Automation Cookbook is a collection of short video chapters covering a wide variety of automation application topics. Each chapter starts with a “U can do it!” overview, which explains the capabilities and usefulness of a specific automation task. There is a group of “Tech Tips” videos in each chapter, where we detail technical nuggets and the “gotchas” that can slow down experts and novices alike when specifying and implementing the topic in question. Here’s the best part: we have “How To” videos that show step-by-step demonstrations of exactly how to hook up, troubleshoot, and even program the task at hand.


The Cookbook currently includes chapters on Temperature Sensing, Object Detection, A/C Motors (On/Off Control), Distance Measuring and SCADA/HMI, but check back often for many other automation topics.

You can navigate directly to:  

The Automation Cookbook is also easily accessible from any page on the AutomationDirect main Web site:

Simply click the link “Video Tutorials” located on the left-hand navigation bar (marked 1 in the image below). The Video Home page will be displayed, where you can click on the Tab labeled “Automation Cookbook” (marked 2).


The above image also illustrates the layout for each chapter of the cookbook. The “U can do it” video is at the top, followed by numerous helpful “Tech Tips” videos, and then the hardware-specific “How to” videos that can get you up and running in minutes.

So what can you expect in each topic?

Temperature Sensing

temp-sensingFrom curing ovens to milk pasteurization, temperature sensing and control has become an important part of automation. Learn about types of temperature sensors and how they work; hardware review of temperature probe and transmitter styles; how to select the right temperature sensor for your application; see typical ladder logic programming for temperature sensing with CLICK, Do-more and Productivity series PLCs.

Object Detection

object-detectionOne of the most pervasive functions of a control system is detecting the presence of an object. There are a myriad of sensing technologies, such as inductive, capacitive and ultrasonic devices that detect nearness (proximity), and photoelectric devices that sense presence using light beams. Learn about each type of sensing technology and its suitable application spaces; see typical ladder logic programming for detecting objects with CLICK, Do-more and Productivity series PLCs.

A/C Motors (On/Off Control)

acmotors-on-offMost control systems have to make things move, and that usually involves motors. Learn about AC motor control, from a simple switch to full reversing contactor configurations; selecting and using contactors and associated circuit breakers, overload protectors, and surge protectors; see typical hardware components and ladder logic programming for motor control with CLICK, Do-more and Productivity series PLCs.

Distance Measuring

distance-measuringA more advanced object detection function involves measuring the actual distance of an object from the sensing point. Learn about distance measuring technologies including ultrasonic and laser sensors; selecting the correct measuring style depending on the environment and object types; how to set up and use distance sensors; see typical ladder logic programming for distance measuring with CLICK, Do-more and Productivity series PLCs.

Got ideas for a Cookbook topic?  Drop us a note!

Originally Published: Sept. 3, 2015

By Rick Folea, AutomationDirect [hozbreak]Cookbook What do You Want To Do Image