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  • How to Choose a Controller

    How to Choose a Controller

    Choosing the most effective controller for your application depends on a number of factors. The worksheet below serves as a checklist of things to consider when determining programmable controller requirements. It lists the most important areas to consider when choosing …

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  • Understanding Discrete & Analog I/O

    Understanding Discrete & Analog I/O

    So what do you think, is this glass half full or half empty? For me, that could be a little difficult to answer and could vary based on the day I’m having, but if we are asking about the level, …

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  • Sinking and Sourcing Concepts

    Sinking and Sourcing Concepts

    When choosing the type of input or output module for your PLC system, it is very important to have a solid understanding of sinking and sourcing concepts. Use of these terms occurs frequently in discussion of input or output circuits. It is the goal of this …

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  • Equipment Specification Template

    Equipment Specification Template

    So you found a task that you’d like to automate but you need a way to sort out what pieces are needed and how they fit together. At this phase of development, organization is key. When specifying a project, staying …

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  • Understanding Basic Electrical Theory

    Understanding Basic Electrical Theory

    No single discovery has affected our lives, our culture and our survival more than electricity. Electricity is everywhere; it lights our way, cooks our food and can even brush your teeth. For an example, imagine where the medical field would …

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  • Machine Maintenance Checklist

    Machine Maintenance Checklist

    It is important to develop a routine maintenance schedule for your automated control system. Having a routine schedule for checking critical components and devices in the system will increase the longevity of the system and more importantly, it will help …

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  • Specifying and Sizing Motor Starters

    Specifying and Sizing Motor Starters

    There are four basic motor control options available: Basic contactors, traditional starters, manual motor starters, or combination starters. A basic contactor is a special purpose relay that is used to control large electrical currents. Similarly, a traditional starter utilizes overload relays, …

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  • What Type of Photoelectric Sensor Is Best For Me?

    What Type of Photoelectric Sensor Is Best For Me?

    There are many different styles of photoelectric sensors, but really only four basic technologies: through-beam, reflective, diffuse, and background suppression. The chart describes some advantages and disadvantages of each technology. To learn more about AutomationDirect’s photoelectric sensors visits www.AutomationDirect.com/photoelectric.

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  • Choosing The Right Proximity Sensor

    Choosing The Right Proximity Sensor

    Proximity sensors allow non-contact detection of objects. Therefore, they are used in many industries, including manufacturing, robotics, semiconductor, and many more. Inductive sensors detect metallic objects while capacitive sensors detect all other materials. Ultrasonic sensors detect all materials by using sound …

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  • What Do The NEMA Ratings Mean?

    What Do The NEMA Ratings Mean?

    Designed to house all kinds of electrical components from simple terminal blocks, to industrial automation systems, to high voltage switchgear, NEMA enclosures are also used in industrial applications to house motor controls, drives, PLC/PC control systems, pushbuttons, and termination systems. NEMA enclosures

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  • Thermal Management: Enclosure Cooling Tips

    Thermal Management: Enclosure Cooling Tips

    You need to cool down – Heat inside an enclosure can decrease the life expectancy of controlling units such as your PLC, HMI, AC drives and other items. Excessive heat can cause nuisance faults from your electrical and electronic components: for example, overloads …

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  • Selecting an Enclosure Fan or Air Conditioner

    Selecting an Enclosure Fan or Air Conditioner

    Internal and External sources often cause enclosure internal temperatures to rise above the ratings of the control equipment. Internally, the same items that can be damaged by heat (power supplies, PLC systems, AC drives/inverters, HMI systems, battery back-up systems, servos, etc.)  may …

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  • Selecting an Enclosure Heat Exchanger

    Selecting an Enclosure Heat Exchanger

    Heat inside an enclosure can decrease the life expectancy of controlling units such as your PLC, HMI, AC drives and other items. Excessive heat can cause nuisance faults from your electrical and electronic components. Heat will also change the expected performance of circuit breakers and …

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