Welcome to Power Lines Pro!

Power Lines Pro is a software tool for designing overhead power lines. This software is both powerful and easy to use. This tutorial will get you up and running in minimal time. It will showcase the basic features and interactions of the application. Once you have finished this tutorial, browse the other tutorials an the FAQ for more information on more advanced features.

Application UI Layout

The main application layout is composed of a menu across the top, toolbar on the left, up to three design views in the middle, and a sidebar on the right. These parts are labelled in the image below.

Each of the the three design views show your design from a different perspective. The Plan View shows the poles and conductors in your design from a top-down view. The Perspective View shows your design in a 3D manner. The Profile View shows a single unrolled slice of poles and conductors. You can toggle each of the views on and off by going to the View section in the top Menu bar.

In each of these views you can pan the camera around by middle-clicking and dragging. In the Perspective View you can also rotate the camera by right-clicking and dragging. 

The typical workflow is as follows:

  • select the desired tool from the toolbar,
  • use the tool to edit or inspect the design in one of the three design views,
  • edit specific properties (eg: conductor tension) of conductors, poles, etc, in the sidebar.

Basic Design Walk-through

Let's step through a simple design of a power line system to demonstrate a few of the basic features of the software.

  1. Select the Conductor Tool  from the Toolbar. The Conductor Tool is used for placing poles on the ground and automatically stringing a conductor between them.
  2. Now that the Conductor Tool is selected, we can use it by left-clicking on one of the views (lets click on the Plan View). This will place a pole at the click location. As you move the mouse now you will see that a conductor is strung between the newly placed pole and the cursor. You can continue clicking around and placing additional poles and conductor spans for this conductor.
  3. Right-click to finish with the current conductor.
  4. Now let us add a second conductor, which will join on to the first one in a T-junction.
  5. Make sure that the Conductor Tool is still selected, and left click on one of the poles that is part of the first conductor.
  6. This starts the creation of a new conductor, which is joined on to this pole of the first conductor.
  7. Place down a few poles for this second conductor and then right-click.
  8. At this point your design should look something like this:

Move and Selection Tool

Now let us familiarise ourselves with the Move and Select tool, as well as the Profile View. 
  1. Choose the Move and Select Tool  from the Toolbar. This tool can be used for both selecting one or more objects in your design, and to move selected objects around.
  2. Left-click on the one of the conductor that you have created. You should notice the conductor turn green. This indicates that it is selected. 
  3. Note that the selected conductor is displayed in the Profile View. It is displayed in an unrolled manner, with the conductor length following the X-axis.
  4. Now left-click on the other conductor. Notice that the Profile View changes to display the newly selected conductor.
  5. You can try moving one of the poles around by left-click dragging it around.
  6. You can also select multiple objects by dragging a selection box around them.

Changing Pole and Conductor Properties

Let's look at how we can change specific properties of poles and conductors, once we have placed them in our design.

  1. Select one of the conductors using the Selection and Move tool.
  2. You will notice that the right sidebar displays information about the selected conductor. It should look something like this: 
  3. Here you can view and change conductor-wide properties such as conductor type, tension, and group size. You can also view and change the properties of the individual poles that the conductor is strung across by opening the Poles tab.
  4. As you change these parameters in the sidebar, they will be reflected immediately in the diagram Views (eg: as you increase/decrease the tension, you can see the sag of the conductor change).

Simulating Sag Under Different Conditions

In the final part of this tutorial we will look at modelling the conductor sag under different environmental conditions, and making sure that the conductor is always above the ground clearance line.
  1. Make sure that one of your conductors is selected and shown in the Profile View (if not, select one with the Move and Select Tool).
  2. Notice that in the Profile View you can see a dashed blue clearance line above the ground line. Notice also that the conductor is drawn multiple times as a dashed line. Your Profile View should look something like this:

  3. The dashed blue line indicated the minimum ground clearance that you want to achieve in your design. If you would like to change the clearance height, or add additional clearance heights, you can do so from the Clearances section in the top Menu bar.
  4. The dashed conductor lines indicate the conductor curve and sag under different environment conditions. By default we include a Hot and Uplift environment scenarios (with high and low temperatures respectively), in addition to the Standard scenario.
  5. You can change the existing environment scenarios, as well as add new ones, from the Environments section in the top Menu bar. The environment menu looks something like this:
  6. By combining the different environment scenarios and the ground clearance line, we can confirm whether or not our conductor would sag too low to the ground.

This is the end of this tutorial. Power Lines Pro is a powerful application, and we have only shown a small part of what it can do. Feel free to experiment with the application, the different menus and tools, to see what it can do. When you select a new tool, there is a short description of the tool and how to use it in the right sidebar. This should help you learn what each tool does and how to use it.

We really value your feedback, queries, suggestions, send them all our way!