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post #1 of 22 Old 10-08-2013 Thread Starter
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Wiring schematic app?

I want to produce a schematic for the "custom" electrical system developed by the boat builder, PO's and me on my boat. Was going to use "paint" or something similar, but think there must be something that makes it easier, having specific symbols etc.
Googled and searched this forum, found nothing.
Thoughts?
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

I would google "schematic capture". You will find many electronic schematic capture programs that can be used for wiring diagrams. I have used both Kicad and Eagle PCB . Both capture schematics.

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post #3 of 22 Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

List of usable tools Here Tried several, found Schemelt worked best for me. Here is a simple (in progress) schematic for Solitaire drawn with Schemelt. Online and tied to DigiKeys parts database, its geared more towards electronics than straight electrical, but ability to create your own components is helpful. BlueSea fuse block and meters in referenced schematic are "custom" componets. Little learning curve, but I was drawing right along within an hour.

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post #4 of 22 Old 10-09-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

Thanks for the replies. Nice job on Solitaire!
I was thinking along the lines of making the schematic follow the rough outline of the boat to indicate how the wires are run.
My wires have three routes forward, along the Port and Starboard gunwales and down the center under the cabin sole (standard I assume). For example, I'm running a wire along the Port gunwale to supply both the Port and Starboard bow nav lights. I'd like my schematic to indicate that's how the power gets there. So that if there is an issue, I'm not tracing the wire from the switch or light to see were it goes and troubleshoot.
I've seen it done on power boats.
Is that possible or too much to ask of a schematic? Maybe I need to make a separate wiring map, but I'd like to make it a one step process if possible.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-10-2013
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

I've seen the drawings like you're describing. Those are usually done in a CAD program, not in a schematic capture program. Schematics usually have circuit-level symbols (transistors, resistors, microprocessors, etc.), and most modern schematic capture tools also have emulators/simulators built in to test the circuits you're building. You're looking for something that's at a higher level and more visual than functional. I'd look for a CAD program, or "just" use something like Paintbrush or Microsoft Word.

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post #6 of 22 Old 10-10-2013
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

I used google docs - there's a free drawing tool, sort of cad (very) lite. But it worked. I put together a schematic showing how I wanted it to work, then a wiring diagram showing how I would actually connect it. It was good to be able to share with others for review during the design process.

I didn't think about adding in the hull shape to show how all the wires actually ran. That might have taxed my meager cad skills. But would have been nice. Next time.
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post #7 of 22 Old 10-10-2013
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

Drawing Wiring Diagrams

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post #8 of 22 Old 10-11-2013
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

So I design schematics for a living. You don't want or need a real schematic capture tool for this because you're not trying to output a netlist or bill of materials (and schematic capture tools are very often arcane pieces of junk).

You're really just trying to create a drawing. Microsoft Visio is ideal for general purpose diagrams of anything, wiring included and this is what I used for my boat. As others said, microsoft word's drawing feature is fine and I've seen plenty of engineers use this too.

Any diagram tool that lets you draw and connect lines and add text is good.
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-12-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paperbird View Post
I used google docs - there's a free drawing tool, sort of cad (very) lite. But it worked. I put together a schematic showing how I wanted it to work, then a wiring diagram showing how I would actually connect it. It was good to be able to share with others for review during the design process.

I didn't think about adding in the hull shape to show how all the wires actually ran. That might have taxed my meager cad skills. But would have been nice. Next time.
Thinking about it more, I don't even think I need a boat outline, as long as I know where the bow and stern are in the drawing, and run the lines down the three channels I mentioned earlier. If anyone has examples of what they have created in the programs mentioned here, I'd love to see them.

I've started numbering the wires and creating a corresponding list and description of the routing, but having a visual would be nice.
I've found when I come back a year (or more!) later, I sometimes look at the descriptions that seemed so succinct when I did the wiring, and say....HUGH?
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post #10 of 22 Old 10-13-2013
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Re: Wiring schematic app?

As has been mentioned, MS Visio is great for this. It has hundreds (if not thousands) of pre-designed symbols and graphic elements which can be inserted into the drawing.

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