How to Customize a RAM Connection Template in STAAD.Pro

RAM Connection V8i comes with a wide variety of connection templates pre-installed but there is occasionally a need to add a custom template of your own definition. Here are the steps involved in setting up a custom connection template for use in STAAD.Pro V8i:

Prepare a Custom Template File

  1. Open a STAAD.Pro model containing steel members and perform an analysis.

    Note: This can be any model; not necessary the one in which you need the custom connection template.

    The file must be analyzed in order for the RAM Connection mode to be available.

  2. Select the RAM Connection mode by either

    Clicking the RAM Connection mode tab in the Mode bar.

    or

    Selecting Mode > RAM Connection.

  3. Select Connection Design > Configure > Configure Connection Database…

    or

    Select the Setup Connections tool.

    The Connections dialog opens.

  4. Select the Add New Group tool.

  5. Specify a name for the New Group and click OK in the message dialog.

    The newly created group is selected in the Group list.

  6. Select the New Table tool.

    The New Table dialog opens.

  7. Specify a Name for the table and select template classification, Design Code, Family, and Type.

  8. Click the OK button.

    The new Table is saved in the Group and the dialog closes.

  9. Repeat steps 6 through 8 to create as many tables as needed.

Add Connection Templates to the Table

One of the simplest methods to get started is to copy factory installed templates to your new group and edit those to suite your needs.

  1. In the Connections dialog, select the Group, Table, and Item which is similar to the connection template you wish to define.
  2. Select the Copy selected item to clipboard tool.

    A message dialog opens to confirm the item has been copied.

  3. Select the recently created Group and Table in the Connections dialog.

  4. Select the Paste items from Clipboard tool.

    A message dialog opens to confirm you wish to paste the items here.

  5. Click the Yes button.

    The connection is added to your table of custom connections and can now be edited to suite your needs.

  6. To edit the connection

    Select the Edit item tool

    or

    Double click the item name in the Items list.

    The Template window opens to allow you to customize the connection details.

  7. Repeat steps 1 through 6 for as many connections as you wish to add for each table in your group.

Your Custom Template File

Once you have added some connection items to your template, you may find it easier to edit the connection data file (file extension .con). This file is located in the following folder:

Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\<user.name>\Application Data\Bentley\STAAD.Pro V8i\RAM Connection\Database\Connection\User\<group.name>\<group.name>.con

Windows Vista and Windows 7

C:\Users\<user.name>\AppData\Roaming\Bentley\STAAD.Pro V8i\RAM Connection\Database\Connection\User\<group.name>\<group.name>.con

Where:

  • <user.name> is your user account name on your computer.
  • <group.name> is whatever name you provided in the New Group dialog in the procedure described above.
  • Note: The Application Data or AppData folders are hidden by default in Windows.

The connection data file is a plain text file and can be opened and edited in any text editor (e.g., Notepad.exe).

Note: You must use a plain text editor instead of a word processor in order to preserve the proper content formatting.

Import the Connection File into the STAAD.Pro Interface

In order to use the Connection file from within the RAM Connection mode for design, you'll need to perform an edit to the Connections list.

  1. Copy your edited connection data file (file extension .con) into the following sub-folder of your STAAD installation:

    C:\…\SProV8i\STAAD\RamConnection\Database\Connections\United States\

    Note: You will select the United Kingdom folder to make your connections available for designing per BS 5950.

    Note: In Windows Vista or Windows 7, you will need to have administrative privileges to copy files into this location. Contact your system administrator if you require assistance.

  2. Locate the Connections.ini file in the following folder:

    C:\…\SProV8i\STAAD\RamConnection\ConnectionTemplates\
  3. Open the Connections.ini file in a text editor.

    Note: You must use a plain text editor (e.g., Notepad) instead of a word processor in order to preserve the proper content formatting.

    The file contains a set of element = value statements. You'll need to edit one and add a new item.

    Hint: We recommend you make a back up copy of the Connections.ini file in case this file becomes corrupted by any changes made.

  4. Change the Count value by an increment of one.

    For example, if the previous line is Count = 32, edit to Count = 33.

  5. Add a new line at the end of the file with an template number one increment greater than the current last value and a value of the name of your custom .con file you copied (without the file extension).

  6. Save and close the Connections.ini file.

    Note: In Windows Vista or Windows 7, you will need to have administrative privileges to save any changes to this file. You may also find it easiest to make a copy in your My Documents folder and then copy back to this location once you have completed your changes. Contact your system administrator if you require assistance.

Your new connection templates are now available for use in the STAAD.Pro V8i RAM Connection mode.

Special thanks to Bentley Software Engineer, Atanu Bhowal, in his assistance in preparing this tutorial.

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