I am starting this new discussion thread as a fork from the Medeek Wall Plugin thread since the Medeek Electrical extension will now become a stand alone extension/plugin.
Its logo will be:
I've created a series of basic default outlets and switches which will form the basis of the plugins pre-assembled components. There will be many to add in later but this should be enough to allow me to setup the tools for inserting switches and outlets.
This extension or plugin is designed from the outset to work directly with the Medeek Wall extension however in the future I may extend it so that it can be employed with any wall geometry. The details on all of that are yet to be determined.
The internal details of the actual switch or receptacle are irrelevant and as you can see in my low poly models they are eliminated. Only the exterior geometry of the electrical components are represented.
I am creating the switches and outlets so that their material/color can be modified independent of the face plates. The plugin will allow the user to customize both the face plate material and the actual switch/outlet material. The electrical box will be set to the standard Carlon blue however the user can always edit this material in SU and change it to whatever they desire.
You will also notice with these models that there are two layers: electrical_rough and electrical_finish. This allows the user to quickly toggle off the finish electrical components so the rough installation can be easily inspected.
Another interesting aspect of this new plugin is the way I'm going to set it up within the wall panels of the wall plugin. When a wall panel is regenerated the electrical components (groups) will be retained, similar to the way I already retain custom geometry. What this allows is custom editing by the user of any of these electrical components within the wall once they are installed/inserted. For instance let's say you want to change the material of one of the duplex receptacles to red in a 4-gang box but leave all the rest the default material specified by the plugin, you will be able to do this.
When you edit a switch or receptacle and don't change out its "style", but only its vertical position in the wall or the material of the face plate or switch/outlet then the group/component is not redraw but only modified. Again this will allow the retention of custom mods.
The location horizontally within the wall panel is originally set when the electrical component is placed. To modify its location the user can just jump into the wall panel group and uses SketchUp's built in move tool to alter its position.
I will probably include a delete tool for convenience however as with moving this tool is not really needed since the user can just as easily delete the components within the wall panel group.
I'm still thinking through all of the dynamics and parameters that will be required by the plugin, feel free to leave your suggestions or thoughts.
When you go to place a switch or outlet the draw tool will sense which side of the wall you are facing and place the component on the side of the wall facing you (the camera). To place components on the other side of the wall, just spin the wall around and face the side that you want to place your electrical components.
I think this is much more intuitive than having a hotkey which toggles which side of the wall to place the component.
In the global settings I will have a parameter which allows the user to select which electrical standards to use, I will begin with the North American standard (NEMA).
The prototype toolbar:
I may also add in a (horizontal) move tool/icon, which may be easier than manually moving the electrical components.
First look at the draw switch menu:
Currently there are no advanced options but I am including that parameter since I am almost 95% sure that something will come along that will dictate the use of this parameter.
This plugin seems fairly basic when compared with the other plugins but I may be missing some additional parameters here.
The draw tool is now working and able to insert switches on both sides of the walls:
Now I just need to work on the edit menu and global settings.
The outlet module will be almost identical to the switch module so once I have the switch module done it is just a matter of copying and pasting and making some minor edits.
The Wall Plugin will require a minor edit to retain the electrical groups, this means that previous versions of the Wall Plugin will not work with the new Electrical Plugin.
What do we want these electrical symbols to look like?
Simple lines or filled in faces?
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Size of symbols?
Here is a first look at the switch symbols, I've shown them drawn at 4.5" in height but I've set it up so that the symbol height can be determined by the user in the global settings and everything (symbol spacing etc...) should scale appropriately.
Also note that the symbols are with the switch group so when you move the switch in the wall the symbols move with the switch.
The symbols are also placed on the electrical_2d_layer by default (again user definable in the global settings) so they can easily be toggled on or off.
I'll probably need to add a few more icons in the toolbar. Off the top of my head I'm thinking about:
1.) Service Panels: These are typically 14.5" in width and fit nicely between 16" on center studs
2.) Exterior Service and Meter
3.) Additional Faceplates/Media Outlets: CAT5/6, Coax, Telephone, etc...
Another can of worms would be light fixtures. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to jump into that one just yet. There are so many variations on light fixtures that I would certainly need to make it so the user can create their own light fixture components that then can be used by the plugin.
Hit me up with any suggestions while my focus is on this plugin. In about a week I'm back onto the Wall Plugin and its massive todo list.
As can be seen in the image below a gang of switches can all be different types:
In the image below I've turned on the "Labels" for the switch boxes. The Switch (box) name can be edited in the switch edit menu for each switch:
With weatherproof switches I will need to have a different faceplate but for now it will default to the generic toggle switch.
Tomorrow I will spend a few minutes and model up a low poly version of the Leviton Decora switch and outlet series and then we will have at least two options for switch and outlet styles.
Similar to the Wall Plugin the labels are assigned by default to the Dim3 layer and can be toggled separately from the symbols, or be turned off completely in the global settings.
I'm not an electrician so bear with me, I'll probably get a few things wrong initially.
When you gang together switches you typically see the symbols ganged together as well. However with outlets is the same symbology used or do you just put a subscript next to the outlet symbol indicating the number of outlets and just show one outlet symbol?
After reviewing a few more electrical plans online it looks like the convention is to show the ganged outlets similar to ganged switches.
I've added Decora switches (and outlets) as well as the option for a simple blank face plate, which I am labeling as a junction (box):
For junction boxes or blank face plates I am following the same convention as I am for outlets and switches and showing a symbol for each location.
I will eventually add another icon in the toolbar for Combo Outlets (ie. switch, blank, outlet combinations), however I probably won't get to this until later.
First look at some outlets with switches:
I now need to look at all of the various outlet types and add in those annotations.
Here are all of the various outlet/receptacle options currently available:
I still need to put some logic in for the single, weatherproof and GFCI receptacles so that they display the proper outlet and corresponding face plate.
I have a 1-gang GFCI as well as a two gang GFCI-Duplex and GFCI-Decora combo. What other combinations of GFCI/Outlets are common? (I will handle the GFCI/switch combo later)
The possible permutations are crazy so I am trying to limit things slightly for certain outlet types, I think this makes the most sense. Just trying to rein in the madness.
For instance I have never seen multiple GFCI outlets ganged up in a single box, only ever one with another switch or regular duplex/decora receptacles.
Also what type of weather proof outlet would you prefer I include as the default? I'm looking at Leviton's offerings and also at Taymac, too bad I can't seem to find readily made models for any of these. Oh well, I would probably have to remodel them anyways because the poly count would probably be obnoxious.
After digging through Leviton's website straight for the last 3-4 days I now know more about switches and receptacles than I care to really, but it certainly is an education. I'm still amazed at all of the possible combinations of switches and outlets that are possible and how the manufacturers do their best to provide as complete coverage as possible, there are literally hundreds of face plates (configurations).
It looks like I will need to add in one additional option, Weather Proof GFCI. It seems that this combination is fairly popular:
My weatherproof cover is based on the Taymac MM420C, probably a little more detail than it needs but I wanted it to look somewhat recognizable.
I also have the Decora option and the standard duplex option.
Has anyone ever called out duplex receptacles with the integrated USB chargers?
I'm assuming the callout would just be a standard duplex symbol with the annotation "USB" added.
These type of outlets have a small parasitic load (50 mW), but I think many people are willing to accept that loss for the convenience. My worry would be that the device fails down the road and then I need to replace it. Its one thing tossing an old adapter in the bin, its entirely different when I need to pull out the tool bag and start re-terminating receptacles, or worrying that one of these things is really going to go bad and possibly create a fire hazard.
It's not a big deal to provide a USB model of your standard USB Decora duplex receptacle, I'll just base it on the T5632 (Leviton) and if people want something different they can replace the default model in the library that I provide.
As I was eating outing this evening with the wife I noticed along the bar a line of outlets (and even a couple switches) that were mounted horizontally rather than vertical. I will need to add in the first of the advanced options which allows the user to toggle between a vertical or horizontal mount, obviously vertical will be the default.
Added the advanced option which will allow for a horizontal mount of any receptacle:
First look at the the following: GFCI, USB, Simplex, Horizontally mounted Duplex
I will also extend this same functionality to the switch module so that they can be mounted in any orientation.
Option for weatherproof GFCI added:
I haven't gotten every combination but I think I now have about 85% of the most commonly used configurations added in for outlets. I will now return to the switch module and work that over for a while until it is also about 85-90% coverage.
I also still need to add in a completely new style: 240V
This will comprise single gang outlets for clothes dryers, welders, and ranges.
I've added in the option for 240V receptacles:
These are limited to single gang configurations as shown (2 gang electrical box). They can be mounted either vertical or horizontal. The annotation allows one to specify either a dryer (D) or range (R) outlet.
By default the color of the outlets is a dark brown (thermoplastic) but can be modified by the user as well as the wall plate material.
I was going to add in an option for a welder outlet but I'm not sure which outlet type is the most common for this application, it appear that the NEMA 6-50 is commonly used for welders but until I get more information or a direct request for this particular NEMA receptacle I will leave this one for now.
Dimensions for these outlets types are per Leviton's product lineup, as is the wall plate. For now I've employed the standard 2-gang Carlon PVC box but for a heavier circuit like these I personally would probably go with a metal box and the appropriate mud ring and cable clamps.
A few more options for the switches module:
One of my favorite switches, the Trimatron.
I will provide the same 14-xx outlet in 30 and 50 amp without the dryer or range designation, for those applications that are something other than those two typical residential usages.
I was looking at Square D service panels (load centers) last night and I'm most familiar with their QO product, not a huge fan of the cheaper Homelite product line. I can't seem to find any decent drawings or dimensions for these enclosures other than the overall size. If anyone can direct me to a resource which will allow me to model these up with some accuracy I would like to add in a handful of service panels.
I'm probably not going to dive too deeply into the load center module right now, only providing a basic model and label, but eventually it would be nice if one could assign specific outlets, switch and light fixtures to a given circuit/circuit breaker. There is a lot that can be done with this sort of thing.
For low voltage I am going to start with only one style for now and that is the Leviton Quickport system:
The advantage with this system in my opinion is that there will be less electrical boxes to install since you can get more than one outlet per box (max. is 6 ports for a single gang box).
My only problem now is how to show this type of port on the electrical plan. Typically I would have a symbol for TV, Phone and/or Data. However, what does one show when you have a situation like above where all three data types are compressed into one box. Even worse, what if I have the 6 port version and have one phone jack, two CAT6 jacks, two coax jacks and a blank?
What is the preferred convention? If there is one.
Additionally there is the 2-gang low voltage box (Carlon SC200AR) which can be fitted with a Quickport face plate and have a maximum of 12 separate ports, yikes.
The low voltage components that will be utilized in the Medeek Electrical extension:
This collection is only the QuickPort components there is also the QuickPlate and Decora styles that I have not gotten to yet.
I've also added in the RCA QuickPort by request.
You will be able to assign a unique QuickPort outlet to each port of the wall plate and also assign it its own unique color if you choose (this will be important for people who are color coding network jacks).
The updated toolbar:
I will leave it up to inquiring minds to figure out what all these icons mean. :)
The low voltage module is working pretty good now. I just need to wrap up the 2D symbols and then we will see if I can put together a few typical load centers, and then its out to the public for some BETA testing.
A 2-gang, 12 port low voltage box is probably your worst case scenario:
Each port can be assigned one of the following:
- PHONE (RJ11)
- RCA (Audio/Video, gold plated)
- BLANK (Plastic Insert)
Additionally each port has its own unique material/color which by default is "White". The faceplate can also be assigned a unique material/color.
Similar to other outlets the advanced options can be enabled which allows for vertical or horizontal mounting.
The number of possible QuickPorts is limited to the following:
1-Gang: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
2-Gang: 8, 12
There are additional 2-Gang QuickPort wall plates that I have not added. I will only add these if requested, since they are already covered by the 1-Gang option.
Various combinations of QuickPorts yields a number of possible 2D symbols:
I've tried to stay with conventional symbols as much as possible. Please let me know what you think on this.
Tomorrow I will finish modeling up some typical load centers (breaker boxes) like the one below (200 Amp, 40 Spaces):
I'm not going to put any special logic into this module yet, just a simply positioning and selection. However at some point it would be really cool to use the plugin to setup the various breakers and identify circuits as well as assign specific elements to a circuit.
For now three sizes of breaker components are provided and it is up to the user to manually configure their panel if they so choose to do so, otherwise is is more representational than anything else.
When it comes to setting the vertical height of the load center what is the method used to measure from the floor? Center, Top or Bottom of the panel?
I will provide some common panel sizes (spaces): 24, 30, 40, 42, 54, and 60.
My breakers are based on the SquareD QO series as are my load centers however they are considerably simplified to maintain a low poly count.
Also for now I am only going to provide flush mount and not surface mount however I will probably enable both in the future.
View model here:
Various load center sizes, view model here:
All load centers are 200 Amp except for the 24 space unit which would be rated for 100 or 125 Amp.
The inside of these boxes and the breakers are very simple and low poly. The idea is mostly to convey the number and location of breakers and overall dimensions:
In the parameters for the load centers I identified the following options:
1.) Style: Flush Mount, Surface Mount
2.) Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor, Outdoor
3.) Height: Distance from floor to bottom of box (in./mm)
4.) Breaker No.: 6, 8, 12, 24, 30, 40, 42, 54, 60
5.) Amperage: 100, 200
6.) Main Lug: Main Breaker, Main Lug
7.) Adv. Options: None Currently
There is no material/color assignment.
I've created a 6 and 8 breaker box (main lugs only). I will need to add in additional boxes that only have main lugs and not a main breaker for the other sizes, but that is work for another day.
First look a the output of the load center or service panel module:
Perusing the selection of electrical outlets and boxes at my local Ace Hardware this morning it became painfully obvious that I should have added the option for "amperage" to the outlet parameters.
Standard and Decora outlets now are available in 15A or 20A:
I've never actually seen this type of outlet (NEMA 5-20R) installed in any residence I've ever lived at or in any new construction I've worked on but I'm sure it has its place.
Currently the 240V outlets are limited to only 30A and 50A outlets. At some point I may add in NEMA 6-15R and NEMA 6-20R if there is call for it.
Just a reminder to everyone that is following the development of this plugin:
This plugin is an add-on plugin/extension. In other words it currently only installs switches, outlets, low voltage outlets and panels into the walls that are created by the Medeek Wall extension.
At some point I may attempt to extend it to allow for operation with any solid walls but for now it is limited to working with the geometry created by the mdkBIM suite. There are a number of technical issues/reasons for this which I will not delve into at this time.
Since it is not a stand alone plugin and is dependent (currently only on the Medeek Wall extension) I will probably not charge as much for it if it were a standalone extension. As such I am thinking about $20.00 USD for a permanent license with a $10.00 USD renewal for upgrades.
Eventually it will be packaged with the mdkMEP suite but for now it is a standalone purchase and separate from the mdkBIM suite.
It will eventually include its own estimating module which again is separate from the Medeek Estimator (Wall Plugin). I really haven't gotten that far yet but I will solicit feedback from the user base of this plugin once I release the BETA and determine how we want to put that together.
Electrical boxes for light fixtures:
I'll start with the simple nail mounted 3/0 and 4/0 boxes (Carlon B518 and B520). I should also add the hanger bar variants as well but I'll need to purchase a few more samples from the local hardware store first so that I can create semi-decent models.
First look at the output of the Light Fixture Module:
The plugin allows you to drop your own light fixtures into the library sub-folder so you can have as many custom light fixtures as you like (and I don't need to spend anymore time modeling things up).
The fancy ext. wall lantern shown was simply downloaded from the warehouse, minor edit to make sure the origin of the file was in the correct place and then dropped into the light_fixture sub-folder. I will not be including this fixture in the distribution simply due to its size (1.2 Mb). However I will include some basic lampholders like the Leviton 49875 shown.
Another thing to note, since the light fixtures are custom I will not be attempting to apply any material or color to them. For that reason there is no need to explode the component into a unique group.
I will add some additional simple light fixtures and junction boxes as time allows or as requests are made.
Currently the light fixture tool is limited to wall mounted fixtures. I am still contemplating how best to deal with ceiling mounted fixtures and what type of system/organization to employ.
Pulling the global settings together:
The estimating piece will be after I release the BETA.
I'm almost ready to put this new plugin out there but I'm waffling on whether to spend some additional time on the draw tool and see if I can't make the plugin work with any (wall) geometry rather than just limiting it to an add on for the Medeek Wall plugin.
*** BETA RELEASE ***
Version 0.9.0 - 02.14.2019
- Created the Medeek Electrical Plugin, utilizing SketchUp's Ruby API.
- Added tools to create switches, outlets, low voltage outlets, load centers and lights.
Download the BETA version here:
Just a reminder that this plugin is currently dependent on the Medeek Wall extension to function. Also a new version of the Wall plugin is required in order to retain the electrical components within the wall panels. The upgraded version of the wall plugin will be released later tonight.
Items needing further attention:
- Ceiling light fixtures.
- Parametric ability (edit menus for all fixtures).
- Combo switch/outlets
- Ability to use the plugin with any wall geometry (non-plugin dependent)
- Link to purchase plugin within Account Manager (currently only a TRIAL version is available)
There are a couple issues with embedding electrical components into unknown walls:
1.) The Z height problem: Since I am trying to track the height of the switch or outlet I somehow need to know where the floor is located, not absolute as much as where is it inside of the group that contains the wall geometry. The reason for this is that the edit menu will allow the user to change this height and without knowing where the floor height is there is no way to know the height of the switch or outlet.
2.) The other issue is rotation about the Z-axis, so that the electrical component is facing outward regardless of which side of the wall it is on. With my own Medeek wall panels this problem is easy because the groups origin and axis are always positioned a certain way with regards to the wall, hence I am able to determine or specify a "wallside" for a given electrical component and then offset it accordingly based on the wall construction (stored attribute library).
- Added additional Carlon and Raco octagon boxes into the Light Fixture module.
Per customer request I've added some additional electrical boxes.
The full list of junction boxes available for light fixtures is:
Junction Boxes: Carlon (B518, B520, B620H), Raco (111, 112, 119, 128, 146, 164, 175, 177)
The reason I have to add these boxes in is because I need to hard code in the dimensions so that the plugin knows what the width is when the box justification is toggled to left or right. Its not a big deal, it only takes me a couple minutes to add in a new box and its dimensions.
If you have a particular box or light fixture you would like to see added please let me know.
As far as other international standards (British, France, South Africa etc...), I would be excited to add these in as well but I don't have the time or the energy to model up quality, low poly models of typical boxes, faceplates and electrical components. If you would like to see these added to the plugin I would need to have low poly models provided to me.
Version 0.9.1 - 02.16.2019
- Enabled the ability to draw switches with any wall geometry (removed the dependency on the Medeek Wall extension).
I've been blasted with emails the last couple of days requesting that I make the plugin work with any walls, so I figured I might as well see if I can make this happen.
This is largely experimentally at this stage since dealing with random (walls) geometry can be a bit tricky.
I've only enabled this feature with the Draw Switches tool for now. Once I am satisfied with its performance I can easily migrate it to all the other tools.
The wall must be a group, and its faces must be only one level deep, not nested group within group.
Please download this latest release and attempt to break it, let me know your findings.
Tutorial #1 - Extension Overview:
Footnote: The bug encountered at the 16:00 min. mark has been identified and corrected.
There is always more that can be done. Just remember though I am juggling four different extensions now, single handed and each one is very deep (and broad). So my time to devote to any one plugin or request is becoming much more selective.
If you would like to have a feature added I need more details:
1.) Most common configuration and manufacturer.
2.) Some indication of how much this feature would be used (does it fit the 90% rule).
3.) Commercial or Residential application.
Version 0.9.1b - 02.19.2019
- Enabled the ability to draw outlets with any wall geometry (removed the dependency on the Medeek Wall extension).
Version 0.9.1c - 02.19.2019
- Enabled the ability to draw low voltage outlets, load centers and light fixtures with any wall geometry (removed the dependency on the Medeek Wall extension).
The plugin is now fully independent of the Medeek Wall extension and can function as a standalone extension.
Its funny how some of my best thinking is done when I am doing totally unrelated tasks. While I was cleaning out my garage and mini-van on Sunday afternoon I slowly started working out how to handle ceiling mounted light fixtures, almost unconsciously before I was aware that I was working on the problem.
After giving this topic a rest for a few days and then revisiting it again this evening it is now clear to me that in order for this to work properly I really need a "Story" or "Levels" module or plugin that actually works across all of the plugins. This Levels module is also needed for the other plugins in the mdkBIM suite, especially in relation to estimating.
This becomes critical for the electrical plugin because when you start placing fixtures into a ceiling you need to know where the floor is in relation to that ceiling. Or to be more precise you need to know which floor to assign the light fixtures to so that the 2D symbols are drawn at the appropriate Z height and hopefully are at the same level as the rest of the electrical symbols for that level (ie. wall mounted electrical fixtures), regardless of the ceiling height.
If the absolute Z height of the Level is changed then the 2D symbols assigned to it will need to move up or down to make the adjustment. The easiest way to do this is to place all of the 2D symbols (ceiling light fixtures only) in an over arching group that is separated from the separate light fixture groups themselves. When the Level Z height changes you only need to move this main group and not each 2D symbol.
The potential downside with this particular system is that if you manually move one of the light fixtures in the X-Y plane or laterally then the 2D symbol does not follow it and is out of sync (out of position). The way around this problem is to possibly setup an observer so that if a ceiling fixture is moved the 2D symbol is simply deleted and redrawn. When a ceiling fixture is deleted a similar situation occurs, however the symbol will always belong to the appropriate main group and have a tag (instance name) that matches the ceiling fixtures so that it can be easily purged from the main group.
The draw tool will not only be looking at the group (ceiling group) but also at the face when placing the fixture. The exact point selected on the face will determine the actual placement of the fixture. The height parameter (fixture to floor distance) as it is currently defined has no meaning and will be greyed out however for certain suspended fixtures it can be used at the "suspended height" thereby determining the height above the fixture to place the junction box within the suspended ceiling.
There is quite a bit to consider when it comes to ceiling mounted fixtures, I'm sure I haven't considered every possibility yet and there may even be a fatal flaw in some of the organization explained above but at least I wanted to get some of my thoughts down in writing before they evaporated away like a morning mist under the noon-day sun.
Smoke Detectors and CO Detectors are also additional common ceiling mounted devices that are typically included in electrical plans. I will need to give this one some more thought, whether to include it in the light fixture module or create a separate module for specialized items such as smoke detectors, fire alarms etc...
I'm leaning toward creating a new module called Safety Devices which would include but not be limited to:
- Exit Signs
- Emergency Lighting
- Smoke Detectors
- CO Detectors
- Horn/Strobe Unit
- Fire Alarm Pull Station
- Nurse Call
While it's not usually part of a building model (at least not residentially), if you're doing safety devices, you might want to have a few fire extinguishers available
Is the dryer outlet type available in the trial version of the plugin?
Quote from: donney86 on February 20, 2019, 02:48:35 PM
Is the dryer outlet type available in the trial version of the plugin?
Yes, all outlets and other features are available in the trial version of the plugin. The only limitation is the number of devices or fixtures you are allowed to create.
Also the trial version will stop functioning after 30 days has expired.
Quote from: sjdorst on February 20, 2019, 02:11:24 PM
While it's not usually part of a building model (at least not residentially), if you're doing safety devices, you might want to have a few fire extinguishers available
Technically fire extinguishers are not electrical components but I do see how they kind of fit into the scope of the safety module. I will give this some consideration.
If you're doing smoke detectors, you should also have heat detectors (looks about the same, same basic function, different detection method for areas where smoke detection may be ineffective).
Might as well throw heat detectors into the mix as well. I'm not an expert on these devices but there appears to be two commonly used types:
1.) Rate of Rise
2.) Fixed Temp.
First look at installing light fixtures into a ceiling (versus a wall):
In the draw menu you change the "Location" from Wall to Ceiling and then the plugin allows one to insert light fixtures into Medeek roof and floor assemblies or into any group.
The control key toggles justification: LEFT, RIGHT, FRONT, BACK, CENTER
When location is set to "Wall", the justification is only: LEFT, RIGHT, CENTER
Light fixtures in ceiling mode can be inserted into any group/face that is not vertical (normal vector of the face is perpendicular to the Z axis), so any horizontal or vaulted ceilings are okay.
I would like to add in some basic fluorescent light fixtures (surface mount an recessed) however with this type of light fixture I am unclear whether or not a junction box is typically installed, or does the light fixture serve as the junction box.
When I did some electrical work a few years ago I remember distinctly that can lights typically have an integrated junction box like the image shown below, so there was no need to install a junction/octagon box:
- Added the ability to draw "ceiling" light fixtures with Medeek roof/floor assemblies or any ceiling geometry.
Note the placement of the 2D symbols on the floor of the garage. The Z height of the symbols can be manually modified by moving the main group that contains all of the symbols. I think the user will find this feature surprisingly convenient at times.
The Hampton Bay warehouse pendant shown is now also included in the default light fixture library.
This plugin is turning out to be a really fun plugin to use and I will say quite intuitive.
Here is a collection of exit signs that will be installed by default with the plugin, of course the user can always place their own into the library/safety/exit sub-folder.
- Enabled the ability to draw safety devices with Medeek wall assemblies or any wall geometry. Enabled devices include: Exit Signs, Smoke Detectors, CO Detectors and Horn/Strobe Units.
- Added the ability to draw "ceiling" safety devices with Medeek roof/floor assemblies or any ceiling geometry.
- Created 2D symbols for wall and ceiling mounted safety devices.
- Added a parameter into the global settings to allow for adjustment of the size of symbols and labels.
- Added a parameter into the global settings to allow for adjustment of the font for text found within symbols and labels.
- Parameter change highlighting enabled for all draw menus: Outlets, Switches, Lights, Low Voltage, Panels, and Safety Devices.
If this change is well received then I will make the same feature available with the other plugins.
Version 0.9.6 - 03.09.2019
- Fixed bugs related to compatibility with SketchUp 2015.
Version 0.9.7 - 03.14.2019
- Updated toolbar icons to be compatible with 4k (UHD) resolution monitors.
Version 0.9.8 - 03.19.2019
- Created the HTML edit switch menu and enabled editing for switches.
- Resolved some bugs in the switch and panel modules having to do with metric templates/units.
Version 0.9.8b - 03.20.2019
- Enabled interoperability with John Brock's Framer for SketchUp extension.
I've limited the interoperability to switches only until I can further test this new feature/integration. Once I am satisfied that there are no issues I will enable all other electrical devices.
Version 0.9.8c - 03.21.2019
- Created the HTML edit outlet menu and enabled editing for outlets.
As part of this upgrade I'm also addressing interoperability and metric template issues and other minor fixes for outlets.
Version 0.9.8d - 03.22.2019
- Created the HTML edit low voltage outlet menu and enabled editing for low voltage outlets (data, telephone, cable, RCA).
Only three more modules (lights, safety devices and panels) to go and then we can bump it out of BETA status. Just a heads up, I will probably be increasing the price on this plugin from $20.00 to $35.00 once I have moved it from BETA to the initial full release.
Version 1.0.0 - 03.23.2019
- The Medeek Electrical extension moved from BETA status to initial full release.
- Created the HTML edit panel menu and enabled editing for load centers (service panels).
- Created the HTML edit safety device menu and enabled editing for wall and ceiling mounted safety devices (exit signs, smoke detectors, CO detectors, horn/strobes).
- Created the HTML edit light fixture menu and enabled editing for wall and ceiling mounted light fixtures.
Tutorial 2 - Light Fixtures (17:50 min.):
Since the release of Version 1.0.0 there has been a surge of new users:
However, I have not received very much feedback (bugs or features) with this plugin.
Please feel free to post feedback or comments in this forum or others.
Justin Geis with SketchUp Essentials just posted a review of the plugin:
Overall I think the video is excellent however the demo was of version 0.9.6 so he was not able to demonstrate the parametric ability of the plugin.
I'm looking for some low poly florescent light fixtures to include with the plugin. Please send me some links to any that you would recommend or would have use of.
- Parameter hightlight (input) color added to General tab of global settings.
- Fixed a bug with the safety devices module.
The light fixture module actually needs to be more like the safety device module where you have a custom library for certain classes of lights and the corresponding symbol.
I need to add in the following light types and symbol:
- Fluorescent (surface, suspended, recessed)
- Ceiling Fan
- Ceiling Fan w/ Light
- Canister (Can Light)
I'm also debating whether to add in something for enclosed vents/fans for (bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens). Technically this is part of the HVAC or mechanical system but usually gets tucked into the electrical plan, thoughts?
I will be adding in an additional toolbar "Medeek Electrical II":
This toolbar will be for misc. electrical devices that do not fit neatly into the categories already provided (switches, outlets, low voltage, load centers, safety, light fixtures).
The first two items that will be added are: Heaters, Vent (fans)
Heaters will include items such as cadet wall heaters, shop/garage ceiling mount heaters etc...
Vents will include typical ceiling mount vent
fans for bathrooms, laundry and kitchens. Regular ceiling fans and ceiling fans with lights will actually be included with the light fixtures module.
- Created the Medeek Electrical secondary toolbar, with two additional functions/tools: Draw Heater, Draw Vent.
- Enabled the ability to draw ceiling (garage/shop) and wall mount heaters.
- Enabled the ability to draw ceiling mount exhaust fans, with or without light.
If you would like to see a specific piece of electrical hardware or device added to the plugin please let me know, I am very open to suggestions on how to make this plugin more useful.
I've had numerous requests for extending the plugin to encompass the British electrical standards however no one has sent me any literature (or links to literature, manufacturers etc...) or low poly models. I am interested in making this plugin more universal and extending its coverage to other electrical standards however I don't have enough experience with these others standards yet and I will need more guidance if I am to do this correctly.
I need to add in the option for ceiling fans and ceiling fans with lights.
What would be the suggested 2D symbol for these two light fixture options, I would like to keep it fairly simple but appealing.
Ultimately the number of included electrical devices and fixtures will probably exceed the amount of devices that I want to package as default with the plugin. My thinking on this is that down the road I can provide "packs" that the user can drop into the appropriate plugin library sub-folder to add more pre-configured components to the plugin.
For example the commercial electrician or designer may want a much larger selection of fire and safety devices than the average residential designer. It doesn't make much sense to overly bloat the plugin size to include all of these specialized electrical components when most of the user base will not use them. Rather it makes sense to provide these electrical device "packs" as an upgrade type feature where the user decides for themselves which additional devices they would like to have available for their use.
Also if enough people utilize this plugin it may also garner the interest of some of the manufacturers who then might be willing to provide some "official" models of their hardware (low poly preferably) for use within the plugin. Looking at a number of manufacturer's websites lately and there is only a handful that provide any sort of 3D models and those are usually in Revit. I would like to see more SketchUp models become available.
- Added an advanced option for outlets to display the outlet height with the 2D symbol.
If this advanced option proves popular I can also add it to switches, low voltage outlets, safety devices (wall mounted), and light fixtures (wall mounted).
This advanced option is per customer request.
On my own electrical plans I typically don't call out the switch or outlet height however in some cases I have provided a height call out with GFCI outlets installed in the garage.
First look at wall mounted (surface) fluorescent light fixtures:
First look at vanity light fixtures:
- Added the following light fixture categories and symbols: Surface, Recessed, Vanity, Ceiling Fan, Ceiling Fan w/ Light, Fluorescent (Surface Mount).
Now that I've reworked the light fixture module it is much more conducive to adding in additional light fixture categories/types, at some point I may even allow the user to add in custom categories. I still need to add in the fluorescent suspended and recessed categories and their corresponding symbols. However, I usually won't add in a category until I have a minimum of one default fixture to place into the library for that category.
Note that when you rotate a light fixture or its box the symbol does not rotate. The exception to this rule is with the fluorescent (ceiling mounted) light fixtures. As you can see in the image above both the symbol and label are rotated with the fixture.
- Added the following light fixture category and symbol: Fluorescent (Recessed).
Included fixtures are a 2x4 and 2x2 troffer.
- Added the following light fixture category and symbol: Fluorescent (Suspended).
The only other major type of lighting that is missing is track lighting and possibly some variants of existing lighting types that indicate they are LED rather than fluorescent or incandescent.
With fluorescent lighting there is a small text file in each library sub-folder that specifies the dimensions of the light fixture. Technically the numbers for each light fixture can be set to any value (width, depth, length), they are only used to provide the wireframe preview and help with the placement if you toggle the fixture justification. I will put out a tutorial on how to use these config files and setup your own custom fixtures.
There seems to be a demand for the height callout next to the various electrical devices so I'm working at adding it to all wall mounted electrical devices.
First look at the height callout for switches:
- Added an advanced option for switches and low voltage outlets to display the device height with the 2D symbol.
- Added an advanced option for wall mounted light fixtures to display the device height with the 2D symbol.
I also resolved a minor bug with the placement of wall mounted light fixtures so I highly recommend upgrading to this latest release.
First look at the electrical symbols legend generated by the plugin:
The secondary toolbar has the icon for generating the legend:
The legend is parametric so every time you click the legend icon/tool it regenerates the legend based on what electrical devices are present in the model. You can also move (x, y or z) or rotate the legend and it will retain these new coordinates when it is regenerated.
Initially the legend is drawn at the origin but can be positioned at any location (and retained) by the user using SketchUp's native move or rotate tools.
The overall size of the legend and its text and symbol size is driven by the parameter in the global settings, as is the font of the text which will match the font used by the electrical symbols in the model.
It also appears that you can use SketchUp's native scale tool to scale the legend and it will also retain this setting when regenerated.
Outlets, Switches, Low Voltage and Load Centers.
I still need to add in lights, safety devices, Heaters and Vents.
- Added the "Draw Legend" function to the secondary toolbar.
- Enabled the ability to automatically create an electrical symbols legend for all electrical devices within the model.
After working my way down through the list of possible symbols I'm surprised to see that there are so many and the legend can get quite large.
I think the real power in this plugin is not the ability to insert 3D components into your model, technically you don't even need a plugin to do this, just a bunch of pre-configured components (.skp files). The real strength is the automation of the 2D symbols and the parametrics of the plugin (allowing you to swap out devices types, colors, height and rotation). Now with the addition of a parametric symbols legend it automates yet another tedious task.
I'm fairly happy with the way the legend has come out but for future work I may include a parameter in the global settings which allows the user to enable sub-titles (divides the legend into logical sections: outlets, switches, lights, etc...) as well as specify the number of columns that legend should be divided into, this becomes more of an issue when there are a lot of electrical symbols to display.
I think some people would argue that I go too deep with my plugins (too many settings, parameters, options etc...) I would agree that if possible simple is often better. The goal is to make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
On the flip side the addition of more options and parameters increases the amount of data or information that model contains and hence makes it more useful (BIM). Options also allow the user to further customize their workflow with the plugin and tailor it specifically to their needs. Many of the options I have added have been directly requested by users of the plugins
For those that are interested I will explain how the new "Draw Legend" tool works under the hood.
First the plugin finds all of the groups in the model (active_entities, if no group or component is open for editing then this will be the same as entities at the root of the model).
It then checks inside each of these groups and identifies the electrical groups that belong to the plugin (based on the group instance name). Once it has collected up all of the electrical groups in the model it then divides them into their appropriate categories: Outlets, Switches, Light etc...
It then examines each sub-category and dives into the attributes library for each electrical device (group). The attributes library tells it what 2D symbol is associated with that particular device. It then creates a new list of symbols to draw for the legend for each category at the same time discarding or preventing duplicates.
The symbols shown in the legend are drawn, for the most part, using the same methods as the symbols drawn for the actual devices however some of them have been altered slightly in order to customize them specifically for the legend.
As you can see there is quite a bit going on under the hood. When a model gets large with hundreds of walls and possibly hundreds of electrical components generating the legend may take up to 30 seconds.
- Added additional NEMA 240V receptacles into the Outlet module: NEMA 6-30R, NEMA 6-50R.
These additional receptacles (and symbols) were per customer request.
Tutorial 3: Electrical Symbols Legend
Since adding the symbols legend I've had a number of requests for a tool to draw a schedule (similar to how I am drawing the legend).
Now that I've got a fairly solid routine for pulling the electrical data (I will use much of this same code for the estimating tool) it isn't too big of a leap to draw a schedule.
My question is what information do you need or want in this schedule, how do you want it laid out? Every device listed with its parameters or do I group like devices?
Please give feedback in this regard. Also feel free to send me any sample electrical schedules that I can utilize as references.
If I know what I want to output I can probably knock this out in 2-3 hours, most of the underlying code is already in place.
Looks like the listing is finally live in the Extension Warehouse:
To celebrate the inclusion of this new extension into the Extension Warehouse and to further accelerate its uptake I will be running an Easter special.
This special is a little different than those I have recently done in the past.
In order to obtain a full license for the Electrical Extension at no cost all you need to do is renew one of your existing licenses for any other Medeek extension (Truss, Wall or Foundation). Purchase of a new license for any of these three plugins is also a valid option as well.
Once you have purchased either a renewal or new license of the Truss, Wall or Foundation plugin(s) then please send me an email and I will issue you a license for the Medeek Electrical extension. If you already own the electrical extension I will issue a renewal to your existing license, thereby extending it license expiration date an additional year.
If you renew more than one extension, only one renewal can be applied towards a free license or renewal of the Electrical extension.
This promotion is only valid for purchases and renewals from 04-24-2019 thru 05-01-2019, there will be no exceptions.
Version 1.0.7 - 04.28.2019
- Fixed the show_modal bug for macOS in the Materials tab of the global settings.
As a celebration of the 4th of July and the full parameterization of the Foundation plugin I will be offering an incentive on new purchases or renewals of the Truss, Foundation or Wall plugins.
If you purchase or renew any of the BIM plugins on the 4th of July (tomorrow) you will be entitled to a complimentary license for the Medeek Electrical extension. This promotion is only valid on the 4th of July.
I will be taking most of the day off tomorrow (finally) and eating some good food and watching some fireworks on the beach.
Happy 4th of July!
A couple of things worth noting after working with a customer via Skype this morning:
1.) If your custom walls have reversed faces this will affect the plugin. The solution is to jump into the group, right click on the face in question and reverse the face.
2.) The plugin calculates the bottom of the wall by looking at the origin of the group that is the container for the wall geometry. If the origin of this group is below or above the bottom of the wall then the vertical distance for positioning various electrical fixtures (ie. switches, outlets, data etc...) will not be correct. I may change this up to consider the lowest point of the face rather than the origin of the group, I will need to give this some additional thought.
For the month of September I will be running the following promotion:
If you purchase or renew any of the BIM plugins during the month of September you will be entitled to a complimentary license for the Medeek Electrical extension. This promotion is only valid until September 30th.
Note, that if you already own an existing license for the electrical plugin then this promotion will allow you to further extend your license expiration of that plugin by an additional year.
If you purchased or renewed one of the other extensions in the previous two weeks (Sept 1 thru Sept 14) you are also retroactively eligible for this promotion, please contact me via email to take advantage of this offer.
Version 1.0.8 - 09.28.2019
- Fixed a critical performance bug that affects all the modules within the extension.
*** CRITICAL PERFORMANCE UPDATE ***
If you are noticing a slowdown of the plugin performance after multiple edits to an electrical fixture, this fix will resolve that issue. This issue affects all previous versions of the plugin.
I've had a lot of requests lately for floor mounted outlets. I've gone ahead and created some low poly models of the Leviton series:
View model(s) here:
If there is interest in other brands of floor outlets please let me know. The Hubbell-Raco (6224) also interests me but I haven't had a chance to create a model of it yet and I have been unable to find any detailed dimensional data on it:
The second toolbar will now include an icon for floor mounted outlets:
- Added the "Draw Floor Outlets" and the "Draw Misc. Fixture" function to the secondary toolbar.
- Enabled the ability to draw misc. fixtures with Medeek wall assemblies or any wall geometry. Enabled misc. devices include: Thermostats, doorbell buttons, doorbell chimes, and doorbell transformers.
View model here:
Additional fixture components (ie. other manufacturer's doorbell models etc...) can easily be utilized by placing them into the appropriate sub-folder of the plugin's library/misc sub-folder.
Honeywell vs. Nest
Misc. fixtures added to legend tool:
- Fixed a minor bug in the General tab of the global settings.
- Enabled the ability to draw floor and ceiling outlets.
The included outlets: Raco 5500, Leviton 25249 (Nickel and Brass) Series, Standard Duplex Outlet.
The plugin automatically detects whether the outlet is a floor or ceiling outlet and assigns the appropriate symbol. This may require some further refinement for outlets mounted to slightly inclined floor or ceiling surfaces, I will be testing this particular situation further.
User defined outlets can be utilized by dropping the component files into the appropriate library sub-folders: library/fc_rcpt/gang1 or library/fc_rcpt/gang2
The default label for floor/ceiling outlets is 'RCPT', however this can be set independently from wall mount outlets in the global settings.
Has anyone ever seen or used a symbol for a duplex switch?
- Added additional 240V duplex and simplex outlets to the built-in library: NEMA 6-15R and NEMA 6-20R.
- Added some simplex outlets to the floor outlet built-in library.
I'm wondering with the undesignated 240V outlets if I should provide the NEMA number (ie. 6-20R) next to the 2D symbol. I would assume that this would be very useful information, a 240V receptacle can take many forms and various amperages.
Version 1.1.1b - 12.04.2019
- Added more 20A (NEMA 5-20R) outlets to the outlet module: GFCI, WP GFCI, USB etc...
Creating a few new electrical components gives me a much needed break from the code and is actually quite relaxing. I'm at the most difficult part of the complex roof module, so I'm taking a couple days to clear my head so that I can take a fresh crack at it and allow myself to think outside the box if required. I find that sometimes it helps to take a break sometimes, which effectively takes the blinders off, and then alternative (better) solutions almost magically appear.
If there are any specific outlet or fixture types you would like added please email me.
I apologize that I have not provided a solution for other electrical standards yet. Eventually I will do this but I'm not ready to bite it off just yet.
Even if you do not purchase the plugin, I think it would be worthwhile to download the trial version just for all of the pre-built electrical components now available in the library sub-folder. Of course, I would prefer that you purchase the plugin but if you don't need the parametrics and some of the other automated features then even the trial version and the library files might be quite useful.
- Added the "Draw Low Voltage Panel" function to the secondary toolbar.
- Enabled the ability to draw low voltage panels with Medeek wall assemblies or any wall geometry. Included Structured Media Panels: Leviton 47605 (14", 21", 28", 42").
View model here:
For now only the flush cover models are included however if I find the time I will model up the hinged cover variants and include those as part of the standard library.
I'm trying to figure out how to best handle the situation where outlets and switches are vertically sitting on top of each other:
I'm thinking about adding an advanced parameter which allows offsetting the symbol and label a custom amount so that the symbols don't all pile up on top of each other.
- Added an offset parameter (advanced options) for switches which allows the symbol and label to be offset from the wall.
Version 1.1.3 - 01.01.2020
- Added additional (120V, 20A) outlets to the built-in outlet library.
This update includes various (20A) USB and GFCI outlets.
What would be the appropriate 2D electrical symbol for this 4 port USB charging outlet?
Its not really a duplex outlet anymore.
For many of the electrical fixtures the designer can use their own electrical components as well as the ones included with the plugin. Here are a few hints/tips on how to do this:
1.) You need remove the spaces from file names with spaces in them. Either delete the spaces or replace them with underscores like I have done with my filenames.
2.) With your electrical light fixtures be sure that fixture base is located at the origin of the model within your component file. This actually applies to any electrical fixture. The location of the component with respect to the origin determines where it will land within the model once it is inserted by the plugin.
3.) When you insert the (ceiling mount) light fixture below make sure you select "ceiling" and not "wall" for the mounting position from the parameter list.
Per a customer request I will probably add in two additional user definable fields for all electrical fixtures:
Unlike other parameters these will default to a nil value.
Are there any other parameters like these that I should add while I am updating each electrical fixture type to include these additional two parameters?
- Added optional metadata parameters for switches: description, circuit.
Once I've received some additional feedback on this new feature I will probably add the metadata parameters for all other electrical fixtures.
Further down the road I can probably also setup a tool which will allow the user to quickly visualize which switches, outlets etc... are on a particular circuit.
Version 1.1.5 - 04.28.2020
- Added a Global Reset button in the General tab of the Global Settings.
- Plugin files switched from .rbs to .rbe encryption.
My youngest son is looking for a job this summer and with the situation being mostly under lockdown I would rather him work from home, with me.
As such I'm proposing that he help me by creating a number of models for the Electrical plugin so that I can extend it to include the British Standards (BS 1363). I have had a number of requests for other electrical standards and by far the most highly requested has been the British equivalents of our NEMA sockets and switches.
The BS 1363 (Type G) seems to be quite widespread throughout the world.
I have a few models already from a few months prior but any additional information on receptacles and switches as well as standard boxes used in the trade would be greatly appreciated.
First look at a low poly UK outlet:
The model is based off of the .SAT models provided on the website of MK Electric.
View model here:
Unlike the typical US outlet and/or switch the British variety come with the faceplate and the electrical component integrated into a single unit. Due to this fact and other considerations the draw and edit menus for the UK version of the plugin will be different than the North American version (NEMA).
Here are some typical outlets:
For those of you concerned that I am taking my attention off of the wall and truss plugins, don't be overly concerned. I am only setting up the templates so that my youngest son Edmond can be set loose to do most of the heavy lifting. I will provide oversight, as necessary, to make sure that every outlet and switch model meets my exacting standards but the bulk of my time will be spent working on the gable wall module for the next few days.
I have been contacted by SketchUp (Educational Programs Coordinator) with regards to using SketchUp for electrical work. They are looking for some examples of recent work to share with the IBEW and ETA (electrical union) to showcase the use of SketchUp in the design and layout of electrical systems.
I am not an electrical contractor so I don't have any actual real life case studies to share or demonstrate but I am hopeful that some of the current users of the electrical plugin might have some examples they are willing to share with the rest of the electrical community.
If you would be interested in sharing some of your work as a case study please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the global settings there will be a new parameter for choosing the electrical standard. The default standard will be NEMA (North America) with a new option for the BS (British Standard).
When you enable the British standard the usual toolbars will be the same however you will also get a third toolbar for British standard specific outlets and switches (and in the future possibly other specific items). The regular NEMA switches and outlets will still be available with the main toolbar so in case the user wants a mixed installation of NEMA and BS components. I may change this in the future depending on customer feedback.
The initial UK toolbar will be:
I wish the Union Jack displayed with a bit more clarity but it is hard to get a lot of detail when the icons are as small as they are.
MK Electric has a very extensive product line. There is also the MK Grid Plus line which is similar to the Leviton QuickPort system however it is primarily for switches not low voltage ports:
I've uploaded a very simple detached garage model that can be used to test out the electrical plugin:
Version 1.1.6 - 08.11.2020
- Updated all electrical drawing tools to be compatible with Medeek gable, shed and hip walls.
- Improved compatibility with the SketchUp Grid Tool.
Slightly off topic but I really like using the Grid Tool to help with laying out walls, foundations and even electrical components:
My self imposed timeline for getting the UK switches and outlets released is Oct. 1, 2020. However I may be able to push that sooner if I am able to shuffle a few things.
After comparing my UK switch tool and the US (NEMA) switch tool it became abundantly clear that there isn't too much to do in order to get the UK switches up and running so I bit the bullet and opened another can of worms...
First look at some flush mounted MK Logic Plus switches with metal boxes:
I still need to enable the 2D symbols but now I am wondering if the symbols used by the Brits are different from what we use here in North America, knowing my luck they are probably not the same.
To be perfectly honest I didn't think this plugin would be widely used or adopted, kind of niche thing for a few electrical contractors or guys like myself who like to show a lot of details in their models. I actually got the initial idea from reading through John Brock's book and I really liked how he was placing electrical components into his models. It seemed like too much work to have to place pre-made components into the model at the right depth into the walls and also the height, hence the plugin was born, which automatically sorted out these details for you.
As with my other plugins as I have continued to develop them they have garnered more interest and I've tried to make them more flexible to accommodate more users and standards. I'm currently working to release the British Standard upgrade which will include some typical UK outlets and switches (and boxes). However, a lot more remains to be done to truly make this flexible enough for a worldwide audience.
Keep sending in the feedback, it ultimately helps me fine tune this plugin to better meet the needs of you the user.
Surface mounted MK Logic Plus switches:
- Created the Medeek Electrical UK (British Standard) toolbar, with two additional functions/tools: Draw Switch, Draw Outlet.
- Enabled the Draw Switch (UK) tool with the following switch types (MK Logic Plus): single pole, dimmer, blank.
Since I am using manufacturer's part numbers to specify the switch and box with the new UK module I thought it made sense to provide a thumbnail to aid in the selection process:
- Added preview thumbnails to the draw and edit menus of the UK switch tool.
After some further digging about on the internet I really only came upon three or four reference documents for UK outlet symbols. Based on those examples here are my proposed symbols:
Please provide feedback or suggestions.
I planning on using the abbreviation "SW" for switched since I am trying to keep the length of the text in the legend to a manageable length, or I could spell it out in full.
There will probably be other outlet types (ie. fused outlets or connector outlets), but this is all I have for now.
- Enabled the Draw Outlet (UK) tool with the following outlets types (MK Logic Plus): unswitched, switched, switched w/ USB, weatherproof, blank.
- Added preview thumbnails to the draw and edit menus of the UK outlet tool.
- Added UK outlet (2D) symbols to the Legend tool.
Editing a UK outlet:
Tutorial 4: UK Toolbar
Version 1.1.9 - 09.10.2020
- Added optional metadata parameters for outlets: description, circuit.
Custom Wiring Feature:
I've been getting some requests for the ability to add in wiring.
After giving this some additional thought I think I can add in a rudimentary wiring module that will allow the user to create their own wire types. The basic parameters would be:
1.) Name: NM-B_14/3, NM-B_8/3 etc...
2.) Shape: RND or RECT
7.) Bend Radius
The second toolbar will include a new icon for wiring:
Additionally the wiring assemblies will not be embedded into any other assemblies (ie. wall, roof, floor etc...), this way they can be edited and regenerated. I will have two context menu items for wiring assemblies: edit and regen.
The edit function will allow you to switch from one wire type to another as well as use the built in (SketchUp) move tool to alter or modify the path of the wire. The wire path will be on a separate (hidden or system) layer and the wiring will also have its own layer.
The actual wire (solid) will be a group within the wiring assembly. The wire path will be a locus of edges within the wiring assembly. When the wiring assembly is regenerated the solid group will be deleted and redrawn whereas the wire path (edges) will not be modified.
The bend radius is the parameter that is the most unique feature of this tool. One could easily use a tool like profile builder to generate the wiring but with the bend radius the tool will introduce another level of complexity.
In some cases the line segment(s) will be too short to allow for the bend to occur, in these cases the radius will not be applied, the segments will simply be followed as is.
The wire types can be configured in the global settings of the plugin.
First look at the Custom Wire Library tab in the global settings:
- Added a "Refresh Licensee Data" button within the License tab of the Global Settings.
- Added a Custom Wire Library to the Global Settings which allows user defined rectangular or circular cross section wires/cables/conduit.
- Enabled the Wiring Tool with three additional context menu functions: Edit Wire Assembly, Regen Wire Assembly, Edit Wire Path.
- Added a 4th dimensioning layer specifically for wire callouts in the Layers tab of the Global Settings.
- Added the following parameters to the General tab of the Global Settings: Wire Label Callout, Wire Label Prefix, Circle Segments.
I think I need a few additional tools to round out this wiring module and make it more intuitive and efficient to use:
- Move Segment Tool (rather than having to edit the wire path directly)
- Integrate the Estimating tool with the wiring statistics
For round wires I have the "circle segment" parameter which allows ones to decrease the number of segments in order to keep the polycount down in the model.
The draw tool needs a feature or switch which allows one to simply select a pre-drawn polyline (of edges) rather than picking points.
Version 1.2.1b - 10.15.2020
- Draw Wire Tool input extended to two options: Points, Edges
Tutorial 5 - Wiring (11:15 min.)
Just for fun I created some "wire" sizes at your typical HVAC duct sizes and then laid out some geometry (polylines) with the help of the SketchUp grid extension:
The only thing I could not draw with the wire tool was the rectangular reducer shown in blue.
HVAC (duct work) is fairly straight forward in my opinion however there needs to be a few more specific parts and pieces in order to terminate and make transitions. So there would need to be a separate tool (and library) for common size reducers, boots and grilles.
I'm not really an HVAC (mechanical engineer), I've done a little work in the field about 15 years ago while doing some contract work at BYU, but then again I'm not an electrician either and look how far this plugin has come. I guess it just takes some interest and a desire to learn, but I do think HVAC is a bit more involved than Electrical.
- Added a "2d Symbols Only" parameter into the General tab of the Global Settings.
- Enabled the "2d Symbols Only" mode for the following electrical elements: Outlets, Switches.
Yet another update per customer requests. A number of users only want to use the plugin to show the 2D electrical symbols rather than drawing the 3D electrical components (and the symbols). (Technically one could achieve pretty much the same result by turning off the electrical rough and finish layers.)
The new 2D symbols only mode will allow this mode wherein only the 2D symbols are drawn. Note, that I have only enabled this feature for outlets and switches thus far and I will need to extend that functionality to all other electrical elements (ie. fans, data outlets, floor outlets, panels etc...)
The nice thing about this bimodal system is that all of the regular data is being stored for each electrical component in the model (attribute library) so one can switch between modes mid-stream without any problems if necessary.
Similar to the estimator found in the Wall plugin the user will be able to select "All" or a selection of assemblies to run the estimator on:
The non-Medeek wall and roof assemblies will also be selectable since the Electrical plugin also works with non-Medeek walls, roofs etc...
I don't feel like it is necessary to break the listings into the assemblies they are part of however I will include a column in each table which lists the main assembly the electrical component is found in, this should prove useful to some.
There are a lot of little details with regards to different electrical components (ie. outlets, switches, panels etc...) Each type of electrical component has unique characteristics, all of this data needs to be output by the Electrical Estimator
, it will probably take me a few days to assemble this new module.
Once it is complete it will make this plugin a much more useful tool.
P.S. I think it would be also quite useful at some point to incorporate a price database that works with the estimating module. This separate database would be referenced to determine the price, vendor etc... for a given electrical component. Additionally, the list of materials could then be conveniently broken into separate purchase orders for each vendor. I'm probably getting a bit ahead of myself here but with the ability to program just about anything with the API and the Ruby back end its conceivable that one could generate PO's that could then easily be imported into Quickbooks or any other accounting software. I've done a bit of Quickbooks API programming in the past where I integrated my own customer billing system and expense database with the software, its really not that hard to do.
When I ran my web hosting company back in the early 2000's I got really sick of having to manually enter in customer orders and business expenses into Quickbooks, the problem was my billing system and Quickbooks (my accounting system) were completely two different ecosystems. I would usually have to devote one entire day out of the month for this tedious task. I finally got smart one day and decided it would be really nice if I could somehow automate this process. After about two days of programming I had fully automated the manual entry problem and set it up as Chron job that would run nightly, it would even shoot me out an automatic email every morning letting me know how the process went and if there were any issues.
"Laziness is the mother of invention"
First look at the CSV output (imported into Excel) for the Electrical Estimator:
*Note, the additional formatting (column spacing, bold, underline) is done in Excel after the import.
Also note that I have the total lengths tallied for each wire type.
- Created the initial framework of the Medeek Electrical Estimating Module.
- Added wiring to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.
- Added the ability to export data from the Medeek Electrical Estimator in CSV format.
I also need to figure out what sort of CSI numbering to assign electrical components.
Note that the Wire Name can be customized by the user. The default is to assign a prefix and then a number that is auto incremented within the model, however one could easily use the name to define the location of the wire run (ie. Master Bath Light, Hall Chandelier etc...)
Besides regular power wires this could be useful for routing and planning network cable runs for a project. In this scenario all of the cables my be CAT6 or CAT7 but one could define a number of cable types and differentiate them by color. Then it would easy to categorize certain parts of the network by color of the network cables and also figure out how much cabling is required for specific parts of the network.
In the example shown below I've color coded my network cables based on whether they service the first or second floor of the building. The red cable is the designated switch-to-switch or router-switch cabling:
Note that the totals allows me to determine my cable amounts for each floor. I'm also able to determine that each cable run does not exceed a max. length.
View model here:
Once I created all of my cable paths I dropped them onto a separate layer so I could easily hide them (and keep them around for future use if needed) once my wires were created.
- Added outlets and switches to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.
First look at UK electrical outlets and switches in the electrical estimator:
- Added data (low voltage) outlets, lights, panels, UK outlets, and UK switches to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.
The following (six) electrical elements still need to be added into the Electrical Estimator:
Safety Devices, Heaters, Vents, Floor Outlets, Low Voltage Panels, Misc. Fixtures
Version 1.2.6- 11.13.2020
- Added Safety Devices, Heaters, Vents, Floor Outlets, Low Voltage Panels and Misc. Fixtures to the Medeek Electrical Estimator.
The Electrical Estimator is now complete. I still need to change up the CSI numbers for the various components but for now I've just used my own default numbering system. I will need to get with some electrical contractors on what are the appropriate numbers to use.
I will now turn my attention to more pressing matters involving the Truss plugin.
- Enabled the ability to draw outlets and switches with Medeek Polyline Stemwall assemblies.
- Enabled the ability to draw UK outlets and switches with Medeek Polyline Stemwall assemblies.
- Added optional metadata parameters for UK outlets and switches: description, circuit.
- Added a circuit callout parameter in the General tab of the global settings.
- Added a 5th dimensioning layer specifically for circuit callouts in the Layers tab of the Global Settings.
- Enabled circuit callouts for the following fixtures: Switches, Outlets, UK Switches and UK Outlets.
- Added an option for vertically offsetting text and symbols within the General tab of the Global Settings.
- Annotation text and symbols for outlets, switches, UK outlets and UK switches can be vertically offset a custom amount from the bottom of the wall.
The default placement was at the bottom of the framed wall, and the default offsets still are zero unless otherwise specified differently. However in most situations this resulted in Z-fighting with the subfloor and if a finished floor was modeled then the symbols and text would be buried within the finished floor or carpet (not visible). This option allows the user to customize the vertical placement to suit their particular needs.
This update was per customer request.
- Added four additional parameters to the "User Interface" section of the General tab of the global settings. This allows the customization (colors) of the HTML menus and buttons.
Version 1.3.1 - 06.16.2021
- Updated the wiring module/algorithm to improve performance and overall robustness.
Version 1.3.2 - 07.11.2021
- Enabled subscription and permanent licensing.
- The License tab of the Global Settings now displays the license type.
Version 1.3.3 - 01.11.2023
- Enabled layer control integration with the Medeek Project extension.
Version 1.3.4 - 06.13.2023
- Enabled switches, outlets and lights to be inserted into "component" walls.
Previously electrical fixtures could only be inserted into walls that were "groups", with this update the wall assemblies can be either groups or components.
This update per customer request.
I will still need to update the other misc. electrical fixtures (ie. panels, low voltage, safety, heaters, vents, low voltage panels etc...)
Version 1.3.4b - 06.15.2023
- Enabled all other electrical fixtures for "component" walls.
- Added six additional dimmer switch combinations.
This update per customer request.