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Feature Request - drag/drop circuit assignment

 
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fresnel



Joined: 08 Sep 2016
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:46 am    Post subject: Feature Request - drag/drop circuit assignment Reply with quote

Idea I wish I could model the location of each of my circuits and have them locked on the drawing. Then when adding lighting instruments, I could drag a line (representing a cable) from the instrument to the circuit. This would automatically assign that circuit to the instrument, but also could give me an arched dotted line representing the wiring plan (with global show/hide and manual arc adjustment). This would make this software work like architectural electrical plan software does (draw a line connecting a light switch to a fixture). This feature would save time in assigning circuits, make it easy to see which circuits are unused (or two-fer'd), and reduce errors when rearranging the physical patch to make room for something. I use the Java version on Windows. Thanks for considering something like this.
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Johan Söderberg



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 293

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a fun request. I can certainly see the point for architectural installations, perhaps also more and more for the theatrical designers.

I´ll try to explain.
I myself have designed a theatre house in which we assumed that dimmers controlling thousands of watts will pretty soon be an old and outdated technology. For many good reasons.
So in that house they use mainly LED-lights (which have their own dimmers built into the fixture) mixed with a bunch of small dimmers in the case someone wants to hang an incadescent light somewhere. You then hang a dimmer next to the lamp up in the rig, connect the dimmer to DMX and give it an address - then you´re done.
This means that we left the idea of having a bunch of heavy dimmers stacked in a room buzzing of lots of volts and amperes. We spread that out and gave up all hardpatching. There is no hardpatch in that house since every outlet (circuit) in the ceiling is a regular 10A 230V outlet (EU standard). Patching is done only in the software which is LxConsole by the way...

What we theatre people falsely, I think, used to call circuit (it was only a named cable with no current on it at all until it was connected into a real dimmercircuit) now has become a true circuit. A standard power outlet.

Theatre house like that one are still very rare but certainly will grow in numbers. But today your request would make a strange picture in most theatre-houses. There would be a huge intake of power in the house somewhere, then a questionmark for the hardpatch which changes all the time. You can draw where it starts and ends but you never know if its connected at all or what amps might be needed. The hard patch (what we sometimes call a circuit in the theatre) is a very typical "option". It changes in a way architectural installations don´t.
But there will come a day I think when also theatres look a bit more like normal household electrics. Smile


Last edited by Johan Söderberg on Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fresnel



Joined: 08 Sep 2016
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:35 pm    Post subject: Circuit location Reply with quote

I think I was unclear or you misinterpreted my vision. In most theatres these days there are still fixed locations for each circuit. For example, if I am at the far left edge of my catwalk...maybe that is where circuit 24 and 25 happen to be hardwired. My ideal is to permanently fix in the drawing that circuit "24" is there. I can then "hang" an instrument nearby and draw an arc connecting that instrument to the "24"...thus designating that this instrument is now plugged into circuit 24 (which happens to be dimmer 24). I am NOT wanting to show all the homeruns back to the dimmer racks backstage....just to their permanent fixed locations distributed throughout the theatre.
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Johan Söderberg



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 293

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neither I guess Smile English isn't my native language, and it always shows in the details how important that is. You, bearing the french name of Fresnel understand I hope.Wink

-
And I think maybe you misread me some . I don't think hardwiring dimmer channels out to locations will be a very good idea, and pretty soon.

I think all dimmers will be in fixtures in the form of different shutting systems. What we need to riddle out is how they are controlled. The control signal and its way could be interesting to display. But the heavy electricity part of it will become more and more simple and uninteresting.
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fresnel



Joined: 08 Sep 2016
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:56 pm    Post subject: Electrical Wiring Reply with quote

I agree that NEW theatres are moving in the direction of control and distributed dimming...but for the hundreds of thousands of theatres that are already in place...dimmer circuits are not likely to disappear anytime soon. Anyway, it just seems like a feature like this would make it much easier for electrician/designer to plan where things are being circuited. Just a suggested idea...perhaps not useful to others. Thanks!
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Johan Söderberg



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 293

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But you can do this - at least grapically - using the layers you have in LXFree . Draw your dimmer circuits in one layer and your plot in another.
You cant connect them with your suggested new type of line but you can make things pretty clear I think just by building your plot on layers.
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fresnel



Joined: 08 Sep 2016
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:15 pm    Post subject: Simplifying Reply with quote

True...but I was hoping to sped up the paperwork process. If I could just draw an "automatic" connector it would be able to assign the circuit number automatically and also would enable me to have an arc that snapped to both ends (fixture and circuit) so that if i move an instrument, the line moves with me and if I "unplug" it at the circuit end and plug it to another circuit all the paperwork updates and the lines rearrange to make clean arcs. To do this int eh current system is just adding manual drawing for the sake of drawing. It would add a lot of extra drawing for no real benefit because the flexibility and functionality would be missing. The point is less about showing the line and more about showing what is plugged in and where with an easy way to move things around and have it all stay updated and legible.
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admin
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Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Posts: 1546

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is certainly an interesting idea. It would be useful to some people and not others. It would require some major work to implement. There are a couple of issues that would have to be solved. Perhaps the foremost is the one above where it is very desirable to have permanent circuits on a separate layer so that they can be shown when needed and hidden otherwise. This presumes that the lights would be on a different layer than the circuits. So how the layers interact becomes an coding issue. Not unsolvable but perhaps not easy to implement in a way that is not confusing.

Another issue is that almost certainly there would need to be an additional connection tool. This might be able to be an option to the curve tool in the way that a line can be either normal or 3D.

This is an idea that I think would be useful to some people. But, because of the complexity to make it happen, it would need to appeal to enough users to make it worth it. There are many different scales of productions. In larger situations it is likely that this tool would not be used by the designer because circuiting would be the job of the master electrician. In situations like the original poster where the designer is also the electrician (or at least responsible for directing the setup) the utility is greater. Probably most in situations with a house plot that gets added to for specific shows.

Leaving aside (at least for now) the idea of drawing lines to connect lights and circuits. It is probably possible to add another special type of text field that shows circuit numbers. This would be similar to channel text fields which can display the level of a channel. Instead, the circuit text field could show if it was in use or not. This could be indicated visually, perhaps by making used circuits lighter than available ones. This is not something that can be added overnight. But, it might be a first step towards your idea and allow an idea of how many people will actually use your proposed function.
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admin
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Joined: 05 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Circuit Text fields are included in LXBeams 5. Circuit fields are special purpose text fields, similar to channel text fields, that represent circuit locations. They can be assigned and marked as used with the check box in the Inspector's info table.

There is a new command Format->Info Fields->Mark All Used Circuit Fields that will search and mark circuit fields if they are associated with any lights which allows keeping track of and viewing open circuits.
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lloydriford



Joined: 14 Jun 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Hawaii

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This feature is exactly what I need for the house plots I maintain. Is there a way to use autofill with the circuit text fields?

Lloyd
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admin
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Joined: 05 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, duplicating will automatically increment the number of circuit text fields. But, it also makes sense that the same autofill for lights would work as well. So, it now does in Version 5.0.0 (12425.2) which you can download using the latest build link.
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lloydriford



Joined: 14 Jun 2009
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Location: Hawaii

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Works perfectly! Thanks!

Lloyd
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