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We show you how to create your own symbols in DesignSpark Electrical in this tutorial, fresh from the pages of our software help centre: Zendesk.
1. Open Symbol manager (in the Library tab)
2. Create a new symbol or copy a symbol similar to the one you want to create.
- create a new symbol using “New” button, or
- copy an existing symbol using copy + paste [right click on symbol and select Copy from the menu then Paste into the page)
It’s usually better to copy an existing one, this way you get the properties you need.
3. Set properties.
The most important properties you have to check are:
Symbol name: name of the file to save the symbol (must be unique). Displayed when the description is missing (this is the technical name for the symbol, as shown in blue in the example below – you can also change the general description of the symbol which will appear in the symbol library menu by clicking on the symbol and selecting Rename – be aware that the renamed symbol will be placed in alphabetical order in the menu based on its new name)
Description: translatable text to identify the symbol. If the symbol could be used by people speaking another language, you can define description in other language using the upper combobox.
Measurement system: usually metric, but imperial for ANSI standard symbols. Use for automatic scaling when inserting symbols in metric/imperial sized drawings.
By clicking on each property, you get more detail in the bottom help box.
4. Edit graphics.
Once you set the properties, open the symbol in graphical editor.
The tools available for symbol editing are:
Edit symbol menu, specific tool for symbol edition.
Symbol edition side bar, gives a summary of symbol structure and properties.
Basic drawing command, available for any drawing, not only symbol definition.
5. Drawing menu
Use this menu to define the graphical aspect of the symbol, or modify it if you copy an existing one. To be sure to draw you symbol properly, check the active grid size (visible grid) and snap size (magnetic grid when drawing). You can set this using the following menu:
Or, using right click on bottom right zone of the DesignSpark Electrical window:
6. Define symbol structure
Use “Edit Symbol” menu command or use the pop-up menu available in the symbol structure tree.
7. Insertion point.
The default symbol insertion point is defined by the drawing origins (green arrows).
It is usually the top left corner of the symbol. It can be changed without altering the graphics using “insertion point” button.
8. Insert attributes.
Attributes are texts attached to the symbol. Those texts will be filled by DesignSpark Electrical using the properties of the component associated to the symbol.
Click on “attribute insertion” to add a new one and select one in the list:
To access the graphical properties select an attribute, go to the ‘Modify’ menu and click the ‘Properties’ button:
9. Edit graphical properties.
To edit properties of graphical entities (colour, font, size…), use “properties” menu. If you open this window, it will display the properties of any selected entities.
10. Circuits and connection point.
You don’t need to define circuits / connection points for all of the symbols. For example, line diagram symbols usually don’t have circuits or connection points.
If you need to define it, most of the time you must:
- create circuits
- add connection points to the circuits.
If you add a connection point without associated circuits, you will be prompted because it’s not normal to do this.
11. Add circuits.
Circuit is a way to describe, electrically, a symbol. Some examples:
Most of the time it is quite easy to define the circuit of a symbol. If you have doubts, for a 3 phase motor do I need 1 circuit with 3 points or 3 circuits with one point, just remember the circuits of the symbols need to match with those of the part.
When adding a circuit, you need to define the type of the circuit. This information will be used to check if a part matches the component.
Information transmission is generally disconnectable. This means the wire number will be different from each side of the circuit.
12. Add connection point.
To add a connection point, select the corresponding circuit and use the pop up menu:
Usually, you will need to add in incoming/outgoing point.
Connection points are useful to:
- Define terminals.
- Cut wires.
Connection points are displayed by this entity (not visible in drawings):
The numbering “N:0-C:0” helps to identify the point (not visible).
The small empty circle indicates where the wire is cut. The orientation of the point can be changed when inserting by clicking on right button.
An attribute (ex #P1_0) is added (this can be removed) to display the terminal number of each point.
More articles like the one above can be found in DesignSpark’s Electrical Zendesk, ideal if you have hit a stumbling block in your schematic design process.