Buyer guide: Magnetrol PULSAR R96 and Siemens SITRANS LR200

Hey, people! Another day of fun with radar devices! So who’s ready for it? Heck yeah! Come on, everybody likes comparing things to decide which one’s best – phones, cars, shoes, you name it. So naturally we here at Visaya like comparing measuring devices. And the best part? You get to compare and draw conclusions on your own to determine what suits your needs! So let the feast begin!

Today we’ll talk about the Magnetrol PULSAR R96 and Siemens SITRANS LR200. But before we get started, let’s review what you need for a radar device to work properly.

First, you need a minimum dielectric constant, no getting around that. Also, you have to factor in any extra bits and bobs in your tank. Some stuff can reflect your radar’s signal and give you a bad reading. And you must know your beam angle and minimum distance from your tank walls. Plus, surface variations may show up in the echo curve, and you have to factor that in too. So take notes, because your process will test you later, no doubt.

Now let’s dive in!

Magnetrol PULSAR R96

If you’ve been in the industry a good length of time, then you know Magnetrol. So let’s welcome the PULSAR R96. As a non-contact radar, it has excellent flexibility for many applications. But will it suit yours? Let’s check.


It may not look like much, but the Magnetrol Pulsar R96 packs plenty of options. It comes as a loop-powered device that only needs 24 volts to power up. However, the HART option only needs 11, and the FOUNDATION Fieldbus (FF) option takes anywhere between 9 and 17.5. You can set it up through the local display with its push buttons or remotely using the HART or FF protocols.

Image of Magnetrol PULSAR R96
Courtesy of wateronline

So how does it work? Well, this device emits short bursts of energy at six gigahertz, then measures how long the energy bursts take to reflect from the product surface. It works fine in liquids and slurries but will need a dielectric constant between 1.1 to 100. Magnetrol also claims that it ignores vapor, foam and buildup. Does anyone out there have one of these? If so, then tell us in the comments what you think of this claim.


Okay, the measurement range for this device will depend on its beam angle, measuring distance, size of the antenna, and a few other factors. So let’s dig around and see what comes up.

The R96 has a range of up to 40 meters, depending on the antenna – the 4-inch will give you 20, and the 6-inch 40. Fortunately, Magnetrol provides a table with the dielectric constants and antennas to show the maximum ranges. You have to factor in the installation and objects in the tank too.

And let’s not forget the beam angle, either. That’ll depend on two factors, the antenna diameter and the maximum range. For instance, if you have the 4-inch horn and a max of 12 meters, then you’ll get an angle of 25 alpha (α) and spread of 5.4 meters. But if you use the 6-inch horn with a 40-meter max, then you get 17 α and 3.7 meters.

Finally, you have to consider temperature and pressure. The R96 can withstand over 200 degrees Celsius and -14.7 to 750 pounds per square inch gauge. Sounds good, huh?


The R96 comes in aluminium or stainless steel to resist corrosion. As for the antenna, Magnetrol offers options there too. Check out the manual for the full list.

imgae of Magnetrol PULSAR R96
Courtes of Magnetrol

With HART, FF, and analog, it ain’t fancy, but it can cover most applications. Last but not least, it has the certification for SIL2, which takes care of your safety integrity level.

Siemens SITRANS LR200

Time to welcome the Siemens SITRANS LR200 from Siemens, a well-known player in this field! Now let’s find out what this doodad has.


As a loop-powered device, it uses the same pair of cables to power up and communicate. It too has a 6-gigahertz frequency but only a range of 20 meters. And if your dielectric constant falls below 3, then you’ll need a guided wave radar or still-pipe.

image of Siemens SITRANS LR200
Courtesy of Siemens

On the plus side, it has a local display that shows process data and graphics for the echo profile. On the minus side, it doesn’t come with a local setup, so you need its old-school TV-remote-style handheld. And my opinion of that? Bluetooth, people. Just try it.


Many factors can influence your signal, like antenna size. For example, a 4-inch antenna will give you a beam angle of 29 degrees. But an 8-inch antenna will change the beam angle to 17 degrees. Also, temperature and pressure can make a difference. The LR200 can manage -40 to 200 degrees Celsius and pressures of up to 40 bar.

As for materials – housing, process connection, gasket – you need to keep compatibility in mind. But the manual outlines the materials available, so check that before you buy a device that won’t hold up in your process.


The LR200 only offers analog, HART, and PROFIBUS PA, but those three cover a lot of industrial ground. The local configuration could use some work, and the lack of wireless disappoints me a bit. But on the bright side, you can set the device up using the remote and analyze the echo curve to sort out possible issues.

image of Siemens SITRANS LR200
Courtesy of Lesman

Table of comparison


Magnetrol PULSAR R96

Siemens SITRANS LR200




    distinct design; two access points, one for electrical stuff, one for display
    design resembles other Siemens devices; local configuration not intuitive




    standard LCD, no remote access; four buttons for navigation and setup; echo-curve analysis


    LCD with bar graphs and echo-curve analysis; local configuration with handheld




Distance and beam angle

    max. range = 40 meters
    min. dielectric constant = 1.7
    beam angle = 4-inch antenna offers 25 degrees and a spread of 6.8 meters
    max. range = 20 meters
    min. dielectric constant = 3
    1. beam angle = 4-inch antenna has 29 degrees and 6-inch 17




HART, FF, and analog HART, PROFIBUS PA, and analog



Information and documentation

weak website and user experience, but decent tech docs  weak website, user experience, and tech docs



Although neither offers a lot, both fall under the “decent enough” heading. If you’re a simple user with simple needs, then one of these may suit your process perfectly. So gather your data and scale out to find out!

Recommended articles

Product Review: Ecofrog from E-Sensorix

Featured Level Product Review

Product Review: NOVUS Logbox Wi-Fi

Articles Product Review