Configuring a Database to Accommodate Custom Length Interconnects
By Heather Mikelonis

System integrators have discovered the benefits of building custom interconnect cables during the rack build phase of system construction using bulk cable and compression connectors.  This practice is efficient and also makes a clean installation!  Accounting for the amount of wire, number and type of connectors, as well as D-Tools generated interconnect wire labels offers a unique challenge within a D-Tools database.  The Process DSG databuild team has developed an innovative approach that will keep your interconnects in the proper phase and within their own unique interconnect category.

Want to do it? Try this.

1. Within setup, add a phase called ‘Rack Build’ and select Show ‘Head End’ Dialog for Wires in Projects (or if you are using SI4, choose a wire action of Head End).

2. Within the Administration Section of Manage My Product Data in SI5, add a category called INTERCONNECTS and configure it as a ‘Wire’ type.

3. Add a Head End designation of ‘RACK’ in the head end list.  This can be done by accessing the Head End dialog box when it appears while adding wire to a project.  Therefore, open a project and add a wire to the project to trigger the Head End Dialog box to open.  Or, if you have a project with wire in it already, you can select this new ‘Assign’ button in SI5: .
Then select ‘Head End’ -> ‘New’ -> and type in ‘RACK.’

4. Create items in the database where your company is the manufacturer and the models are the type of interconnects you build.  In the example below, the company uses 3 individual RG59 serial digital cables to construct a component video interconnect.  Since the wire supplier charges .26 cents per foot for RG59 serial digital cable, the component video interconnect costs .78 per foot (or 3 times .26 cents).

5. Assign the newly created interconnect items to the ‘Rack Build’ phase.  Since the Rack Build phase has an active head end dialog box or a wire action of head end, a prompt will appear to assign the length of the cable and define the head end which can be assigned as ‘RACK.’
6. If you have premade interconnects in your database assigned to the WIRE AND CABLE Category, you can reassign them to the new INTERCONNECT Category, but keep them in the Finish Phase which does not have a head end dialog box function or wire action that asks you to define wire length.
7. Connectors – BNC – RCA – and the like should be in their own category called ‘CONNECTORS’ (follow the same steps listed above for a new category if you do not have this category), and placed in the ‘Rack Build’ phase as well.

8. Ensure that the required connectors in your database are assigned as accessories to the parent item that uses the interconnect, and not with the interconnect itself.  A well accessorized product using custom length interconnects looks like this item below.

Okay, good job!  Now, open a project and add an interconnect cable!  If your database is setup properly, a prompt will allow you to define the length of the interconnect and assign RACK as the head end.

You can also reassign all of the premade interconnect items in your database to the interconnect category too.  This will make pick list management reports as well as sales order and work order generation in Business Manager highly effective.

We have setup other variations on this method to accommodate the unique system construction processes and material inventory practices of our clients.  This illustration method works well and also keeps the interconnect wires from being pulled into the sales orders or work orders as rough-in items when they are really not needed until the later phases of the project.

About Process Dealer Services Group:

Our mission is to increase our clients’ profitability by building efficiency into the sales design process – the very root of success in our industry.  We work with electronic systems contractors on business process development, software implementation, online training, and design-documentation. We deliver first class software tools and proven best practices to enable electronic systems contractors to deliver repeatable products and predictable results.  For more information on established best practices using D-Tools, visit our forum at: To contact Process DSG, call: (805) 275-2308; email:; or visit our website:;