Comparison: WIKA TIF52 vs PR Electronics 7501
Speaking of temperature – yes, we were, haven’t you been reading this month? – our friend German installed a transmitter in the office so we can check the ambient temperature. Some people check it regularly, then ask to turn off the air conditioner. Maybe we need to turn off the transmitter! :p
Today, we have two new companies for Visaya’s comparison. On the blue side, the gang from WIKA have brought the TIF52! On the red side, PR Electronics will put up the 7501 for review! Let’s see how these devices can support you in your daily requirements.
Disclaimer: This product review examines only features, not performance. If you’ve used this device, feel free to share your experience in the comments.
During the unboxing, the TIF52 gave the initial impression of a robust device, not fancy but solid. On the other hand, this compact device has a display that catches your attention.
The local LCD shows the process values, minimum and maximum limit values, and alarms. It also has a bar graph that will show the percentage of the range, which I like. But WIKA’s online documentation doesn’t tell you if it has a backlight. If you’ve handled this device, then let us know, will you?
The local control keys – Down, Up, Escape, and Enter – let you navigate through the menu so you can set up the device in the field without a handheld. Of course, you can use its HART protocol to set up as well.
On the red side, the 7501 looks like a good field transmitter. As I said in the product review, I’ve never heard of this crew before. I tripped over PR in a Google search! Anyway, this otherwise-simple device also has a fancy display to catch your attention. And if that doesn’t, then the color combo will – even though nobody cares about the device’s color!
Back to the display. The local screen sports 96 x 64 pixels and a white backlight for a touch of elegance. For a touch of efficiency, the backlight switches from white to flashing red if you have a problem. On the display, you can read the process data, diagnostics, bar graphs, and menu. Best of all, it has optical buttons that you can operate without taking your gloves off! Woohoo!
No big surprises here. Both devices support the basic requirements. The 7501 has two inputs for thermocouples, RTDs, resistance, and millivolts. That way, you can fit it in most temp applications in a range of segments.
On the blue side, the TIF52 also has two inputs to connect the same types of sensors. By using both, you can have a redundant installation or a temperature differential or even a temperature average.
Both transmitters have inputs that can read the most common sensors, so it breaks even here.
Field protocol and output
Okay, it breaks even here too, but not in a great way! Neither of these devices have much for communication. That doesn’t mean they lack technology, but maybe these companies have company strategies that focus on other priorities. Or something. While digital protocols aren’t necessary, they are relevant in many segments.
Anyway, back to the comparison! The TIF52 came out with the much-loved analog and HART, and those two options cover a hefty range of applications. Digital, not so much.
Same goes for the 7501, so if you need a FOUNDATION Fieldbus or PROFIBUS PA protocol, then these are not the droids you’re looking for. You probably could convert the signal to a digital protocol, but I don’t recommend it.
Performance and approvals
Both brands state a standard accuracy for their devices, but you need to check the measuring deviation of your sensor to get your true accuracy. Usually, you’ll find this information in the technical manual. Usually.
The TIF52 has a standard accuracy of +-0.1 percent of measuring span. The manual has more about the input and typical deviation of each sensor you can use. Furthermore, you get a good-sized list of approvals for applying this device in hazardous and harsh environments.
The 7501 claims an accuracy of 0.05 percent, but it has only superficial sensor data in the manual. More, please! Beyond that, the 7501 can also handle harsh and hazardous areas. At least PR provides all the certifications in the manual, if you want to check those out.
No high-end devices here, but even these have a few nice perks on them.
For instance, the TIF52 has two attractive features, the redundant input and the Sensor Drift Detection. The redundant option allows two sensors to measure the same point. If you have a problem with one, the device will switch to the other and send a diagnostic while the process keeps running. Yay, we like avoiding unscheduled downtime!
The Sensor Drift Detection will constantly check the difference between two sensors following your limit setup. If the difference becomes great enough, the sensor will flag the display or your control system through the HART protocol.
The 7501 sends up a different sort of flag, which I mentioned earlier. Your backlight stays white under normal conditions, but it will flash red to alert you to a problem. And PR has two different patents on this device. The first is its extremely power-efficient digital communication, and the second its buttons with their 10-millimeter explosion-proof windows. Nifty!
Information and documentation
Good and responsive websites? Yeah, no. WIKA’s site follows a conservative design, but it’s not terrible. You can find what you want – if you know what you want! If you just want more info on the devices or help finding the right device, you’ll get stuck. And the experience on your phone or tablet will frustrate you even more.
PR’s site is a bit easier for finding devices, but only because the company has fewer options than WIKA. And a big old NOPE on using your phone or tablet here too.
On the plus side, both companies bring clear documentation where you can find information easily. My only nitpick is that WIKA has its documents in English and German, so sometimes you may find yourself in the German part of the document with no idea which way to go.
Both devices are so similar that they’re almost identical. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Scale out both, check the price tags, and pick whichever suits your fancy and your wallet best!