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    Disappearing Connectors in Families

    Disappearing Connectors in Families ... or more accurately: How would I be able to turn connectors 'on' or 'off', or relocate the connector position in a Revit MEP 2013 custom family? For instance: if a fan coil unit family were to have a back return OR a bottom return, how can the family be structured such that the user can select either/or, and have the appropriate connector be visible and available in the project?

    Just for reference, Enviro-tec (JCI) fan coils and VAV boxes accomplish this trick, and I wish to know how without bastardizing an existing family...

    Thanks for your help in advance.

    #2
    Connectors don't have visibility controls. Connectors cannot be nested, either; otherwise, they won't work in the project. If you need fan coil families with different connectors, do a save as... and create another family with other connectors. Connectors can be relocated by parameters if you place the connector on the face of an object whose position is controlled by parameters.
    Freelance BIM Provider at Autodesk Services Marketplace | Linkedin

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      #3
      Ah, well this question/desire has been around a long time and there is still no official option to do this.
      It is possible to turn connectors on and off by misusing arrays..but its can be complicated.
      Basically make an array with three instances (For example of the tube section you want to put a connector on), then put the connector on the third instance. Now if you change the array number from 3 to 2 with a parameter the connector will also dissapear with the third tube instance. This works but you will need to hide the two extra bits of pipe in your family. Also if you have a family where the connector pipe angle, position or length can also be changed with parameters, making the array work gets very complicated...
      I just make seperate families for different connection options and keep it simple.
      "One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Albert Camus - "The innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may ​do well under the new." Nicolo Machiavelli -"Things that are too complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple." Mikhail Kalashnikov

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        #4
        This is a really tough one to explain as it starts getting into some really offbeat family control methods utilizing reference lines. There is no real way to hook a visibility parameter directly to an individual connector. So what these manufacturer families are doing is using reference lines that are locked to planes. The planes help control location positioning along the sides/top/bottom of the family while the reference lines are rotated into new positions. These positions are often a combination of yes/no parameters which are then referenced by length and angle parameters utilizing if/then statements to handle possible check box combinations.

        The Reference lines host a thin piece of extrusion that the connector is actually hosted to. As the host geometry is moved around on its hosting reference line the connector itself moves with them. I have created a very simple family that shows the basics of this control method and should help disseminate and recreate for more complex families.
        Attached Files

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          #5
          Originally posted by Alfredo Medina View Post
          Connectors don't have visibility controls. Connectors cannot be nested, either; otherwise, they won't work in the project. If you need fan coil families with different connectors, do a save as... and create another family with other connectors. Connectors can be relocated by parameters if you place the connector on the face of an object whose position is controlled by parameters.
          This is the other method that is used. It skipped my mind. This is also the much more common method.

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            #6
            If you only want to change the POSITION of a connector rather than turn it on or off that is easier. hypnox's version works nicely but you might also want to try putting all the rotation geometry in a 'Connector' sub family and then controling just the position in the host family (See example). Seperating the two functions makes the geometry easier to build and a bit more flexible.
            Attached Files
            "One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Albert Camus - "The innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may ​do well under the new." Nicolo Machiavelli -"Things that are too complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple." Mikhail Kalashnikov

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              #7
              Originally posted by josephpeel View Post
              If you only want to change the POSITION of a connector rather than turn it on or off that is easier. hypnox's version works nicely but you might also want to try putting all the rotation geometry in a 'Connector' sub family and then controling just the position in the host family (See example). Seperating the two functions makes the geometry easier to build and a bit more flexible.
              Correct, separating the geometry certainly helps a lot with managing the family, and other families, as well as preventing behavioral issues. Sub-components can be reused in the same family and multiple different families quickly and easily. Take for example vanes in different fittings, having an arraying vane sub-component allows for new fitting creation in a fraction of the time putting together vanes manually on a family by family basis would take. Insert, hook up parameters, align and lock in place, so much faster than building everything from scratch over and over.

              I typically build mechanical equipment families like AHU's and MUA's based on the number of connectors they require and use the method above with reusable sub-components that host the connectors. I hacked together the test family as a simplified example of position control using reference lines.

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                #8
                Originally posted by josephpeel View Post
                If you only want to change the POSITION of a connector rather than turn it on or off that is easier. hypnox's version works nicely but you might also want to try putting all the rotation geometry in a 'Connector' sub family and then controling just the position in the host family (See example). Seperating the two functions makes the geometry easier to build and a bit more flexible.
                This is how JCi is accomplishing this task... I'll have to explore...

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                  #9
                  Thank you all for the quick, sound advice. I appreciate the help. I have several paths to explore now when creating families.

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