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Thread: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

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    Default Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    I've been trying to determine the best way to place power and data outlets so they appear properly in a 3D view, while also displaying properly symbolically on the floor plans.

    My first attempt was to introduce a horizontal symbol offset parameter into the individual power and data annotation families that allowed me to shift the symbols to the left or right, independently of the actual device location. This method works, but you have to place each power and data device separately and then manually dimension their location.

    My next thought was to create a group with the power and data devices positioned properly and with an appropriate symbol offset. This produces a decent result, but I have had issues with properly hosting the devices in the group to a face.

    Finally, I attempted creating a nested family with the power and data devices loaded into it. This method seems to force one of the devices to lose its identity (ie, if the family type is Electrical Device, the nested Data Device is no longer a data device). If you create a generic model, the annotation symbols can't display properly.

    I think some combination of these methods should work. Has anyone out there made this work?

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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    I haven't used the grouping method or nesting families. Although I think eventually nesting the families would be the best answer if the the data device could retain its identity as a data device. We have, of course, individual devices that can be used together with a symbol shift option to space the symbols properly. But usually we use a custom family that has both devices modeled in one family, 2 connectors (1 power, 1 data), and an annotation that shows both symbols so that it scales properly. This family is an electrical device so we lose the ability to identify this element as 2 items in takeoffs. This combo family is the easiest to use however.

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    All AUGI, all the time CADastrophe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    I've done something like this for "Technology Stations" (combo-power/data) and classroom "CTC Cabinets" (which house a collection of devices; fire alarm, light switch, clock, etc.). I created the subcomponents under their appropriate Category as separate families, removed any Generic Annotations, marked them as Shared, and nested them into a host Family of an electrical Category we don't typically use, such as Nurse Call Devices as a lazy means of avoiding having the host family appear on any Schedules. This could easily be done properly by including a Shared Parameter in the host and use that for exclusion by the Schedule Filters.

    Anyway, I also created a new Generic Annotation for the host family, which was composed of the normal symbols placed overlapping each other. The differing disciplines of Generic Annotations were placed on Subcategories, so while the host remained technically visible in all views, the unwanted annotations could be turned off.
    Corey D.Please let the saying "The only stupid question is the one not asked" not be seen as a challenge to defy it.

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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    We always wrestle with this at my firm. I have added the horizontal annotation offset grip as well as a z-axis offset to allow me to stack annotation symbols. Nesting doesn't work for circuiting/scheduling, grouping is ok but after I place a group I always ungroup it to make sure the devices are hosted properly and 'edit workplane' if they aren't. What I have gotten in the habit of doing for typical receptacle layouts is setting up the layout in the first typical wall, selecting them and CTRL+Click and dragging them along that wall slightly to create nicely hosted copies and then using 'edit workplane' to move them to a parallel wall in an adjacent room.
    Jason Roy
    EET, Systems Technologist

    Acumen Engineering

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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    Jason, that is a great solution... I haven't considered using reference planes in this manner. Thanks so much.

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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    I'm glad you think so. You just select your receptacle and click 'edit workplane', select 'pick plane' and select the face of the wall you want to move to.
    Jason Roy
    EET, Systems Technologist

    Acumen Engineering

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    All AUGI, all the time CADastrophe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Roy View Post
    ...Nesting doesn't work for circuiting/scheduling...
    I'm not trying to shoot this down or anything, but if the nested components are marked as Shared, then they can be Circuited/Tagged/Scheduled as independent elements, using the Electrical Connector from the nested Family. Even if there are multiple instances of the same Nested Family within the host, they can each be treated as their own element.
    Corey D.Please let the saying "The only stupid question is the one not asked" not be seen as a challenge to defy it.

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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    Thanks Corey! I will give that a go today, to be honest, it has been a couple years since I gave up on nesting.
    Jason Roy
    EET, Systems Technologist

    Acumen Engineering

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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    Quote Originally Posted by CADastrophe View Post
    I'm not trying to shoot this down or anything, but if the nested components are marked as Shared, then they can be Circuited/Tagged/Scheduled as independent elements, using the Electrical Connector from the nested Family. Even if there are multiple instances of the same Nested Family within the host, they can each be treated as their own element.
    Can you do a demo of this to show how?

    I am fighting with headwalls with about 12+ receptacles and I cannot seem to find a slick solution. Can a nested family connect all the ten twelve receptacles and still be scheduled and circuited?

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    Default Re: Best Practice for Grouping Power and Data Outlets?

    I got it to work by nesting in a shared family with the proper annotation, but when I place the main family in a project on a wall the annotations go away. I went this path as I can control the symbiology though the line sub categories, but can't control the labels associated with those symbols via a subclass....

    Anyway, if I can figure out how to make a nested shared annotation show when the host family is mounted to a wall also, I can get it to work perfectly....
    Last edited by USMCBody; 2020-10-06 at 09:48 PM.
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