AutomationDirect E-mail Newsletter

E-Notes from Captain's Log aboard
Volume 6 Issue 4

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2004 AutomationDirect catalogOur new Volume 9 catalog has shipped! If you are a current customer or have requested/received a catalog in the past 18 months, you should have received the new 2004 catalog, which now features over 5,000 products. If you haven't received a catalog and would like one, just click here to request one or call 1-800-633-0405.

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  • AutomationDirect launches Automation Notebook magazine
  • Pre-recorded web seminars now available in addition to
    scheduled live events
  • AutomationDirect to participate in PROFIBUS technical
  • Schedule for Interconnecting Automation training


  • Higher horsepower drives and special pricing for drive/motor combinations



  • Using Pointers to Create and Modify Recipes


  • Application of the month




AutomationDirect launches Automation Notebook magazine

Automation Notebook magazineWe've recently launched a company magazine, "Automation Notebook". The magazine is being introduced as a replacement for the company's 4-page newsletter, "The Insider", to better meet the needs of a growing customer base. The inaugural issue was mailed to customers this month and features company news and new product information, as well as application stories and business and industry news. Guest columnists for the magazine will include AutomationDirect technology providers, as well as other respected names in the automation industry. Topics for the inaugural issue included, "HMI and Connectivity" by guest columnist Wayne Labs, a former editor at Control Solutions magazine, and "Learn it on the Web", a feature story detailing the growing trend towards Web seminar technology as a training medium.

If you currently receive our catalog, you will automatically receive a copy of the magazine. Anyone interested in subscribing to this free magazine can visit to be included in the next mailing of the magazine.

Pre-recorded Web seminars now available in addition to scheduled live events

Web seminarsNew Web seminars continue to be scheduled, and we also now offer pre-recorded seminars, which can be viewed at any time for your convenience. There is no cost for the live or the pre-recorded seminars.

Topics for pre-recorded seminars include "DirectSoft PLC Programming Software", "Ethernet Communications", "Micro PLCs: 2 Times the Power at ½ the Price", and more. You can check out our schedule of live events, enroll or access the list of pre-recorded seminars at our seminars Web site.

AutomationDirect to participate in PROFIBUS technical seminars

AutomationDirect is participating in the PROFIBUS Trade Organization's series of FREE one-day technical seminars and product fair. The seminars will include presentations and product displays on the following topics: Basics of PROFIBUS Operation, Bus Physics & Wiring, Cable Construction, System Troubleshooting, What is PROFInet for Ethernet, and more. Following are the dates of upcoming seminars:

July 13 - Boston, MA
August 11 - Denver, CO
November 9 - Chicago, IL

For more information, visit

Schedule for Interconnecting Automation Training classes

Interconnecting Automation delivers training to customers using AutomationDirect products. Following is the schedule for training classes in the next few months:

ICA logoIntroductory Classes:
September 28-30 Las Vegas, NV
November 2-5 Cleveland, OH

Advanced Classes:
October 5-7 Las Vegas, NV
December 7-9 Atlanta, GA (This class will be held at AutomationDirect)

PID Class:
December 14-15 Atlanta, GA (This class will be held at AutomationDirect)

For more information on InterConnecting Automation classes, visit


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Higher horsepower drives and special pricing for drive/motor combinations

AutomationDirect now offers several new additions to our Marathon motor line of products, which previously included microMAX® motors ranging from ¼ HP to 10 HP. The new models will extend the horsepower range of the Marathon line to 100 HP.

Marathon motorsBlack Max® motors are designed for inverter or vector applications where a constant torque speed range of up to a 1000:1 is required. They are available from ¼ to 30 HP and are priced from $149 to $2,369. Blue Max® 2000 vector-duty motors are available from 40 to 100 HP and are designed for inverter or vector applications. The motors range in price from $2,999 to $5,069. Blue Chip XRI® inverter-duty motors are available from 40 to 100 hp and range in price from $1,819 to $4,059.

All Marathon motors carry a 3-year warranty and meet all UL, CSA and NEMA requirements.

For users interested in purchasing performance-matched drive/motor combinations, significant discounts are available when purchasing certain Marathon motors and AutomationDirect's DURApulse drive combinations, making these packages some of the most cost-effective in the industry. Visit AutomationDirect's Web store for more information on the drive/motor combos that qualify for discounts.


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KEPDirect for PLCs Server offers connection between Windows client software and DirectLOGIC PLCs

KEPDirectThe new KEPDirect for PLCs Server is a 32-bit application that provides a way to connect Windows client software to AutomationDirect DirectLOGIC PLCs. The KEPDirect for PLCs Server provides a driver interface to DirectLOGIC PLCs using industry-standard OPC (OLE for process control), so you are free to choose almost any software package. Packages available include one to support up to 3 nodes, one to support up to 7 nodes and one to support 8 or more nodes. Prices start at $295.

Wire duct and accessories added to product offering

Wire ductAutomationDirect has added a line of wiring duct and associated accessories. White or grey rigid wiring duct is available in 2-meter lengths with dimensions from .5 x .625 to 6 x 4 inches bundled in packages of 1-24, including the duct cover. Individual piece prices start at $9. Flexible wiring duct is ideal for wiring to cabinet doors and is available in grey or white and in 20-inch lengths with dimensions from .5 x .5 to 1.5 x 1.5 inches. KEPDirect packages of 20, 36, 42, or 64 pieces are available, with prices starting at $134.25. Completing the line are several wiring duct accessories.

Radio modem line now available

AutomationDirect and Cirronet™ Inc., have teamed up to offer Cirronet's wireless radio modems. Two series of modems are available: The CR-HN series are versatile, 2.4 GHz FHSS wireless data modems. CR-HN radios are ideal for SCADA applications (as remote modems in multipoint configurations) and are a cost-effective solution for point-to-point installations. CR-HN modems start at $595. CR-SE series Ethernet radios are based on the same patented technology as the CR-HN serial radios. They provide long-range, high-speed wireless connectivity among Ethernet devices in industrial settings. Typical CR-SE applications include wireless industrial automation and data collection, network bridging, PLC networking and SCADA. CR-SE modems start at $1,195.

New option modules available for DL05/06

Two new option modules have been added to the DL05/DL06 lines of PLCs. An 8-point AC input module offers an input voltage range of 80-132 VAC and 90-150 VDC. It is priced at $47. A 4-point isolated relay output module, priced at $49, features 5-30 VDC and 5-125 VAC.

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A customer recently wrote in with a program for using pointers to create and modify recipes. The program was written for a DL260 PLC, but according to the customer, should work for any AutomationDirect PLC. The program is as follows:

In this program:

(These register locations can be wherever the programmer desires.)

The basic concept is that the notepad is used for working with the recipe data (i.e. editing, creating, etc). The process variable area is where the values for the current recipe are stored. This area is used for any logic that the programmer needs to perform. When a recipe needs to be edited or created, it is loaded from the recipe area to the notepad area. Changes can then be made and written back to the recipe area. When a recipe is loaded to run, it is loaded to the process variable area.

The logic for loading from the recipe area to the notepad and from the recipe area to the process variable area is as follows:

  1. Load the recipe number into the accumulator. Recipe numbers start at 1 and are sequential.
  2. Subtract 1 from the recipe number. The offset from the beginning of the recipe area is actually 1 less than the recipe number. (For example, recipe 1 has an offset of 0 because it starts at the beginning of the recipe area.)
  3. Multiply the resulting number by the number of parameters in each recipe. This gives you the offset from the beginning of the memory area to the desired recipe number.
  4. Convert this to binary and store it in the "Recipe Offset" variable. Pointers are binary numbers.
  5. Load the location of the recipe area into the accumulator. This number must be hex, so use the LDA instruction.
  6. Add (ADDB instruction) the pointer offset to the starting location of the recipe area.
  7. Output this value to the "Pointer Location" register. This register stores the V register number for the start of the recipe area to be accessed.
  8. Load (LDA) the hex value of the notepad location and output it to the notepad pointer register.
  9. Now, use a for/next loop to cycle through the required number of registers.

* Load the pointer for the recipe area and output it to the pointer for the notepad area.
* Increment each pointer by one.
* Continue to loop until done.

The logic for moving data from the notepad to the recipe area is even simpler. The math is essentially the same except for the last three instructions. Here, the MOV instruction can be used to move the entire table of data in one shot without the need for any looping.

Submitted by:
John W. Stone
Process Manager
Thermopol Inc.

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Application of the month: Machine produces 50 parts/minute with help from a variety of AutomationDirect products

Products used: DL06, GS2 Drive, Fuji contactors, EZTouch 6" color panel, absolute encoder, photo sensors

Description: A customer approached us about building an automatic machine capable of assembling their product at 50 pieces per minute. The product consists of two separate pieces that are spin welded together on the machine.

We chose a DL06 to handle the control of the machine. A 720 PPR absolute encoder makes sure the customer always knows where the indexer and mechanically-linked weld head are, regardless of power-up state. We picked a GS2 drive to power the machine with single phase, yet run a 2 HP, 3-phase motor to drive the indexer and mechanically-linked weld head.

Parts feed into the machine via one conveyor and one vibratory feeder/air track combo controlled by the DL06. A 2 HP servo drive is initiated by the DL06 when both parts have been detected by photo eyes, and the indexer is in the correct position.

The touch screen allows the end user to select the quantity of parts to run in a batch, start and stop the operation, and provide error messaging. The customer is already talking about a duplicate machine!

Submitted by:
Tony Lestan
Lestan Controls Inc.

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

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The Panhandler
A panhandler was caught trying to sneak aboard a Princess liner about to embark on a three-day trip to the Bahamas. He was caught by the Purser who threw him off the ship telling him, "Beggars can't be cruisers."

The General's Funeral
The famous general died and his ashes were to be taken to Arlington National Cemetery. All the air lines were booked and there were no other planes available. Someone came up with the idea of using a helicopter. It arrived at 5:00 A.M. The newspapers reported the incident with the headlines, ... "The Whirly Bird Gets The Urn"

The confused young man couldn't decide whether to marry Kathryn or Edith. Try as he might, he just could not make up his mind. Unwilling to give up either, he strung them along for far too long. This indecision continued until both young women got tired of the situation and left him for good. Moral of the story: ... You can't have your Kate and Edith, too.

New Coin
A spokesperson for the U.S. Mint announced that a new fifty-cent piece was being issued to honor two great American patriots. On one side of the coin would be Theodore Roosevelt, on the other, Nathan Hale. Asked why two people were going to be on the same coin, the official replied, "Now, when you have a coin toss, you can simply call "Teds, or Hales!"

The Wedding Gift
A female snake charmer was wooed by an undertaker and accepted his offer of marriage. They received many gifts at the wedding but their favorite was a set of towels embroidered with the words "hiss and hearse"

The Coal Miner
A news item this morning was about a local coal miner. It seems that his avocation was painting, but since he couldn't afford to buy canvasses he simply painted on the wall of his small cottage. Unfortunately, a gang of youths broke into his cottage earlier this week and defaced his paintings. Yesterday the young miscreants were charged in court with having "corrupted the murals of a miner."

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