SOLIDWORKS Electrical: Representing Terminal Bridges

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SOLIDWORKS Electrical has a great tool for representing your terminal strips, and it automatically makes your terminal strip drawing for you! An important note for this tool to work correctly, is representing your bridges correctly. Many users know how to define them in the terminal strip editor, but don’t realize that you can also represent them in the schematic. If you draw wires jumpering the terminals together SOLIDWORKS Electrical detects that a bridge is being defined on that same connection, and the visual property of that wire will change. You can also start with drawing wires before defining the bridge.

Take the starting circuit below; everything is “bridged” using wires. I have drawn this so everything is electrically connected. It is easy to tell this by seeing that they are all equipotential (all at the same potential).

If I define the bridges in the terminal strip editor and did not show them in the schematic, it would still be electrically correct in the background. In other words, SOLIDWORKS Electrical knows everything is the same equipotential, but it wouldn’t be apparent to someone looking at the schematic for the first time.

Here’s how the first schematic sees everything in the terminal strip editor. Note: I’m an using SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2018 so it is detecting bridge connections before I define them. In 2017 and earlier it won’t show anything in the bridge column, because they aren’t official bridges yet.

If I select the cells in the bridge column and define bridges, then all wires on the left disappear. This means that the software no longer views all of those connections as wires, but as bridges. Also, my schematic will change the color of the wires to show there is a visual representation of the bridge there as well.

At this point I know SOLIDWORKS sees the wires going to TP 6,7,8 as attached to K3. This is because the lines on 3-5 are gold (representing terminal bridges). In addition, the terminal editor shows just one wire on terminal 3 connecting to K3. But what if I want to modify those connections so they go to terminals 3, 4, and 5?

In order to do so, I will need to edit the wire connections so those wires are connected to those terminals. Usually, I find that using the Edit Connection Path command to be easier than the Wire Cabling Order command. I tried that, but in this case it didn’t work very well. Using the Edit Connection Path gave me some redundant wire connections, so I had to use Wire Cabling Order.

Once that is all taken care of, my circuit looks like so:

The red wires show actual wire connections, and the gold wire shows a bridge connection. I modified the bridge connection’s appearance on the schematic through the Project Configurations > Graphic tab.

As you can see in the terminal strip editor there is no incoming wire for terminal 2.

This schematic works pretty well as-is. It gets across the idea that everything is connected, and produces accurate documentation. This is probably satisfactory for some people, but others will want to show that all of the terminals are bridged. Since some of the connections are shared between wires and bridges, the only lines that explicitly show bridges in my schematic right now are the ones connecting terminal 2.

If I wanted to show SEPARATE lines on the schematic to represent the bridges I can do that too. It would just make some non-ortho lines to show that multiple connections are being made to the terminal.

Brian Cooke
Electrical Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology