AutomationDirect E-mail Newsletter

E-Notes from Captain's Log aboard
Volume 5 Issue 5

Welcome to our semi-regular e-mail update of what's new and happening at AutomationDirect. You are receiving this e-news because you subscribed to the AutomationDirect newsletter. Just go to if you wish to unsubscribe.

Misplaced your catalog, or was it borrowed and never returned? To jump to our online request form and get our 1,300-page free catalog or catalog on CD, click here or call 1-800-633-0405.


Ground Control to Major SmileyAutomationDirect smiley guy reaches new heights

AutomationDirect recently sponsored a long-range rocket that competed in a contest that will appear on the Discovery Channel later this year. Edward Wilk, who works for Facts Engineering, an AutomationDirect partner, is part of a team of rocket enthusiasts who are responsible for designing and building high-powered rockets that are launched in competition. The most recent contest was held in Argonia, KS and was filmed for the Discovery Channel special.

For more information on the rockets and the Discovery Channel special, check out this web site.

The smiley guy can also be seen on our company-sponsored BattleBot, which was the result of a design contest sponsored by Product Design and Development magazine. The BattleBot, named SpinZone, was built by Christian Carlberg, who has built several winning BattleBot designs. SpinZone will be appearing in competition soon. Stay tuned for details on where you can see it compete.

Feedback to this newsletter is always welcome at


- AutomationDirect assists educational institution with PLC training equipment
- Schedule for Interconnecting Automation training

- Full credit available for switching to ECT promis•e software
- Ethernet Remote Master Kits now offered
- New higher horsepower line reactors available for Hitachi drives
- Think & Do Live! 5.5 available


Free shipping reminder

When to Choose a Temperature Controller Over a Multiple
Loop PLC with PID

Application of the month





AutomationDirect assists educational institution with PLC training equipment

Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin, conducted a week-long automation seminar in June for local high school instructors using AutomationDirect's DL05 PLCs. The instructors spent the time learning to use PLCs with sensors and HMI software. They left the seminar with the trainer hardware and software, and will be using their newfound knowledge to integrate automation instruction in their high school curriculums.

Schedule for Interconnecting Automation training

Training by Interconnecting AutomationInterconnecting Automation, an AutomationDirect federation partner, delivers training to customers using AutomationDirect products. Classes for PLC-based systems are held around the country and are delivered by Doug Bell, who has over 20 years experience in the industry. Following is the schedule for training classes for the next few months:

PLC-based Control Systems - Introductory Class
September 23-25 Las Vegas, NV
November 4-6 Newark, NJ

PLC-based Control Systems - Advanced Class
October 7-9 Las Vegas, NV
November 11-13 Atlanta, GA*
December 2-4 Atlanta, GA**

* The November 11-13 class is being held at the AutomationDirect headquarters by special request from employees of Georgia Power, however, there are still seats available for anyone else who would like to attend the class.

**This class takes place at our headquarters in Cumming, Ga.

Interconnecting Automation also offers video courses that include training kits that can be used at home or in the office. For more information on the training kits and for further information on Interconnecting Automation, visit their Web site at

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Full credit available for switching to ECT promis•e software

ECT LogoAutomationDirect has partnered with ECT International, Inc. to bring you AutoCAD® - based Schematic Software that generates control system schematics, panel layouts, bills of material, wire lists, terminal plans and more, to automate the design process. ECT's promis•e packages offer many benefits when compared to VIADirect UltraLITE software, including ten times the number of parts and five times the number of symbols supported. Prices for the promis•e package start at $995.

VIA Development Corporation, the supplier of VIA Direct software, was recently acquired by AutoDesk, Inc., who will no longer support the VIA Direct UltraLITE software package. Therefore, AutomationDirect is discontinuing the VIA Direct UltraLITE software package and replacing it with the promis•e packages.

To make the switch to ECT's promis•e as easy as possible, full credit for previous purchases of any VIA UltraLITE software package (PC-VIA-ULT), will be offered against the purchase of any ECT promis•e draw and promis•e draw plus version. You must contact AutomationDirect via telephone at 1-800-633-0405 to request this offer.

Click here for more information on the new ECT promis-e software.

Ethernet Remote Master Kits now offered

Ethernet Remote Master kitsNew Ethernet Remote I/O kits are offered in three basic combinations to provide an easy way to choose the Ethernet Remote I/O products that best fit your application. An Ethernet Remote I/O Kit includes one H2-ERM Ethernet Remote Master module and up to ten H2-EBC or T1H-EBC (Terminator I/O) Ethernet Base Controller modules, or one H4-ERM modules and up to ten T1H-EBC modules. Prices start at $369 for a kit that includes one H2-ERM module and one T1H-EBC module.

For more information on the Ethernet Remote Master Kits, visit

New higher horsepower line reactors available for Hitachi drives

Higher horsepower line reactors are now available for Hitachi drives up to 60 hp. Input line reactors are recommended for all installations to protect the AC drive from transient overvoltage conditions and to reduce the harmonics associated with AC drives. The new line reactors range in price from $159 to $439.

Think & Do Live! 5.5Think & Do Live! 5.5 available

Think & Do Live! PC-based software by Entivity features flowchart logic, integrated HMI, easy I/O configuration, an OPC Client and server, and productivity enhancement tools. The software includes one development and runtime system license and I/O drivers on CD-ROM, a Certificate of Integrity, and user manual. The development/run-time package is priced at $1,895.


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Networking modules available for DL05 and DL06 PLCs

H0-PSCMAutomationDirect has developed advanced networking products for the DL05 nano and DL06 micro lines of PLCs. The D0-DEVNETS DeviceNet Slave Module, priced at $75, transforms any DL05 or DL06 into a smart node on a DeviceNet controller network. The H0-PSCM Slave Communication Module allows any DL05 or DL06 to be networked to any Profibus DP Master. Priced at $259, it offers selectable baud rates from 9.6 K to 12 MB, depending on network length.

New DL06 PLC model available with sourcing DC outputs

A new DL06 CPU with 20 DC in / 16 DC out and a 12/24VDC power supply is now available. The CPU features 14.8K words total (7679 words ladder - flash, 7488 words V-memory), RLL/RLLPLUS programming (DirectSOFT32 Version 4.0 or higher), and two built-in RS232C communication ports.

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Free shipping reminder

Don't forget our free shipping offer for online orders over $300. Orders must be placed using UPS Groundtrac Commercial, UPS Groundtrac Residential or UPS Int - Standard (for Canada) delivery. (These methods are identified by '***' in the shipping options list in checkout.) Items excluded from this promotion are DIN-rails and enclosure parts, for which shipping will be charged at the regular rate. This offer applies only to orders shipped to US or Canadian destinations and cannot be combined with any other discounts or other special promotions.

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When to Choose a Temperature Controller Over a Multiple Loop PLC with PID
by Carl Tolbert, Tech Support Drives Specialist

A newsletter subscriber wrote in recently with the following request: "I think it would be helpful for you to provide a discussion of the pros and cons of using separate temperature controller modules versus using a thermocouple module and the PID built into a system."

To answer this question, we must first define a control loop and PID loop. A control loop is a measure of control utilizing the feedback error signal as the controlling medium within a process. The error signal is created between a process variable and the desired set point. Based on this algorithm, the controller will physically change the mechanism that drives the process variable up or down depending on the process needs.

One example of PID in a commonly used application is the cruise control on your car. This is a method of controlling a process around a specific point, with the least amount of fluctuation as possible. An example of what PID is not is a household heating and cooling thermostat system. This is an example of full ON/OFF control (or Hysteresis control), which is less precise than PID control.

The true answer to the subscriber's question rests mainly in application and cost. For example, a PID single loop controller may not be as expensive as one might think, especially when comparing AutomationDirect with other vendors, such as Omega, Honeywell, Watlow, or Eurotherm. A stand-alone, low-cost process control solution can be used for a variety of applications. Here are two examples:

Some other examples of applications that may work well with a single loop controller include applications that require alarm annunciation and display usage via retransmission functions to a larger system, or applications with code requirements similar to NFPA 85 (boiler and combustion systems hazard code) and NFPA 86 (combustion system design). Check out this sample application:

Another good fit for a single loop controller is in the retrofit of older, hard to find controllers. For example, certain models of our PC35 and TC33 have a pulse width modulated output specifically designed to control a solid-state relay. This is one of the oldest and most trusted methods in controlling heater elements and ovens in the world.

On the other side of the coin, PID multiple loop PLCs may be better suited for applications that require versatility. For example, the D2-260 CPU can process up to 16 PID loops directly in the CPU. Various control modes can be selected, including automatic, manual, and cascade control. There are also a wide variety of alarms available, including Process Variable, Rate of Change, and Deviation. The loop operation parameters (Process Variable, Setpoint, Setpoint Limits, etc.) are stored in V-memory, which allows easy access from operator interfaces or Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs). Setup is accomplished with easy-to-use setup menus and monitoring views in the DirectSOFT32 PLC programming software. The auto tuning feature is easy to use and can reduce setup and maintenance time by automatically determining near optimum loop settings.

This solution represents a "medium cost" process control solution that offers the versatility of standalone or multiple loop applications, integrated control functionality and inside and outside control loop data sharing for advanced process control. It also offers data acquisition and trend analysis and the use of DDE/OPC server software to share data to any OPC compliant software package. Additionally, the PLC can communicate directly to a HMI package like LookoutDirect.

For more information on PID control, visit our newly revised Technical support application notes page and example program page. More specifically, click to view this application PID tutorial (PowerPoint or free viewer required).

If you have any questions concerning these types of applications, or any other application questions, visit our tech support page on the Web at or call us at 770-844-4200.

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Application: Hydraulic punch presses stay running with D2-250 CPU

Products used: DL205 D2-250 CPU, EZText panel

Description: We used a D2-250 CPU and an EZText panel to control the positioning of rotary and slide dies in hydraulic punch presses. Our customer had loss of production from excessive downtime and also had some very costly die repair. We designed and installed a new die monitoring control system and used the EZText panel to allow setup, provide diagnostic messages for faults as they occurred, and to totalize their production. All this will soon be interconnected through Ethernet to an office in order to view production data. The diagnostics have paid for themselves many times over by enabling the operator or maintenance person to get equipment back on line quickly. The customer plans on installing this system into the remainder of their presses. We have made a loyal friend and a very good customer, thanks to ADC and their products.

Submitted by: James T. Starkey, CJ Controls Engineering, Inc.

View our entire collection of Application Stories or submit one of your own

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Word Riddles

  1. I am a poem that expresses melancholy. My second, third and fourth letters are an appendage. What am I?
  2. I am a compound word and a popular snack. My first word means bust or explode. My second word is also edible. What am I?
  3. I am a word that means to bewilder or perplex. You can get lost in my last four letters. What am I?
  4. There is no word in the English language that rhymes with me. I am edible and if you remove my first letter I become a series of mountains. What am I?
  5. I am a large fortified structure. My first four letters are something used to help in healing bones. What am I?

See the end of this newsletter for the correct answers.

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International customers (outside the U.S. and Canada), check our list of affiliates in over 23 countries to find the one nearest you.

Terms and Conditions, Free Shipping and Handling Offer for Online Orders: DIN rail and enclosures are excluded from the offer and will be billed at their normal rates. This offer applies only to orders over $300 in value with regular UPS delivery selected within the continental US This offer cannot be combined with any discounts or other special promotions.

Thanks for your time! Comments or suggestions for topics in future newsletters can be directed to
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Cumming GA 30040
2003 All rights reserved

Answers to "The Lighter Side":
1. elegy
2. popcorn
3. amaze
4. orange
5. castle