Building as a background plan
Rather than trying to "draw" your pipework layout within a building on a blank background, I now have an option where you do the hydraulic calculations AND your sprinkler layout drawing FROM THE SAME DATA. Prepare your pipework design in the usual way by noding up the pipes, entering the sizes, lengths, directions, areas etc. but first prepare a text-only DXF (sorry but binary and DWG ones are proprietary for one specific supplier) file of the rooms, building structure, other services and so on based upon the CAD drawings supplied by third parties. Specify the X and Y coordinates in mm where the source pipe starts and this DXF file name in project data question 16. Now when you enter or amend the pipes you will see how they relate to this drawing (shown in grey background) so you can check the dimensions, directions, slopes etc. At each "save" point, a full 2D plan layout drawing (read-only, entities-only DXF type) is automatically produced, from the current 3D pipework, to the same coordinates as the background drawing and giving ALL the details and notes, exactly as you would have produced using a separate CAD program. Well OK there will be the obvious title block, special notes, dimensions relating to the building, hangar positions etc. missing but you can always produce these far quicker with the CAD program, especially now as ALL the pipes, sizes, actual lengths, rises/drops and heads have been drawn automatically for you (just use DXFIN or equivalent to merge the background, plan layout and 'extras' files together).
You can, of course, still select all or some of the heads in the one or more design areas (as shown on the rest of this page) and export the 2D / 3D pipework layouts as DXF or JPG files as required. However, (say 90% of) the main layout drawing AND the hydraulic calculations will now always be correct and in-step as both come from the ONE hydraulics data file. It is fairly easy to adapt the DXF plan to suit your specific conventions as regards notes and their directions in relation to the pipes / rises / drops etc. - please email me if changes required. Note that I have added this to the first 3 demonstration jobs for you to try out and this facility supplements the existing 2D and 3D CAD to hydraulics options in AACALC7 as the 'opposite' way of doing both parts together.
Noding up and pipe data needed
- Node numbers in the range of 1 to 99999 are allocated in any order you choose at junctions in your pipework system eg. at elbows, tees, control valves, heads and water supplies
- Pipes then run as straight sections between pairs of these node numbers
- Each pipe section therefore occurs just once and is specified by :-
- Start node (where water comes from) eg. 100
- End node (opposite end) eg. 110
- Nominal size and pipe type if different from previous eg. 25MW or 32 or 0 if unsized
- Length in m (from 0.01 to 500) measured horizontally (or vertical if slope over 45 degrees), then a direction (N for north, E for east etc, U for up, D for down or compass angle) and optional slope (eg. >5 for up at 5 degrees or <6 for downwards at 6 degrees) or ~ for a set mm/m run - for example 1U (meaning 1m upwards), 3.2E>5 (meaning 3.2m east at 5 degrees), 5.612S (meaning 5.612m south) or 6.0@60~4 (meaning 6m at 60 deg from N and 4 mm/m run)
- Optional or special fittings for extra elbows / tees / control valves eg. 2EGV (meaning 2 more screwed elbows and a gate valve), additional lengths, pressure drops or "K" factors for orifice plates, MJCs or shutting down sections of ring mains
- Optional head / nozzle / hydrant / range at end node
- You now repeat this data for every pipe in the system in one of 3 basic ways :-
- Just carry on pipe after pipe, possibly copying repeated sections as needed - see "demo" example 3 in the program
- Using a D for ditto code after the 2 node numbers - see "demo" example 2
- Specifying all the pipes on a specific "range" type just once and then repeating it at the end nodes of the corresponding "mains" pipes - this is by far the best method and is made clear in the "demo" example 1 in AACALC7 (Q16=blank)
- As you specify each pipe and are giving the direction / slope, then the program will create isometric, elevation and plan views, with/without text like node numbers, sizes, fittings etc. and you can zoom in to any section, pan around the plan in 8 directions and zoom back out again to see the whole scheme
- This data can be typed into a screen editor (like a word processor / email program but will obscure part of the drawing) or an easy to follow "spreadsheet" like grid below the drawing where any change to noding, size, length, direction etc. is immediately reflected on the picture of the pipework - you may prefer this approach
- You can also copy / delete sections, renumber the nodes, change all pipes of a certain size / type into another size / type and so on. Each change is automatically saved and can be "undone" or calculated at each step
I suggest that you use my unique RN numbering option to reduce the amount of typing involved. Start at the source at say, node 100 and number away in 10s until you get to the first operating range called 1. Go back to the prepared RN1 line and amend the details as required. Then enter the pipes along this range starting at say, 0 to 1 for the size, length/direction/slope, fittings (usually 0) and H for head as needed. Then 1 2, 2 3 etc using the D for ditto option if a repeat. Each time you press [Enter] then that pipe is drawn out (so you can quickly correct it if wrong) until you get to the end of that range. Then return to the next mains pipe (numbering in 10s or 20s or 100s as you choose) and either just RN 1 if a repeat or 2 to enter the next Range Number. You can quickly copy / paste any duplicated pipe / data lines from one RN to another.
On a gridded system, you may find you only have a few RNs to enter and can leave the back-tracks to after the last range has been added so that the number of loops will be 1 less than the number of ranges [see the 'Gridded Example (RN)' demo job]. Any subsequent changes you make to the RN lines will automatically be repeated for ALL occurrences in the system. This completely replaces any 'copy' options you may have used before which forced you to manually update any duplicated ranges if the original one was changed. You will only have to revert to the "type all pipes; one line after another; after another" approach if every range is different!
As I appear to be getting more and more users who have not previously done ANY hydraulic calculations, who then find the "New" option a bit daunting! Of course, I could leave that screen completely blank (as most other software does) but I just can't win either way! I have therefore added an option in the "Tree Wizard" demonstration jobs whereby you simply adjust some sliders to draw out a main pipe connecting any number of end / centre fed ranges, then click on "Save" and "Close" in the normal way but can now select "Open" on the top left of the screen to reselect the .AHC version of that file rather than the intended .DXF version. I hope this helps but I do offer VSHP and EASYSHP that you may find easier (or harder?) to start with.
Project data, design parameters, water supplies and heads/nozzles
- There are 16 project data questions that ask for information to identify this job for the results presentation
- There are 10 other questions where you specify the design area, specific gravity, pipe sizing data, minimum and maximum limits as needed for the hydraulic calculations based on the Hazen-Williams and Darcy-Weisbach pressure drop equations and you can utilise velocity pressure to reduce the source duty in some cases
- For each type / size of sprinkler head or nozzle used in your project, you specify :-
- Orifice size eg. 15 or 20 or more and "K" factor eg. 80, 115, 204 or from 1 to 9999
- Minimum and maximum areas in sq.m eg. 7 to 9 or 12 to 12 (if all the same) or 0 to 0 for in-rack heads
- Density of coverage in mm/min from 0 to 99 or the 1 head flow (eg 60 L/min) for Domestic/Residential systems
- Minimum and maximum operating pressures in bars from 0.35 (Ord Haz), 0.5 (High Haz), 2 (Racks) up to 100 for fog / mist systems
- U for up or P for pendent orientation
- If you are using my "range" pipes idea then these pipes, starting at node number of zero, will be listed here and just repeated as required at the matching "mains" pipe end node - see "demo" job 1 in AACALC7
- You can have up to 4 water supplies / pumps / gravity tanks supplying the sprinkler / spray / deluge / drencher / mist system and each is given by a reference and a list of up to 11 pressure values at stated flow rates. Each can be on or off or not used and there is a simple method of entering any pump curve for NFPA systems
Calculations and results
Once the complete system has been entered (or just the Most Remotest / Most Favourable design areas as required), then you may choose :-
"Calculate" to view a summary, key points and various graphs :-
"Results" to view the complete results presentation on the screen and can print / email it - the pump curve given meant some heads were under pressure (shown in red) and the 0mm pipes have now been sized. If you have a colour printer, the warnings will also be printed, but you may want to change your data so any errors are not shown up :-
"Select" to choose the 20 to 40 or more operating heads and view a summary :-
"Info" to view various screens of checking / calculations / history of changes made to the job since it was created / printouts as produced / confirmation of complete database of pipe types, sizes, internal bores and fitting equivalent lengths for the different sprinkler rules :-
"Undo" to go back to a previous set of calculations if data incorrect, pipe sizes or head "K" factors need revising or whatever :-
"Export" to generate DXF, JPG, CSV or XML files for external programs like AAVIEW7 that I also supply for free (here shown with part of it's help screen) :-
"Graph" can be used to determine the Qcap / Qmax values for a specific pump curve / tank set once the MR and MF design areas have been calculated in the same or different data files for the BSEN and similar sprinkler rules - see the "Quick Tutorial" on the 2D page here
"Data", "Sources", "Pipes" or "Pipes Grid" to amend the pipes, nodes, sizes, head information or any other items and recalculate with the same or different design areas
"Save as" the data file under another name or "New" to start a new job or "Open" to read in an existing one, until finally "Exit" to finish with AACALC7.