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  In this issue
    Company News

-NIU AutomationDirect lab

    -New catalog addendum in the mail
    -New product review feature on Web site
    Product News
    -New almost free PLC
    -Power Distribution Blocks
    -RUKO cutting tools
    -Edison line of fuses extended
    From Automation Notebook
    - Eagle Scout is Good Samaritan
    The Lighter Side

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© 2008
All rights reserved






Volume 10 Issue 8, October 2008
We hope you find this issue of our e-mail update of what's new at AutomationDirect informative and, at times, a little amusing.
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We always welcome your comments or suggestions concerning this newsletter.

Editor's note:

What a ride

We have heard on a daily basis about the growing economic crisis. Times are tough. But what if we all stepped back and looked at things from a different angle?

Crazy Economy ChartDuring hard times we all look for ways to do things differently, both in the workplace and at home. Many companies look for ways to cut costs while maintaining efficiency and productivity. At home, we look for ways to save money and energy. We eat out less, shop for bargains more, even look for more fuel-efficient automobiles.

Many businesses have employees telecommuting more, carpooling and even working shorter weeks. Also, companies are looking for ways to use alternative fuels to run their factories.

With this in mind, we would like to hear how you and your businesses are making adjustments. Perhaps you have changed the way your factory runs. Let us know what works for you. e-mail your comments

In this month's newsletter, you'll learn of the newest products we have available, read the latest company news, and then take a break with the Lighter Side.

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Company News

AutomationDirect and Northern Illinois University:
Partners in Higher Education

AutomationDirect supports education nationwide primarily through product donations to colleges, universities, trade-schools, and continuing education programs.

During the past five years, AutomationDirect has provided control products, including PLCs, to NIU's Department of Technology. AutomationDirect has now cooperated with the Department to help fund a well-equipped automation laboratory.
Read the full story here.
NIU lab
PLC programming area of Automation Lab
Courtesy of:
Dr. Cliff Mirman
Northern Illinois University

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New AutomationDirect Vol. 12 Addendum

Catalog addendum is in the mail

The addendum to our latest catalog is now available. New products featured in the addendum include additions to our power products, sensors, terminal blocks, motors and software lines.

If you would like to receive a complimentary copy of the addendum, click here.

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New product review feature on Web site

AutomationDirect Customer ReviewsOur Web support team is currently testing a new product review feature on the AutomationDirect Web site. Customers can now read and post their reviews on GS drives, IronHorse motors and C-more operator interface panels.

Simply click on the product category's "Reviews" tab or navigate to the item page of one of the selected products. There, you can read the reviews from other customers. You also have the opportunity to add your own reviews. If it proves popular, we plan to add reviews to more products in the future. Check it out and give us feedback on this new feature.

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Product News

AutomationDirect releases small, easy-to-use PLC

AutomationDirect announces the release of the CLICK® PLC, the first in a new generation of inexpensive PLC components designed to offer practical features in an easy-to-use, compact yet expandable design. Starting at $69, this line of micro brick PLCs with stackable I/O modules and free programming software is suitable for first time users as well as experienced programmers.

CLICK PLCBy itself, a powered CLICK CPU unit can function as a complete PLC system. The unit features eight inputs and six outputs, available in four combinations of built-in I/O types. For expansion, eleven option modules, starting at $33, are available for flexible system configuration, up to 142 I/O. All Click CPUs support 8K steps of Flash EEPROM program memory and 8K words of data memory. Two 24 VDC power supply options, with either .5A or 1.3A outputs, can be used to power the PLC.

The CLICK PLC system's space-saving design requires no mounting base; up to eight modules can be attached to the CLICK CPU module via an integrated expansion port on the sides of the modules and secured by locking tabs on the top and bottom of all modules.

CLICK CPU units, starting at $69, also feature two built-in RS-232 RJ12 communications ports. One port supports Modbus RTU protocol only and can be used as the programming port. This port can also connect the CPU to a Modbus RTU network as a slave device. The second port is a general purpose port with user configurable communications parameters and supports either Modbus RTU or ASCII protocols. Both communications ports supply 5 VDC, allowing connection of the C-more Micro HMI panel without an additional power supply. LED indicators located at each port indicate when the port is transmitting or receiving.

CLICK features user-friendly programming software, downloadable for free at The tools, layout, and interactivity allow quick and intuitive program development. The 21 practical instructions, a combination of Relay ladder logic and Function blocks, are supported by a comprehensive programming environment with easy navigation and a familiar look and feel. In addition, an online help file provides information to help users get acquainted with the software quickly.

As part of the CLICK line of products, pre-wired ZIPLink I/O cables are also available. The ZIPLink system eliminates the labor-intensive process of wiring PLC I/O to terminal blocks. Simply plug one end of a ZIPLink cable into a CLICK I/O module and the other end into a ZIPLink connector module. Prices for the cables start at $16.50.

Learn more from the new CLICK Web site.

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AutomationDirect introduces Power Distribution blocks

AutomationDirect announces the launch of a line of Edison power distribution blocks and terminal blocks. The distinctly different styles of short-circuit current rated (SCCR) power distribution blocks and terminal blocks are designed to support different application needs.

Edison Power Distribution BlocksEdison's finger-safe power distribution blocks feature a modular design allowing users to select and configure the number of poles required by each application. Ideal for today's power circuit requirements, these blocks are engineered to accept copper conductors and maintain an SCCR rating of 200kA, with proper fusing. The finger-safe blocks are suitable for both factory and field wiring and are rated from 175A to 760A. Most finger-safe blocks are DIN-rail mountable and prices start at $8.25.

Edison open-style terminal blocks are also offered as a convenient way to manage power distribution needs in factory and field settings. Surface-mountable, they are engineered to maintain an SCCR rating of 200kA with copper conductors and 10kA for aluminum conductors. Ampere ratings of up to 760A make these blocks ideal for use in UL508A panels for branch circuit applications. The terminal blocks, starting at $6.75, are available in single, double, and three-pole configurations. For greater protection, safety covers are also available, starting at $1.50.

View the full line of Edison power distribution blocks and terminal blocks at

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AutomationDirect offers full line of cutting tools

AutomationDirect now offers a complete line of RUKO cutting tools including step drill bits, jobber length drill bits, machine taps, and knockout punches.

RUKO Hole Cutting ToolsHigh performance split point step drill bits are CBN (cubical boron nitride) ground from a solid hardened form to provide spiral flutes without burrs and a superior cutting edge. Step drill bits are available in high-speed steel and titanium nitride-coated high speed steel and are designed for sheet metal working in electrical, sanitary engineering, heating technologies, automotive, mechanical engineering, switching systems, and aviation applications. Step drill bits are available individually and in a convenient three piece kit. Prices start at $14.75.

For normal drilling in conventional materials, the jobber length drill bits are made of heavy-duty high-speed steel and feature a precise concentricity. Designed for a wide range of materials, these drill bits are available in high speed steel and titanium nitride-coated high speed steel. Jobber length drill bits, available in packs of 5 or 10 and in 21 or 29 piece kits, start at $4 for a 10-pack.

Coarse and fine thread machine taps are available in nine sizes, are constructed of cobalt-alloyed high speed steel, have a reinforced shank for through threads, and feature a spiral point. Unified coarse thread taps are available in sizes ranging from 4-40 to 3/8-16 while unified fine thread taps range from 4-48 to 3/8-24. Machine tap prices start at $6.50.

Knockout punch hole-cutting tools include a punch, die and draw bolt. Ideal for use with sheet steel, stainless steel sheets, non-ferrous and light metals, and up to 8 gauge plastic, thin materials cut quickly, easily, cleanly, and without burrs. The optional replacement draw bolt with a ball bearing between the draw-in bolt and die plate reduces the punching force required by up to 67%. Prices for knockout punches start at $20.75.

See RUKO cutting tools here.

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AutomationDirect provides higher-current circuit protection

AutomationDirect has added to its offering of Edison class RK1, class RK5, class J, and small dimension fuses for industrial control applications.

More Edison fuses at AutomationDirectClass RK1 fuses now offer 200A to 600A sizes, starting at $32.25, and are designed for electrical safety upgrade applications. Class RK5 fuses are now available in 225A to 600A, starting at $39.25, and are ideal for time-delay motor circuits and building systems.

The class J dual element time-delay fuses, now in 225A to 600A sizes, start at $127.00, and provide superior time-delay to pass harmless motor or transformer surges. Now available in small dimension fuses are 32mA fast-acting glass fuses, available for $7 (for a 5-pack). An assortment of fuse blocks has also been added to accommodate 100A to 600A applications. Prices for the new fuse blocks start at $25.50.

Learn more about Edison fuses at

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From Automation NOTEBOOK

Eagle Scout ProjectFor his Eagle Scout project,Tyler Law saw a big need at an Atlanta area health care facility. Read how this young man became a Good Samaritan for doctors, nurses and patients.
Read Article

AutomationNotebook, a publication from AutomationDirect

You can also check out our list
of application stories here

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The Lighter Side

From one of those "www." places

It's all in how we perceive things.
A plane flying from Seattle to San Diego unexpectedly stopped in Sacramento along the way.

The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft, the plane would re-board in 50 minutes. Everybody got off the plane except one gentleman who was blind.

As passengers walked by, they could tell the man was blind because his guide dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of him throughout the flight. They could also tell he had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached him, called him by name and said, "Keith, we're in Sacramento for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?"
The blind man replied, "No thanks, but maybe my dog would like to stretch his legs."
Picture this:
All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up to find the pilot walking off the plane with a guide dog!
The pilot was even wearing sunglasses. People scattered.
They not only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines!
Have a great day and remember --- things are not always as they appear.

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Thanks for your time!
Comments or suggestions for topics in future newsletters can be directed to

© 2008
All rights reserved

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


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