Autodesk Inventor can help develop substantially detailed electric harnesses. Preparation and planning are the biggest factors for success and the least amount of frustration. One of the best tips I can give for users that are new to harnesses is to pin your terminators at creation time. One frustration after assembling your components, and proceeding onto the harness development, is to find that there is no connectivity with your parts.
Pin Your Parts
While the main set of harness tools lie in the Assembly’s Harness Environment, the termination of wires and harnesses are handled by Pin features, which are assigned in the part component.
From the 3D Model tab or the Ribbon, the Harness panel contains 3 simple tools used to assign and customize terminator pins. Picking Pin starts a small dialog that keeps track of the pin ID count, as you pick locations to apply your pins. As each is picked, a Work Point is applied with an ID number.
In the image above I’ve demonstrated setting Pin 5 in this HEDS encoder terminator plug. The other 4 pins show the final appearance – Work Points which are collected in the Part Browser.
Tip: Recess your physical connection points in your part to:
- Hide the Pin Work Point from most views
- Provide recess for the wire insulation to terminate at a hidden point for a realistic appearance
Once the Pins are created, they are defined in their default stated with only an ID number for a property. Additional properties can be set for each pin by selecting the configuration button at the right of the ID number in the dialog. The Connector Pin Properties dialog will open, allowing users to add custom property fields such as text and electrical properties such as voltage.
In the image above note that Pin 5 was identified with a nominal voltage of 5v, and the HEDS encoder channel B.
Pin groups are simply a non-associative array of Pins. No real magic here. The tool acts quite similarly to the Horizontal Pattern tool, with features to allow the direction of each axis and the count of rows and columns. The tool also permits letter number combinations for Pin Id’s. Once created, the Pins are singular features, and not associatively grouped together.