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Visit us online or call 1-800-633-0405. Welcome to our periodic e-mail update of what's new & happening at AutomationDirect.
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  In this issue
    Company News
  Updated catalog addendum and price list is here
    Product Short Takes
  DirectSOFT 5 now available
  Latching Relays added to line up
    From the Web site
  Self Service Available 24/7
    Tech Talk
  Common Drive Installation/ Application Problems
    The Lighter Side

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© 2006
All rights reserved






Volume 8 Issue 3, March 2006
It’s time for another e-mail update of what's new and happening at AutomationDirect. You are receiving this e-news because you subscribed to the newsletter. To unsubscribe, see the bottom of this newsletter for an automatic unsubscribe link.

We always welcome your comments or suggestions concerning this newsletter.

Editor's note:

Well it’s definitely that time of year again; that time when the pharmaceutical and tissue manufacturers notice a boom in profits. In other words, spring has sprung with a vengeance. The daffodils, tulips, and forsythia are magnificent this year. The signs of new growth are exciting.

And the signs of growth are evident with the Forsyth Alliance robotics team. As has been reported in both our e-newsletters and our Automation NOTEBOOK, AutomationDirect is a proud sponsor of this team of Atlanta area high school students. The team recently competed in its Regional for the 15th Annual FIRST Robotics competition at the Gwinnett Civic Center.

Forsyth Alliance roboticsThe team had 42 days to design, build, test, and ship a man-sized robot for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition. By the end of the three-day Regional on March 16-18, the team’s robot, named “Otto,” walked away with the “Rookie All-Star” award. Winning this award guaranteed Otto a spot in the National championships in April at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta.

The team also won the “Imagery” award, of which our smiley guy was no small part. The team members were giving away green smiley guy t-shirts and buttons they had made. One spectator said, “Everywhere I looked, there were green smileys.”

We look forward to cheering on the Forsyth Alliance at the championship in Atlanta next month.

Speaking of growth, product lines continue to sprout new branches here at AutomationDirect. Read on to find what’s new, and, would someone pass the tissues?
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Company News
2006 addendum to Catalog Vol. 10New Catalog addendum now shipping
AutomationDirect is now shipping the new 448-page catalog addendum and updated price list as a supplement to the 1,750 page volume 10 catalog. Find information on several new products such as
C-more Touch Panels
and SureServo Systems.

For more details or to request a free catalog and addendum, also available on CD, go to our store and simply fill out a request form online

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New Products

Introducing DirectSOFT5
DirectSOFT5 PLC programming softwareDirectSOFT5 PLC programming software
from AutomationDirect contains many new features that make ladder logic programming faster and easier. The most important programming improvement is the addition of “IBoxes” which are modularized instructions that configure analog cards, CTRIO high-speed counters, ON/OFF delay timers, and equations.

With DirectSOFT5, documentation can be exported to C-more touch panels to use as tag names in the panel project. Other new features include customizable point and click editing and automatic backup for the four most recently saved project changes. And, with a properly configured SMTP mail server, PLCs using an Hx-ECOM100 communications card can be enabled by DirectSOFT5 to send emails.

Priced at $395, DirectSOFT5 is available in one package that supports the entire line of DirectLOGIC CPUs, eliminating the need for different packages for multiple PLCs. A free version of DirectSOFT5 allowing programming and downloading projects of up to 100 words is available for download online from our support site.
More information on DirectSOFT 5

Wider Selection of Relays
New Relays
AutomationDirect announces exciting additions to its line of relays. The new 783-3C series cube relays, equipped with 24V AC/DC or 120/240 VAC coils and a 15A contact rating, require the 783-3C-SKT socket. The 755-2C single coil, 16A contact magnetic latching relays are available in 120 and 240 VAC. The 755-2CD-24D is a dual coil 24 VDC magnetic latching relay with 16A contact rating. These relays require the 750-3C-SKT 11-pin octal base.
More information on relays

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From the Web site

OK, so the temp made a mistake. She accidentally shredded the invoice you asked her to give to the accounting department. Or, maybe you spilled your triple mocha caramel macchiato and can no longer tell if you ordered 10 widgets or 100. No matter what the case, with just a few clicks of a mouse, you can have a new reprint.

My Account menu
Reprinting invoices is just one of the many self-service features available to our customers 24/7.

Once you log onto, simply choose “MY ACCOUNT.” From there, click “Invoice List and Reprint”, choose the PO#, and you can print in either TEXT or PDF format. It’s that simple. By accessing this feature, you can have an extra copy of an invoice instantly rather than waiting to receive one by fax or through the mail.

Under the “MY ACCOUNT” category are many other features such as viewing open invoices, processed orders/order tracking, getting price quotes, and even a credit application.

My Account menu
Gathering price and delivery information is equally easy using our Web store, even for backordered items. Simply add your item to the shopping cart. In the shopping cart, we show price, stock status, and for most backordered items we show the expected shipment date.

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Tech Talk

From time to time, our tech support team receives calls from customers requesting setup assistance with AC variable frequency drives. We asked one of our technicians to provide us with solutions to a few common installation and application problems. Here are his suggestions:

Problem: You turn the drive on but the motor does not turn.
Solution: Check your speed reference input. Chances are, the drive is on and running at 0 Hz. This can happen when the analog input is lost or you are using one of the multi-speed selection inputs which may not be set up correctly.

Problem: You turn the drive on in the Forward direction but the motor turns in reverse.
Solution: Simply swap any two of the three wires on the output of the drive.

Problem: An overvoltage fault occurs every time the drive decelerates.
Solution: The DC bus voltage is rising above the maximum voltage threshold. Typically, this occurs when the deceleration time is too short. When you try to stop the load too fast, the inertia of the load can become greater than the motor can handle. The motor then gets “pushed” by the load and begins to generate energy back into the drive. This generated energy is fed back into the drive and onto the DC bus, thus raising the DC bus level. Increasing the deceleration time or adding a dynamic braking resistor will solve this problem.

Problem: The motor makes a high frequency noise.
Solution: This noise is coming from the carrier frequency of the PWM output of the drive. The VFD should have a parameter allowing adjustment of the carrier frequency. The noise may not go away completely, but usually can be minimized to a tolerable level.

Problem: Wrong input line voltage.
Solution: VFDs are divided into different frame sizes based on horsepower requirements and voltage classes. The more common classes are 100V (100-120V), 200V (200-240V), and 400V (380-480V). Applying the incorrect voltage to the wrong class will damage the VFD.

Problem: The drive runs from the keypad but it does not run from a remote switch or process.

Solution: Most VFDs have a parameter that selects the source of operation. Make sure this has been changed to select the source of operation by external control.

To check out our extensive library of technical help, visit our support site.

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The Lighter Side

--Taken from an email--
NEW WORDS FOR 2006: Essential vocabulary additions for the workplace (and elsewhere)

  1. BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.
  2. SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, makes a mess of things, starts blamestorming, and then leaves.
  3. SMOOCHMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.
  4. CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles
  5. PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop over the walls to see what's going on.
  6. MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.
  7. SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What Yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.
  8. STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.
  9. SWIPEOUT: An ATM, debit, or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.
  10. XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.
  11. IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The J-Lo and Ben wedding (or not) was a prime example, and weren’t we all devastated by the Brad and Jennifer break-up?
  12. PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the devil out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
  13. ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
  14. 404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error Message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested site could not be located.
  15. GENERICA: Features of America’s landscapes that are exactly the same no matter where you go, such as fast food joints, strip malls, subdivisions, etc.
  16. OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake. (Like after hitting send on an email by mistake)
  17. WOOFs: Well-Off Older Folks.

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

© 2006
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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