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Devices with Modular Cards


CharlesD

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Hi All-

 

I am new to ConnectCAD and struggling to understand the best workflow for devices with modular cards.

 

Examples are the Barco E2 and disguise VX4. Both of these devices have slots for modular input/output cards. As far as I can tell in ConnectCAD I have two options:

 

1- Maintain an instance of the device with every possible card combination.

 

2- Create a device, but do not put in a rack. Create a "Rack Frame" with the same device name, and put my modular cards into that frame?

 

My opinion is:

 

1- Is extremely clunky to manage so many possible permutations. So that's out.

 

2- Is also very clunky. It doesn't give me a while to decide how my equipment looks in the rack elevation.

 

I guess I'm looking to be able to make a device that is behaves like a rack frame, where it is has a couple slots for modular cards to insert into. Is this workflow possible?

rack elevation.PNG

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@CharlesDAppreciate your opinion! Thanks for that - it was very motivating!

 

So, onwards to your actual question:

 

On 7/31/2021 at 9:32 PM, CharlesD said:

I'm looking to be able to make a device that is behaves like a rack frame, where it is has a couple slots for modular cards to insert into. Is this workflow possible?

 

First off let's get some terminology straight. In ConnectCAD when we refer to "device" we mean an object on a wiring schematic with sockets that you can connect up. On layout drawings where we represent physical equipment we use the term "equipment item" to refer to the physical aspect of the schematic device which has the same name.

 

Let's tackle schematic devices first. Of course it makes no sense to have every card combination for these "mix and match" kind of systems. So what you can do is create a (schematic) device for each card and chassis unit. On the schematic you can group these so they are easy to move around.

 

On the layout I would suggest using a rack frame for the main chassis and giving it the same name as the corresponding device on the schematic. Then you can show your module config on the layout by drag-dropping cards into the frame slots.

 

Does that work? of have these particular manufacturers thrown us a curve ball?

 

Conrad

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@Conrad Preen a few follow ups here:

 

1- Thanks for the clarification. Devices = Schematic. Equipment Item = Rack Elevation / Layout

 

2- Can you please elaborate on a suggestion for how to "group these so they are easy to move around"? Are you referring to the way they are represented on the schematic? Or something else?

 

3- I think it's possible that part of my problem is the way CC operates on equipment items. Is it not possible to treat equipment items like a symbol wherein if I make a change to the visual appearance of all of them?

 

4- Most of my projects get built off of the rack elevations, so I'd like to be able to control the look of devices very carefully on the rack elevation. I would rather the ability to place a "card slot" object into a device and have it accept modular devices, in the way that a rack frame does. Take a look at the attached image. That is my goal.

 

5- Does CC do any of its counting based on the 2d or 3d equipment layouts? Or are those strictly visual? I was worried I was going to end up with extraneous "rack frame" devices on reports. Additionally I wanted to be able to generate a "configuration" report. So it would be a list of all selected devices with what modular devices are assigned to them.

modular.PNG

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi @CharlesD

 

Answers 🙂

 

1. Yes Devices are on Schematics. Equipment Item are on Rack Elevation / Layout drawings

 

2. You can group Devices if you want. So something that has a central unit plus various modules could be represented on a schematic as a group of Devices. Connect is fine with this.

 

3. Actually no. You can set an Equipment Item to use a symbol for its graphics if you so wish. Screenshot 2021-08-20 at 17.54.17.png

 

4. Certainly a useful thought.

 

5. ConnectCAD offers various reports as standard. But you are not limited to these. You can use the Vectorworks Create Report command to set up any kind of report on drawing objects. You ony have to do this once. You can save your report in your own version of the template and have it available in every drawing.

 

If that doesn't give you exactly what you need you can refine the workflow using scripts. The really is no limit.

 

Best

 

Conrad

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  • 4 months later...

Hi there, I've recently picked up connectCAD on VW2022 and have a similar question about network switches;

 

the Luminex Gigacore 16XT includes 12 x Ethercon connectors (not modules) and 4x (removable) SFP cages - any SFP module can be used, but I tend to only use LC or RJ45.

I would like to be able to specify which type of SFP is used and have the drawing behave accordingly (and I would like it to show up as an item in an equipment list.)

If I use LC cages, I would use multiples of 2 (as I use quad core fibre). If I use RJ45, these are just for more patch outputs on the back of the unit.

This means there are not so many combinations out cages, so I *could* pre-build some of these more easily than Conrad above. That said, I do not know how to relate that to the equipment list.

Is it possible to tie all this together so it works nicely (and I can simply create a new SFP module if I were to need a different one in the future?

 

Sorry if I haven't explained any of this properly; if anyone needs clarification, please let me know.

 

T

 

Link to the product page for reference:

https://www.luminex.be/products/gigacore/gigacore-16xt-2/

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9 hours ago, tspilman said:

Hi there, I've recently picked up connectCAD on VW2022 and have a similar question about network switches;

 

the Luminex Gigacore 16XT includes 12 x Ethercon connectors (not modules) and 4x (removable) SFP cages - any SFP module can be used, but I tend to only use LC or RJ45.

I would like to be able to specify which type of SFP is used and have the drawing behave accordingly (and I would like it to show up as an item in an equipment list.)

If I use LC cages, I would use multiples of 2 (as I use quad core fibre). If I use RJ45, these are just for more patch outputs on the back of the unit.

This means there are not so many combinations out cages, so I *could* pre-build some of these more easily than Conrad above. That said, I do not know how to relate that to the equipment list.

Is it possible to tie all this together so it works nicely (and I can simply create a new SFP module if I were to need a different one in the future?

 

Sorry if I haven't explained any of this properly; if anyone needs clarification, please let me know.

 

T

 

Link to the product page for reference:

https://www.luminex.be/products/gigacore/gigacore-16xt-2/

 

I spent a fair amount of time talk with sales / support reps about this.

 

The short answer is: no. You cannot do this in an elegant way where it also shows up in the rack elevations.

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OK, thanks Charles. 

Out of interest, what have you landed on as the least 'non-elegant' solution? Do you add the SFP cage as a non rack item in the back of the switch, or do you edit the switch dependant on what is in it?
 

Edited by tspilman
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Happy New Year to you all !!!

 

All these ideas are the subject of ongoing development. Speaking for the ConnectCAD team, we listen very carefully to the points raised on this forum. Many of the ideas discussed here find their way into the product. But it's a process - and it takes time. And not all requests can be met. I ask for your understanding in this matter.

 

Please, let's keep the conversation positive !!! Using epithets like "crappy" is unhelpful and demotivating. The way to get things implemented is to actually say what it is you are trying to achieve (and maybe even post a sketch of it).

 

Wishing you all the very best.

 

Conrad

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Hi Conrad, happy new year.

 

You will see from the conversation above with CharlesD that he believes it is not possible to achieve what I want "in an elegant way" based on this, I was seeking input on which 'non-elegant' solution he uses. If my use of the word 'crappy' instead of 'non-elegant' has upset or demotivated any of the VW team, I am sorry - I did not intend to offend. As you will see, I have edited the post.

 

I have to say, I am more than a little frustrated that you didn't take the opportunity to answer my question. 

 

You say I should "actually say what I am trying to achieve";

the original post says:

 

On 12/29/2021 at 1:50 PM, tspilman said:

the Luminex Gigacore 16XT includes 12 x Ethercon connectors (not modules) and 4x (removable) SFP cages - any SFP module can be used, but I tend to only use LC or RJ45.

I would like to be able to specify which type of SFP is used and have the drawing behave accordingly (and I would like it to show up as an item in an equipment list.)

If I use LC cages, I would use multiples of 2 (as I use quad core fibre). If I use RJ45, these are just for more patch outputs on the back of the unit.

This means there are not so many combinations out cages, so I *could* pre-build some of these more easily than Conrad above. That said, I do not know how to relate that to the equipment list.

Is it possible to tie all this together so it works nicely (and I can simply create a new SFP module if I were to need a different one in the future?

 

...

 

Link to the product page for reference:

https://www.luminex.be/products/gigacore/gigacore-16xt-2/

 

Does this not explain clearly enough what I am trying to achieve?
I am not really sure how much more information I can provide. 

 

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So to touch base on this and to try and get a clear answer, can someone clarify?  As I understand what was written in previous responses, there is not a way to create modular cards that are inserted into devices (yet), but there are conversations at VW development on how this can be added to future releases? 

 

I have a similar situation using a QSC Core 510i Device that has eight slots for expansion cards but I'm not finding a convenient way to display them.  Here's a screen capture of the rear of the device:

 

 796201817_QSCCore510i.thumb.jpg.febf3095e7d400b25202a0dcb46faf2f.jpg

 

I can certainly create Devices for each card that can be added but each will have the device label symbol at the top when ideally it would just be something that could be dropped on top of the Core 510i Device I built that has space for each of the slots and then grouped together.

 

My custom device with slots open:

 

1848325406_QSCCore510iVW.jpg.7af2433a0d34c3d3368e2e518ba8422c.jpg

 

If anyone has any ideas on a solution, I'd love to hear how you go about it. Thanks!

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So there's two places to handle this:

1- In the system drawing
2- In the rack elevation

 

The current way to handle this in the system drawing is to make a socket that is "Expansion Slot #1" through whatever you need, and create another device which is the expansion card, put it in the drawing, and put your i/o sockets on that expansion card.
 

@ChollyO I did not consider what you did there with making a "receptacle" for the card on the system drawing. Very slick! That's a nice touch.

At least for my use case-- the bigger issue is how it appears on the rack elevation. All the way back in my initial posts you can see what I'm asking for: the ability to dock these modular cards into the rack elevation, sort of like you can with "card cages".

 

This has been the one feature that has prevented me from buying ConnectCAD for the last several years.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi everyone!

 

In system schematic drawings you can model these kind of modular systems where you have a main unit and plug-in cards in the way that @ChollyO shows above. The cards are separate devices that you can group together with the main device to make them easy to move around. Circuits understand that devices can be inside groups. So for schematics there is a solution that is fairly elegant without getting into manufacturer-specific details.

 

On rack elevations we have rack frame objects that can be set up with an array of slots horizontally and vertically. Rack frames relate to schematic devices through their names just like equipment items. So you would give the rack frame and the main unit the same name in this case. That is what ConnectCAD can do as things stand in terms of placing modular equipment. The rationale of rack elevations has been that you basically need to get the cables to the right rack U with enough slack to connect them and the installer does the rest. Don't forget that Vectorworks itself gives you the ability to create drawings of specific equipment configurations in as much detail as your patience allows.

 

@CharlesD I am interested in the idea of being able to create named card slots inside equipment. This is attractive both as a way of allowing more detailed modelling of physical locations and also as a way to merge rack frames into equipment items giving a cleaner data model. As I've indicated above these are topics we are considering and working on. But like everyone else in the world we have to maintain focus and work with finite resources. Our schedule is pretty full this year but if I can fit it in I will let you know.

 

So this is the current state of play. We had not conceived of the rack elevation as being the primary detail drawing with schematics derived from it - that's an interesting workflow! I'll be thinking about that.

 

Best wishes to all.

 

Conrad

 

 

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22 hours ago, tspilman said:

Hi ChollyO,

I'm still struggling to understand; are you able to provide a screenshot with slots filled?

1843082077_QSCCore510iWithCards.jpg.b5162afe75689560359d8937dcde27ef.jpg

Here's a shot of the entire device.  It's pretty big because of the quantity of slots.  

 

107286337_QSCCore510iWithCardszoomed.jpg.05ab6fbcaad2b96c907f63b732a21dda.jpg

 

 

Here's a close-up of the first four slots.  I made separate devices for each of the slot types and just deleted the device header so that only the sockets are showing.  Works pretty well in the Schematic view.  The rack elevation though...

 

389474441_QSCCore510iWithCardsrackview.jpg.d8ef9f06fb70bb613f78ff86b7af0da0.jpg

 

...I'm not too happy with the way the text is all on top of each other.  Haven't figured out a fix for this yet but I also don't have a lot of time to toy around with it at the moment so if anyone has a solution, I'm all ears.  Otherwise I'll have to come back to it in a couple of weeks after some active projects are completed.  I hope this helps!

 

Edited by ChollyO
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@ChollyO, Thank you for sharing this; I think I’m slowly catching up…

 

So if I understand correctly… (in schematic view) the modules are separate devices, the same size / shape as the module bay from the main device; the required module is simply sracked on top of the slot so it appears to be part of the same setup? (But the 2 aren’t actually linked in the eyes of connectCAD?)

 

Am I on the right track?

If yes, does each slot have its own device in rack layout (that you have also stacked on top of each other?)

Edited by tspilman
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@ChollyO You could set the Display Tag parameters of your slot devices to empty and use the Description parameter to show the slot contents. Here a quick diagram of what params show on the drawing and what go in reports.

 

image.png

 

On rack elevations you can control the text sizing from the Font menu though you may have to set the size really small because of scaling.

 

C

  • Like 1
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16 hours ago, tspilman said:

So if I understand correctly… (in schematic view) the modules are separate devices, the same size / shape as the module bay from the main device; the required module is simply sracked on top of the slot so it appears to be part of the same setup? (But the 2 aren’t actually linked in the eyes of connectCAD?)

That is exactly correct.

 

16 hours ago, tspilman said:

does each slot have its own device in rack layout (that you have also stacked on top of each other?)

Also correct.

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16 hours ago, Conrad Preen said:

On rack elevations you can control the text sizing from the Font menu though you may have to set the size really small because of scaling.

 

I tried your suggestion and only the Device Name size is adjusting when the font size is changed, the Make and Model still are the same size (shown below, I changed the font size to 2).  Performing an "Edit" function on the object does not allow for me to change any of its attributes.  Is there a way to adjust the Make and Model also?  It also would be nice if I could reposition the Name to the left side instead of it being centered.

 

1792307558_QSCCore510iCardsonlyrackview.jpg.d77399a481c0fa60f76d8b10c97c733d.jpg

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
31 minutes ago, ChollyO said:

 

I tried your suggestion and only the Device Name size is adjusting when the font size is changed, the Make and Model still are the same size (shown below, I changed the font size to 2).  Performing an "Edit" function on the object does not allow for me to change any of its attributes.  Is there a way to adjust the Make and Model also?  It also would be nice if I could reposition the Name to the left side instead of it being centered.

 

1792307558_QSCCore510iCardsonlyrackview.jpg.d77399a481c0fa60f76d8b10c97c733d.jpg

 

Hello @ChollyO,

 

Have you tried changing the Display options of the Equipment item?

image.png

 

If these do not help, you can deselect Show Text and then create your own custom text objects by double clicking on the equipment item.

 

Best Regards,

Nikolay Zhelyazkov

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2 minutes ago, Nikolay Zhelyazkov said:

Have you tried changing the Display options of the Equipment item?

Ugh.  Duhhhhhh.  That does allow for me move the Name to the left. 

It's just the Make and Model that need to be adjusted, but I suppose creating a custom text object will probably be the easiest.

Thank you

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  • 1 month later...

Hello all,

really hoping, that by pulling out this "old" thread, I am not poking a hornets nest? 😄

trying to figure out how to efficiently use the modular devices. (really nice feature btw. @Conrad Preen!) I was wondering, if there is any way I can get an info on the rack frame (parent) to my individual cards (children) inside my rack. currently, I can only see Rack and Rack-Position (Rack-HE) of my frame as well as the Slot the card is in, but the frame does not show up anywhere?

 

what I would like to achive is to have a custom device label of my modules only showing the slot number and the parent device (rack frame object)

grafik.thumb.png.7d94e2d11990585a8b1dd623ff0de840.png

 

PS: I am assuming there have been some changes to the functionality of the rack elevations, as this is probably what your frame looks like today? @ChollyO

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@elc In terms of the location of the equipment item this data specifies it well enough IMO. What "info" do you want and where do you plan to use it?

What I mean is "is this extra info parameter something you actually want to view in a report?" because there are other ways of doing that and this is a very timely moment to discuss them. Let me know.

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Hi @Conrad Preen,

since I am not sure about the way "special devices" like termination and patch panels are used and labeled, I've decided to create regular device blocks for our modular termination panels.

 

In the example below the device name of the module is e.g. TP-555-3-8 (as I have to give them unique names in order for the rack elevation to locate them, right?)

but what I would like to show is:

when the modules are grouped... I would have TP-555-3 which is the frame name in a device label at the top. and only the module/slot number at the individual module.
when the modules are scattered around the page... i would have the frame number and the slot number underneath.

although I (maybe) can see your point: "why label the frame on the schematic, when it currently isn't labeled in the elevation view", right?
 

1 hour ago, Conrad Preen said:

because there are other ways of doing that

...please elaborate. 🙂

 


grafik.thumb.png.d89e32c17182a5c431dab9a9fae2b5f7.png

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@elc in reports you can use ObjectData functions to access records and parameters of related devices. For example, if you create a report of the Sockets on your drawing you can use the function =OBJECTDATA('eval socket device','Device','Name') to get the name of the socket's device. Burrow around a bit - there are a lot of goodies!

 

It's OK if you want to re-invent the term panel. I've always felt that ConnectCAD should not force anybody into a particular way of working.

 

Best

 

Conrad

  • Like 2
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@Conrad Preen maybe there is once again the gap between international and local: when I use the function it came up with this: =OBJEKTDATEN('EVAL SOCKET DEVICE'.'DEVICE')

 

I created a quick report and the result see screenshots. Testet with new file created with v2022 and import from 2021.

I don't think N/A is the expected result.

 

If needed I can send the file via DM.

 

Bildschirmfoto 2022-03-05 um 13.35.28.png

Bildschirmfoto 2022-03-05 um 13.35.20.png

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