Editor's Note

In like a lion...
March definitely blew in like a lion this year.
On March 2nd, bands of stormy weather stretched from Texas to New England, wreaking havoc and leaving chaos in its wake. Hopefully, my grandmother's saying will be true; "In like a lion, out like a lamb."

Like a lion, without the destruction, we have much in store for our customers. The forecast calls for more new products, more Web content and continued award-winning customer service headed your way.

This month's newsletter is filled with the latest information, including company news, new product information, our latest webinar schedule, and more. Be sure to take a break with the Lighter Side.

We are always excited to learn the unique ways customers use AutomationDirect products. Be sure to send us your application stories. If we use your story in our e-newsletter, we will apply a $100 credit to your AutomationDirect account. Application stories we use in print magazines earn a $750 credit. So, don't forget to send us information about your applications.

Check out our

Latest Video

SOLO® Digital Temperature Controllers

24 VDC input power versions now available! Process controllers take a signal from a temperature device, such as a thermocouple or RTD, or from pressure/ flow / level sensor, and maintain a setpoint using an output signal.

Volume 14 Issue 2, March 2012
Company News
AutomationDirect's multiple awards
Latest Product News
Buck-Boost transformers
New pneumatic accessories
Ethernet Drive interface module
Training News
Doug Bell's Hands-on video trainer
New PID video series
Upcoming Web seminars
Application Innovations
CLICK PLC breathes new life into Pachinko machines
The Lighter Side
Dihydrogen Monoxode is a dangerous chemical!
Automationdirect wins awards

company news


The 2012 Engineers Choice Award winners from Control Engineering magazine have been announced, and the Remote HMI app for C-more won the top honor for the Mobile apps category in Software.

The Remote HMI App allows users to control a machine or process from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as though they are physically in front of the C-more Panel (with "Full Control mode"), or the ability to configure the settings for "View Only", or "View and Screen Change Only" for those applications that are more presence sensitive.

Users need only to configure the network settings in the panel project and connect the panel to a network. The C-more Remote HMI app is available on the App Store for only $4.99.

AutomationDirect was also honored to learn of our placement in multiple product categories in the Leadership in Automation poll sponsored by Automation World magazine throughout 2011. We are "First Team Leaders" in PLCs, Programmable Automation Controllers, pressure sensors/transmitters and temperature sensors/transmitters. Thanks to everyone who voted!

Automation World's sister publication, Packaging World, is conducting a similar poll for 2012 for packaging equipment suppliers, and AutomationDirect is listed in the Controls and Automation category. The twist on this "Leadership in Packaging" poll is that the company that garners the most voter participation is designated the "Promotional Leader", and a $2,500 scholarship will be donated in their and Packaging World's names to their choice of a college or university with a packaging program. So help us support our aspiring engineers and use this URL to vote for AutomationDirect.


You want as much information about a product as possible, and we've added a feature to the online store that will give you a lot more visual information. On the item level page for many products, you will see a "Media Gallery" icon underneath the photo. Click on the icon and you'll see more detailed photos of the product from various views, labels, packaging, and even videos if available.

For example, visit our new WERMA stack lights category on the store, and drill down to the item level page for an indicating element. Using the Media Gallery, you can view photos of the product components and a video that depicts all the indicating elements available and how they look in comparison to each other. Now you can see what "blinking" vs. "flashing" really means!

We've just started this project, so we continue to populate all our product pages with more visual content. If there is something you would like to see, email us.


The 25th annual Control Engineering magazine's Engineers' Choice Awards features 30 categories of control, instrumentation, and automation products to reveal the best products introduced over the previous year. The great part about this is, the winners are decided solely by the digital and print readers.

This year, AutomationDirect's C-more Remote HMI App was chosen by readers as winner of the Software – Mobile apps for controls, automation, instrumentation category.

Read the full list here.

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pnuematic tubing and fittings

latest product news


New models of tubing and fittings have been added to our NITRA line of pneumatic components, as well as air couplings and adapters, blow guns and aluminum manifolds.

Available in 100-foot and 250-foot lengths, NITRA 16mm polyurethane tubing has a shore A 98 hardness rating, provides tight outside diameter tolerance and has superior kink resistance. The ether-based tubing provides excellent hydrolysis, oil and cold resistance. Available in four colors, 16mm polyurethane tubing starts at $114. A variety of 16mm push-to-connect fittings are available as well.

NITRA brass adapter fittings and plugs are available in 10 different styles to meet most pneumatic applications such as air, water, oil, oxygen, nitrogen, and argon. Machined from yellow brass bar stock or forging, the fittings withstand pressure up to 800 psi. Designed with NPT threaded connections, male and female connectors are available in 1/8-inch to ½-inch sizes, in either two-pack or five-pack quantities.

Also added are quick-disconnect fittings which allow easy changing of tools or hose connections. Plugs and couplers, in ¼-inch and 3/8-inch sizes, are available in Industrial Interchange manual or automatic and universal automatic styles. Male and female fittings are NPT threaded and withstand pressure up to 250 psi. Swivel fittings made of chrome-plated steel with maximum pressure of 145 psi are also available.

NITRA aluminum manifolds withstand maximum pressure up to 500 psi and are available in two styles. Round manifolds feature one 3/8-inch NPT threaded input and either two or three ¼-inch NPT outputs. Rectangular manifolds have ½-inch NPT inputs on either end and have either three or five ¼-inch NPT outputs. Manifold prices start at $6.75.

NITRA blowguns (or nozzles) are available in heavy-duty palm type with safety tip, pistol grips (aluminum and plastic models), pocket, and plastic grip with flexible nozzles in various lengths. The blowguns have a maximum input pressure of 120 psi and start at $4.25. Additional NITRA accessories include ½" thread sealant tape and a two-inch tubing cutter.

See our full line of NITRA pneumatic products.

gs-edrv 100 ethernet drive


The GS-EDRV100 Ethernet drive module provides a high-performance Ethernet link between a control system and any AutomationDirect GS or DURApulse AC drive. The module mounts on 35mm DIN rail and connects the drive to AutomationDirect H2-ERM, H4-ERM, Productivity3000, KEPDirect OPC Server, KEPDirect EBC I/O Server, or independent controllers with a Modbus TCP/IP driver. The module is priced at $185.00 and features a built-in Web server which allows users to configure and control the drive from any Web browser.

buck boost transformer


Our power product line now includes buck-boost transformers from Jefferson Electric. Buck-boost transformers are designed to maximize the performance and life of electrical equipment, such as air conditioners, heating elements, 277-volt lighting systems, and in motors applications. Also called an isolation transformer, typical use is to power loads with specific voltage requirements which differ from the available line voltage.

Jefferson Electric 60Hz single-phase buck-boost transformers, with 50VA to 2kVA ratings, are encapsulated with electrical-grade resin, featuring high-quality electrical steel cores. The NEMA 3R-rated enclosures are heat-cured with an ASA-61 gray powder coat finish and have slotted mounting holes for quick and easy mounting.

A buck-boost transformer can have two main applications. When connected as an auto-transformer, you can buck (lower) or boost (raise) available line voltage anywhere from five to 20 percent. When used as an isolation transformer, it can be used to step-down supply power to low voltage circuits at the nameplate rating listed.

Buck-boost transformers start at $53 and are UL approved and backed by a 10-year limited warranty.

doug bell hands-on video trainer

training news


The Introduction to PLC Logic and Principals hands-on video trainer from InterConnecting Automation is a great way to learn at your own pace while being trained by a PLC expert. Doug recently redesigned the trainer, making it more affordable. For only $489, you get:

     • Two DVDs to follow while using DirectSOFT PLC programming
     • A pre-wired DL05 PLC trainer with pushbuttons and selector
       switches mounted on a solid oak frame, and programming
       cable ready to plug in and begin learning
     • A DL05 PLC User manual to use throughout the vide and as a
       future reference guide

Order before May 31st and receive free shipping.

Find out more about the hands-on trainer and other products offered at www.InterConnectingAutomation.com.


We have added an 11-part PID video series to the learn.automationdirect.com site. Watch each video at your own pace as Tom provides great detail to help you understand what PID is and how to use it with the Productivity3000 programmable automation controller. Be sure to check them out and give us feedback.

Upcoming FREE Webinars

We continue to have great response to our Web seminars. Our 45-minute shows feature both product overviews and more detailed application-based examples. Each seminar includes a question and answer time where our hosts address questions from viewers. You can also view recorded episodes at your convenience.

Upcoming Web Seminars include:

Register today to attend the free online seminars. If you don't see a specific topic of interest, contact us with your idea. Our team will consider it for future seminars.

pachinko machine

Application Innovations


In Japan, Pachinko is a mechanical arcade-type game that originated around the early 1920's. Used as both a recreational and, more often, as a gambling device, Pachinko machines are comparable to slot machines used in Western gambling.


Due to laws in Japan, pachinko games have a limited life at the Pachinko Parlors, typically two to three years. Once removed from the parlors, some of the expired games find their way to other countries, including the United States, by various importers.


Once purely mechanical games powered by the player and gravity, pachinko machines are now electronic games with sound, video and extensive lighting, to add excitement for the player. Many of the machines have no wiring schematics and much of the technology has become obsolete.

Carl Wegman, of Sugar Grove, Illinois, finds the machines throughout the Chicago Metro area and repairs/retrofits them with AutomationDirect parts for resale as a hobby. With his first projects, he simulated the original functionality of two pachinko machines, "CircuiT" and "UFO", by using a CLICK PLC and other AutomationDirect products. The ladder program for each machine uses less than 5% of the processing power of the CLICK PLC. The small physical size, ease of use and low cost of the CLICK is very attractive for this type of speculative hobby project.

See the Nishijin "CircuiT" Pachinko machine and the "UFO" Pachinko machine in action.

You can check out our complete list of application stories here.

dangerous chemical

The Lighter Side


Back in 1997, a 14-year old student at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair. With his project, "How Gullible Are We?" he wanted to prove just how easily students can be convinced to join a "cause". He wanted to prove how conditioned people have become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project, he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide."

Among reasons for the ban, he cited:
     • it is also known to cause excessive sweating and increased urination
     • it is also known as hydroxyl acid, which is a major component in acid rain
     • in either its gaseous or solid state, it can cause severe tissue damage
     • accidental inhalation can kill you
     • it contributes to erosion
     • it decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes
     • it has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients

Among its uses, he listed:
     • it is used in food preparation
     • it is used in nuclear power plants
     • it is used as an industrial solvent and coolant
     • it is used as a fire retardant
     • it is used in many forms of animal research
     • it is used in pesticides and remains on produce even after washing

After he presented his report to 50 fellow students, he asked whether they supported a ban of the chemical:
     • 43 said they supported the ban
     • 6 were undecided
     • Only 1 knew that the chemical was water.

As mentioned before, the title of his prize winning project was, "How Gullible Are We?"

He feels the conclusion is obvious.


We always welcome your comments or suggestions concerning this newsletter. If you have any topics for future newsletters, please let us know.

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Comments or suggestions for topics in future newsletters can be directed to newsletter@automationdirect.com

How to find us

AutomationDirect is located at 3505 Hutchinson Rd., Cumming, GA 30040 (about 45 minutes north of Atlanta, GA)

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