Electrical CAD

At 10:59 AM 5/24/2000 -0500, you wrote:
>I have been using Intellicad98, an Autocad clone and like it very much.

I have tried the free version, Intellicad 2000. I thought it was buggy and I quickly got frustrated with it. If it was more refined, it would have great potential.

>I also would be interested if
>anyone else on the list has been down this road or has heard of Intellicad's
>status since the "ax-quistion" of Visio by Microsoft?
>I have been thinking I might be forced to switch to Autocad LT and VIA.

Check out http://www.intellicad.org/

Intellicad is now open sourced and is being resold by a number of vendors.

http://www.cadopia.com/ has a free version for download.

It has many documented bugs, including a nasty UNDO bug, but the price is hard to beat.

Bill Sturm
Livonia, Michigan
Thanks for the update. I have encountered very few problems with Intellicad98. It sounds to me like the stripped-down version that is offered for free has developed some bugs due to the reduction in functionality. I am curious if the full version of Intellicad 2000 is plagued with the same bugs you found in the free version. Originally, I thought this program had potential, but now have my doubts about whether it will survive or not. I wonder if it is worth the $99 for the full version of Intellicad2000. (Intellicad98 was originally about $320.) Has anyone on the list used the full version (not the free version)? I will probably stay with Intellicad98 for the short-term and see what happens. When I am forced to upgrade, I'll have to consider Cimlogic's Toolbox WD or Via very
seriously. Again, thanks for the information. I checked out the FAQs to get a feel for the issues with Intellicad. It was enlightening.

The CIMLOGIC Toolbox/WD schematic and panel wiring diagram package is available free for 30-day eval. This is a full version, not crippled, and works on top of AutoCAD R14 or 2000. Call (US)603-881-9918 for CD. Fax is 603-595-0381.

Chris Bachmann

Good morning,

After reading through your message and the responses, I would like to help. First, I would like to make it clear that I have been a regional manager for EPLAN in the United States for nearly 5 years. No hiding here. But as such, I understand the market and I would like to help you in your search.

A couple of points:

1) You are using EPLAN 5.20 - We understand that some users require additional flexibility and a much easier interface. That is why we began developing EPLAN 21 FROM SCRATCH nearly 6 years ago. If a Drag and Drop Windows interface, ODBC compliant, Windows Print manager for output, Icon driven package sounds more like what you want, then you understand why we developed EPLAN 21. EPLAN 5.20 began in 1984 under DOS and has moved forward but I think you can see why the interface looks like it does.

2) The replys you received mentioned a number of alternative packages. Keep in mind though that you sound like you need an electrical controls design package. Some responses mentioned Intelligraph and Autocad and while these are fine for mechanical design, they are not meant for electrical design. These packages do not do automatic documentation (BOM, Wire list, terminal block diagram, TOC, Cable schedules, Interconnect diagrams ..), assign device IDs, automatically number wires, cross reference coils / contacts and other tasks you require for electrical. They were never written to do that.

3) This leads us to Electrical packages, some of which sit on the CAD package (Promis, VIA, WD Toolbox) and some of which stand alone (EPLAN, ElCAD). These do electrical conrols design specific tasks such as those listed above. Each of these has their specific approach and ramifications (ie: type of database to track data (Heirarchy vs. Object Oriented)).

4) Those in the know sometimes make some fairly telling decisions. For example, RS Wire from Rockwell is a brand label of Promis software from ECT. ECT is a distributor and Promis is a brand label of ECS CAD from ECS in Germany. ECS owns the code and in 1997, had a staff of about 9 people (for those in doubt, feel free to call me - I have a credit report on ECS from an independent credit agency). Allen Bradley Drives Division, owned by Rockwell, evaluated software for internal use and actively chose to use a product other than RS Wire.

I would like to discuss openly your requrements and point you in the right direction which may not even be EPLAN. For some people, we aren't the best answer. For others, we are. Keep in mind that you already own EPLAN 5.20. If EPLAN 21 is your answer, you can convert instead of paying more for something else.

This is not a sales call. I would invite you to call me at (262) 789-0428 X25 or email me at [email protected]. For others reading and responding, I would enjoy talking to each of you as well. If we are not your best answer, I will point you in the right direction, tell you why and even give you a phone number of the other company to save you the time.

Hope to talk to you soon.

Chris Bachmann
Regional Manager
EPLAN - United States
The software that we are using in our technical department is CADDY, from ZIEGLER - Informatics GmbH, Germany, with the application module ET1 for electrical diagrams.

CADDY is widely used for electrical and automation diagrams, and it fulfills the most commonly used european standards.

The main features of this package are the cross references between components, addressing of potentials, automatic generation of terminal connections, cables lists, etc.

On the other hand, although if works in Windows 95/98/NT, it comes from DOS and its developing environment has not been yet 100% carried to Windows (i.e. it uses the printer/plotter directly without passing through Windows)


We, at the Engineering Department of Siemens Belgium, successfully use Electro-CAD systems since 1989. Currently we use Sigraph-ET V5.4 ( a Siemens product ) to make our schematic drawings for the paper-industry, steel-mills, food-industry and electrical power-stations.

Our application are mainly low-voltage distribution, drives and programmable controllers. The size of our projects ranges from a few hundred schematics/terminalstrips to 10.000 ( largest project : hot-dip galvanizing mill = 11.000 schematics and terminaldrawings ).

What we like about the product we use :
- tight integration of DIN norms
- good output quality : schematic looks exactly the same on screen as on paper
- very stable
- multi-user environment ( indispensable for large projects )
- programmable control : our main tool for producing large quantities of variants
- relational database
- availibility on Unix or PC platforms

At the moment our main complaints with the software we use are :
- very difficult equi-potential numbering
- no integration of Bill of Materials with schematic drawing and cabinet lay-out
- difficult change-control, document management etc...

That's why we are looking for a replacement. We are looking at "object-oriented" systems. At the moment the main candidates are : Eplan 21 from Eplan Software and Services and Sigraph-CAE from Siemens.

Main criteria :
- full support of IEC 1082, IEC 1364
- wire-numbering ( potential numbering )
- thight integration of cabinet-layout,BOM, schematic, terminal
- good support for Simatic programmable controllers
- document management ( change-control, revisions ... )
- multi-user system !!!!!
- programmable control for automation tasks or producing schematics
- user-friendly
- capable of large projects ( e.g. 200 drives, 8000 I/O channels etc. )

At the moment we are in an evaluation process, the choise is still open.

Hope this helps,

Kris Baeyens
Engineering Department
Div. Energy, Industry and Transport
Siemens Belgium n.v.
130 Demeurslaan
B1654 Huizingen
Tel : +32-2-536.20.38
E-mail : [email protected]

James Baker - Rockwell Software- Product

I am sorry to hear of your difficulties. As you already know, many of the ECAD packages today claim to do what you need. Many salesmen can demo a product so that it reflects what you need. But in the end, the program has to produce a solution for you. There are many things which must be asked before providing you with a software that works for you and will allow your engineers to be
productive without loading them up with features and functions which they do not use or need. RSWire is a modular program and is an add-on to AutoCAD and can be loaded to suite each engineer's needs. There is a standalone version
which does not require AutoCAD. As the Eplan manager so rightly quoted, RSWire, Promis-e and ECS-CAD are basically the same program. This in itself gives you complete compatibility with many ECAD software installs world wide.

I would be more than happy to work with you to find a solution to your problems.

Please let me know if I can help in any way.

Jim Baker - RSWire Product Manager
Rockwell Software Inc.
mailto:[email protected]
Is anyone interested in creating an open source based electrical cad schematic product that can be used by everyone? I'm tried of the sales bull and over priced crap that's out in the market place.

The Toolbox/WD schematic and panel wiring diagram package, formerly marketed by Cimlogic, was recently acquired by VIA Development Corp and is now marketed under the name VIA Wiring Diagram. You can get a free CD copy of VIA-WD (full version, not crippled) for a 30-day eval if you contact VIA (1-888-CALL-VIA). You'll need full AutoCAD R14 or 2000/2000i (LT won't cut it).
The company I currently work for has spent $20,000 on Via 6.0 and it is a waste of time & money. It crashes, it's buggy, it's inflexible etc etc. What's worse is when i call tech support they say "hmmmm that's a good one, let me look into it and call you back." And of course i have yet to recieve a return call. WD tool box used to be pretty good but I would avoid it like the plague. Via Development just bought them out, and will be Incorporating the two. I think I am going to be sick.
BDenton wrote: >>WD tool box used to be pretty good but I would avoid it like the plague.<< Dear Mr. Denton, The Toolbox/WD (or WD Toolbox) ECAD product continues on as before, it is now being sold/marketed by VIA (www.viadevelopment.com) instead of Cimlogic. N8 Solutions owned and developed the Toolbox/WD product and worked closely with Cimlogic who marketed the package up until the time that coincided with Cimlogic begin bought out by SolidWorks. N8 Solutions tapped VIA to take over the Cimlogic duties plus some and the first official act has been to issue the next release of WD (now renamed VIA Wiring Diagram), version 15.4 for AutoCAD 14/2000/2000i. Some of the recent additions/improvements/new options to the product are in the areas of IEC format tagging, PLC I/O drawing auto-gen from spreadsheet data, cable/conductor tracking, relay contact/pin tracking, BOM, in-line wire numbers, and migration of schematic wire numbers to wiring diagram layouts. There is also an expanded, context-sensitive user manual in Windows "help" file format. So, if the concern is that what was a "pretty good" package might not be so in the future because of a change in who is marketing the product, that is not the case. N8 Solutions, in concert with VIA, will continue to lead development of the WD product for quite some time to come. Thanks! Nate Holt, N8 Solutions, Inc.
I didn't have any prior experience with VIA prior to WD's move from Cimlogic. Being heavily vested in WD; this was a concern.

It's now been over six months since the change and I have nothing but good things to say. The turn-around for license authorization has been the only significant change I've seen and that has been an improvement. We're still receiving wonderful support and find that most of our feature requests are implemented in a very short time.

Jens Jensen - Jensen Systems Inc.

I also was using WD prior to Cimlogic's departure. I was afraid that WD was going to disappear, and so purchased a copy of Via's product, not knowing that WD would also soon become Via. I was very dissapointed with the Via package. After finding out that WD was purchased by Via, I returned the Via package (which was accepted gratiously by the way), and relicenced under Via with no problems. The response to any issues is as good as it ever was, always excellent. They have implemented several of my suggestions. The software has been stable and more importantly - usable. I thouroughly researced for a period of two years before my initial WD purchase, because I got severely burned with a PromisE package several years before. We also tried RSWires as part of our AB SI program (but quickly saw the folly there). So I have been through the loop on this subject.

Realize though, that there definately is a learning curve with WD. It is AutoCad, and is blessed, and sometimes cursed with AutoCad's paradyme. For the first year that I owned WD, I was not doing that many drawings, and found that using WD was doubling the time spent on infrequent, two or three page projects. I always felt though, that the investment would eventually pay off. After my first 30 page project, it all started comming together for me. I am now cranking out the drawings, (better drawings) and would be lost without WD. I am building a library of circuits, and have created a system for doing P&IDs with WD. I am now in the middle of a 150+ full size sheet, 75 rungs per, project that I am doing single handedly (no draft dept, no associates, just me), and am staying ahead of the other diciplines just fine.

If you have to use AutoCad for electrical schematics, WD can make your effort a lot more productive. Via seems to be supporting the development team, and they are adding some neat stuff at a pretty rapid clip.

Robert Hanrahan

This couldn't be further from the truth. I spent 2 years before I decided to go with ToolboxWD 2 years ago. It has been the best decision I made. Tech support has been always on the ball and quick with their responses. Since WD made the move to VIA, I feel that it has gotten even better. Support is still fast and user suggestions get implemented on a timely basis. Initially there was a learning curve because I have several custom footprints that I needed to create, but the software made this easy and the documentation was well laid out. The price is also very reasonable. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an electrical CAD package to use.

Jerry Malone - Caterpillar Inc.

My group of engineers has been using WD now for three+ years. We have nothing but good to say about WD both then and now since VIA and N8 have joined forces. The VIA folks are just like the author of the program, "helpful, reliable, and always ready to listen to new ideas and not just listen but implement them post haste.

I truly wish that more of the industry was responsive like VIA. I am really weary of big companies (PLC's) that tell you they care about the customer and then when you need them to fix their product they act like they never knew you. VIA is not like this at all!!!

Tech support from VIA is excellent and the price of the product is very reasonable. We highly recommend it. We have at least a dozen seats now and will be buying more as the need arises!!!

Jerry Malone
Technical Center
Caterpillar Inc.

Heinz-Ullrich Noll

I used to work a lot with EPLAN about twelve years ago in Germany. At that time my experiences with this program were good.
But reading all these bad comments about it now, I certainly can recommend Elektrostar. You will find it in the Internet under this name. English version and Demo-Download are available.
best regards H.U. Noll


To all

All I know is that I did use and tried lots of software EPLAN,RS-Wire,PROMISE-E.
I did try to reinvent the wheel with this software, and also to create my own symbols I did spend a lot of time that was not paid off.
All I can tell you just try the WD( Wiring-Diagram ) from Via Development, you won't regrete it. Also the tech support is the best.
Go to the website below. http://www.viadevelopment.com/
All other wiring softwares are good, but I think Via Development is the best.

John B.Jr


Dear Bob,

Please have a look at www.e3series.com, its not like other ECAD systems... The developers have thought about this one. We can send you a
demo version (or you can download it, 80Mbytes).

If your really interested we can give you a timebomb code for a month which enables the trial version to include export functions and
non-hindered prints.