AutoCAD in Electrical Drafting

Aljosa Vukovic on October 14, 2017

Last time we wrote about using AutoCAD in Rebar Detailing and why it is excellent for that kind of drafting. Today we will discuss how it is to use AutoCAD in the different engineering categories, Electrical Drafting, and why this software is good for that kind of job.

My first experience with Electrical Drafting was when I was working for Telstra Digital from my home. I wasn’t in direct contact with them because I had a mediator who contacted me with LinkedIn. In that time I didn’t have much experience with this kind of drafting because I was more into civil engineering but it was not hard for me to understand it because I was ready to learn new things and I wanted to expand my knowledge of AutoCAD drafting.

Like any other Drafting project, I was first provided with the necessary information, and the drafting of plans could begin.

First, I received a list of Australian standards for the installation of internet cables and other installations that are needed. With them came the examples of previous draftings and finished title block that I would always use for this job.

Right next to the title block were finished symbols, as blocks in AutoCAD, which I would copy to the drawing when I needed them. Every one of them had its own layer, and the symbols covered everything I needed for drafting.

There were symbols for types of internet cables, splitters, couplers, pits, lockbox, and many others. Now that I had everything ready, the rules and title block, they would send me the information necessary to draft the electrical plan.

The first information was the Excel Worksheet, and in it were the names of the suburbs and addresses of the properties that I needed to find on Google Maps. When I would locate them on Maps, I had to zoom it in a certain distance so I could have the scale of the property that I needed for the plan. After that, I would take a screenshot of the property and export it to AutoCAD.

Now that I have the screenshot in the correct scale, I could start drawing lines over the property’s edges and the building itself. There were usually houses, hotels, and multi-story buildings with parking or courtyards, except that I had to draw lines of streets around the property, footpaths, nature strips, driveways, and all that from one screenshot from Google Maps.

Commands Polyline and Line were used mostly for this kind of drawings.

Now that I had the property ready plan, the next step was to draw the existing network of cables and pits on which we will connect our new cables.

I was provided with a PDF or AutoCAD file with the map of the existing cables, installations, and pits. I had to draw the cables and copy the symbols of installations and pits that I had already prepared next to my title block.

After that, I would look at the provided sketches of new (proposed) cables and installations that go with them. Other sources of information were the photos that were taken directly on the property.

There were photos of the street in front of the property, existing pits and installations in it, gate, courtyard, parking, the building itself, and any other photo that could give me any useful information so I could draw everything as precisely as possible.

Sometimes there were sketches of the future paths of the cables on these photos. For example, there would be a photo of the wall, and on that photo was sketched the path of the new cable that is going to be on that wall, which was mostly used in situations where we had multi-story buildings.

After carefully studying the property’s sketches and photos, I could start drawing new (proposed) cables, pits, and necessary installations.

After gathering all the necessary information, drafting was not so difficult. In most cases, we would start by drawing conduit that goes from the existing pit, located on the street (usually footpath or nature strip), all the to the new lockbox located on the wall of the building or house.

In some cases, we would have a pole and an aerial cable that goes from the pit and up that pole and all the way to Lockbox.

There was one line for the conduit and another line next to it, representing the coax cable that goes through that conduit, then you would write next to them what kind of conduit and cable we are using and their lengths.

The lockbox that I mentioned had its own symbol, which I already had saved as a block, and that means I would just copy it on his position. So, the cables and conduits were drafted using line or polyline command, and other installations were just copied from the symbol section, which was next to my title block.

After that, we would draw a line that goes from the new Lockbox, and that line represents a new RG6 or RG11 cable. Those cables were usually predicted to go on the walls or through the roof spacing. We would have a multi-story building in some situations, and then we would have to use Risers that lead the RG cable from Lockbox to higher floors.

RG cables are used to connect Lockbox with all Units (apartments) in the object, and every Unit had it’s ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) or PCD (Pacemaker Cardioverter Defibrillator). Basically, what I do in AutoCAD is putting the symbols of every device in their places and drawing the lines (cables) from one device to another.

It would be enough to draw a plan in most cases, but in cases where we have a multi-story building, it was necessary to draw a side view to see where the cables and risers were positioned. On the plan, the Units that were positioned on floors higher than the ground floor were drafted separately on the drawing so everything could be more clear.

The last thing was to mark the positions which show where the photos were taken from, for that, we had symbols with arrows that show the direction in which the photo was taken from. After we have done that, we have a completed plan (Site Design) that shows us the property’s plan, the path of the existing cable network and existing devices, the path of new (proposed) cables, and the positions of new devices.

In the end, we would use the precision of AutoCAD and measure the length of proposed cables and conduits on our plan and write it in the report, you can also see more projects like this on Our Work page.

So, thanks to this software, you can easily draft a Site Design for internet cables and use its precision to measure the length of future cables and the number of devices that are going to be needed and write all that in a report. And this is just a small piece of infinite possibilities that AutoCAD has.

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