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  In this issue
    Company News

-FIRST 2009 is underway

    -Live Web seminars are back!
    -Computer Based Training:
PLC PID course
    -Check your NOTEBOOK
    Product News
    -ProSense product line extended
    Tech Talk
    The Lighter Side

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© 2009
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Volume 11 Issue 1, January 2009
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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Editor's note:

Welcome 2009

We endured an interesting 2008. I wonder what these next 12 months have in store for us. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be an adventure.

In an historic moment, Americans have welcomed our 44th president. Barack Obama comes into power with a tremendous task ahead of him. Even with help from both sides of the aisle, the road ahead is not going to be an easy one. There are many issues that affect us all that will require tough decisions and strong actions..

We here at AutomationDirect are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead in 2009. We have already launched new products this month, and we have many more slated throughout the next several months.

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

FIRST 2009 is underway

forsyth firstThe 2009 FIRST season kicked off on January 3, and the game this year is LUNACY! Check the official FIRST ( )Web site for details of the game, named in honor of the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing. The FIRST organization was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people.

For the Robotics Competition, registered high school teams are given a 300 pound pile of parts (sprockets, metals, motors, wires, processors etc.) and a specific task to complete. They then have 42 days to design, build, test and ship a 130-lb. man-sized robot to accomplish this task.

AutomationDirect sponsors their home county’s team, the Forsyth Alliance ( ), in Cumming, Georgia. In the past three years, the Alliance has not only competed in the World Championships every year, they have been instrumental in establishing Lego League teams (the competition for primary-aged children) in nearly every elementary and middle school in the county, over 33 at last count. At the national level, AutomationDirect donates components to the Kit of Parts which all FIRST teams must use; at the regional level, the company supports Georgia FIRST’s Peachtree Regional, where teams from across the Southeast come to compete in qualification rounds.

Visit for up-to-date information on the regional activities and results. While the economy has shrunk the private support the Regional is receiving this year, interest is at an all-time high; if you are a Southeast (or other!) resident interested in helping these kids stay excited about technology careers by participating in FIRST, please consider donating even a small amount to Georgia FIRST (Paypal donations can be made directly from the Web site).

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Live Web seminars are back!

AutomationDirect Webinar StudioMany of you have viewed AutomationDirect’s live and pre-recorded Web seminars. For 2009, we are taking that service to the next level. Our digital media specialist and his team have totally revamped the way you view our Webinars. While past Web seminars proved beneficial, we felt the need to demonstrate our products in more ways than with a slide show.
So, equipment was brought in to turn the Web seminar room in to a television studio-type set. Now viewers can watch the speakers as they discuss and demonstrate the featured product. Find out more about the new format here. Also, check out the new site to view pre-recorded Webseminars and register for upcoming live ones.
AutomationTalk.comUp next are:

  • CLICK PLC: Jan. 28, 2009 2:00 p.m. EST
  • Sensors: Feb. 11, 2009 2:00 p.m. EST
  • DirectSOFT5: Feb. 25, 2009 2:00 p.m. EST
  • C-More Touch Panels: March 11, 2009 2:00 p.m. EST

Sign up here for any of the above LIVE webinars.

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New Computer Based Training (CBT) PLC PID course

InterConnecting Automation CBT PID classesFor years people have taken advantage of the three-day training seminars offered by InterConnecting Automation. Instructor Doug Bell offers classes ranging from introductory PLC principles to advanced PLC training.
Doug has teamed up with PID expert Dr. Cecil Smith to bring you a new and innovative way to learn PLC PID in the comfort of your own home or office. With over 30 years experience in PID Control, Cecil has developed a self-guided computer-based training package which allows learning at your own pace. The Computer Based Training course covers the same topics and material used in the popular 3-day training class. The only difference is you no longer have to travel offsite to classes and carve time out of your already busy schedule. Simply download and install the files and you’re ready to begin.

To find out more about the Computer Based Training PLC PID Principles course or any of their other courses, check out

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Check your NOTEBOOK

Automation NOTEBOOK onlineThe latest issue of Automation NOTEBOOK has hit the streets. Inside, you’ll find several interesting articles and a new feature. In this issue, we spotlight Science/Technology student Joseph Michael Blakely. A recent graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, Joe majored in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and used a DirectLOGIC PLC to automate a plasma physics test stand.
You’ll also find interesting user application stories such as one of an Ohio energy group using wind turbines as a source for alternative energy. Plus, one of our product engineers provides a great article discussing various forms of alternative energy.

If you have not received your copy in the mail yet, you can read the full issue online.

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Product News

ProSense Pressure SensorsProsense™ product line extended

AutomationDirect has extended the ProSense line of pressure sensors and switches to widen the sensing ranges available. The series now includes pressure switches with adjustable setpoints from 0 to 5,800 psi, as well as transmitters in ranges from 0-15 to 0-3000 psi with output options of 4 to 20mA or 0 to 10 Volts. Transmitters with a measuring range of 0 to 100 inches of water column have also been added. ProSense pressure sensors start at $89.

To see the complete ProSense line, visit

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Tech tips

CLICK PLCsWith the recent launch of the CLICK PLC, many customers have questions regarding features and abilities of this small but powerful PLC. You can find answers to the most common questions in this informative article from our PLC product manager.


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The Lighter Side
From one of those “www.” places

Who’s got the charm?
 (Paraphrased from

A former police officer was visiting an elementary school in northern Alabama. On this cold winter’s day, the office staff was cleaning the pet snake’s aquarium. To do this, they had to move the snake from its home and temporarily place it in a large pickle jar.

Knowing his love for the outdoors, the staff asked the officer to serve as a backup unit should something go wrong. Everything appeared to be under control, so he gladly accepted.

Wearing leather gloves, the person cleaning the aquarium tried to put the non-venomous diamondback water snake in the pickle jar. The two-foot long snake had a different idea.

Making an attempt at a quick get away, the snake bit the handler, who promptly dropped it. The fugitive snake began swiftly moving across the carpet. Trying to get out of its way, teachers and custodians began screaming as they either ran away or dove onto the school office counter. Fortunately, there were no students in the office at that time.

The visitor laughed at the adults who wanted nothing to do with Mr. No-Shoulders. He stopped laughing, however, when he realized the escapee was headed full steam toward the cafeteria, which was full of kindergarten and first-grade students.

A cotton glove had been given to him at the beginning of this adventure, just in case he needed it. Knowing the glove would be no help at all, he chose to pounce on the snake as it slithered to less than 10 feet from the cafeteria. Either in self-defense mode, or out of fear, the snake began biting him on the hand.

The officer rolled the snake into a crude ball and placed it in the pickle jar. The move was effective, and 15 minutes later, the diamondback water snake was back in its freshly cleaned home.

For the rest of the school year, when the former police officer walked by the snake, it would coil up in a defensive position like it was about to strike. The creature didn’t do that to anybody else.


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Comments or suggestions for topics in future newsletters can be directed to

© 2009
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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