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Design Master Electrical 8.5

Released September 24, 2018.

The following is a list of new and updated features in Design Master Electrical 8.5.

Distribution Equipment (Panels, Transformers, etc.)

Overloaded Distribution Equipment Warning: An option was added that checks to make sure your distribution equipment is not overloaded. You will be warned if the load on the distribution equipment exceeds 80% of the size. The warning is displayed in the Circuiting command and when the distribution equipment schedules are updated.


Dynamic Panel Schedule Footers: Panel schedule footers now dynamical update based upon the load calculation method used and specific load types on the panel. Previously you had to change the footer based upon the load calculation method and load types. Selecting the wrong footer caused confusing results to be displayed on the drawing.

Current projects will continue to use the old panel schedules. You can use the new panel schedules by changing the Schedule Block in the Feeder and Service Calculation Settings dialog box. Select a schedule that has the Dynamic Footer label. The footer will be updated the next time you update your panel schedules on the drawing.

New projects will use panel schedules with the new dynamic footer automatically.


Custom Bus Sizes: The bus size of distribution equipment now includes a Custom option that allows you to specify a value not contained in the default list.


Decimal Panel Dimensions: The physical size of the panel on the plan can use decimals. Previously you were limited to whole number sizes.


Printing Improvements: Printing of panel schedules and arc-flash stickers has been improved. The print commands create a single HTML file for all of the panel schedules or arc-flash stickers that you can print from your browser. Previously each panel schedule and arc-flash sticker was a separate file and had to be printed individually.

The arc-flash sticker size has been updated so that four stickers fit on a standard 8.5x11 piece of paper.


One-Line Diagram

Distribution Equipment Order: Added an option to control the order distribution equipment is ordered during the automatic generate commands. The options are breaker size, circuit number, distance, and equipment name.


Panel Tabs: A new graphic style that we call Panel Tabs is available for panel outlines in the one-line diagram. Adding a tab to a panel adds additional linework to the outline.


New Labels: Added new labels are available on the one-line diagram. New labels on distribution equipment include connected load in amps, calculated load in amps, equipment fed from, and ground wire size. New labels on feeders include ground wire size and circuit voltage.


Feeder ID Based on Callout and Ampacity: Feeder ID values are based upon the feeder callout and ampacity, instead of just the feeder callout.

Previously, feeders that used the same size wire, such as a 125A and 150A feeder, would use the same feeder ID. This labeling was confusing.

Now the feeder ID is also based upon the ampacity so that a wire size that is used for multiple feeder ampacities can have multiple labels.


Better Feeder IDs for Equipment vs Service Grounds: Feeders that use a service ground are now labeled consistently. The ground wire size for a feeder depends upon whether it is being sized based upon NEC 250.102 or NEC 250.122. Previously, the feeder ID assigned to the wire callout was not consistent for the different ground sizes.


Voltage Drop Calculations

Voltage Drop Based upon Distribution Equipment Size: Added an option to calculate feeder voltage drop based upon 80% of the distribution equipment size instead of the calculated load on the distribution equipment.

At the start of a project, before loads have been defined, calculating the voltage drop based upon the load results in a voltage drop of 0%. A voltage drop of 0% does not give you any information about the project.

The new option will calculate the voltage drop as if the distribution equipment is fully loaded. Feeders will display a voltage drop value. In particular, you will be able to see which feeders are likely to exceed 3% voltage drop. You can then upsize those feeders at the beginning of the project instead of at the end.


Voltage Drop Calculation Distance: The calculation used for the length of feeders and branch circuits has been made more obvious and customizable.

Feeder lengths can be calculated in a straight line distance between two pieces of distribution equipment. Previously, feeders were always calculated at right angles along the axes of the building. There is a default calculation method for the project. It can be overridden for specific feeders. Of course, you can continue to manually set feeder lengths, too.

The branch circuit length calculation is now displayed in the Set Circuit Information dialog box available in the Circuiting command. Previously you could set the branch circuit length to be calculated using either a straight line or right angles, but it was a difficult feature to use and verify. The new display location makes it an easier feature to take advantage of. A new custom branch circuit length option was also added that allows you to set a specific length. The voltage drop on the branch circuit is calculated assuming the whole load is the custom distance away from the distribution equipment.


Ground Wire Upsizing: Upsizing the conductor size will upsize the ground wire size, too. Previously the ground wire did not change size and you had to manually upsize it. The ground wire is upsized based upon NEC 250.122(B).

Ground wires in existing projects will be upsized when the project is converted to the new version. A list of circuits that have new ground wire sizes will be displayed when this change happens. You can review the new sizes and confirm they are all appropriate.


Lighting Calculations

LED IES File Scaling: IES files are used to calculate point-by-point photometrics. Standard IES files include information about the lumens used when creating the IES file. The lumens value in the light fixture schedule can be used together with the IES lumens value to scale the IES file output.

IES files for LED fixtures typically do not include lumens information. The lack of this information makes it impossible to scale the output based upon the lumens in the light fixture schedule.

There is a new General Scale Factor and Egress Scale Factor value you can set in the light fixture schedule for these situations. The light output will be multiplied by the scale factor you provide.

Previously you had to set the Lamp Depreciation to a value greater than 1 to work around this limitation in the IES files.


Average Foot-candle Uniformity Ratios: The photometric schedule can include three new uniformity ratios, average foot-candles to maximum foot-candles, maximum foot-candles to average foot-candles, and minimum foot-candles to average foot-candles.


Indoor Lighting Level Columns: The indoor lighting levels schedule includes new columns for lighting power density allowed and lighting power density actual.


Equipment Connections

Fault Current and Voltage Drop: Equipment connections can be included in the voltage drop schedule and fault current schedules. The voltage drop and fault current to the equipment will be calculated and displayed. Previously you had to model the equipment disconnect as a piece of distribution equipment to get the voltage drop or fault current values. Now you can skip that step and include the equipment directly.

To display the equipment connection in the schedules, use the Schedule Information button when editing the equipment and check the Show in Fault Schedule or Show in Voltage Drop Schedule toggle.



The technical backend for managing licenses has been upgraded in this release. You will be prompted for new license information after you install the new version. Send an email to and ask for your new license information.

If you install the new version before getting your new license information, you can use the 30-day trial to continue working. It is a full working version of the software and gives you 30 days to get your license information from us.

Installing the license will require an active internet connection.

Single-user licenses will regularly check in with our license server on the internet. They will work when disconnected from the internet.

Floating licenses will now use our remote license servers on the internet to manage concurrent use. They will require an active internet connection to be used. One benefit of the new licensing technology is that you can more reliably share floating licenses between different office locations.