Cabling in SWX assemblies

Anyone got recommendations or experiences of add-ins to enable design
of electrical cables in a SWX assembly?
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I recommend not using Solidworks!!!!
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We use SolidWorks Routing. Here are our experiences so far.
3D Cables & Harnesses:
The software has definitely helped us determine wire lengths much faster than previous methods. Along with this, showing the harness in the assembly has really helped our technicians during the building process. With the use of Connection Points, creating 3D routes are relatively easy and fast.
The reference designators for electrical components are base on the part name inside the cable/harness assembly. To accommodate this, you have to turn off "Update component names when documents are replaced" under Tools->Options->External References. You then rename your component as J1, J2, etc. This really needs to be changed. I have submitted an Enhancement Request to have the ability to assign component instances in the assemblies' reference properties which could be used for electrical reference designators. If you use the Excel import option to create your harness, it does all of the renaming and individual conductor selection for you. The only draw back with this method is that modifying it seems to be cumbersome. (I haven't exactly figured out how to modify a cable that was brought in through the excel import. Haven't had much time to play with it.)
2D Cable documentation (Harnessboard):
This portion of the software has not functioned as well for us as the 3D functions. We have had some performance issues when trying to document complex cables. It has been reported to SolidWorks as should be fixed in the next service pack. (I hope...)
If you connect a cable or harness to a terminal block that doesn't reside in the cable/harness assembly, the Harness Bill of Materials still wants to include the terminal block. If you remove it, it comes back the next time you open the file. If you turn off table updating, then you have just killed the main reason for having a cable drawing linked to your 3D cable.
The Harnessboard drawing doesn't seem to like it when you move a harness assembly down into a subassembly.
Creation of the harnessboard drawings in general is very strange. You have to create the drawing from the top level assembly that the harness assembly resides in. I have also experienced some unexplained errors that I simply haven't had time to track down.
The Connector pin views have to be created as a SolidWorks Drawing Block and reside in a SolidWorks Drawing file as part of your library. If you are generating your connector pin views from 3D models, you have to create a SolidWorks drawing. Then save it as a DWG/DXF. Then reopen the DWG/DXF and create the block entity. After that you have to save the SolidWorks Drawing containing the block to a specific directory. This can be time consuming for several connectors...
In my opinion, the 3D portion is great. We have seen time savings and many benefits from using it. The 2D portion has not been implemented into our Cable Drawing Production and won't be until the performance issues and BOM and Circuit Summary issues are ironed out. I like the method of showing electrical connections from pin to pin via the circuit summary and we have pretty much made this our standard.
I hope this helps...
Ricky Jordan CSWP Dynetics, Inc. Huntsville, AL wrote:
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Ricky Jordan
Thanks Ricky. A comprehensive reply and very helpful.
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