Medeek Electrical

#1

I am starting this new discussion thread as a fork from the Medeek Wall Plugin thread since the Medeek Electrical extension will now become a stand alone extension/plugin.

Its logo will be:

I’ve created a series of basic default outlets and switches which will form the basis of the plugins pre-assembled components. There will be many to add in later but this should be enough to allow me to setup the tools for inserting switches and outlets.

This extension or plugin is designed from the outset to work directly with the Medeek Wall extension however in the future I may extend it so that it can be employed with any wall geometry. The details on all of that are yet to be determined.

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#2

I agree, the internal details of the actual switch or receptacle are irrelevant and as you can see in my low poly models they are eliminated. Only the exterior geometry of the electrical components are represented.

I am creating the switches and outlets so that their material/color can be modified independent of the face plates. The plugin will allow the user to customize both the face plate material and the actual switch/outlet material. The electrical box will be set to the standard Carlon blue however the user can always edit this material in SU and change it to whatever they desire.

You will also notice with these models that there are two layers: electrical_rough and electrical_finish. This allows the user to quickly toggle off the finish electrical components so the rough installation can be easily inspected.

Another interesting aspect of this new plugin is the way I’m going to set it up within the wall panels of the wall plugin. When a wall panel is regenerated the electrical components (groups) will be retained, similar to the way I already retain custom geometry. What this allows is custom editing by the user of any of these electrical components within the wall once they are installed/inserted. For instance let’s say you want to change the material of one of the duplex receptacles to red in a 4-gang box but leave all the rest the default material specified by the plugin, you will be able to do this.

When you edit a switch or receptacle and don’t change out its “style”, but only its vertical position in the wall or the material of the face plate or switch/outlet then the group/component is not redraw but only modified. Again this will allow the retention of custom mods.

The location horizontally within the wall panel is originally set when the electrical component is placed. To modify its location the user can just jump into the wall panel group and uses SketchUp’s built in move tool to alter its position.

I will probably include a delete tool for convenience however as with moving this tool is not really needed since the user can just as easily delete the components within the wall panel group.

I’m still thinking through all of the dynamics and parameters that will be required by the plugin, feel free to leave your suggestions or thoughts.

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#3

Nathan, we need to show the 2d version of the electric on the plan under each switch or plug. We also need to have the outlets and switches in 3d have a default height and then let the user change the heights if needed. This will also have your 2d electrical plan in layout match the 3d model.

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#4

The default height will be set in the global settings along with color/materials for face plates and switches and outlets as well as the style (standard, decora etc…).

When you go to enter/install an electrical component an html menu will pop up which will allow the user to customize any of these settings or leave them as the defaults (very similar to the wall or beam menus in the Wall plugin).

Under each component at the floor level a 2D symbol will be shown. The electrical draw menu will allow the user to select from a drop down box what symbol to use for example for a 1-gang switch one could possibly select:

  • single pole switch
  • double pole switch (2)
  • 3-way switch (3)
  • 4-way switch (4)
  • weather proof switch (WP)
  • fan switch (F)
  • switch /w pilot light ( P )

In the global settings one will be able to toggle the 2D symbols on and off. Additionally they will be assigned to a specific “2D” layer so they can also be toggled on an off via layers as well.

When a multi-gang switch is chosen a drop down box will be shown for each switch slot with the left most switch assigned to the first position. For example a 3-gang switch may have a single pole switch, a 3-way switch and a fan switch or any combination for that matter.

However with weatherproof switches if one of the switches is weatherproof then typically of the switches in the gang will be weatherproof:

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#5

When you go to place a switch or outlet the draw tool will sense which side of the wall you are facing and place the component on the side of the wall facing you (the camera). To place components on the other side of the wall, just spin the wall around and face the side that you want to place your electrical components.

I think this is much more intuitive than having a hotkey which toggles which side of the wall to place the component.

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#6

Are you just targeting a north American audience? European, British and other countries use different shapes and sizes of socket outlets and switches.

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#7

Initially yes. Once I’ve got the plugin working reasonably well I can begin adding in additional standards and geometry for other countries.

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#8

Why not simply provide a strategy whereby users can add their own geometry and standards. This would not only Internationalize the plugin but it would also future proof it without burdening you to to it all yourself.

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#9

If I can make it work that way I agree it would be much easier on me. I will see what I can come up with. This plugin is still very much in the conceptual stage.

The primary objective right now is to provide a way for users of the Medeek Wall extension to quickly and easily insert standard (NEMA) electrical outlets and switches into their wall panels.

I have a fairly good idea on what is needed to accomplish this and I think in about a weeks time I should be able to quickly hammer out underlying architecture to bring this plugin to fruition.

Of course the devil is always in the details and there will be many customizations and additional parameters that will be need to be added once a few users have put the initial BETA plugin through its paces.

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#10

The prototype toolbar:

I may also add in a (horizontal) move tool/icon, which may be easier than manually moving the electrical components.

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#11

First look at the draw switch menu:

Currently there are no advanced options but I am including that parameter since I am almost 95% sure that something will come along that will dictate the use of this parameter.

This plugin seems fairly basic when compared with the other plugins but I may be missing some additional parameters here.

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Medeek Wall Plugin
#12

The draw tool is now working and able to insert switches on both sides of the walls:

Now I just need to work on the edit menu and global settings.

The outlet module will be almost identical to the switch module so once I have the switch module done it is just a matter of copying and pasting and making some minor edits.

The Wall Plugin will require a minor edit to retain the electrical groups, this means that previous versions of the Wall Plugin will not work with the new Electrical Plugin.

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#13

Will this ultimately produce an electrical plan view with symbolic representations and wiring lines?

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#14

I haven’t given much thought to wiring lines yet but I will be adding the 2D symbols at the floor level for the electrical plan.

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#15

Drawing the wiring lines should be easy enough in a 2D app including Layout if the symbols are already there.

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#16

That is kind of my thinking as well. Alternatively one could even draw the connecting lines between the symbols in regular old SketchUp (not layout) but again that does not require any special tools or plugins, in my opinion.

I think the key thing is that the plugin allows the user to insert switch, outlets and eventually other fixtures and then automatically populates the model with the appropriate electrical symbols (on the 2D electrical layer).

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#17

What do we want these electrical symbols to look like?

Simple lines or filled in faces?

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#18

Here is a first look at the switch symbols, I’ve shown them drawn at 4.5" in height but I’ve set it up so that the symbol height can be determined by the user in the global settings and everything (symbol spacing etc…) should scale appropriately.

Also note that the symbols are with the switch group so when you move the switch in the wall the symbols move with the switch.

The symbols are also placed on the electrical_2d_layer by default (again user definable in the global settings) so they can easily be toggled on or off.

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#19

Looking good. I don’t see any reference to it on your web site. Any idea when you might make it available?

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#20

None yet, after I’ve spent a couple more days ironing out the kinks I’ll put up the web page and links and also setup the Account Manager.

It may be a week or two before I release it to the public. I want to make sure it is decently solid and not going to crash anyone’s model. So far it seems pretty stable, and quite honestly is actually quite fun to use, what little I’ve used it.

I like to turn off the gypsum layer when I’m positioning switches so that I can butt the switch enclosure right up against the studs. The control key allows one to toggle the justification (left, center, right).

I’ve got the camera algorithm working nicely so you just simply face the side of the wall you want to place the switches into and start dropping them in. The tool is persistent (until you hit the space bar) so you can easily navigate to another wall and continue to install switches.

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