This article is part 2 in my series on adding content to AutoCAD Electrical, covering adding content to the catalog database.
- Create your set of symbols
- Add the data to the catalog database
- Add your symbol to the icon menu and Catalog Browser
- Insert the symbol
Adding a Table to the Catalog Database
The command to add a new table to the catalog database is kind of hidden on the ribbon. Probably because it isn't something you do every day. To find it, expand the Other Tools panel on the Project tab.
Select your catalog database .mdb file. The default catalog database is called default_cat.mdb. I am going to add a symbol category of FC to stand for Fictional Category.
After clicking OK, the table is added to the database with all the correct fields, including field order, length, and type. The table name and description are also added to the _FAMILY_DESCRIPTION table in the catalog database. The _FAMILY_DESCRIPTION table is used by the Catalog Browser and Symbol Builder to show the description for a catalog table\symbol category.
For Catalog Browser to display your new table you need to exit and restart AutoCAD Electrical. Once I restart, my new category shows up in the Catalog Browser and I can add catalog data to the table.
Select the table and click . This starts the edit mode.
There are only a few fields that are required. If you try and save the changes while any of these fields are blank, you will see an alert similar to this –
Press Enter to add a new line so you can add as many records as you need.
Most information is pretty easy to understand and enter. Just click in the box and start typing. The next sections cover the fields that need a little more explanation.
ASSEMBLYCODE, ASSEMBLYLIST, ASSEMBLYQUANTITY
You can set up sub-assemblies in the catalog so that when you assign the main catalog value, extra parts are included when you run a Bill of Material report. There is a pretty good section in the help topic, To Work With Editing the Catalog Database Records, on setting up assemblies in the catalog. I have copied it here.
- Locate the catalog record for the main catalog item.
- Click the ASSEMBLYCODE cell.
- Select an existing value from the drop-down list or enter a new value. Spaces are allowed. Use multiple codes to link to multiple subassembly items.
Note: Use a semi-colon, ";", to separate multiple codes. For example, NOBLOCK;NCBLOCK.
- Enter a number in the ASSEMBLYQUANTITY field to define the quantity of these subassembly items to include with the main catalog value. A blank value is the same as a 1.
Note: to define a quantity for each subassembly when multiple ASSEMBLYCODE values are assigned, prefix the ASSEMBLYCODE value code with the quantity followed by a comma, ",". For example,2,NOBLOCK;3,NCBLOCK.
- Locate the catalog record for the subassembly item.
- Click the ASSEMBLYLIST cell.
- Select the ASSEMBLYCODE value for the main catalog from the drop-down list.
- Enter a number in the ASSEMBLYQUANTITY field to define the quantity to include with this ASSEMBLYCODE.
Note: Subassembly catalog items must be in the same database table as the main catalog item.
You can use the TEXTVALUE field to assign values to attributes when the catalog is assigned to a component. Here is some information from the Help topic, About the Catalog Database Structure.
The format for the text data in this field is:
<attribute tag name1>=<text value>;<attribute tag name2>=<text value>
For example, a catalog entry that annotates the attributes RATING1 and RATING2 with "ON DELAY" and "5-30 sec" respectively, contains the following TEXTVALUE:
RATING1=ON DELAY;RATING2=5-30 sec
These values are assigned to the component when the catalog is assigned. If you edit the catalog record and want to update existing components, run Project tab > Other Tools panel > Component Update from Catalog.
The information you enter in these fields is used to populate the terminal pin values on the parent (COILPINS) and child (PINLIST) symbols. When you edit these values in the Catalog Browser, the information is written back to the correct _PINLIST table in the catalog database. There is a pretty good section in the help topic, To Work With Editing the Catalog Database Records, on entering pin values. I have copied it here.
- Locate the catalog value.
- Click twice in the COILPINS cell.
- Click to open the Coil Pins dialog box where you define the pins for the parent symbol.
- If the parent symbol has a contact state, for example a normally open pushbutton, select the contact type. If the parent symbol does not have a contact state, for example a relay coil, leave it as an undefined type.
- Enter the list of pins separated by a comma. The pin values are assigned in the order listed to the TERM# attributes on the component.
For example, if the value is "K1,K2", "K1" is assigned to the TERM01 attribute, and "K2" is assigned to the TERM02 attribute.
If this device can have child symbols define a PINLIST value.
- Click twice in the PINLIST cell.
- Click to open the Pin List dialog box where you define the pins for the child symbols.
- Select the pin type from the available list.
- Enter the pin values separated by a comma or space.
Note: Rows are added as you add pin values.
- Add an optional comment.
- Repeat for each set of pins associated with this catalog value.
The pinlist is written to the database in the format required by the program, for example:1,A1X,A1Y;2,A2X,A2Y;1,A3X,A3Y;1,A4X,A4Y;1,B1X,B1Y;1,B2X,B2Y;1,B3X,B3Y;1,B4X,B4Y.
- If the catalog value can have two parent symbols, for example forward and reversing starters, repeat the steps for the PEERCOILPINS and PEERPINLIST fields.
Note: If an _PINLIST table for the manufacturer does not exist, it is created.
I would recommend looking at the Help topic, About the Catalog Database Structure, to get more information on these fields.
These fields tell AutoCAD Electrical what symbols are associated to this catalog record. SYMBOL2D is used in AutoCAD Electrical. SYMBOL3D is used when inserting parts in Inventor when your project is linked to an Inventor assembly.
I will cover these fields more in my next article, Adding the Symbols to the Icon Menu and Catalog Browser.