Electrical Drafting Software - Follow-up


Thread Starter


Thanks to all who responded to my posting re: Electrical drafting software ( "http://www.control.com/1026147183/index_html":http://www.control.com/1026147183/index_html ).

I got a trial copy of a popular (read: well-marketed) package and tried it. Here's a summary of my experience: For all but the simplest drawings consisting of standard components and ladders, everything is way too complicated. It took me much too long to find out how to do the seemingly easiest tasks such as resizing objects and adding text to (annotating) components. I STILL can't draw and annotate a custom terminal strip. Even selecting objects is aggravating. Instead of click-drag-release to select a rectangle, it's click-release on one corner, move the mouse to the opposite corner and click-release. Not a big deal, but an example of the many little annoyances I encountered. After finally getting a halfway recognizable drawing, I couldn't, for the life of me, get it scaled and positioned properly on a print, and the "help" information had virtually no detail and was of virtually no help at all. When I realized that my frustration was turning to anger and my keyboard was in mortal danger, I quit and uninstalled. Unless you're a professional draftperson under no pressure and more learning curve time on your hands than you know what to do with, leave this stuff alone.

Note to software vendors - make us a schematic drawing tool that is as intuitive and as easy to use as "Paint" - technicians, electricians and other part-time draftpeople will beat a path to your door.
Try via schematic lite, Via development. Its around $400. It has a nice library. Smart trimming when you drop a symbol on a line. Annotation is easy, and you can drag/drop your annotations to be wherever you want them. Its not top of the line, ie no auto wire numbering (unless you buy the whole suite), but is works well, is simple to use, and best of all, its cheap.

Peter Whalley


For many years I've used a very simple drawing package called Chartist ( "www.novagraph.com":http://www.novagraph.com/ ). It's great for schematics, flow charts and similar. Cost is very low and you can download a 30 day trial version.


Peter Whalley
Magenta Communications Pty Ltd
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
e-mail: peter*no-spam*@magentacomm.com.au
delete *no-spam* before sending
Visio and SmartDraw are alternatives to Chartist. With Visio having the most features and so being the more complicated to use.

All of these packages will require a certain amount of up front work developing the symbols.

Also consider, if you are an Integrator, Contractor or an OEM your customer may require that you supply electronic copies of your drawings and that these have to be in AutoCAD format.

You might also consider TurboCAD.

Mark Hutton
Software Engineer
Tel:07092 032237
(telephone + voice and fax messaging www.yac.co.uk)
e-mail: [email protected]
internet: http://www.plcprogrammer.co.uk
Try caddy ++ basic. You can virtually start producing proffessional drawings in a day. What is being refered by others are general purpose cad.

Hi one of the best electrical drafting design software for me is ELCAD form AUCOTEC
I worked with it designing control and protection relay rack panels for transmition and distribution substations, this one gives you terminal and point to point spreed sheets also cable connection check theres a free version on the website also you can convert drawings to autocat