Here we are again! On the right, we have a super-famous handheld on the market, the Emerson Field Communicator 475! And on the left, a new challenger, the Yokogawa YHC5150X HART communicator.
Lets compare the most important features and see if the 475 can hold its ground against the Yokogawa YHC5150X!
HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus compatibility
Most companies have just one protocol in their plants, but you can find companies with more than one. Their field engineers have a field day managing the different requirements!
The 475 brings the possibility of two built-in protocols, either the HART version or the HART + Foundation Fieldbus. Both options work well, and if you have both protocols, then you don’t need to carry two tools to the field.
In this case, the Yokogawa 5150x only has the HART option. If you only have HART devices in your plant, then you’re good. On the other hand, if you work for a service company or you have HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus, you’ll want something other than the Yokogawa YHC5150X.
Hate to say it, but the 475 carries a few problems with its display. The handheld has color, 240 by 320 pixels, anti-glare coating, and 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) of transflective display with a touchscreen. It also has problems with white spots or blank lines appearing, and shortly afterward the touchscreen stops working properly. Not impressed, Emerson.
The 5150x offers color in 480 X 272 pixels and a 4.3 inch (10.9 cm) transflective display with an anti-glare touchscreen. I’ve yet to hear about display problems, but hey, holler at me if you know better! So at this point, we can call it bigger and slightly better in quality.
This round goes to Yokogawa!
I hope we’ll soon see a Gorilla Glass or similar option to upgrade the quality and impact resistance of the display. Cross your fingers and make your offerings, my people. #Innovation
Super important, this one. Having a battery croak on you out in the field sucks. Emerson claims that the 475 can support 20 hours of continuous use, 40 hours of typical use, and 80 hours on standby. Finding fine print on this claim makes me skeptical, though.
Our challenger claims 10 hours of continuous use, 20 hours typical use, and 100 hours in standby. No tiny disclaimers in the manual here, giving me reason to hope the claim will hold.
Device description update
Both devices use external software for their database updates. Updating a 475 is no picnic, so most users send their devices to Emerson for their updates. Furthermore, if you want to install a new DD, then you need to convert it first, and sometimes that’ll give you fits too. Yuck.
The Yokogawa YHC5150X has a lot of procedures that seem vague. For example, if I have an unregistered DD, do I need to convert it or can I install it directly? The manual doesn’t have much information, and I couldn’t find any tutorials or videos for it online. Sad. I’m calling this one a double-KO.
The 475 has a clear and nice menu tree. However, some options are hard to find intuitively. You might find them in the manual, but how many people look at that? Even basic questions like how to change the polling address or check the upgrade license need a support team!
The 5150X has a menu that tastes like Windows 95 and MS-DOS, if any of you remember those two systems. I don’t like it because it reminds me of cheap products. Still, the navigation is clear, and you always have a menu on the right for more options.
Let me tell you a little secret, though. Both devices are based on Windows. You’ll only see that when you have a firmware problem, so let’s hope you never do.
If you have HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus, forget about the Yokogawa YHC5150X. If you only have HART devices, then you can still consider it. One tiny bonus from Yokogawa: the company claims that you can update the handheld with a free program. Check on that, because if it’s true, then the Yokogawa YHC5150X gets a leg up on the 475, where you pay for the easy upgrade license!