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Electrical Computer-Aided Design Consulting Headquarters

Doug McAlexander, Inc.

(770) 841-8009

"Doug is one of the most knowledgeable people I've encountered in the controls space. He really knows the industry and has a tremendous depth of knowledge around AutoCAD Electrical. He has a keen ability to help any customer succeed."

Scott Reese
Product Line Manager
Autodesk, Inc.

More References and Comments

Creating a preferred vendor parts catalog for AutoCAD® Electrical

When you share the vendor catalog (default_cat.mdb) across a network it is normal to experience a slower response time when performing a part number Lookup. This is due to network traffic/latency. The search-interval, or seek-time, for a part Lookup is also affected by the size of the default_cat.mdb file. The more manufacturers you select during the installation process, the larger the default_cat.mdb file, resulting in a slower seek-time.

There is an alternate method you can use if you would like to have access to all manufacturers from time to time but would also like to work from a smaller "preferred" list of manufacturer parts. First, make a copy of the default_cat.mdb file (normally located in the Catalogs folder) and rename the copy to complete_cat.mdb. Next use MS Access® to edit the default_cat.mdb and remove all manufacturers and/or part numbers you will never use. If you never use AB, then remove AB parts from all component tables (i.e. CR, LT, SS, PB, etc.). Note: If you know you will never us AB parts, do not select the AB checkbox from the manufacturer's list when installing AutoCAD® Electrical. Only check the boxes for the manufacturers you will actually use.

Once the catalog database is trimmed down to only your preferred manufacturer parts the seek-time for a Lookup will be less. The next thing to do is to right-click on your project name and select Properties. Click the button labeled "Other", then click on the radio button labeled "Optional: Define a secondary catalog lookup file for this project." Browse to the complete_cat.mdb file. OK out of all the dialog boxes.

With the "trimmed down" default_cat.mdb you should experience a faster response when performing a part number Lookup. Anytime you need a part number from the complete catalog, click the "Other" button from within the Lookup dialog (version 2010 and previous) and follow the prompts to temporarily switch to the complete catalog. For version 2011 or later click the arrow in the field labeled as Database and select the Secondary File.


More Tips and Tricks

AutoCAD® Electrical is an enhanced version of AutoCAD® that gives AutoCAD® the "horsepower" to create controls schematics and panel layouts with speed, consistency, and accuracy. You can leverage past designs so future project lead-times can be trimmed to a minimum. Built-in automated tools increase your productivity. AutoCAD® Electrical has the tools to make your schematics "smart" so report extraction, error analysis, and even language conversions are easy tasks. You can even convert an entire electrical project from JIC to IEC symbols, or vice versa, with a few keystrokes.

We can put your personnel on the fast track to becoming highly efficient with electrical CAD software. If you already use AutoCAD®, you can make the switch to AutoCAD® Electrical with relative ease. The file format doesn't even change. And yes, you can convert your existing "dumb" AutoCAD® drawings to the intelligent AutoCAD® Electrical format. We have a staff of trained personnel who can convert older drawings from other formats or from standard AutoCAD format so your design team can stay focused on new projects.

Services Provided

On-site Training, Implementation, and Customization Support for AutoCAD® Electrical (U.S. or International design standards)

Training and Implementation Services offered:

  • Site Audit (discovery process to evaluate current design tools and work-flow, followed up by an action plan for implementing AutoCAD Electrical or AutoCAD ecscad)
  • Update Training (2-day "hands-on" workshop to help you master each new feature of each new release - an optional take-home tutorial for class attendees is available)
  • Hands-on Demo (2-day "hands-on" demonstration of AutoCAD® Electrical or AutoCAD® ecscad to familiarize you with some of the productivity tools that software of this type empowers you with)
  • User-level Training* (3-day course covering the fundamental editing tools)
  • Intermediate-level Training (4-day work-flow-based design simulation that starts from scratch)
  • Administrator-level Training (5-day work-flow-based design simulation that covers program infrastructure, configuration, customization, network setup, and template creation)

  • View/Print PDF of Admin-level course syllabus for JIC/NFPA standard (Press Browser's BACK button to return to this page)

  • View/Print PDF of Admin-level course syllabus for IEC standard (Press Browser's BACK button to return to this page)


  • Advanced Training (This course can vary from 1 to 5 days; you choose from a list of advanced-level topics and we tailor to fit your needs)
  • AutoCAD® ecscad Training (5-day work-flow-based design simulation covering infrastructure, schematic development, panel layout, reports, and more)
  • Mentoring (phone, e-mail, or web-based "GoTo Meeting" style support to answer a question or guide you with step-by-step instructions

    * This course assumes that your company already has personnel trained at administrative-level to support the user-level personnel.

  • AutoCAD Electrical user-level training AutoCAD Electrical administrator trainingAutoCAD Electrical advanced training AutoCAD Electrical 2010 What's New Tutorial AutoCAD Electrical 2011 What's New Tutorial AutoCAD Electrical 2012 What's New Tutorial



    Let us convert your existing drawings to AutoCAD® Electrical format

    Off-load your extra work to us so you can meet demanding deadlines

    Full ECAD support, including smart border template creation, symbol creation, and maintenance of your symbol library, so your designers can stay focused on sales orders

    Pre-paid phone/e-mail/video support contracts available (contact us with a question and receive a phone call, e-mail, or video with detailed step-by-step instructions)

    Credentials

  • Over 25 years of experience in the controls design and documentation industry

  • U.S. and International standards

  • Prior to working as a private consultant, Doug McAlexander, the president of Doug McAlexander, Inc., was in charge of training, implementation, and maintenance of the Electrical CAD system for an industrial machinery manufacturer with offices around the world. In fact, they are now one of our main clients. Other clients include Disney, GE, NBC, Bose, Johnson Controls, Vulcan Engineering, Rolls Royce, Goodyear, Siemens, Hydro Tasmania, undisclosed defense contractors, and more.

  • Doug is factory trained in the use of AutoCAD® Electrical, Toolbox/WD®, VIA/WD®, AutoCAD® ecscad, and Promis-e®. He is certified by the Autodesk Consulting Group, serves as a technical advisor and beta tester for future enhancements to AutoCAD® Electrical, and is a charter member of the Autodesk Expert Elite team. Autodesk has hired Doug to train their field personnel throughout Europe and the South Pacific.



  • If you would like to discuss your ECAD needs, whether it be training, implementation, or design support, please feel free to call Doug at (770) 841-8009, or send an e-mail to ECADConsultant@gmail.com.

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    Copyright © 2000-2013 Douglas R. McAlexander. All Rights Reserved.



    Questions or Comments?

    Last Update November 14, 2013