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Custom Cabling with the Cable Design Tool

The first step to creating a custom cable assembly is using our free online Cable Design Tool—with this tool; you can graphically design your custom cable assembly using our built-in library of standard cable sets or create them from scratch. Once completed, our engineers will generate a competitive quote for your cable requirements.

Features of our Cable Design Tool include:

  • Graphical design of customized cable assemblies
  • Built-in library of standard cable sets. To be used as the basis for customization, or cables can just be defined from scratch
  • Add your own connectors and wires
  • Allows very detailed design characteristics, including - selection of connector types, wire type, pin definitions, pin and cable labeling, cable bundling, length selection, sleeving, comments
  • Export your designs to a datasheet pdf with manufacturing documentation for cable assembly. This includes product visualization, BOM, pinouts and other specifications
  • Store cable assemblies in the project manager and develop them over time
  • Share designs with colleagues with security level control
  • Version control with complete histories and design locking
  • Messages to other users and our engineers can be sent and received within the tool

We will continually update the tool to accommodate your requirements. Your data is not trapped; complete design details are always available to you at any time via the documentation or spreadsheet file.

If you get stuck creating a cable assembly or the application doesn’t allow you to draw the desired feature, submit the semi-completed assembly, and one of our experienced engineers will guide you through the process. Once the cable assembly design is finished, we will provide pricing typically within one working day. Ordering small quantities is slightly more expensive per piece, but the pricing becomes the same as standard cables when typically fifteen or more pieces are ordered.

Have questions or need more information about our custom cables or the cable design tool?

Contact Us


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    Test System Architect

    Pickering's Test System Architect (TSA) platform is online set of tools helping users graphically design, share, maintain and visualize various parts of test system architecture. Data reusability and mutual integration of SSA and other Pickering's software and simulation tools will increase development efficiency by reduction of redundant manual tasks and associated errors.

    Key features

    • New revision of Pickering's Cable Design Tool (CDT) is a simple and efficient way of creating custom cabling solutions

    • Project Manager Tool allows you to organize designs in a project structure, share them, track their history, keep attachments or generate various printouts.

    • Communication related utilities such as Messaging, Queries, Notes or Notification will help you to keep track with latest changes, communicate easily with colleagues or Pickering's SMEs or point out potential design issues.

    • Custom and public template library of various parts or assemblies reusable between multiple designs

    Quick Start

    What to achieve with TSA

    Project Manager Tool

    Organize designs in the project structure, manage sharing, communication, and design history.

    Project Manager Tool

    Cable Design Tool

    Graphically design your custom cable assembly by using our wide cable component library

    Cable Design Tool

    Quickstart guide

    To speed up your project definition we developed a short wizard which navigates you through most typical project definition steps. To access wizard, navigate to Quick Navigation menu and hit Quick Start Guide icon.

    Quickstart icon

    Proceed with the following steps:

    1. Fill in project name, description and hit Next
      Quickstart project
    2. Add any attachments relevant to project definition or put any known queries.
      Quickstart attachments
    3. Add as much designs as potentially required by project. You can create additional ones or delete unnecessary any time later.
      Quickstart designs
    4. Now Save the project. Project will appear in the project list in Project Manager with all added information
      Quickstart save

    Benefit from being logged in user

    You certainly can use TSA as anonymous user, draw your special cable assembly, export datafile, attach to email and send to Pickering for RFQ manually. We fully support this approach. However, being logged in user simplifies overall process and gives you access to additional functions such as:

    • Ability to save your design on server without any need for manual export/import

    • Ability to keep multiple revisions

    • Ability to share design with other coworkers

    • Ability to communicate with everyone involved via messaging or queries

    • Ability to store related attachments

    • Direct submit to Pickering for further assistance or RFQ

    Quick navigation

    Quick Access Menu

    Use the following menu to gain quick access to various TSA tools

    Quick Access Menu

    Project Navigation Menu

    Use the following menu to navigate between various designs under a project.

    Project Navigation Menu


    Open this menu to get page context help and link to TSA manual.



    Use this menu to access project or design messaging functionality.



    Use this menu to access various TSA settings.


    User Menu

    Use this menu to access project or design messaging functionality.

    User Menu

    Where to get help or further assistance

    For more help, please either navigate to HelpKnowledge Base. If you find documentation insufficient, please feel free to fill in ‘Contact Us’ form under UserContact Us.

    How to report an issue

    In case of any issue please fill in bug report form under UserReport an Issue.

    Common Platform Features

    Feature Availability

    These features are commonly available throughout the whole TSA platform.


    Sharing functionality allows multiple users to cooperate on a single project or design. Sharing functionality is available from the Project Manager page:

    • Project share
      Project share
    • Design share
      Design share

    Shared user is identified by its email and one of the following roles:

    • Co-owner – Same access rights as Owner. Such user can create, edit or delete designs in the scope of shared project. On design such user has access to Submit functionality.
    • Customer – Same access rights as ‘Editor – can share’ and access to Submit to Pickering function.
    • Editor – can share – User can edit design and share with same or less role
    • Editor – can’t share – User can edit design
    • Visitor – User can’t edit design but can view. User can add messages and attachments.

    Shared projects will be listed in Project Manager in your personal project list but will be marked with the following icon:

    Shared designs will be listed in Project Manager under the following menu:

    Shared designs

    Please note that design access right is set by more powerful right. This means if someone shared design with Visitor role but you have access to that Project as e.g. Co-owner then Co-owner right is applied to design.


    Messaging function allows users to hold communication against either project or design directly in TSA without any need for any external tools. Messages are visible to all users shared on particular design/project.

    Messages overview

    Project messages are available from Project Manager under the following menu:

    Project messages

    Design messages are available from Project Manager under the following menu

    Design messages on project

    or from Design page under this menu:

    Design messages


    Queries are very similar to messaging function however queries allow user to target question against specific project or any object on design canvas. Query can be replied by any user shared on project/design. Objects with active query are marked with icon. User can close query when resolved.

    Queries overview

    Query function on Project Manager is available under the following menu:

    Project queries

    Query function on design page is available under Query tab in right hand side menu:

    Design queries

    On the design page you can switch between queries related to project or queries related to design.


    Attachments serves as document storage for associated project or design.

    Project attachments are available under the following menu:

    Project attachments

    Design attachments are available under the following menu:

    Design attachments

    Each uploaded file holds information about filename, description, author and upload date. Any user having at least visitor access can read these files. File upload are limited to users having at least edit user access rights.

    Attachments overview
    • Text files txt, rtf, doc, docx, odt, dop
    • Table and presentation files xls, xlsx, ods, ppt, pps, pptx, ppsx
    • Image Files jpg, jpeg, png, svg, gif
    • Compression files zip, rar
    • PDF files pdf


    Export function enable user to export project/design documentation or other datatypes.

    Project printout is available on Project Manager and holds visualization of various designs together with their description. User has an ability to choose which designs will be included and which ones skipped. Project printout is available on Project Manager under the following menu:

    Project export

    Design printout is available on Design page under the following menu.

    Design export

    There are various printout types:

    • Data File – this format enables full design export. Such datafile can be imported back to TSA system later. Typically, this is “second option” how to share designs between users or how to do design backup.
    • SVG File – this exports graphics in svg format. Such file can be imported into any other graphical system supporting svg format.
    • PNG File – this exports graphics in png format.
    • Datasheet – in case of Cable Design Tool the pdf holds manufacturing documentation for cable assembly. This includes product visualization, BOM, pinouts and other specification.
    • PDF Description – prints only Description tab

    Revisions & History


    TSA platform tracks a lot of operations against project or design such as design creation, sharing, query or attachment creation etc. Such log can be accessed from Project Manager from the following menu:

    Project history

    On the Design page history is available under the following menu:

    Design history


    Any time during design cycle user has ability to create design revision which serves as a snapshot of design. Revision function is available under the following menu.


    Active revision is always the last one and only this revision can be edited. Older revision can be loaded to canvas as read only. If user wants to edit older revision such changes must be saved as new revision. Older unused revisions can be deleted any time.

    Concurrent access to design & Design lock functionality

    Having multiple users editing a single design can bring design inconsistency or corruption. TSA platform prevents this situation with design lock function. Whenever the design is locked by other user or by the same user in a different tab design is marked with the following symbol:

    Design lock

    And the following popup will appear:

    Locked design

    User has an option to:

    • Preview Only – design will open on read-only mode
    • Retake Control – other tab/user will be locked and your session will be active one
    • Leave Design – window will close

    Project Manager Tool


    The main purpose of Project Manager Tool is to organize designs in project structure. Project can be understood as a folder where multiple designs of various types are stored. Such project folder canbe shared with other users. Project folder also gives access to communication, attachments, history, and other functions.

    Please note each design must be assigned to a project folder. In other words, user can’t create design without project folder.

    Project Manager Tool also manage My template and Public Template design libraries. My Template is user’s own design library and Public Template is Pickering’s library available for general usage.

    Project Manager Tool also gives access to shared designs.


    There are 3 parts:

    1. Main navigation between Dashboard (main overview of notifications and other important things), My Projects (holding project list), Templates Library (holding custom/public templates) and Shared Designs
    2. Project list
    3. Design list

    How to create project/design

    Create Project

    1. To create project navigate to Workspace menu, hit the following button
      Create Project
    2. Then fill in ‘Name’ and ‘Project description’ and hit OK.

    Create Design

    1. To create new design either hit Add design button to access Add menu or use one of the shortcut panes below design list.
      Create Design
    2. Then fill in ‘Name’ and ‘Design description’ and hit OK.
    3. Open design by Go To Drawing button:
      Open design

    How to share project/design

    1. Please refer to the following screenshot and use button 1 to share design and button 2 to share design.
      How to share
    2. A sharing menu will open. Hit ‘+Share’ button to add new share address
      Share button
    3. Fill in shared user’s email and permission and hit Share.
      Share panel
    4. User will receive notification email. Shared project will be available under Workspace menu among other user projects. Shared designs will be available under Shared Designs menu.

    Templates Library

    Under Templates Library menu you can see 2 sections. My Templates and Public Templates.

    Templates Library

    My Templates is your personal library. No other user can access this library. Such library can hold small components or even quite complex designs. Whenever user is in the situation where there is a high chance of reusability then we strongly recommend saving design or part of design as My Template. Using the menu above user can manage this library. Open and edit own templates or delete unused ones.

    Public Templates is Pickering’s free library of designs.

    Templates can be loaded into design via Library button. Templates itself can't be shared or submitted.

    Where to find shared designs

    To access shared designs please navigate to Shared designs. This will list all designs that are shared with yourself. This list will hold only designs that are shared directly, not as a part of project. Shared projects can be found under Workspace in you list of projects

    Shared designs

    Cable Design Tool


    This tool allows you to create custom cable assembly. Graphically design your cable assembly by using either our build-in library of standard cable sets or create them from scratch in the following 5 steps:

    1. Determine basic layout with generic connectors and paths between them
    2. Select connector and wire type from comprehensive libraries supplied
    3. Link (or autolink) connector pins at the end of each path
    4. Select sleeving, screening, path bundling and labels
    5. Submit design to Pickering or save under project

    How to draw a simple cable

    Quick Design Workflow

    1. Determine basic layout
      Basic layout
    2. Select connector and wire type
      Select component
    3. Link connector pins
      Link pins
    4. Select sleeving, screening, path bundling and labels
      Wire settings
    5. Submit to Pickering or save locally

    Submit to Pickering Workflow

    As logged in user you have an option to submit design to Pickering for any further assistance, approval or RFQ.

    To start the process, do the following steps:

    1. On the design page click on Submit. Submit form will open.
    2. Fill in this very simple form and hit Save & Submit.

    Then the following will happen:

    1. Now the design will be locked to customer and design status will change from ‘Draft’ to ‘Submitted’
    2. Pickering reviews the design and approves it (or possibly makes changes and sends it back as "approved with changes"). Status will change from ‘Submitted (/Waiting for Pickering)’ to ‘Approved 1/2’
    3. The customer will then be able to finally approve the design or make necessary changes (press Modify design) and submit changed design to Pickering again.
    4. Pickering and customer can repeat steps 2 and 3 multiple times, until both parties are satisfied with the design.

    Please note:

    1. Any time Modify design is pressed, a new revision is automatically created as a safety point.
    2. If there is an offline agreement between Pickering and customer, Pickering SME can set design to ‘Approved Externally’ state and thus close approval process.
    3. If the design is in ‘Approved’, ‘Approved Externally’ or ‘Canceled’ state, the design can not be edited anymore. Now user has the ability to FileSave AsNew Design and re-submit again.


    Schema, Link Pins and Description

    Following screenshot denotes the key parts of Cable Design Tool layout

    1. Drawing canvas
    2. Tool menu – align and distribute tools, undo/redo
    3. File menu
    4. Component menu
    5. Right Panel – Product detail tab, Notes tab, Queries tab
    6. Revision, History, Snapshot, Attachments
    7. Library – component library, templates
    8. Schema, Link Pins, Description

    Tool Menu

    Tool menu provides functions such as object align and distribute, undo/redo and other

    Tool Menu

    File Menu

    File menu provides access to following functions:

    File Menu
    • New will create new unnamed design. User need to use Save As to save such design
    • Clear canvas will delete content of drawing canvas
    • Discard changes will return drawing to last saved state
    • Save saves design
    • Save As allows following options:
      • New Revision – saves as a new revision to the same design. You can switch between revisions in the "Revision" section.
      • New design – the usual saving of the design, for example, under a different name or to another project. The individual possible options are below.
        • New design into current project – this will create a copy of the design with the desired name and save it in the current project.
        • New design into another project – this will create a copy of the design with the desired name and save it in the another project.
        • New Project – another option is to create a brand new project and save the design into it.
      • New Template – this will save your design as a template that you can load into another design via "Library" button. (note: templates themselves cannot be shared or submitted)
    • Import will import previously saved/exported design datafile, typically with extension *.ssa
    • Export enables to export following types: Data File, SVG file, PNG file, Datasheet, PDF description
    • Close will close design page


    Attachment function is platform function allowing document storage against design. Please refer to Common Platform Features section for more details.


    This function takes snapshot of highlighted area of drawing canvas. User can then either download this image or drag’n’drop onto Description page.

    To activate screenshot function hit the following button

    Screenshots button

    Right hand side menu will appear. Hit Photo button and highlight preferred area on drawing canvas. On mouse release snapshot will be saved and its thumbnail will appear in the list.

    Screenshots panel

    Revisions & History

    Revision and history is platform function allowing design history and revision tracking. Please refer to Common Platform Features section for more details.


    Export/Import function is platform function allowing exporting design in various formats and importing back into TSA. Please refer to Common Platform Features section for more details.

    Messages & Queries

    Messages and Queries are platform functions. Please refer to Common Platform Features section for more details.


    Notes function is specific to Cable Design Tool.


    This function allows to store notes against objects in the drawing. A single note can be linked to multiple objects. Once note is resolved it can be deleted. Notes are specific to each revision which means no notes are transferred between revisions.

    Schema Page

    This is the main page of Cable design tool and contains drawing canvas where cable assembly is being created.

    1. Start with selection of connector component and put it onto canvas. Multiple component connect with path. See below the full library of various object types.


      Tip & Trick: right click on canvas and get the following shortcut

    2. To select connector component, click on shadow connector and hit the following button

      Context menu

      Similar button for path wire selection below

    3. This will open Product Library. Use filtering function to search suitable componen
    4. In this way complete overall cable assembly design.

    Right panel on the schema page holds information about selected products, Notes, Queries, and additional Object settings. Once all components are defined user must specify cable pinout. This is the key concept of Link Pins Page.

    Link Pins Page defines how connectors are linked together by wires.

    Link Pins Page
    1. Path selection panel
    2. Left and right connector display
    3. Pinout table
    4. Autolink function
    5. Save changes

    Details about overall workflow are described in chapter How to set a pinout on the cable

    Description Page

    Description page server as embedded WYSIWYG editor for notes or various design explanations. It’s usage is very similar to any other word processors. Content of the description page can be part of PDF generated on the Project Manager tool.

    How to set a pinout on the cable

    After choosing cable components like connectors, its backshells and wire types you will want to link pins.

    There are several ways how to do it.

    Step number one is choosing the path to be linked by left click and selecting Link Pins button

    Linking path

    This will take you to the Link Pins screen where the pinout can be set:

    1. Manually – by left click on the pins. Choosing a pin on left side and a pin on the right side will link them together and add the link to the table on the right.

      Manual linking

      This way we can also link multiple pins from one side to opposite

      Linking multiple pins

      The program counts the maximum wire size for each pin, if you see an Info message on the bottom right corner saying Limit Of Pin Size Exceeded, than the pin is limited to a smaller wire or multiple wires (you will need to change the wire, or there will be no possibility to link multiple wires into the pin)

      Maximum wire size
    2. Autolink Function – at the bottom of the page is a linking functionality, it can be used if the pinout is more less continuous (e.g. we want to link pins 1-50 on both connectors).

      By using Left / Right offset we can move the first linked pin by the number typed in.

      For example we want to link 50 pins on the Connector C4 but we want to start linking from B1 on Connector C3:

      We need to set number 50 (amount of linked pins) on the Pin Count bar and set the number 48 on the Right offset bar (this will move the first linked pin by 48 positions)


      CDT will show which pins are going to be linked in green, by pressing confirm we will complete the instruction. Pins are linked in a quick manner, but this only works if the pinout is straightforward.

    3. CSV Import – If you have a pinout for both connectors prepared (for example in the excel sheet), you can import this by CSV Import functionality (top right corner)

    How To Import pinout from the CSV file

    Preparing CSV files for pinout import

    For CSV files it's possible to use Excel, Open Office or any other office editor. Generally there are four layouts of pinouts:

    • not twisted
    • not twisted with pin names
    • twisted
    • twisted with pin names

    The simplest not twisted pairs should be filled in the spreadsheet in the two adjacent columns:

    Not twisted pairs

    When there are pin names together with the links, they should be written on the left and right side of the links:

    Not twisted pairs pin names

    Twisted pairs contain "blocks" of data. The number of columns in a block indicates the number of twisted cores in a group. "Blocks" need to be split vertically with an empty column:

    Twisted Pairs

    Similarly, the twisted pinout with pin names are contained within the "blocks":

    Twisted Pairs pin names

    Exporting and uploading the CSV pinout

    Save the file from the office editor with the .csv extension.

    In the linking page the wire group that is going to be linked has an import button.

    Import button

    Limitations for linking from the CSV file

    Examples of files which will fail to import:

    • Files which are not CSV
    • CSV's where there are not enough wire cores for all the required links
    • Numbered pins are imported into a connector which uses letters for pin identicication (or vice versa).
    • Configurations where multiple wires into one pin physically doesn't fit (Area of copper is larger than the connector can take)
    • Pin names are only on the left side and at the same time not on the right side - it is potentially an ambiguous situation, when there is not clear what is link and what a pin name

    The detailed warnings will be displayed for each situation.

    During CSV linking, if there are existing links, they will be skipped, and a warning will appear.

    If the twisting (in the CSV file) does not correspond to the twisting in the wire type selected, links will be made, but the "twisting information" will be lost.

    How to link pins by importing CSV in unterminated terminations

    1. Choose the connector and wire type

    2. Add Right (or left) flying lead (1) from the connector menu on the left vertical bar

      Adding flying leads
    3. Prepare the CSV file, follow the markings of pin names on the connector (could be a number, sometimes the pin name also contains a letter) (2)

      For the unterminated end numbers are filled in in sequence from number 1 to a number of total unterminated wires, in our case it is 10 (3)

    4. Upload the file (4)

      Import button

      Pinout is filled in by the table.

    How to add a custom connector

    In case you need to add a connector that doesn’t exist in our database you have two options. You either can contact us with requests to add such connector or you can add one by yourself following the procedure below:

    • Add a generic connector by right click on the canvas and then either select right or left version

      Add new connector
    • Highlight generic connector, go to right hand side tab ‘Product Details’ and hit the button Create custom connector…

      Create custom connector button
    • New page Custom Product Creator will open. Use various graphical tools to visualize your connector, edit sensors and then hit the Create product & Back button.

      Edit custom connector
    • Now you can integrate such connector in your drawing. To set number of pins navigate to the right hand side menu OBJECT settings and set number of pins together with name and gender.

      Custom connector settings
    • Once you link this connector to other connector and select wire then you can use the Link pins section. There you can change pin location for custom connector with the set of available tools on the screenshot below

      Link pins on custom connector
    • If you wish to reuse such connector in multiple drawings we recommend to save drawing as template

      Save custom connector as template
    • Then your connector will be ready to be reused in other designs:

      Custom connector is ready


    How to share project

    To be added soon

    How to use My Template library

    To be added soon

    How to copy design

    To be added soon

    How to Import/Export design

    To be added soon

    TSA keyboard shortcuts

    Ctrl + C Copy
    Ctrl + V Paste
    Ctrl + X Cut
    Ctrl + D Duplicate
    Ctrl + Z Undo
    Ctrl + Shift + Z Redo
    Mouse wheel Scroll up/down
    Shift + mouse wheel Scroll left/right
    Ctrl + mouse wheel Zoom In/Out
    Spacebar + LMB Move canvas
    Ctrl/Shift + Click Keep selected tool
    Arrows Moving selected object
    Double click (on text) edit text
    Backspace Delete
    Remove Selected object
    Shift + Click/Drag Ctrl + Click/Drag
    Add to/remove from selection


    How to share project?