Electrical Schematic Software

My Notes

At my work, when we first bought a schematic package, we wanted something that was based on AutoCAD, because we were using AutoCAD a lot. We picked Via Wiring Diagram, and it worked OK until the licensing server (running Windows NT!) finally died.

Now we primarily use Solid Works for mechanical design, and after the AutoCAD add-on experience, I decided non-AutoCAD was the way to go. After my initial research, I was most impressed with Radica Electra (it seemed the best match for our situation); my alternatives were SEE Electrical and Autotec Engineering Base Electrical.

However, I didn't do a detailed evaluation on any of them, because DraftSight works OK for maintaining our existing schematics, and for the new machines, I've moved so much into Eagle PCB that DraftSight will still be fine.

But our situation is unusual. So my advice is to figure out what's best suited for your situation, which depends on factors such as customer requirements, favorite file formats, how often you create schematics, budget, ease of use, libraries, preferred schematic style, integration with other tools, wire harness requirements, CAD integration, panel design requirements, 3D integration, and such.

The programs listed below are the ones that I found during my search that looked at least somewhat related to creating machine schematics (there's also a market for building electrical schematics, ship electrical schematics, PCB electrical schematics, etc)

NOTE: if you are looking for affordable options, I recommend looking at the new DesignSpark Electrical (free) or Radica Electra (which is affordable compared to everything but DS-E, and has received a lot of praise). I have downloaded DesignSpark Electrical, but haven't had time to evaluate it yet.


Based on Microsoft Components

  • Aucotec Engineering Base Electrical
  • Radica Electrica
    • Pricing
      • Single PC: Standard $998, Professional $1298, Enterprise $1898
      • Floating License: Professional $1698, Enterprise $2398
    • Price includes tech support and all updates until the next major version
    • You need a 32-bit Visio license (Standard works fine, available for <$200) for each PC

Based on 2D CAD (AutoCAD or Similar)

  • Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical
    • Pricing: ~$5800 List + $720/year maintenance; also available in Suites such as the Product Design Suite Ultimate ($8395 List + $1125/year maintenance)
    • Original product was Via Wiring Diagram; after Autodesk bought Via, the product was re-named.
  • Bentley promis-e
  • CADProfi Electrical
    • Seems oriented towards buildings and such, not machines.
    • Prices start at 400 Euros + cost of AutoCAD or a clone (ARES, BrisCAD, etc)
  • SCADA Systems elecdes
    • Requires AutoCAD or GStarCAD
  • QC, QC 3D
    • QC Electrical requires AutoCAD or clone
    • QC 3D requires SolidWorks
Last modified 21 months ago Last modified on Oct 3, 2015 12:20:03 AM