May 2, 2017

Posted on May 2, 2017 by Synergis’ Application Consultant, Todd Schmoock
In AutoCAD Electrical it is important to understand the naming convention of schematic symbols so they are recognized by the software when they are inserted into a project’s drawing.  By following the naming convention AutoCAD Electrical will know what family the symbol belongs to, and what family table to find the catalog data in when doing a catalog lookup to add manufacturer information.  Additional information the naming convention allows for are horizontal or vertical wires, whether the symbol is a parent or child, and if the symbol has normally open or normally closed requirements.  Here is the definition from help:
Schematic Symbol Naming Convention:

  • The first character is either “H” or “V” for horizontal or vertical wire insertion.
  • The next two characters are reserved for family type (for example, PB for push buttons, CR for control relays, LS for limit switches).
  • The fourth character is generally a 2 for child contacts and 1 for everything else (parent or standalone component).
  • If the symbol is a contact, then the fifth character is a 1 for normally open, 2 for normally closed.

The remaining characters are not specified. They are used to keep names unique. Symbol names are limited to 32 characters
Examples of symbols named correctly:
Hpb11.dwg = Horizontal push button, parent normally open.
Hcr1.dwg = Horizontal relay coil, parent.
Hcr21.dwg = Horizontal relay contact, child normally open.
Hcr22.dwg = Horizontal relay contact, child normally closed.
If you have company specific symbols you need to create Autodesk has reserved ZA through ZZ for you.  Autodesk will never use these family codes acronyms.  An example would be:
HZZ1_My Company Symbol.dwg = Horizontal parent.
By placing an underscore after the required data it will make it easier to read.  Additionally, you can have several ZZ symbols since the text at the end will make them unique.
New users often do not realize there is a naming convention for schematic symbols.  Since AutoCAD Electrical doesn’t recognize the symbol when they are not named correctly it can be very frustrating when you do not know why they do not work correctly.  Taking training can reduce the issues of trying to learn the software just by using it.  Depending on how long symbols were being made before realizing there was a naming convention there could be a lot of additional work renaming them, and fixing the drawings they were inserted into.
Looking for more on AutoCAD Electrical? Check out Managing and Creating Wire Layers in AutoCAD ElectricalAutoCAD Electrical Tip: Create a folder in your symbol Library for your custom Circuits, and AutoCAD Electrical Tip: AutoCAD Electrical Parameters.