably means it would be a logical-equivalent object to a 3D Rack - i.e. generative configurable 3D geometry (the DIN rail) that child equipment items can dock to, and then optionally dock to a 3D rack itself.

 

If 2D were enough, it could logically be an equivalent to what a Panel Layout is currently - a 2D PIO that displays some fixed geometry and hosts 2D symbols based on instances of things on the schematic. All the tech appears to be there for this already, but it may not be as desirable as the 3D equivalent.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@Pat Stanford Isn't it true that DIN rails use a standard module width of 18mm? In ConnectCAD you can specify the number of slots occupied by an equipment item. So on that level I think the rack-frame is a possible starting point.

 

@spettitt regarding 2D vs 3D, I think there is no question. We've gone 3D with all our equipment layout and we're not going back. Anything that is required to make 3D as easy to use as 2D is definitely on the map.

 

As for the link between DIN rail devices and modular equipment in a DIN-rail-style rack-frame, this pretty much comes for free since we'd be leveraging the existing model.

 

Regarding circuits as signals vs. cores yes there's a kind of ambiguity but it's a good ambiguity because you can use it! ConnectCAD keeps track what's connected to what and leaves it up to you to decide on the interpretation. It's very easy to add complexity to software and very hard to get rid of it once it's there. So unless I can see a very clear path to a deeper level of detail in the general sense I think it's better to leave it as is.

 

Conrad

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2 hours ago, Conrad Preen said:

Regarding circuits as signals vs. cores yes there's a kind of ambiguity but it's a good ambiguity because you can use it! ConnectCAD keeps track what's connected to what and leaves it up to you to decide on the interpretation.

 

Yea, and I think it's fine on the schematic as it is...but - if someone draws a circuit in to a DIN terminal on the schematic and then generates 3D equipment to represent that DIN terminal to drop in to their rack frame - how will you know how many wide the DIN terminal needs to be? Do you just put it on the user to take the initial DIN terminal and change it to the width they want? That would be a decent first step I guess.

Edited by spettitt
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3 hours ago, Conrad Preen said:

 Isn't it true that DIN rails use a standard module width of 18mm? In ConnectCAD you can specify the number of slots occupied by an equipment item. So on that level I think the rack-frame is a possible starting point.

Not in my experience, at least in power devices.

 

I just quickly looked through one vendors catalog of power supplies, terminal blocks, circuit breakers, and motor starters, and different devices came in the following widths (and I am sure I missed some). All dims in millimeters.

 

5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13.5, 16, 17.5, 17.8, 19.5, 25.5, 27, 35.6, 45, 52, 55, 58, 60, 61.5, 64, 70, 76, 79, 90, 94, 100, 106, 119, 162, 187

 

And three other rail mount instruments I used on a project were  66.5, 10.2, and 27.

 

Even less standardization between different manufacturers.

 

The only thing in the power and industrial control area that you can trust to be the same is that they all cllip onto the 35mm rail. It is a competitive advantage to be a small as possible to allow more in a given panel.

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