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  In this issue
    Company News
    -Calling all DIYers
    -Webinar schedule
    Product News
    -Introducing NITRA™ Pneumatics tubing and fittings
    -SureStep motion control line expands
    -Hollow shaft worm gearboxes now available
    -Industrial Ethernet Switches Rated For Wide Temperatures
    -NEC Class 2 Power Supplies added to RHINO® line
    Online Store news
    -Express Checkout Feature added
    -Initiate 30-day returns online
    The Lighter Side

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3505 Hutchinson Rd.
Cumming, GA 30040

© 2009
All rights reserved






Volume 11 Issue 4, May 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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We always welcome your comments or suggestions concerning this newsletter.

Editor's note:

Whatever happened to the Maypole?

As a kid, I remember my parents talking about the fun times they had as school children dancing around the Maypole as part of an annual mid-spring celebration. They would explain to me the use of ribbons attached to the top of a wooden pole. Children would take the ribbons and dance around the pole until it was completely wrapped by the colorful ribbons. In my 42 years, I have never had the experience of a Maypole dance. I wonder what would happen if someone used AutomationDirect products to modernize this tradition.

I can visualize a large telephone or power pole rising about 20 feet. At the bottom, an IronHorse motor and worm gearbox are connected to some kind of ring which has several colored ribbons attached. A GS drive is used to control the motor speed. Someone presses a 22mm pushbutton to start the motor. People watch in amazement as the colorful ribbons spin gracefully around the tall pole, covering the dark brown wood with bright colors of spring. As the ribbons near the bottom of the pole, photoelectric sensors detect their positions and gently bring the motor to a standstill. A CLICK PLC reverses the motor and the process begins again.

OK, it's a very simple application. But, with a few products from AutomationDirect, even the simplest applications can be made easier and more efficient.

This newsletter features the launch of NITRA pneumatic tubing and fittings. We have introduced several hundred products already this year, and we have no plans to stop. Check out often to see the latest products.

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

Calling all DIYers - visit!

Do It Yourself! portalWe've launched a new portal for the benefit of the Do-It-Yourselfers who use AutomationDirect products for their ingenious projects. We've known for years that DIYer's use our products, and we suspect we know the reasons - the well-documented, easy to use products? Maybe it's the near-instant availability? Maybe it's just the great prices!

Whatever the reason, we are honored that you choose to use our products, and we want to help. The site is dedicated to DIYers everywhere, and, in fact, the site itself is going to be as DIY as possible, with most of the content hosted in forum or blog format. Currently there are three main sections in the site:


Home Base - the landing page for the site, includes links to related information, postings and other Web sites that involve DIY projects.


Projects - Blog for posting your own DIY projects, complete with pictures and parts used. Check out the projects there now!


Smiley's Green Challenge - Do you have an idea for an automation project that has the potential to help the environment? Propose your ideas, and possibly win a CLICK PLC (or other automation parts) to use on your project. We're giving an award each quarter to the best idea.

    Rules :
You must post the idea, in detail, to the Green Challenge blog (other users may have constructive comments - so please keep an open mind).
The idea may NOT be patented, copyrighted, trademarked or otherwise protected by you or anyone else (what good is a green idea, if it doesn't benefit all?).
We decide which ideas are good enough to receive a product donation, usually about once a quarter. Our decisions are final - no crybabies please.
Ideas that are not chosen may be eligible for future awards, so keep working to improve them.
We reserve the right to change, suspend, or end the contest at any time, without notice.

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Webinar Schedule
AutomationTalkThe new Web seminar format has been a huge success. Because of this, hosts Shane and Tom are taking the remainder of this month to prepare information for even more great topics.

Our live seminars will return on June 17th when the topic will be AC motors. This seminar will discuss your options when selecting a motor and how choosing the proper motor will save money in the long run.

Be sure to checkout the recorded seminars on You can view topics such as Sensors, C-more Micro panels, PLCs, and more.

Check out the complete schedule of added topics here.

Also, check out the site to view pre-recorded Web seminars and register for upcoming live ones.

Up next are:

AutomationDirect AC Drives June 17, 2009 2:00 ET
Applying AC drives requires understanding of the application so that the correct size drive, and control scheme are used. Types of loads, AC drive terms, typical control schemes, and a review of available drive accessories and their function in the system will be covered. We will offer a live Q and A session so that we may answer any questions our audience may have.
AC Motors July 8 , 2009 2:00 ET
With all of the new regulations and standards, purchasing AC motors may seem complicated. Selecting the correct AC motor for your application may require more attention and understanding than in the past. In this 40 min session, we will cover all of the AC motors that AutomationDirect carries, from general purpose motors to inverter-duty motors to NEMA Premium motors. We will cover information which explains your options when selecting a motor as well as how choosing the correct motor will save you money in the long run. We will conclude the show with a question and answer session.
Wiring Solutions July 22 , 2009 2:00 ET
Did you know that AutomationDirect now carries Electrical Wire, Cable Ties, Flexible Duct and more? In this 40 min session we will cover the various wiring solutions AutomationDirect offers, including some newer products. You may be surprised to find that our prices on these commodity items are hard to beat. We will discuss where to find more information on the products and wrap up with questions from our audience.

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Product News

Introducing NITRA™ Pneumatic Tubing & Fittings

Introducing NITRA™ Pneumatic Tubing & FittingsAutomationDirect now carries NITRA pneumatic tubing and fittings designed for use in compressed air applications.

NITRA tubing is available in polyurethane and nylon styles, in inch and metric sizes from 5/32 inch or 4mm up to1/2 inch or 12mm; tubing is available in 100 and 500-foot packages. Polyurethane tubing is available in black, blue and clear, and has a hardness specification of Shore A 98. The tubing offers superior kink resistance and is strong and flexible. Its tight outside diameter tolerance makes it ideal for use with NITRA push-to-connect fittings. Prices for polyurethane tubing start at $10.25 for 100 feet.

NITRA Nylon 12 tubing carries a hardness specification of Shore D 70. Nylon tubing is designed for applications requiring higher working pressures and better heat/chemical resistance. Available in black, blue and natural, this strong, yet lightweight tubing has a low moisture absorption rate so it will remain flexible with a longer life than other nylon tubing. Prices for nylon tubing start at $10 for 100 feet.

A variety of NITRA push-to-connect fittings are also available, including straight, elbow, tee and wye styles. Fitting bodies are made of a strong thermoplastic with stainless steel gripping claws, and are designed to withstand working pressures of -29.5" Hg to 150 psi and a working temperature range of 32° to 140°F. Threaded components are made of nickel-plated brass and have pre-applied Teflon thread sealant. The bodies of threaded elbow and tee fittings can be rotated after installation, allowing for variations in piping direction. Prices for fittings start at $4.00 for a five-pack.

NITRA pneumatic push-to-connect flow control valves are designed to provide accurate airflow regulation for precise motion control of pneumatic cylinders. The flow control bodies are made of strong thermoplastic and have stainless steel tube gripping claws and are available in meter-in, meter-out, and in-line configurations. Prices for NITRA flow control valves start at $7.75 for a two-pack.

Check out the complete line of NITRA pneumatic tubing and connectors.

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SureStep Motion Control Line Expands

SureStep Motion Control Line Expands AutomationDirect has expanded the line of SureStep motion control products. Two new Advanced Programmable SureStep Drives offer more functionality and higher current capability. Software-selectable resolution up to 51,200 steps per revolution provide smoother, more accurate motion and power capability up to 10A per phase. These new drives accept step and direction, CW/CCW pulse inputs, A/B quadrature inputs, 12 bit analog input (analog velocity mode); other features include a discrete speed command (oscillator mode), a joystick mode, and a built-in indexer. The built-in indexer can use serial communications to configure and execute motion profiles on the fly. The drives come with a serial cable for setup and programming and the SureStep Pro Software, also available as a free download. Programmable SureStep drives start at $199.

Stepping motors in standard NEMA sizes (17, 23, and 34) now include bi-polar models with output torques ranging from 61 oz-in. to 1291 oz-in. The motors feature a pigtail cable with locking connector for easy hook-up and 200 steps per revolution. The stepping motors are CE compliant and prices start at $17.

Three additional power supplies are now available for SureStep drives and motors. These unregulated linear power supplies offer full load outputs of 32, 48 and 70 VDC. The power supplies are electronically overload protected and electrically isolated from motor supply output. They feature screw terminal connections, Power-On LED indicators for motor supply and logic power, and have fast acting, 3AG fuses on both input and output. The new unregulated power supplies start at $119.

See the complete line of SureStep motion products.

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Hollow Shaft Worm Gearboxes now available

Hollow Shaft Worm Gearboxes now availableThe IronHorse worm gearbox line now includes hollow shaft models in four frame sizes, and six gear ratios from 5:1 to 60:1. Constructed of cast iron one-piece housings, hollow shaft worm gearboxes feature a C-flange input. Designed to change drive direction by 90 degrees, hollow shaft gearboxes are used when space is at a premium, such as for conveyors, or to simplify mechanical design. IronHorse gearboxes are mountable in any direction, except motor pointing up. Prices start at $169; the full line, available for same-day shipping, is backed by a one-year warranty.

See the full line of IronHorse gearboxes.

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Industrial Ethernet Switches Rated For Wide Temperature Ranges

Industrial Ethernet Switches Rated For Wide Temperature RangesThe Stride™ line of Ethernet switches now includes industrial-grade unmanaged Ethernet switches with metal housings. Designed for wide-temperature (-40° to 85°C) applications, these true plug-and-play devices automatically determine and remember devices connected to each port and only route messages through the appropriate ports, increasing speed and bandwidth. Even under heavy I/O and data exchange, Stride switches and the Ethernet control network maintain more consistent cycle times. Prices start at $199.

Learn more here.

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NEC Class 2 Power Supplies added to RHINO® line

NEC Class 2 Power Supplies added to RHINO® lineOur RHINO line of power supplies now includes NEC Class 2 plastic-housed low-profile switching supplies in 5, 12 and 24 VDC adjustable output models. The new PSC series offering includes eight models with power ratings from 12W to 90W and feature universal 85 to 264 VAC input voltage, adjustable DC output, and output current limitation. The series provides tightly regulated output voltage for sensitive loads in industrial, commercial and residential environments. The PSC series is UL508 listed, UL1310 recognized for NEC Class 2 compliance, and CE marked. Prices for the RHINO PSC series supplies start at $46.75.

Shop for NEC class 2 power supplies.

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Online Store News

Express Checkout feature added
Introducing our Express Checkout feature! This is the feature you've been waiting for if you normally ship to the same address using the same shipping and payment methods. The next time you place an order, step through the checkout process as normal. When you reach the order confirmation screen (Step 4), select "Enable Express Checkout" (located beside the SUMBIT ORDER button).

For future orders, upon checkout you skip directly to the confirmation page. If you need to make a change, there is a [change] link (beside shipping details, billing, shipping, contact, payment, shipping notes sections). Otherwise, you simply verify your information, enter your PO# (when necessary) and SUBMIT.

Online Returns feature added
Online Returns feature addedNo one ever looks forward to returning a product, but AutomationDirect tries to make the process as painless as possible. We offer a 30-day money-back return period on all products except Marathon Electric motors and refurbished products, and we've just made it a lot easier to request a 30-day return from our Web site.

It only takes three simple steps to initiate a 30-day return online:

  1. After you have logged in to your AutomationDirect account, visit our Returns page and choose to do a 30-day return.
  2. You'll see a list of your orders which fall within the 30-day return window. Choose the order which contains the items you wish to return.
  3. Verify your contact information, scan the list of items from your order, and enter the quantities you need to return. Submit the return, and that's it!

Our Returns Team will look over your return request, and if everything checks out, the necessary paperwork and instructions will be sent to you right away. For complete details and additional information, please review our Warranty and Returns guidelines.

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The Lighter Side
(from one of those "www." places)

Sometimes it's difficult to get old laws off the books, but maybe these should be fast-tracked!

Did You Know...

In the state of Georgia,

  • It is illegal to use profanity in front of a dead body which lies in a funeral home or in a coroner's office.
  • Donkeys may not be kept in bathtubs.
  • No one may carry an ice cream cone in their back pocket on Sunday.
  • In Athens-Clarke County, goldfish may not be given away to entice someone to enter a game of bingo.

In New Jersey,

  • It is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder.
  • It is against the law for a man to knit during the fishing season.
  • It is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon.
  • In Blairstown, no street-side trees may be planted that "obscure the air".

In California,

  • It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.
  • No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.
  • Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.
  • In Blythe, you are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows.

In Hawaii,

  • Residents may be fined as a result of not owning a boat.
  • Coins are not allowed to be placed in one's ears.
  • In Honolulu, it is unlawful to annoy any bird within the limits of any park.

Thanks for your time!
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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