Creating a Custom Patchbay

Although PatchCAD comes with a large catalogue of pre-defined templates for a large number of patchbay makes and models, it is likely that you will need to create a custom patchbay template for the specific patchbay, panel or device you have. As you are about to see, PatchCAD is not limited to patchbay or patch panels but is actually suitable for labelling virtually any repetitive designation strip with precision and accuracy.

Create Custom Patchbay Window

Adding a Custom Patchbay

To create a custom patchbay template:

  1. In the Template Manager, Click on Create
  2. Fill in your patchbay’s properties as shows below
  3. Press Save to add the template to the Template Manager. An orange background will indicate which patchbay is your user template. User templates can be edited, revised and modified.

You can edit a user template by selecting it in the Template Manager and clicking on Edit below the list; or if the patchbay has already been added to a project, you can edit some of its properties by clicking on Edit Properties in the patchbay utility menu (see below) and revise as necessary. When satisfied with results, press Template Save As… to save as a user template to reuse later.

Please note that when editing a patchbay that has already been added to a project, you cannot change the patchbay’s number of holes, number of lines, layout, or add/remove gaps.

Patchbay Properties

At the bottom half of the custom template window above, you will find a mock diagram of a patchbay that will guide you through the steps of filling out the necessary details above. Hovering over some of the parameters will highlight the relevant section of the patchbay diagram for reference.

The diagram above shows an example of a 24-hole patchbay with two rows.
Each label stip is divided into two rows (A..X and 1..24). The patchbay is divided in the middle.

Patchbay Make

The name of the make of the patchbay (i.e. Mosses & Mitchell, Neutrik, Link, etc.)

Patchbay Model

The name of the model of the patchbay (i.e. CPT96D25)

Type

The type of patchbay signal:

  • Bantam / TT
  • Data
  • Fiber
  • GPO / B Gauge
  • Jack
  • Other
  • Termination Panel
  • Trompeter
  • MIDI
  • Video

How Many Rows? [Purple]

Numbers of rows in patchbay.

How Many Sockets in Each Row?

Number of sockets in each row.

Divide Each Designation Strip Into How Many Lines? [Green]

How many lines each row’s designation strip is divided to (one or two).

Patchbay Layout [Orange]

Simple/Mono-Space, Stereo-Spaced or Custom.

  • Simple/Mono-Spaced – A patchbay where the distance from one socket to the next is the same throughout the patchbay.
  • Stereo-Spaced – A patchbay where each pair of sockets are grouped closer together but the distance between each pair of sockets is the same throughout.
  • Custom – A patchbay or panel with no particular rules of distances between each socket.

Designation Strip Left Padding [A]

Width of the white space padding on the left hand side of the designation strip. Optional.

Designation Strip Right Padding [B]

Width of the white space padding on the right hand side of the designation strip. Optional.

Distance from the Designation Strip to the Socket [E]

Distance between the bottom of the designation strip to the top of the socket.
Although this is purely a cosmetic feature, it does make the previews look good!

Socket Diameter [F]

The diameter of the “hole” or socket.
Although this is purely a cosmetic feature, it does make the previews look good!

Designation Strip Height [D]

The height of each designation strip.

Default Label Font

The default font that will be set across all the label’s cells.

Default Label Font Size

The default size of the font of each cell. Large designation strips benefit from a larger font while a smaller font size will allow more information to be squeezed into the cell.

Hole Font Size

The size of the numbers inside each socket hole. A larger hole diameter allows for a larger font size and makes previews more easily readable.

Notes

Any notes for the user, details about the patchbay, manufacturer or model. Optional.

Picture

A photo or a drawing of the patchbay for easy identification. Optional.

Patchbay Layout Editor

The patchbay diagram at the lower half of the window is an editor that allows specifying the width of each designation strip socket width. It behaves differently for every type of patchbay layout.

Simple/Mono-Spaced

In simple/mono-spaced layout, only the first socket width needs to be entered because in a mono-spaced patchbay, the distance between each socket is the same throughout the patchbay. A gap can be added in the middle of the patchbay for a divided layout. Additional gaps cab be added for patchbays which group several sockets together but the general distance between each socket remains the same.

PatchCAD Layout Editor - Mono-Spaced

Stereo-Spaced

In a stereo-spaced layout, the editor will group each pair of sockets together. Unlike in a mono-spaced patchbay, in a stereo-spaced layout, socket distances are viewed as pairs so instead of entering the width between each socket, a distance between a pair of sockets is required.

Also, another field will appear above the editor asking for the distance between the two sockets within the pair. This distance will determine how each pair of sockets will be grouped on the designation strip.

A gap can be added in the middle of the patchbay for a divided layout. Additional gaps cab be added for patchbays which group several sockets together but the general distance between each socket remains the same.

PatchCAD Layout Editor - Stereo-Spaced

Custom

In a custom layout, the editor will allow entering a different width value for every socket. A gap can be added in the middle of the patchbay for a divided layout. Additional gaps cab be added for patchbays which group several sockets together but the general distance between each socket remains the same.

PatchCAD Layout Editor - Custom

Revising

If you are measuring a new designation strip or patchbay, before saving a custom design as a template, it is possible you might need to revise the parameters you entered. Perhaps the Hole Width needs adjusting, or the divider gap, or even the default font.

You can revise the properties of any custom patchbay as much as needed by opening the local utility menu of the patchbay and clicking on Edit Properties.

You can even revise designs after you have quit PatchCAD. If you save a patchbay system which includes a custom design, any custom design patchbay can be edited and revised.

Please note: number of rows, number of holes, number of rows a label is split into and layout cannot be modified after a custom patchbay has been created.

PatchCAD Patchbay Utility Menu

Saving as Template

When you are satisfied with your custom patchbay design, it is advisable to save the design as a template for easier access and reuse in the future. You can add a patchbay from a custom template to as many patchbay systems and as many times as needed.

To save the custom patchbay as a template, open the patchbay properties window by clicking on Edit Properties in the patchbay’s utility window and click on Template Save As…. The properties window will close and the newly created patchbay will be selected in the Templates Manager pane with an orange background to indicate it is a user created patchbay.

 

Sharing a Template

Once a custom patchbay design is saved as a template, it can be shared with the rest of the community. If you feel that others could benefit from the template you created, you can share it by selecting the templates and clicking Edit in the Templates Manager pane, and simply clicking Share Patchbay. A message will appear to ask you if you are sure you would like to do this.

Once a patchbay has been submitted, it will be reviewed, verified and included in the next update.

Deleting a Template

You can delete user template if they are no longer required by clicking Edit in the Templates Manager pane, selecting the design in the templates list, clicking Edit and simply clicking Delete Patchbay in the properties window. A message will appear to ask you if you are sure you would like to do this.

Please note: only a user template can be deleted.

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