Posts in Category: Panelboard

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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What Really Are Circuits in SPEL?

If you have done much detailed design in SPEL you will have run into Circuits.

Circuits are needed if you want to hook up a power cable to a BUS, CELL Local Panel or even a Junction Box.

A circuit is a programming object that when created is a child of one of the objects mentioned above.

The problem, in my opinion, is that while BUSes and CELLS etc. are actual physical things a circuit is not.  At least not in the case of detailed electrical design.  It is a given that if you connect to a starter or a CB in an MCC Cubicle that there is a 'circuit' there but you would never detail it out in your design.  In fact, the cable schedule and any other deliverable will be mostly concerned about the cubicle or cell and the load being fed from it. 

The only case where this is not true is in a distribution panel (For Example 120/208V).  There your detailed design will include what circuits you are using in the panel.  If you are using single phase 1-pole circuit breakers then you would use one circuit.  If you are using a two phase 2-pole breaker to feed a 208V load then you would need two Circuits.  Which, by the way, you can't do in SPEL.  One Circuit, one CB. You can't have more than one circuit associated with any one breaker which makes panelboards with 2 and 3 pole breakers almost impossible to distinguish unless you create reports that use VBA to fix this problem outside of SPEL.

It all comes back to how the programmers of SPEL created the object model and how in the real world things actually go together. 

One of the uses for the Circuit that I have used which works really well on MCC's is naming the Feeder Circuit in the Cell the same as the load it is feeding.  That way if you have to manually connect the power cable up you can just look for the circuit with the same load name.



Obviously, the downfall of this strategy is that if the load name changes then the circuit is wrong which may not be a big deal because the Circuit itself should not show up on any deliverables.

I thought about creating a rule that would automatically change the Item Tag of the Circuit to the Load that it is attached to but the problem with that is that it wouldn't work for my panelboards where I wanted the Circuits to be numbers.

The conclusion I think that I have come to though is that the problem is with how power distribution in SPEL is completed.

All power distribution in SPEL is designed using PDB's. But really, different distribution boards need different requirements.

In my opinion PDB's should be broken out at least into Panelboards, MCC's and Switchgear. 

For Panelboards you would have Circuits but no Cells and you would be able to associate Circuit Breakers to multiple Circuits

For MCC's you would not even have Circuits.  You would connect Power, Control and Instrumentation cables directly up to your cells as needed.  The program would know that there is a 'Circuit' connection due to a power cable connection

For Switchgear it would be similar to MCC's but you could be able to have Incoming Power to the CELLS.  With switchgear you may have more than one feed to a 'CELL'.  Sometimes you may need a 125VDC and 120VAC power feed to the same CELL that the power feeder may be attached to.  Currently, you can't attach an 'Incomer Circuit' to a CELL that already has a 'Feeder Circuit' in it.  The only way that I could get around that was to create a Local Panel with the same name as the Switchgear Cell.  But then you end up having two pieces of Equipment with the same name.

Along with this is the use of Circuits in Local Panels and Junction Boxes.  I think that the program should know if a power cable is connected to the LP or the JB and should already know what BUS it is being fed from.

I think the circuits add more complexity and a whole level of data management that really is not necessary.  If you leave the Circuits as their default Item Tags it is almost impossible to connect up the cables manually.

Have other SPEL users ran into this or found creative ways of using Circuits in SPEL?

I would be interested to hear what others have done with panelboards in SPEL as well.

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