There are literally hundreds of ‘dumb’, static ‘fragment2’ electrical symbols in the GDL library, and only one from Cadimage that we could find with any parametric intelligence. However, this Cadimage object produced symbols that don’t look like anything we put on our drawings (in North America). We wanted something very flexible – a single, 2D library object that could contain and represent as much data as we typically include for costing and design, including energy data for sustainable building – data that can be subsequently called out in our interactive schedules.
Starting with an object called ‘ArchiGON’ by David Larrew that can parametrically morph into a number of regular polygons, we began to modify this object (ultimately re-scripting it completely) to include more listing parameters, the ability to display its ID – as needed – and several other features, such as a rectangular shape option, a secondary polygon ‘Outer Frame’ (to represent trim, bezels, housings, etc.) and ‘Prongs’ to represent various outlet and connection types and directions. All of these settings we can change on the fly, using parameter transfer, etc. An uplight can become a downlight, a potlight can become a halogen pot, etc. these things do tend to change in the course of a project – that’s design right?
The best part, is that the object can be customized for all of your firm’s particular scheduling needs and graphic standards. The part can be modified and resaved, which will overwrite every placed instance in a file, without altering the various ‘states’ or representations of the object already placed in drawings.
WHAT’S NEW IN VERSION 1.1.0
After using Electrigon for a while in our respective practices, we had various requests to enhance some of the symbol functionality (more and stretchy hotspots) and allow for some common shapes that the first Electrigon couldn’t contort itself into, notably a semi-circular sconce, and a wall-mounted fixture. The switch can now be made from the $ symbol (unbounded, just set it’s otherwise surrounding polygon to zero-size) that has a snappable hotspot.
As an added bonus, we re-scripted Olivier Dentan’s amazing, animated ceiling fan with EG parameters as well! This latter addition is significant, because ultimately, with some help from Graphisoft, we can add these parameters to ALL electrical objects in future libraries, such that we will have true BIM functionality, from graphics, to rendering and presentation and animation, to energy modeling, all right inside Archicad!
Also, the math we were using was a first attempt to take user-defined power consumption, and aggregate these using the interactive schedules into a total-building electrical energy model. The object does the hard math, and the schedule just sums it to give a building total. The first draft proved that it worked, this current version improves accuracy, and corrects some of the Ã¢â?¬Ë?balancingÃ¢â?¬â?¢ of the equation given what the user knows or does not know about a given lamp or fixture or piece of equipment in question. Not only will the schedule give you energy totals, but it can sum the costs of all of the specified electrical appliances, fixtures and switches, and serve as a graphic electrical key for your MEP/Electrical plans.
We have also made it easier for you to calculate your energy loads, by adding parameters that will calculate the kWhr/yr used by a given fixture/appliance if you know its Wattage and how many hours it is in use per day. If you are using EnergyStar ratings, you can get Electrigon to work the math backwards and tell you how many hours the items are assumed to be in use each day. This will facilitate cost-benefit analysis, budgeting, electrical and solar-system sizing as well as your overall circuit design. We have added a Circuit ID parameter for future functionality, whereby ArchiCad can tie all fixtures on a given circuit to help size the breakers and/or design circuits appropriately. Look for a panel object in future releases.
ELECTRIGON-3.0 (Unsupported) Includes GDL Objects, Electrigon.MOD file with sample layouts and XML Schedules for import. NOT FOR RESALE.