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Cable Tool Chaos Questions


trashcan

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I am having an issue using the (non-preview) cable tools. For Data cables (I.e., CAT), I don't want to break the cable into multiple parts on calculate parts. The total length I need is 55' - and I have the default stock sizes. It's splitting it into 1x 50' and 1x 5' - but in almost all cases, with data cables, I need to use a single cable (I.e., the 75'). The obvious work around would be removing smaller sizes from the stock, but that doesn't work because sometimes I need a 5 footer. I know you can break cables using the split tool. But how do I un-break or remove breaks from cables?

 

It seems like you have it calculate parts, see what it recommends, and then override it with what you actually want to use? 

 

You also don't see the the 5 footer as part two. You only see it in the Cable Worksheet and see the break in the drawing. 

 

Also curious, if I need to send multiple cables along the same path, how do I draw it out to make it clear? 

 

What the heck is a terminator angle? 

 

Scratching my head here. I know the recommendation is probably to try out the cable tool plugin (forgot what it's called) but I want to understand the built in tool before I jump into the next thing. 

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If the length of the cable run is 55', the default calculation is to use the next single length that would make the run, i.e. 75'.  That is what happens when I open a new document and draw a data cable run whose length is 55'.  Perhaps you could post your drawing and I could take a look.

 

There are some times (many?) that you might want to override a cable part length calculation, but your example isn't one of them.

 

Something is very strange if you are not seeing part 2 in the worksheet, if it is longer than 0".  You need to be sure that you have Part 2 set to be displayed in the cable worksheet set up.

 

The graphic to display multiple cable runs is different from user to user.  Users usually duplicate cable runs and then convert them to a different type if needed.  Once the needed number of cables has been created.  One of the 2 following methods is usually used.  1.  Nudging the cable runs just enough to separate and see the runs, or 2. using Call Outs or other text labels to indicate multiple runs.  Usually when number 2 is used,  the Reshape tool is used to move the last vertex of the cable run (the cable head) just enough to differentiate each one. 

 

The "Terminator Angle" is the angle off of vertical that the little terminator indicator will lean on the drawing.

 

The cable tool plug in that you are probably thinking of is in AutoPlot Tools for Spotlight, www.autoplotvw.com.  It is an extensive expansion of the tools that are in Vectorworks.  If you want a tour of them and how they work, I'm willing to have a Zoom meeting show them to you and answer your questions.  I don't have a lot of shows to prep right now.

 

Vectorworks seems to be going in the direction of abandoning the current tools and developing the tools shown in "Preview Features".  Those cable tools are a whole new ballgame.  Learning the current cable tools will be no help in  learning the "Preview Features", cable tools.  I have a whole bunch of issues with them, but @Jesse Cogswell can lead the discussion of these tools and how to use them.

 

Planning cable will always be a chore, even with good tools.  The alternative it to pay for twice as much cable as you need, guessing the lengths with the tape measure tool.  However, this alternative is of no help when you need to make cable run build lists.

 

Good Luck.

 

Sam

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Thanks for all the info Sam. I have since deleted that faulty data cable so I made a new one in order to illustrate the problem. It's still happening. You can see the breaks in the data line. 

 

Re: calculation. Here's the drawing:

image.thumb.png.a46fa4ec4a23e7a76082e8a0f9eb056e.png

 

Here's what the calculate parts looks like:

image.png.771433236cdb976a215e22809b0e18ef.png

 

Here's what the cable worksheet looks like:

image.png.3ca5b52eafadd73be219218d6fd1594f.png

 

I would assume that this would be a single 75 footer with 19' extra not 2x 5' and 1x 50'. 

 

Visually showing the different cable runs by nudging or using call outs on a viewport makes sense to me. I was just hoping for some sort of automation there. If I'm having to home-run dozens of cat cables, manually offsetting them or calling them out seems like an old-school / time consuming process. I guess that's Vectorworks for you. 

 

Your toolset sounds good and I appreciate your willingness to give me a tour. The biggest issue for me right now is that VWX doesn't have a lot of intel on how to use these tools without exploring them yourself and that is incredibly frustrating. Theoretically I like these tools (both legacy and the preview), but I'm having trouble learning them. Generally speaking, I like to ace the built in tools before I move on to plugins (I am still manually drawing projectors and projector cones, hah!). Once that happens, I'd love to do a zoom with you. 

 

We make a lot of our own cables for our installations and I'm trying to improve that process for our team. Using the cable tools seems like a great place to start, thanks for helping me figure it out. 

 

Two more questions:

  • Universe - that's so I can have separate universes for separate cable universes (I.e., Universe 1 is CAT and HDMI for Video, Universe 2 is CAT and DMX for lighting, etc). 
  • Cable IDs - Shouldn't these be unique per cable in a given universe? Right now all my CAT cables in universe 1 are ID 5. So now I need to go through and manually ID them? 

 

Edited by trashcan
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5 hours ago, trashcan said:

I would assume that this would be a single 75 footer with 19' extra not 2x 5' and 1x 50'. 

You are absolutely right, and that is what happens in the drawing I create.  Does this happen when you open a new drawing and immediately draw a 56'4" cable?  If it does reinstall VW.  No guarantees there, but I can't duplicate your problem.

Another approach.  What happens when you type 0 into part 1 while "Calculate Parts" is checked.  This should reset the calculation, and come up with a 75' cable.  (I bet it doesn't)

 

 

6 hours ago, trashcan said:

Visually showing the different cable runs by nudging or using call outs on a viewport makes sense to me. I was just hoping for some sort of automation there. If I'm having to home-run dozens of cat cables, manually offsetting them or calling them out seems like an old-school / time consuming process. I guess that's Vectorworks for you.

Yes it is, old school, time consuming, and Vectorworks.  To be fair, making a user interface(UI) for describing the offset in distance and direction would be a bit of a challenge.  Just try describing how you think that process would happen.  If you get it right, I'll try to code it.  In the meantime, you can take one of the cables and move it the farthest away you want the offset cable to be, then select all the relevant cables and use the VW align/distribute command to evenly lay them out.  Cable heads may still be an issue, but life is a %#@&.

 

 

 

6 hours ago, trashcan said:

Two more questions:

  • Universe - that's so I can have separate universes for separate cable universes (I.e., Universe 1 is CAT and HDMI for Video, Universe 2 is CAT and DMX for lighting, etc).

I'm not sure what you want to achieve here.  Any cable can be of any type and any universe.  If you want a muticable to be a data multicable with different wiring in it, you will need to specify your own breakout with different wiring.  If the cable itself is to have multiples of different wiring in the same jacket, you would have to fake it with multiple cable runs, but I have never heard of such a thing.  The latter example of CAT and DMX in the same cable jacket is new to me.  Can you tell me more about it?

As for different universes, The "Universe" field is a text field so you can put anything you want in there, including "cable type/universe", but you may find your paperwork difficult to manage.  Specifically what would you like to see.

 

 

 

6 hours ago, trashcan said:
  • Cable IDs - Shouldn't these be unique per cable in a given universe? Right now all my CAT cables in universe 1 are ID 5. So now I need to go through and manually ID them? 

 

As for uniqueness, not necessarily; it depends on how you use the cable IDs.  In almost all cases, multicables want unique IDs, and that is what Lightwright expects; however, that is not true of all jumpers and data runs.  Additionally, if jumper and data IDs are unique, they often want to share an ID then add a ".suffix", e.g.  A1.1, A1.2, A1.3 or B4.a, B4.b, B4.c.  If you were to be given a command to place cable IDs automatically, what would that UI look like and ask for.  Prefix?  Suffix?  Both? Would it ask for a starting number or letter?  Would it ask for both, and then combine them in a user defined way?  What would that UI look like?

 

 

5 hours ago, trashcan said:

Theoretically I like these tools (both legacy and the preview), but I'm having trouble learning them. Generally speaking, I like to ace the built in tools before I move on to plugins (I am still manually drawing projectors and projector cones, hah!). Once that happens, I'd love to do a zoom with you. 

I can't help you with the preview tools.  Learning the built in tools won't hurt before learning the AP tools, except you will struggle with a bunch of stuff you shouldn't have to struggle with if you go straight to the AP tools.  Since the AP Tools are a superset of the built in tools, take whatever approach floats your boat.  If you want to wait until you ace the built in tools before getting together, I will remember you fondly.

If you like both the current tools and the preview tools, that's great, but you will be investigating 2 different universes.  Considering the goals are the same, you might think of it as learning Chinese and German at the same time in order to write one technical manual.  (I have been told that learning the 3rd language is easier than learning the 2nd.)  I am playing around with the preview tools a little bit, but they don't think the way I do, and I will leave it to Jesse to explain them.

 

 

 

Answers to the user interface questions I have asked will only affect AP Cable Tools, because those are the only ones I can have an effect on.  However, the answer will both inform you  and others about the specifics, and I mean "specifics", of how the tool should ideally behave.  I am snidely thinking this will be much more difficult to describe than you imagine, but that is unfair of me.  VW,  and those of us who create 3rd party tools, need to get into the mindset and workflows of users as deeply as we can.  Engineering limits will always affect what can be achieved with software, but everyday work should define the goals of the software.

Are you sure you don't want to hop on a Zoom meeting?  Anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

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@Sam Jones unbelievable responses here. You are an incredible man. Anyone else wish there was a pop-out reply in this forum?!

 

A 56'4" cable in a new drawing works correctly. 

A 56'4" cable as a straight shot works correctly, either my cable class or in the none class

 

In a new project it always properly trims, unless I RESHAPE a cable. Then I get this nonsense:

image.thumb.png.df761688832de0bb59a0a6687fb1017f.png

 

You are correct, Sam! If I click the wrench and pencil icon and 0 Part 1 and Part 2 and Vert Dist, then it doesn't create breaks in the cable at random points. I just need to add in the vertical height AFTER. Which is a bummer.  Buggy Vectorworks seems to me. 

 

image.png.13810f894e8f1d2866a1fbeadf6119de.png

 

How the heck do you change the visual end points of the cables? Arrows vs. that little dot. 

image.thumb.png.1abb40ebd0f15bb8bf2fe22ce30c3f5a.png

 

Manual drawing of many cables makes sense to me. I was hoping to have all the cables on a single viewport but I guess I'll do DMX on one, CAT on another, HDMI on another etc. 

 

Re: Universe, forgive naïveté - I just don't know what Universe means! Hah. In my mind "Universe" means all the cables for a given department. So all the DMX for Lighting, all the CAT for Lighting, etc. Not CAT and DMX in the same jacket. Just a lack of language thing. I'm a video guy so this is a little out of my understanding. 

 

Re: Cable IDs - I definitely want mine to be unique, but it seems that you have to manually name them, they don't auto-number. Is that correct? 

 

I like the old tools OK and I'm getting to learn and understand them now. The new tools seem even more convoluted, but maybe less buggy? 

 

I don't often have massive cabling projects and this one is a work-fast situation and I'm getting there on the old tools. 

 

Thanks Sam. 

 

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1 hour ago, trashcan said:

A 56'4" cable in a new drawing works correctly. 

A 56'4" cable as a straight shot works correctly, either my cable class or in the none class

 

In a new project it always properly trims, unless I RESHAPE a cable. Then I get this nonsense:

I tried it, and I see what you see when I reshape.  I'm not going to worry about it.  That's a bug.  However, when that happens, type a 0 into the Part 1 of the cable that screwed up and it will recalculate to make just one part unless the path exceeds the length of the longest available inventory.  I won't be worrying about the bug; I use AP Cable Tools. 

 

1 hour ago, trashcan said:

Re: Universe, forgive naïveté - I just don't know what Universe means! Hah. In my mind "Universe" means all the cables for a given department. So all the DMX for Lighting, all the CAT for Lighting, etc. Not CAT and DMX in the same jacket. Just a lack of language thing. I'm a video guy so this is a little out of my understanding.

Yep, "Universe" is not what you think it is.  "Universe" is setting in the DMX system.  The highest DMX setting is 512 (1-512) (actually, 0-511, but that is going to take us deeper into the weeds than we need to go).  Each universe in the DMX system can hold 512 numbers:  Universe 1 (1-512), Universe 2 (513 -1024), Universe 3 (1025 to 1536), etc...  One DMX cable can only carry signal for 1 universe, but that can be any universe.  CAT5 cable can carry signal for multiple universes.

So, that brings us to ask what are you trying to accomplish?  Cabling the data for lights is an elaborate process that takes into account different amount of addressing per lighting unit, different lights use different amounts of DMX address.  All of this is best left to the Master Electrician, Production Electrician, or a pissed off Lighting Designer.  The cabling is based on the address consumption needs of different  lights around the room.  I don't know what your project is like, but it will take very little time at all for addressing and cabling lights to get beyond your expertise.  I think this part of the conversation is best continued privately.

 

 

1 hour ago, trashcan said:

Re: Cable IDs - I definitely want mine to be unique, but it seems that you have to manually name them, they don't auto-number. Is that correct? 

Correct.  I haven't tried it, but the Spotlight numbering command might be able to assign numbers to cables.

 

I just tried it and the Spotlight numbering command will put cable IDs into the Cable Run ID field of selected cables.

 

Edited by Sam Jones
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Thanks again Sam. 

 

Re: reshape, not surprised there's a bug here. Thanks for validating!

 

Re: Universe, gotcha. Makes sense. I'm not planning to do any of the DMX layouts intelligently. I don't know how to do that, and it so rarely comes up for me that it doesn't make sense for me to learn. As you said - best left to the Lighting department. That being said, I would like to understand it at some point. For now, I'm literally just using the cable tool to get quantities and lengths and types - so that I can put together a map for the install team when the time comes. 

 

Re: Spotlight numbering, that's very useful to know. Thanks for looking into that. 

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