Electrical CAD


Electrical CAE specialist

Why always reinvent the wheel??? You want to create something new that took other companies years to develop and perfection. Go ahead be my guest... But if you calculate the hours you will invest in it, it would probably be worthwhile purchasing an existing one...

Overpriced??? What do you expect... A tool for $19.99.. You have to compare Apples and Apples... Just based on the ROI these kind of software packages are worth over $5000 US. On top of this this type of software is used by a Niche Market... If these were beeing sold by the millions, I guess they could bring the price down... But you don't get nothing for nothing...

Best regards,

Hilario Silveira

Our company is currently in a Kafkanian situation: Last year, we have bought the Electrical designer from Aceri (Spain). It proved to be a very badly designed software. It just could not run more than half an hour without crashing the computer and losing all the data. It was a $4.000,00 loss without counting with our own time loss.

After some research we have found EPLAN. They have a good website, I went from Brazil to London to see it working, learned that they had a rep in Brazil, and decided to buy it. This time the loss was even worse. The Eplan Software is very bad (in my opinion).

It crashes lots of times (but it does not loses its data, so we consider this a "minor" problem)

In our opinion, the worse, is that it is really very confusing. I really don't believe that anyone in EPLAN has ever heard about "user friendly". We have very good engineers graduated in the best universities of the country, but they lost more than a month working without any good result.

I think that the EPLAN is just too burocratic and confusing. Anyone who buys it is going to lose time (and money).

I would appreciate if someone can tell me about the other softwares that are in the market.

I just need a solution to this situation, otherwise, if I keep buying bad software, my reputation will be destroyed.

Do you have any info about Ecad Plus, ELCAD, Promise, Via development, Elektra-Cad, Wireworks or any other software?

I'll be very gratefull if someone can help me.

Hilario Silveira

marc sinclair


I have used Eplan, yes it is extremely arcane (and it runs under windows so, yes it will crash, there isn't much you can do about that.) What are you trying to achieve? What are you currently using?

Don't spend all your time reading advertisements. You will spend all of your time wanting things. :)



I have used VIA Wiring Diagrammer. It has been recently purchased outright by AutoCAD, and is now AutoCAD Electrical. I have found it to be a very robust system, capable of doing everything I could ever want.

Implementation is painful. It requires part libraries to be built that work with it's system. Admittedly it ships with a huge library already, but anything that you have that is not in their library must be made into an intelligent block in order to take advantage of the features they offer. Sadly, this is the case with just about everything out there is the building of part libraries.

Note that VIA will allow you to make edits to a file using plain AutoCAD, and the drawing won't be broken. This is a huge benefit in easing the transition from old to new systems.

We are currently in the processing of trying to get it rolled out. Unfortunately the powers-that-be have decided it is not a critical task, and therefore only gets worked on infrequently. Still, after I looked at any of the other offerings out there, I think VIA was the best choice to make. Reasons included the ability to edit a drawing on a non-VIA machine and not break the drawing package, we got good support from the distributor, works in AutoCAD so that everything can port over from existing drawings, and it seemed to be the "user-friendliest" of everything I looked at. Despite the growing pains, I would still recommend it to anyone that asked.

--Joe Jansen
We are a company located in Nanjing,Jiangsu Province,China started in 1998.
We Provide:

--Paper to CAD hand redrawn conversion
--Scanning: larger and small paper sizes
--Image edit and cleanup
--GIS: Geographical Information System
--Indexing for both CAD and scan files
--Document Management System
--Plotting: Color, black and white up to 45¡±X35¡±

But first of all,we major in 2D-pager transferring in CAD.You can send files of tiff,jpg,etc of scanned paper files to us and we transfer them into files of format 'dwg','dxf',etc by hand using software 'Autodesk/Autocad R14,Autocad 2000 and Autocad Autocad 2004.

We also have built a set of quality control system.

We have had an excel file attached in this Email providing you our price system.The prices listed are for one single page. We can offer you discount according to the quantity of the job.

We can send some sample to you if you still can't be sure about our price system.

We look forward for our future cooperation!

Basic Service 4-6Weeks 10-Days 5-Days 3-Days Overnight
A-Size (9 x 12) $12 $15 $20 $30 $60
B-Size (12 x 18) $20 $25 $30 $40 $90
C-Size (18 x 24) $32 $40 $45 $50 $120
D-Size (24 x 36) $30 $45 $50 $60 $130
E-Size (30 x 42) $40 $50 $60 $70 $140

Stephen Herbert

This discussion on various CAE packages has many truths in it. In summary remember that if you buy any sofisticated software you will need training (at least 2 by 5 days for EPLAN, RSWIRE etc.).

You are also very dependant on the person who will be giving you first line support. Speak to some of their other customers (without the rep present) and find out how good is the support.

Any of these packages will take a lot of effort before you reap benefits. The more you put in the better it will get. Expect to only see benefits after 6 months and lots of learning.

You benefit more on larger projects. You must develop your macros and your database.

Do plenty of research before buying an expensive package.

[email protected]
I came across this site and you've got to see it to believe it. Their circuit reuse saves me tons of time, and it includes auto generating terminals, panel layout, and exporting BOM to excel. Plus, it's on Visio, very easy to use. I contacted them about pricing and it's so cheap that one small project and I'll be able to earn it back. http://www.radicasoftware.com. Hopes it helps.
Problem with products using just a diagramming tool is that they lack a database. A colleague once told me that he didn’t really want a diagramming software but a database with graphics capability! I wouldn't go that far!

Take a look at http://www.engineeringbase.com they use Visio and SQL server and it looks to be well integrated. It's less expensive than most of the products I have looked at. I think you get a 120 day trial period, download or get a CD sent. I downloaded a copy and so far it looks good.
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
Hilario Silveira

Have you ever tried visio technical software.

This visio technical software is good and may be worth while for your requirements

Altaf Belim
Avoid Promis-e. Even with Bentley taking them over it is still BUG CITY.

I am using Bentley Powerdraft Promis-e V8i. All the functions below are in the manual, they just don't work the way they should.

Basic things like wire numbers at the top and bottom of wires having the wrong alignment so they crash into symbols. You have to manually change the alignment on every top and bottom wire number to produce a decent looking drawing.

The Undo command doesn't work properley. Sometimes it undoes a lot of steps and often when it does this the Redo command is greyed out. Commands such as Place Symbol Again cause problems with Undo.

Stretching wires by draging the end with the mouse doesn't work. If you stop at another wire, it doesn't joint them. When you add wire numbers at the top or bottom, Promise puts them were the end of the wire was before it was stretched.

I copied a project the other day which check out OK with Design Considerations. I then checked the copy and it tells me there a short circuits, which are nowhere to be seen in reality.

I could go on some more, if anyone wants me to just ask. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how rough around the edges I have found this program, truth be known it is probably rotten to the core.