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Old 11-27-2020, 07:31 PM   #1
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Drawing programs

I'm looking for a simple drawing program to draw out my battery, inverter and alternator wiring connections. I have used Smart Draw in the past and I can allways draw it by hand, which I will do to start with. but I was looking for simple suggestions.
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:14 PM   #2
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You might want to check out OpenOffice. It has a fairly sophisticated drawing program with a bit of a learning curve, but the price is right.
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:16 PM   #3
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It is clunky, but Excel can be used. I did it with my battery drawing including some pasted in battery and switch photos from the web.
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:43 PM   #4
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Depending of what to expect to do.
If you jus want to draw lines and boxes something as simple as online tool google draw will make it.
If you want a tool for drafting electrical diagram specifically (meaning with helpers like electronic/electric diagramming figures) you can find a bunch on google, some free.

Beyond this you have standard tools like Visio that can be used too.

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Old 11-28-2020, 03:54 AM   #5
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https://www.tinycad.net/
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Old 11-28-2020, 08:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
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I'm looking for a simple drawing program to draw out my battery, inverter and alternator wiring connections. I have used Smart Draw in the past and I can allways draw it by hand, which I will do to start with. but I was looking for simple suggestions.

Power Point can work OK for that...

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Old 11-28-2020, 08:05 AM   #7
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I have used Visio since it fit, and was delivered, on a 5-1/4" DOS floppy disc.

It has a bit of a learning curve, but it can do just about anything you need in 2D. I usually buy the previous version on ebay for cheap.

All of the below done with Visio. As you can see, it can be as simple or complex as you need it to be. It also does a good job of measuring relative dimensions and allowing you to visualize them.

Lots of online forums, help, and templates/add-ons available.
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Screenshot_20201128-075541_Drive.jpg   Screenshot_20201128-075508_Drive.jpg   Screenshot_20201128-075433_Drive.jpg   SolarDiagram.jpg   ScoutLineDrawing.png  

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Old 11-28-2020, 08:55 AM   #8
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I was recommended Proficad but didn't try it. I'm a mac user and it seems to only support windows. Looks very complete for electrical drawing and circuits.

https://www.proficad.com/
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:03 AM   #9
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Thanks for pointing out tinycad. It looks worth the effort to learn.
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:13 AM   #10
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Whatever drawing program you use there will be a fairly steep learning curve, especially if you're new to CAD or anything like it.

LibreCAD is another free 2D. But it's a bugger to learn.

Don't waste time on a drawing program that does not support layers. It's just too hard to work out ideas as you go along without fully starting over. File format can be important as well. At a minimum for CAD work .CAD and .DXF formats. More here CAD file formats

If you need 3D visualization Sketchup is OK. I say just OK because it really doesn't work well with boaty shapes.
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:15 AM   #11
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TinyCAD probably ok for circuit layout, but for other stuff like including a graphic of a system or part or all of the boat, or dimensioning something, you might need something else.
Like someone mentioned, I often end up using PowerPoint. It's not as precise as autocad programs, but it can be used for almost anything and can make things extremely clear.
We use it because we already have Office though now that MS Office is moving to a monthly pay situation, we will not likely keep getting it.
Open Office has an equivalent to PowerPoint that is free.
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Old 11-28-2020, 10:42 AM   #12
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I use AutoCAD. Utterly miserable for beginners. But, it's pretty much still the standard for building professionals.
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Old 11-28-2020, 11:01 AM   #13
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For what you are doing;

MS Excel (you probably already have it)
MS Visio (you might have it or access to it)
Sketchup (free or inexpensive paid version)

Sketchup is easy to learn
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Old 11-28-2020, 11:05 AM   #14
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Alas, doesn't work on Apple.
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Old 11-28-2020, 11:17 AM   #15
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I started doing a lot in Visio, but have since switched to OpenOffice, then LibraOffice, Draw. Since they all have a huge learning curve anyway, you might as well stick with one that's part of a suite, along with other stuff you might do like word processing, spreadsheets, database and presentations.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:02 PM   #16
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I started doing a lot in Visio, but have since switched to OpenOffice, then LibraOffice, Draw. Since they all have a huge learning curve anyway, you might as well stick with one that's part of a suite, along with other stuff you might do like word processing, spreadsheets, database and presentations.
Now that Visio is part of Microshaft, it integrates seamlessly into Word, Powerpoint, etc.

I subscribed to the annual MS Office 360 thing just to get the 5 terrabytes (1TB ea on up to 5 emails) of cloud storage/backups (amortized, cheaper than any other quality cloud storage host). The fact that we also get MS Office products (except Visio ) on multiple PC's and constant updates to those is just gravy.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:37 PM   #17
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I'm starting the same project. I looked at SmartDraw and used the free version. It would probably do all I want, but the free version prints a "watermark" overlay that makes actually reading the schematic difficult. I'll look into tinycad.net. It would be great to have all on a laptop, but given the learning curve, I'm tempted to go old school with pencil (and eraser)
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:43 PM   #18
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I've used OmniGraffle for years on the Mac, and Visio on Windows. Both are very similar in feature, but I find OmniGraffle easier to use. I've used it for high level overview diagrams and much more detailed wire-by-wire ones as well.

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Old 11-28-2020, 12:48 PM   #19
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I'm starting the same project. I looked at SmartDraw and used the free version. It would probably do all I want, but the free version prints a "watermark" overlay that makes actually reading the schematic difficult. I'll look into tinycad.net. It would be great to have all on a laptop, but given the learning curve, I'm tempted to go old school with pencil (and eraser)
WOW, that sounds painful! I started my engineering career with those......

Visio comes with a HUGE selection of Engineering components - electrical and otherwise.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:00 PM   #20
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https://www.expresspcb.com/



More for designing pcb's but good schematics; a lower learning curve - price is right. Also older versions of visio for mechanical if you can find one (PM me). Will not run on some later versions of Windows.
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