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A Smart, Simple Electrical Tool


This is perhaps a bit niche but who knows. As a small UK based architects practice, we often do electrical/lighting layouts for projects. These have long been done in a 'dumb' way - i.e. symbols for fittings, switches, sockets etc. and polylines indicating wiring routes. We don't really get involved in voltages and the actual detail of the electrical system, just the position of things.


Getting a bit more advanced, we can create a key for our sheet layer using worksheets that schedule out which fittings are present and the numbers of them, but that's about it. The vectorworks circuiting tool is far more advanced than we need, despite some nice functionality.


What would be great is a simple set of tool, perhaps only 3; switches, fittings and wiring. These could be a bit more intelligent and communicate with one another, whilst being flexible enough to use each practice's/nation's electrical symbol conventions.


Imagine placing a switch on the wall near a light. You wire it up with the same method as using VW's existing circuiting tool - just two clicks and your nice arc is created. No polylines and then poly-smoothing or messing around with the arc tool. You then wire up another light to the same switch and the switch knows to change to indicate to a two-gang switch now that it's controlling two circuits. Add another switch at the other end of one of the circuits and they both automatically become two-way switches. Tick a check-box in the OIP for a dimmer switch and they both become dimmer switches.


This would be a joy to use compared to the way we currently work and would clear out clutter in the resource browser. It shouldn't be necessary to have 1 symbol for a single switch, 1 for a double, 1 for a single two-way, 1 for a double two way etc. etc. and then multiplied again for the dimmer variant (or manually typing a 'd' next to the symbol which is what often gets done instead).


As Archicad have, a parametric lighting object would be great. If you want to layout 4 simple downlights in a room you shouldn't have to draw lots of construction lines. A smarter light-fittings tool could be used to specify the number of lights required, a simple box is drawn over the room area and the program works out how to distribute them easily. This would be amazing!

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