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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
wewire2 Offline OP
Can anyone recommend some electrical design software that would be a good choice to start learning to use? I would like to be able to draw floor plans with electrical symbols, 1 line diagrams and panel schedules. Would also like to know what the most popular design programs are from starter, middle of the road to top. It would be nice to be able to learn on a starter version and be able to graduate to a better version without having to relearn from the start how the software works. Any advice much appreciated!

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,282
Likes: 3
This is right up Scott35's alley!! My guess he will be happy to share his experience.

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
wewire2 Offline OP
I hope he logs on soon! I almost bought a program the other day but thought I'd better off tapping into the ECN wealth of knowledge first.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,282
Likes: 3

If you are in dire need send him an email. Check his profile for his email address.

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,722
Broom Pusher and

There are a few Packages available, from "Affordable & Usable" to "Holy $$$ & Usable".

In the CAD realm, there are the $100.00 - $200.00 Packages, which are usable for the Design / Drafting Work you plan to perform.
TurboCAD is one of these App's, and several ECN Members have used this App with good results.
TurboCAD, I believe, is capable of opening either .DWG Files, or .DXF Files.

If you can afford it (and want to take the full plung!), look into AutoCAD, from Autodesk.
The "LT" Versions are available at Retailers such as Fry's Electronics, and similar.
The LT Versions are much less expensive than the Full Versions.
With an AutoCAD App, the Native File format is .DWG, and Work may be saved as .DWG or .DXF as well.

There are many CAD App's available, so take a look at a few variations.

These App's all have a steep learning curve, so expect to allocate a few Months to grasping the most basic stuff.
Once you know the basics, the rest comes much easier - and believe me there is a lot of "The Rest" left for discovering!!! Things that you would never have thought about doing with "Drawings" are available.

For Panelboard Schedules (and any other types of Schedules as well), utilize a Spreadsheet Application - such as Excel.

You may build an Excel Workbook which performs Voltage Drop, Fault Calcs, Feeder Load Calcs, a Panel Circuit Directory, plus Panel Schedule entries, all from one "Tab Page" of user input.
The Panel Schedule Database may also be exported to one of your AutoCAD Sheets, for inclusion with the Electrical Set.

How does this sound so far?

Please reply with questions.

-- Scott

Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
wewire2 Offline OP
Thanks for the reply and suggestions Scott. I have been studying quite a bit and wanted to work out a small design/build for a small pizza restaurant. The AHJ is asking for a panel schedule which I feel comfortable doing the calcs on but want to present it to the architect in professional form and want to save the time of developing a spreadsheet right now.
I'm not sure how much I would be using it in the future so now I'm thinking I should get something inexpensive to start on. I was looking at this software (Loadcalc 2008). which is pretty basic. I will check out your other suggestions though. This project has 9 freezers in areas other than the kitchen. I can visualize all of these possibly running at once in the Summer. One question I had was the demand factoring for kitchen equipment. Since these freezers are in areas outside the kitchen do you know if the demand factor table for kitchen equipment would still apply? If so, I was still thinking of going 90% to be on the safe side. What do you think?

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,157
for a cheap cad program maybe look at this

and they have a forum

you can search this forum for "deltacad" also there is some results

Last edited by dougwells; 04/14/11 04:08 AM.
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,722
Broom Pusher and

Happy to assist you with the CAD Query.

Let me know how the LOADCALC Application works out - along with which CAD App' you choose.
BTW, Try Ebay; you might find an AutoCAD Package for a good price.

If it is not too late, I could send you a copy of my Panel Schedule Workbooks (Excel Spreadsheets), so you may compile the Panel Schedules in an Industry-Standard "Looking" format, and the Architect will be able to Attach the Schedules to the relevant Plan Sheets' CAD Files.

Send an E-mail message to me at the following address:

- remove the spaces between words, along with the following changes:
  • Change "AT" to "@",
  • Change "DOT" to "."

Lastly, per the Cold Boxes:

For my designs, all Equipment is figured as to be running coincidentally - i.e.: 100% (no diversity)... unless otherwise stated - such as redundant systems, etc.

There will be certain events, which the Condensing Units will stop - such as when design target temperature is achieved, or Defrosting.
Keep in mind, the Target Design Temperature will be affected by normal activity, such as:
  • The frequency of usage by the Staff (opening lift and man doors),

Along with Heat Burden factors - Including:
  • Staff bringing in "Room Temperature" foods,
  • The "Box Exterior Ambient Temperature",
  • Heat dissipated from in Box Lighting and Under Floor Heating,
  • Box Insulation Leakage.

Most important to mention will be the type of Defrosting used on the Evaporators (Air units).

Air Defrost is the lowest load type.

Air Defrost is simply keeping the Fans running, without the Refrigerant being "Re-Condensed". Ambient Air flows across the Evaporator Coils, thereby achieving Defrost
(The Evaporator Fans are run continuously, but the Condensing Unit stops).
This will occur per "Zone" for something like 15 minutes per each hour (verify with Refrigeration Designers).

Air Defrost is typically used in "Coolers" with Ambient Design target temperatures of 40F and higher.


Electric Defrost uses Resistance Heaters for Defrosting the Evaporator Coils.

As with the Air Defrost technique, the Refrigerant stops being moved (Condensed) while the Air Unit is in Defrost Mode.
The Fans May or May Not be operating, while in Electric Defrost Mode.

Normally, the Total Heaters' Load of Electric Defrost will be equal to, or +10% of the Condenser Motors' FLA + the Evaporator Fans' FLA combined.
With an Electric Defrost system, the rated FLA normally represents the Defrost Load, which is commonly the Highest value.

Electric Defrost will occur in an "opposite time" with other Evaps in the Box.

1: Freezer Box with (2) AUs (Air Units):
AU1 runs in COOL Mode for 1 Hour; AU2 is in DEFROST Mode at same time.
Next Hour, AU2 runs in COOL Mode, while AU1 goes in DEFROST Mode.

2: Freezer Box with (4) AUs (Air Units):
AU1, 2 and 3 run in COOL Mode; AU4 is in DEFROST Mode at same time, and Defrosts for 30 Minutes.

When AU4's DEFROST Mode has timed out, it goes into COOL Mode with AU2 + AU3, while AU1 takes on DEFROST Mode for 30 minutes.

When AU1's DEFROST Mode has timed out, it goes into COOL Mode with AU3 + AU4, while AU2 takes on DEFROST Mode for 30 Minutes.

When AU2's DEFROST Mode has timed out, it goes into COOL Mode with AU4 + AU1, while AU3 takes on DEFROST Mode for 30 Minutes.

... Pattern repeats as needed.


Hot Gas Defrost

This is the Recycling of the "Un Condensed" Refrigerant, used for Defrosting the Evaporators' Coils.

Liquid Solenoid valves are used to run the Hot Gas "Back" through an Evaporators' set of Coils.
The Condensing Unit's Compressor Motors are always running during COOL Mode and DEFROST Mode.

Defrost Scheduling matches the Schedule for Electric Defrosting, shown above.


Since the Cold Boxes (Cold Rooms) you will be designing around will be less than 400 Square feet, the Systems will most likely be derived from either (1) or maybe (2) Condensing Units.

Each Condensing Unit _SHOULD_ be driving the Evaporators associated with it, so the Nameplate Values will reflect the Highest Total Load - Condenser Motors + Fan Motors -vs- Defrost Load.

*** If the Freezers are "Cabinet Freezers" or "Case Freezers", everything changes per what I have listed above!
The above text denotes "Walk-In Freezers" or "Warehouse Freezers", sized for at least One Person to enter the Box, close the Door, and perform a given Task.

Cabinets / Cases are Pre-Made Units, which work independently, and _MAY POSSIBLY_ be figured with a diversity factor.

Since there are so many variables, the choice in design must reflect the Equipment and Environment together.
For a simple suggestion, I would suggest figuring all at 100% coincident Loads (all running at the same time, for up to 179 Minutes).

Figure the Unit with the Highest MCA at 1.25 the MCA, and the remaining (8) Units at 1.0 the MCA.
Use this on the Branch Circuits + the Load Calcs.

If you need more, feel free to contact me.

-- Scott

Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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