Posts in Category: Cables

Creating Panelboard Reports in SPEL using PDB's, Circuits and CB's


Panelboards range from the 208/120V Panelboard in your house to a 125VDC distribution board for switchgear power.

OOTB SPEL doesn't have provision for Panelboard's as far as reports or schematics go.  

Generally, Panelboards will have a number of Circuits on them and each Circuit will be connected to a Phase BUS.  

For example with a 4-wire 42 Circuit, 208/120V Panelboards each Circuit will have a connection to one phase (A,B or C).  Single Pole Circuit Breakers will provide 120V from a particular phase to Neutral and 2-pole breakers across two circuits will provide 208V phase to phase.



Create a new PDB.  

Give it a Voltage Rating of 208 V so that you can filter on it later

(I added a custom integer property in Data Dictionary called NumberOfCKTS so I could filter out 42 and 30 circuit panels)

Create a new BUS

Create an Incomer circuit for the panel feed (call it whatever you want)

Create a feeder circuit and call it '1' -> change its 'Sequence in Group' property to be 101

Create a circuit breaker under the circuit you just created -> add in the 'Current Rating' property and the 'Number of Poles' property

Now duplicate the circuit you made above ( the CB gets duplicated as well)

Call the duplicated circuit '2' - > change its 'Sequence in Group' property to be 202

Update the duplicated CB properties if you need to.

Repeat duplicating for as many circuits that you have in your panelboard and if the circuit is odd set the 'Sequence in Group' value to be the circuit number + 100 (example: circuit 5 would be 105) and even circuits would be the  circuit number  + 200 (example circuit 20 would be 220)

Once you do this once you can always duplicate the whole PDB for another panelboard which is nice.

Once you have added some loads to your panelboard and connected up power cables you need to make a report.


Go to Reports->New

When the new report dialog pops up

- leave Source template Blank

- Give the new report a name

- set the Item Type to 'Circuit'

- leave radio button set to 'Tabular format'

- Select 'Add to plant reports' if you want

Click create

When Excel opens up go to the 'Add-Ins' tab

Go to Options

Set 'Skip lines between rows' to '0'

setup header as you want just remember the one after the last row is where you define the database fields I use 5 rows for my headers usually.

Click OK

Next you need to setup a Filter

Highlight Circuit and click Define

Go to Filter Tab in the 'Define Report Item' dialog

Click on the browse button

Create a New Circuit Filter using the 'Match All' selected with the following properties

- Power Distribution Board.Rated Voltage = "208 V"

- Circuit Type = "Feeder"

Click OK and OK to Select the filter (The filter you created will show up in the 'Applied Filter' textbox)

Now, Click on the Properties Tab

Add the following properties for the circuit object:

--> Item Tag

--> Sequence in Group

--> Power Distribution Board.Item Tag

Click OK

In the 'Define Report Contents' dialog click on 'New'

Add the following Related Objects (in bold)  

Once a related object has been added (you will see it show up under the circuit) highlight it and click on Define again to add properties for the related objects 

(Note: -> denotes a related object and --> denotes a property)

-> Power Distribution Board

--> Description

--> Current Rating

--> Note (I use this for the location)

-> Disconnect Electrical Equipment

--> Item Tag

--> Current Rating

-> ConnectionSide1 Cable

--> ItemTag

--> ConnectionSide2.Plant Item.Item Tag

--> ConnectionSide2.Plant Item.Description

Once all the related objects and their properties have been added you can then add them to your report.

I started mine at row 6 and added descriptions on row 5

So to map a SPEL db property to excel click on a cell and then go up to the 'Map Properties' in the Add-In.  Highlight Circuit and you will see sub-menus appear of the related objects and also the Circuit properties as well. 

Row 6 Col A Circuit-->Power Distribution Panel.Item Tag
Row 6 Col B Circuit-->Item Tag
Row 6 Col C Disconnect Electrical Equipment-->Current Rating
Row 6 Col D Leave Empty
Row 6 Col E Circuit-->Sequence in Group
Row 6 Col F ConnectionSide1 Cable-->Item Tag
Row 6 Col G ConnectionSide1 Cable-->ConnectionSide2.Plant.Item Tag
Row 6 Col H ConnectionSide1 Cable-->ConnectionSide2.Plant Item.Description
Row 6 Col I Disconnect Electrical Equipment-->Item Tag
Row 6 Col J Power Distribution Board-->Description
Row 6 Col K Power Distribution Board-->Current Rating
Row 6 Col L Power Distribution Board-->Note

One thing to note that although the CB has a 'Number of Poles' property I couldn't get it to map to the report.  If anyone can figure this out please let me know.

To get around it I would leave the 'Current Rating' of a CB blank if it was attached to the second circuit in a 2-pole circuit or the third circuit and a 3-pole circuit.

So, for example, say you were using a 208V connection facilitated by a 2-pole CB that used two circuits like Circuits 5 & 7.  I would go to the CB attached to Circuit 7 in SPEL and set its 'Current Rating' to nothing.

That way I could use some VBA in the final excel report to see if there was 1 blank in the 'Current Rating' field then it was a 2 pole breaker and if there were 2 blanks then it was a 3-pole breaker.

I know it sounds like a convoluted work-around but it works.

I also ended up breaking each panelboard out into its own spreadsheet and adding some formatting using VBA which is fairly straightforward.

I have attached an excel spreadsheet of what the final report looked like at the bottom of the blog (you will need to login to download).

If anyone is interested I can go through the VBA that I ended up using to make it look this way.


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Cable Issues in SPEL


Creating Cables in SPEL is a pretty straight forward procedure.  You simply right-click on the cable category that you want to create a cable in and click new cable.

For each cable category there are associated Ref Cables or cable types that you can then associate to your newly created cable.  OOTB SPEL comes with quite a few of these Ref Cables and if you don't have enough you can get more here.

Before you get too far in creating cables in your project though there are some things that you should think about and setup ahead of time. As they are hard to change once you have a lot of data in your project.

A couple of these issues are:

  1. There are way too many cable types and you may want to filter what types the designers can choose so that you won't have to buy too many types of cable on the project.  This is usually called cable standardization.
  2. The names of the cables in SPEL OOTB are quite long and you might want to shorten them to something like 3Cx12AWG so that if you use the cable type on your one-line (SLD) diagrams they will fit.
  3. You may find that one type of cable can be used both in 'Control' and 'Power' situations.  You cannot use a cable ref name twice even if they are in different categories.


  1.  the way that you can filter out what types of cables you want to be in your project is to use the Cable Specification select list.  If you go to Tools->Select Lists in SPEL you can edit select lists.  Find the 'Cable Specification' list.  There you can uncheck any Cable Specification categories that you don't want to show up for the project.  If you want some cables from a particular Cable Specification category but not others you can create another Cable Specification called something like 'Not in Cable List' and set the ref cables that you don't want to have that specification.
  2. There is no easy way that I know to do this other than taking the ref cable item tags and shortening them.  It was half way through a project when we started throwing one lines and the long cable types did not look good on the drawings.  We tried using 'Cable formation' but the problem is that you can have multiple cable types that use the same formation so that doesn't work.  I also tried putting a smaller Ref Cable name in the Remarks property but that property doesn't get written into a cable when it is made or updated.  So, my advice is rename the ref cables that you are going to use on your project with shorter names up front.  It is possible to change them later but a lot harder.
  3.   This may not seem like a big deal but it is a pain when you come to do a  MTO for your cables.  It is a pretty common occurrence to use smaller gauges of wire for both control and power applications; this is especially true for 10 & 12 AWG cables.  So, for example, you don't want to buy a control type (used for CT's) and a power type (used for 3 phase feeders) of 4 Cond #10 so what do you do?  You can't put 4 Cond #10 in as a Control Cable and a 4 Cond #10 in as a Power Cable as SPEL will not let you.  You can dupe it and add an extra space in somewhere but then you get two line items in your MTO for the same thing.  I ended up not using the Cable Categories in my final cable schedule for this reason.  In fact, the way SPEL forces you to determine a cable category up front ended up being an annoyance by the end of the project I can't seem to find a use for it.  Anyone else have a different view on it?


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Single-Core Cable Assemblies in SPEL


Many times in Electrical Design you run into a case where power cables are too big to order as a single cable with overall jacket.  In these cases you have to order single conductor cables.

Really these cables, although they are single conductors, go together in a sort of assembly.  For example a 3-Phase power feed that uses 500kcmil cables would have 1 A conductor, 1 B conductor, and 1 C conductor.  You would also have a ground conductor, so really 4 single conductor cables.

Sometimes you might even need more cables per phase due to the way the cables are sized.

These are called parallel cables.

In SPEL there are single core cable assembly objects but there is also another way of doing it not using those objects.


  1. Create a new Power Cable
  2. Under the general tab of the Cable Common Properties for the cable click on Conductor Arrangement. In the drop-down list select 'Single Core Cable'.
  3. Once this is done the textbox below named 'Current-carrying conductors' should be editable. Key in 3 for 3 single core cables (or one per phase)
  4. Select what Cable Specification that you want.
  5. Select what Reference cable you want ensuring to select a single core (1 X ...) reference cable.
  6. Click Apply
  7. You can now connect the To and From of the cable
  8. Once you have connected the To and From click on the 'total number' dropdown box under Parallel Cables. This is the number of single core cable assemblies you want per phase. If you enter 3 you will get two more cables created like that one and you will see that the cable icon has changed to show that it is an assembly.
  9. Remember to add the ground conductors for each phase.

Now you can change how parallel cables are formatted in SPEL Options Manager under 'General Settings' using the options:

'Parallel cable suffix input mask' and 'Parallel cable separator'

Now I haven't been able to get these to show up properly on my SLD's yet.  Please leave a comment if you have had success with that.


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