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This article will cover the steps to be taken to perform DC and AC cabling for fixed-tilt systems.

First, knowing how the cabling algorithm works is essential for efficient workflow and troubleshooting. Automatic cabling works by finding the nearest trenchlines (if several are selected) and uses them as a path to the higher tier device. If there is more than one path optional, the software will draw the cables through the shortest possible path it can find.

To begin using the cabling tool you must have:

  • Frames in the PV area with electrical devices placed.

  • Trenchlines for the cabling path. The trenchline is typically drawn near the alignment side of your PV area. 

Auto DC cabling & Auto AC cabling

To perform automatic cabling:

  1. Go to the Cabling tab of Electrical design and select preferred PV areas.

  2. Select your trenchlines by pressing on Select trenchlines. You can select multiple trenchlines.

  3. For automatic DC cabling press Auto DC Cabling and select the PV area;
    For automatic AC cabling press Auto AC Cabling and select the PV area. 

  4. (Optional) convert cables into 3D by defining trench depth and pressing Convert to 3D.

After the generation, the software creates DC cabling polylines going from the equipment to the positive and negative signs of the strings. Each string has its own DC cable which will later be represented in BoM.

An example of automatic cabling can be seen below:

Semi-auto DC & AC cabling

Semi-automatic cabling can be used when there is a specific cabling situation or there is a limited amount of cables that can be run through one of the trenchlines.

Selecting the semi-auto cabling from the dropdown menu will allow selecting specific devices to be cabled and specific trenchlines for the pathway. This process can be seen below.

Examples of the cabling operating principle

In the above GIF, you can see that we selected 2 trenchlines but PVcase chose to run the cables through the trenchline which is closer to the devices.

In the example below, several trenchlines (marked in black) were selected to give the software options for cabling.

Cabling generation for DC and AC cables run through the shortest route. Therefore, devices that are by the road were connected through the trench which is by the road:

Devices besides the vertically aligned frames were connected via trenchline by the next to these frames:

Trenchline drawing

You can draw trenchlines using a simple polyline command in AutoCAD. Just remember to either join the trenchlines or have them overlap with each other so PVcase can find the right path.

Troubleshooting tips

1. PVcase does not use the trenchline you wanted it to use.

When the software is expected to connect more than one substation/central inverter in one go, it can sometimes use trenchlines that you originally wanted to use for another substation or central inverter. The solution to this is to simplify the guessing process for the software and cable fewer areas or even one at a time:

2. Cabling for some devices not possible. Please check if the intersection with trenchlines is possible for all devices.

This error means that devices could not be connected with cable polylines because the trenchline is either too far away or cannot be located from the device location when it's checking the left or right of itself for a trenchline. The solution is to check whether all trench polylines reach all electrical devices and if not extend.

3. The software doesn't use the intended trench polyline as a path.

3a. Trench polylines are not intersecting with each other:

3b. Trenchline consists of several different polylines and one of them runs all the way to substation/central inverter.

Sometimes when several different polylines are regarded as trenches, PVcase will generate cabling based on the trenchline that runs to the substation continuously, which may not be the desired or shortest path from the user side:

The solution is to make PVcase check other paths by making intersections with other trench polylines. This can be done by simply segmenting this polyline:

This results in cables running as intended:

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