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The “Edit Family” Command

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Training on the “Edit Family” command.



So welcome everyone to our second training session that we’re doing. This one we’re going to talking about our electrical add-in for Revit. In particular I was going to talk about the Edit Family command a little bit and show you what you can do with your Families in your Revit. And that, I’ve got maybe half an hour’s worth of content there that I’ve got put together, and then I’ll open it up for any questions that anyone else has on our Revit Software, just kind of open the floor to whatever you want to talk about today. On your Blues Program you’ve got the chat box there, that’s a good place to put your questions. So if you have any questions go ahead and put them in there and I will get to those when I have an opportunity.

So, we’re going to go ahead get started, taking a look at what you can do with families in our software. So hopefully all of you have had a chance to start working with our software in Revit and using it on your projects. And before we look at the Family Edit, I just want to show that most of the time when you start working in a project, if you need to make changes say to a panel, to a transformer, you run our Panel Edit command, and over on the right hand side we have all the information that our software adds that Revit is missing, it’s where you specify your Bus Amp size, your Main Disconnect type, whether it’s Main lugs or Breaker, a lot of your Feeder Size settings. So there’s a lot of settings that you can do there, also for Transformers it’s where you specify the KVA of the transformer because it turns out that’s important to know, and Revit doesn’t really have that for a transformer. So you can do all that in the Panel Edit in your project for each item, and that will work just fine. But it can be a little tedious to have to do that if you’ve got a large project, if you have a lot of families that you reuse to constantly have to specify the KVA for a transformer. So that’s where our Family Edit command comes into play, where you can take your families that you’re using, make some changes to those so that when it comes in our software knows what the KVA of that transformer is, or for a panel, it knows what the bus amps are.

So I’m going to go ahead and we’ll take a look at a panel first. So I’m going to take this family here. I’ve got just a standard Revit family open, and you’ll see that on our DM Electrical ribbon, we’ve adjusted the commands you have available, so you have just one at this point, the Family Edit button. And this brings up our Family Edit command, and here is where you can specify the information for our software that it’s going to use when you put this family into the project. The Device Type tells our software what kind of device this is, and so it controls what kind of parameters we’re going to allow you to set, we’re looking at the Panel, so I’m going to choose Distribution equipment: Panel for the moment. And then these are all the different settings you can choose, we have settings that both are on the family level, so all instances no matter the type we use that, and then you can also override it on a per type basis, so you can [inaudible]. Sorry about that, I hit the wrong button on my presentation software.

So I’m going to start looking at some of the options here. First thing you can specify is an Upstream Description Prefix or Suffix. So when we put this panel, when we make a connection, we automatically fill in the circuit descriptions for you typically with the names. So it would be like, Panel MDP, or Panel P1. If you want to have additional information show up, you can add either something that’s going to show up before or something that’s going to show up at the end, if you want it to have just the additional information being defined there. You want to specify the size of the panel or some characteristics of it. You can also choose a default Neutral size, so basically whether it’s going to have a neutral, it says same as a phase, double phase, or no neutral for this panel. And so then when it creates the feeder it will look at the size of the panel and then choose the appropriate size neutral with those characteristics.

In the same way you can specify what I’m going to actually use for the sizing of the ground, whether we size it automatically for the equipment or service, whether it’s connected to a transformer. If you don’t need a ground to this piece of equipment for some reason or if you just want to type in a custom ground size, you can do that as well. And then you can specify whether it has an IG Conductor on the feeder. So those are the settings you can choose to give a little more control over how the feeder for this is going to be put together rather than just our standard defaults. Then for panels you can choose the size of the bus, and the Main Disconnect Type, whether it’s Main lugs only, it has a main breaker, or has a main fused switch. This controls in particular on the one line diagram the graphics that will show up for this panel. And if you choose the breaker or if you used switch, then you get to choose the actual Disconnect Trip and Frame sizes. So you can choose and set all those at the family level, or you can also do it at the type level. Because of the way this panel is put together, you’d probably actually want to do it at a type level for a lot of this information. So here we can go in and we say, “Okay, let’s override the Family Bus Amps.” And so this the 100 amp type, so we’ll set that one at 100, this one is the 125, so we’ll override that. Now we’ll set this one to 250, then we’ll set this one to 400. So now when we choose our type, it’s going to choose the appropriate bus size for us. So if you had other information in your family that was using based upon those types, that would be pulled in as well.

So we’re going to leave it as a main breaker disconnect. And so that’s for all of these panels, they’re all going to have a main breaker, and then the size of that will be controlled based on the bus amps. Go ahead and click OK. And then once you’re done making your changes, you obviously need to update your project. So I’m going to load this new family into our project here. And Revit will ask you what you want to do, I’m going to overwrite everything. Now when we run the Edit Panel command, we look at that MDP, we specified for that family the bus size. So it will display the bus size, but we no longer have the ability to change it because that’s fixed in the family. So when you go and make these changes, certain values in particular the bus size then sticks, because that’s kind of an intrinsic value of that family and you can’t change it.

You’ll also see that the Main Disconnect options all here say Family default, and they tell you what the default is. But because of the disconnect you could actually swap in a different breaker or something. We give you the option to override that still, so the bus amps of that sticks, but the disconnect still has the ability to override the value, so it defaults to the breaker. But you can override that if you want to. And so that’s the NDP 1 here, and you see it’s got the 400 amp type. If I change that to 250, and then we go look at the Panel Edit, see again it’s pulling in the 250 amps based upon that family type. So the idea behind the Family Edit is to fill in this information so that when you’re making changes, putting in families and making changes, it fills in this information automatically.

Now we’ll do the same thing, we’ll take a look at the Transformer. Let’s open up this family, run the Family Edit command in our software. We’re going to change this to a Transformer. Mostly, well, not mostly, but some of the same options, Upstream Description Prefix and Suffix. So if we wanted to we could put in Transformer there just so that we can see what that’s going to end up doing. And then for Transformers we have transformer specific values, so you can specify the KVA, your K Rating, the Impedance percentage and the X/R Ratio. So our software based upon the size of the transformer, we have some default impedances, but if you want to override those and have better or different defaults, this would be the best place to make those changes. And again, you can do that on a per type basis as well as in the family.

So we can override this, and we can set this to the values for the KVA of that type. And there’s quite a few in here, so I don’t think I’m going to make all of these changes, because it’s a pretty extensive transformer family, but you just continue on making your changes. And it is a little bit of work to set this all up, that’s just the nature of families, but the idea is you do this ahead of time and then every time you’re using your transformer family or anything like that it has the values specified for you so that you do the work ahead of time and then you save time later. I’m going to go ahead and specify, we’ll do the 150 and the 225. But if I switch between them we can see that they change. And again once you’re done making your changes, you load that back into your project. And when I select the transformer, it’s the 500 KVA, so that’s not going to pull any of those values, so we’ll change it to the 225 which I did specify the value for.

Then we’ll run the Panel Edit, then you’ll see pulling in that transformer size from the values that we set in the Family Edit command. And there is a question, “Why are there two KVA fields?” And I think that’s back in the Family Edit command. So the question is, “Why are there two KVA fields?” And the reason is because this top one is our selection of predefined KVAs, so you can just choose a value for whatever, a common transformer size. But as much as we try to list all the different transformer sizes, people always come up with ones that we don’t have. So that’s where you specify Custom and then this other field will become enabled to at that point, and then you can specify anything you want.

So if you have 11 and 3 quarters KVA transformer, you can do that if you’ve got some weird existing condition or just a transformer that we didn’t include in our list. So if you are just pulling from our default list, it will fill in that value here, and then if you have a custom that’s where you get to make the change. And we did that just because it makes a couple other things that we’re doing with the software easier, so that’s how we chose to program them. And again back on this transformer, we change the size and the software changes the size of the scene as well. Any other questions on distribution equipment before I go take a look at branch circuit equipment?

You’ll also notice with that prefix that we put in here, the XFMR that’s showing up there is still the description in that upstream panel pulling that value. So that’s taking a look at the distribution equipment, which is our generic name for panels and transformers, basically anything that connects to other things in the project that’s not the final device with the load on it. And then we also have branch circuit equipment which are your receptacles, mechanical equipment, elevators, light fixtures. I’m going to pull up my 3D view here, and we’ve got this piece of equipment. And again, in the same way you can use Panel Edit to make changes to your panels in the project, you can always use the Instance Edit command in our software to specify values for your piece of equipment or your receptacles or whatever, but a lot of times you’ll want to specify this ahead of time so that you’re not having to do this for everything in your project. So this is where you could afford this error handler, specify the FLA or the MCA and the MOCP, and have a size based on that. We will go edit that family, run the Design Master Family Edit command. And we have two options for branch circuit device, the other is to then pull out any equipment connection, is where you want to specify things for motors and whatnot.

Now the first option here is the Circuit Description, and so this will actually be what shows up in your panels. Our software takes control of how your circuit descriptions are filled in, and we fill them in for you, and so this is where you can specify what you want your circuit descriptions to be. So we’ll call this a Cooling Tower rather than that big, old default name we were using there. You can specify whether this item should show up on the one line diagram by default or not, so the default is always going to be set to No, but if this is a large cooling tower that you always want to show this type of thing on your one line, you can say Yes and then it’s going to automatically show up on the one line every time. And then you can specify the MCA or the MOCP or the FLA as defined by the cut sheet. So we’ll put in a couple of values there. Then you can choose how you are going to size the breaker and the wire size for the branch circuit that feeds this piece of equipment. So we can size it based upon the loads or based upon those values that we specified above either MOCP for motor compressors or FLA for motors. We’ll do this based upon the MOCP, then we can size the wires either automatically based upon the loads of the breaker or based upon the MCA or the bridge circuit selection circuit, the BCSC which we have combined with the FLA. And we’ll specify this based upon the MCA.

And the last two fields are the Motor Multiplier and the Motor X/R Ratio, those are used for fault current calculations. Motor multiplier is used to determine what the fault is going to be coming from the motor, and then the X/R Ratio is just what the X/R Ratio of that motor is. The defaults we have are generally going to be good enough for what you’re doing, for a standard commercial building, but if you have large motors then you need to override it, you can specify values there. And then I’m going to take a look at a couple of these questions here. I’ll start with the easy ones. “Are the MCA, MOCP values available to be scheduled in Revit?” The answer to that is yes. So I’ll go ahead and click OK, save all these changes, I’m going to load this into the project. When you look at this piece of equipment… Let me make my prop, bring it a little bit bigger so we can see them. We throw a bunch of information on your instances, new shared parameters. In this case we’ve got the MCA and the MOCP values available here that you can even throw into your schedules. So those are standard shared parameters, schedule them like you would a normal shared parameter, and we fill those in with the values that you specify in our software.

Then there’s another question, “Can you include multiple loads on equipment similar to DM Electrical and AutoCAD when you have multiple motor loads on a piece of equipment?” And that is an I don’t know, that more is going to be getting into what Revit does, because we kind of leave the loads and how those are handled to Revit, so we don’t, with our software, directly address that. So it’s however well Revit does that, and I’m not familiar enough with Revit to be able to tell you exactly what it does.

And then, “Have you discussed the hierarchy of the MCA, MOCP, FLA, etc. for sizing a breaker?” I have not, but I can go over that. I can’t figure out how to best walk through that. I think I’ll go ahead and edit this family here or edit this instance. So if we do the Instance Edit, you’ll see that it’s pulling in all of those default values that we’ve specified, so it sees it’s got 40 amps of MCA, 100 amps MOCP, and then the breaker and wire sizing that we’ve chosen. Now for the breaker, by default if you don’t do anything, if you haven’t touched it at all, so if we just take a generic thing. Let me get our receptacle over here. So we just take this generic receptacle and look at it. Everything is set to our default, we haven’t specified any of our stuff. We are going to size the breaker based upon the load, and so there’s nothing else specified, so we don’t have anything else to use. So the breaker is going to be based upon 125% of the connected load, the wires will be sized based upon that breaker.

Then if you start specifying items, that’s where you can have other things happening. So if we look at our piece of equipment, the breaker size, it’s basically what you choose is what’s going to be used for the sizing of the breaker. So if you have it sized automatically, it will just still decide that based upon the load. I got some feedback from someone there. If you specify one of the motor compressors, we’ll use the MOCP, these options here, it’ll look at both the branch circuits selection current and the MOCP, and make sure it’s less than both of those. And then if you specify the FLA and you choose one of these options, we will size it based upon that. And finally, if you have to choose just a specific breaker size, we’ll size there. So the breaker is just exactly as selected. And then the wire size, if it’s sized automatically, by default we’ll base it upon the breaker, unless the breaker is based upon a motor, so if your breaker is sizing for a motor we’ll size it actually based upon the loads at that point.

So we’ll take a look at the load of the equipment and size it based on that, because typically you’ve got an MOCP, so you have a large breaker but you don’t need wires that large, so for motors we size them based upon the load instead of just the breaker. And then otherwise, we’re choosing based upon either the MCA or the Branch Circuit Selection Current. Or you can specifically say, size it based upon the loads or size it based upon the breaker. And finally you can just choose a specific size. If you have further questions on the sizing, go ahead and throw those in the chat.

So we looked at setting all those values, obviously we are showing the motor values here and those are going to be used in our fault calculations. And we have the circuit description, so that’s being pulled here. So if you go take a look at our circuit, this circuit already has a replacement. So the circuit, if I get rid of that, we’re going to pull in that description from that item, so we’re pulling in the Cooling Tower’s label. And all of these values, circuit description, everything else, you always have the option to override them, to specify something else. So if we wanted to do something else we could come in here and we could give this a more extensive name. If we override that in the Circuit Edit, I’m going to use that value for the circuit description. And if you haven’t played with our circuit descriptions, and I’d mentioned we take over what Revit does with the circuit descriptions, so you definitely don’t want to go to your Panels of Schedule to change your circuit descriptions, because we’ll blow all that away the next time we do an update. Instead you want to use our Circuit Edit, Instance Edit and our Family Edit to set your circuit description. But it means when you connect something it pulls in the circuit description, if you move what it’s connected to, disconnect it, reconnect it, that circuit description follows the device nicely, rather than making a change in the circuit and not having it update anywhere else.

Taking a look at the Family Edit one more time. Let’s see if I can pull that family in here somewhere. Here it is. I showed you the Equipment Connection Panel and Transformer. We also have the other which is just kind of a generic branch circuit device or distribution equipment, so it doesn’t really have the other fields, but if you have like for the branch circuit device or light fixture or receptacle, basically if you can specify the circuit description, and that’s it. Distribution equipment you can specify that through your sizing in the upstream description. So those are just kind of placeholders for things that don’t fit into what we otherwise have defined in our software right now. And that is the Family Edit command. Are there any additional questions on that, or on anything else?

“Is the end result a Revit Panel Schedule just with the DM optimized calculations?” And yes. So at the end with our software, you do always end up back at Revit Panels Schedules. We’ll pull up the schedule here. So this is the standard Revit Panel Schedule, Revit has this built in, we didn’t feel like we needed to make any changes to how these worked, we just fill in slightly different information. We use the built in Revit circuit description, we just override it, put that values there, but otherwise this is a standard schedule. When you customize these, you just have the option to add our additional values. So if I can remember where that is, if I edit a panel schedule template, let’s put in a column. Now you’ve got all the Revit stuff, you should get down to the bottom and you have all of our values you can add to the Standard Revit Panel Schedules. So if we wanted to show…I’m looking for a wire sizing, if we wanted to show our conductor.

“Does Revit use the Design Master classification other or associate the equipment with its associated demand type?” So, Design Master doesn’t do anything for load types, for the calculation in your feeder and service calculations in Revit, so that’s defined as you have it defined in Revit. So all of the in your panel schedule, all these load cap classifications down here, you should be…that’s all handled by Revit using the built in Revit functionality.

There’s also the question, “Do the Revit Panel Schedules include load summation, breakouts, to comply with Washington State L&I requirements?” Yes, they do, that’s all this load calculation stuff. That is actually built into Revit. That’s something they actually did. So you can do that, and you can get at least most of it right. I won’t guarantee that Revit’s going to be able to do all of your NEC 220 calculations, because there’s a lot to it. But it’s going to be at least most of the options that you need there.

And then another question, “Do you have a list of suggested parameters of yours we should be using? I know we need to use the ones for wire size and breaker size, I also recall one for MCB MLO, is that all, or are there others?” So, we use the Revit circuit description, we actually use the Revit rating which is basically of the breaker size on the breakers. You should be using our wire sizing parameters and not the Revit ones. So that’s definitely something you should be doing, because the Revit ones are going to be wrong, not using any of our wire sizing. I don’t know if there’s anything else that necessarily is required or recommended, it’s mostly a question of what you like to show.

I’m trying to think if there’s anything else here. Most of these are things that are not otherwise available, so if you need them, you need them from our software. And then the ones from Revit you should use it, if Revit has that one you should use it with the exception of any wire sizing. So like these Number of Grounds and Number of Runs, don’t use these values because those are from Revit, then they’re going to be wrong. I probably wouldn’t use the Length, because again that one is going to be wrong, use our Length. So if you want to show a value, you’re going to want to make sure that if we have one you use ours, otherwise the Revit one.

And then, “Will the one line diagram automatically be generated from the newly installed equipment?” And yes, it should be. So when we generate the one line diagram, we always use whatever is in your model, and so if you make changes, we’ll pull those changes along, and if you add stuff, when you run the Generate, we’ll add that information as well.

Cody has an answer to Rob’s question, I’m going back to see which one. He was asking about the load summaries for Washington State. And just for a more complete answer from someone who uses Revit on an actual basis rather than just playing with it for software development, he says, “You assign a load calculation based upon a demand factor, and Revit calculates the demand loads for you, which you can place in the schedule. Revit has defaults but you can customize the load classifications however you wish.” So, Revit can do it, and if you know what you’re doing you can make it happen. I’m not that familiar with all those pieces.

And then we have a question, “Can we go through the process of generating the one line diagram?” And sure, we can do that if you’d like to see that. So to generate the one line diagram, we use AutoCAD for the actual drafting, and the first thing you will have to do is…actually the very first thing you have to do is create a project in AutoCAD to export to. So we’ll start there, so I’m going to pull up AutoCAD which I don’t have running. You can see how fast AutoCAD 2018 loads. And I’m going to create a brand new project. Let me do this so that we’re starting from scratch. So we’re having a blank drawing. And what you need to do is actually the first thing is create a new project. I’m waiting for AutoCAD to catch up again, slowly loading everything.

So the new project button is here on the ribbon. And you’ll try to start a new project. And if you try it in a drawing that’s not saved, it’ll say, “Hey, this drawing isn’t saved. I don’t know where I would create the project.” Save your drawing. So we will save this drawing so our software stops barking at us. Now I run the new project. If you have multiple Standard Databases, you can choose which standard you’re using. I don’t, that’s if you have different clients who require differently layering systems or box or whatever. So now we have a project to export to. Then in Revit, you run the export one line command, and we go find that same folder. And it’ll ask, you’re basically selecting this .dm file, that’s the database that we use to do our data transfer. I’m going to say, “Okay, let’s export to that place.” Then Revit is going to spin at you a little while while we run the calculations the first time and then we do the export. So it did the calculations, and now it’s going to do the export, and it takes a moment to do that. And then once it’s done, we can go into AutoCAD and do the import. If you try and do the import too soon it actually crashes, so don’t do that, it won’t crash horribly, but it won’t finish.

We’re working on fixing that for our next release so that when you’re trying to do an import too soon, it will just warn you, “Hey, I can’t do an import yet,” rather than just failing like it does right now. And it is done. So we’ll go over to Revit. When you…next time you run a command it will pull in that information for you. So I click the Generate and you’ll see down here the command line is importing the distribution equipment. It’s going to prompt us to create some feeder ID tags for how we have our feeder call out labeled. I’m going to tell it just use all the defaults, automatically generate those, link all the pieces together. And then here it shows you all of your one line diagram, all your distribution equipment, and now you can actually generate the one line diagram in AutoCAD here. You can choose where you want to generate from, and it generates from that point down everything below that. So that’s how you actually get the one line in that, and at this point you can start moving stuff around, adjusting labels, putting in breakers, whatever you need to do for your one line. That’s the one line.

We also can generate a riser, if you have panels at specific elevations it’ll pull that and it’ll have your nice riser happening. You’ll notice you’ve got this little piece of equipment here that was about the Cooling Tower that we were messing around with. We told it, “Hey, we want you to be on the one line diagram,” and here he is showing up for us. Not very many labels. We’ll go ahead and throw a load description and a circuit on there. And I didn’t do that in a good order, so I’m going to put cooling tower on top. That looks better. So that’s the very, very basics of how to generate a one line, and then it’s just kind of making your changes from here. If you have to make any changes to the model you always come back to Revit, make your changes in Revit, run the export again, and then run the update in AutoCAD to get those changes into AutoCAD.

“Have I seen any interest in lighting calcs in Revit?” I was doing a sales presentation this morning, and that was one of their questions. It was “Hey, do you guys do any lighting calcs?” The moment I’ve conceded that market to AGi32 with ElumTools, though the feedback I was getting this morning was that that’s hard to use, partly because of the architectural model not being well defined. So it’s not actually useful for doing lighting calcs. I haven’t really investigated it. I think, I’m getting confirmation that, yes, ElumTools is difficult to use. So, maybe there’s an opportunity for a lighting software that’s not hard to use. We do still have the problem of architectural models that are not usable for calculations. And so that’s a large part of the reason why I haven’t done anything there, I haven’t even started thinking about it just because knowing what I know about how well architectures are going to be thinking about what their MEPs are going to be using their model for which is to say they’re not going to be thinking it, about it, or actively be sabotaging you. There’s going to be some work that has to happen to make it actually usable. It’s on my radar, it’s something people want. It’s not really something we’re actively pursuing right now, but maybe in the future.

Anyone else? We get done. I won’t say never though because I did say that once, but that was about Revit-based software, and here we are doing Revit-based trainings, so that didn’t work out. So, lighting, particularly if I continue to get feedback like this it might be something that bubbles up to the top, and we can take a run at what ElumTools is doing and see if we can invade that space as well. Speaking of, “What are you guys planning on doing?” We do have the wish list on the website, Support, Wish list. You can filter it by our Revit software.

You can take a look and see what other people are requesting for our software, and go place your vote just what you’d like us to do. I recently changed the labels here to make it more clear that this isn’t how hard we’re working on these things, but instead it’s how hard they are to implement. So, hard, medium, and easy ones. The easy ones are in green, and usually those get taken care of, so there’s not many green ones that show up. That’s what other people are requesting. And then as we finish them we actually clear these off so we can look at what we’d completed recently. Then we have completed, that’s going to be in the next release, is proper sizing of ground wires since it’s showing up here. When you upsize your conductors for voltage drop you’re supposed to upsize your ground wires, our software kind of leaves that to you to do manually. The next release is going to do that, I mentioned our AutoCAD-based software, it will do it in our Revit software as well. I kind of employed patching that into the existing release, but it’s a fairly extensive change, and I didn’t really want to put that in the software that’s fairly stable for everyone right now. I want it to go through our standard beta testing on that one to catch any problems with it.

I think we have run out of questions here, so I’m going to go ahead and wrap this training up. Thank you everyone for coming and attending, Hope we answered some questions, gave you some new ideas on how to use the software, and we will look forward to doing training again on the Revit software in a couple of weeks. And if you have questions in the meantime, feel free to give us a call, send us an email, we’re happy to help you out that way. Thanks and have a good day.

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