Product Review: Honeywell Minitrend GR data recorder
Data recorders are powerful tools for your application. Some vendors use different names – paperless or field recorders – but they still work the same way. You can monitor simple applications, combine advanced functions, create batch controls or advanced equations to control other devices, and much more.
Today, the Honeywell horde presents to Visaya the Minitrend GR, an advanced graphic recorder! You can do big things with this small version. We’ll go over the most important features, but if you want to learn more, click on that device directory on the right.
Disclaimer: This product review examines only features, not performance. If you’ve used this device, feel free to share your experience in the comments.
Whatcha got there?
The Minitrend GR can connect to a variety of devices to read data or control process functions. It has a discreet design with a nice 5.7-inch digital color LCD with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Here you can read the process variables with bar charts, trends, digital values, or customized options.
The local setup feels on-trend with its touchscreen but dated with its menu. However, the setup itself looks simple and intuitive; you should get a handle on it quickly. The display also has a screen-saver timer that you can set for 1 to 720 minutes to extend the life of the LCD.
The Minitrend, as the name says, is a small device: 2.7 kilograms and 144 millimeters wide, 144 high, and 200 around. Honeywell also suggests an extra 80 for the cables, so you should factor that in. If you want a bigger display, then Honeywell has larger options in this line.
The internal memory is the critical point here. You don’t want to stop recording and delete old data just because you ran out of space. The Minitrend has an internal memory up to 4 gigabytes (GB) and the option to extend this memory using SD cards up to 32 GB, USB sticks with no size restrictions, or USB hard drives up to 120 GB. However, on the order form, they only offer SD cards up to 8 GB. Might as well buy a bigger stick on Amazon or eBay! Just saying.
As an industrial device, you have a bunch of approvals, such as CE, CSA, UL, and others. You can check the technical manual for the right approval for your application. You can also get it with Nema 4X/IP66 protection, but you have to choose that when ordering.
What can it do?
The Minitrend GR has a ton of advanced functions, such as logical applications using math equations and batch control. Depending on what you need, you can save money using this device to control some of your field processes.
You can choose up to 16 analog inputs, as it will read current, resistance, volts, thermocouples, and RTDs. It has tons of inputs and outputs for a multitude of combos – 4 pulse inputs, 24 digital inputs, 8 relay alarm outputs, 4 analog outputs, and more. You can also supply up to 200 milliamps of power to the field transmitter and cut out an extra power supply in your panel.
Limited communication, though. On the standard Ethernet, the device automatically picks an IP address in the LAN. With this, you can also set up an email account to send data. To connect the Minitrend with a remote system, you can use Modbus RS485, Modbus TCP/IP, or maybe Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP). The web server allows you to read the process variables, alarms, and messages using your internet browser. On the downside, the device lacks other integration choices like PROFINET, Ethernet/IP, or HART-IP.
Why should I care?
Because you can use it in many applications! You can collect and record data from field devices remotely or in the field with the SD card or USB stick. In advanced applications, you can set alarms to indicate that a process is out of limits or functions to control said process.
Honeywell has a credit system for these functions. For instance, if you want reports and fast scan, then you need 8 credits. Health/maintenance, remote viewing, reports, e-mail, Modbus masters – the list goes on. You can find a description of each option on the datasheet.
Hang on, we got more! The Minitrend GR speaks 15 different languages, and the TrendManager Pro external software can provide remote management, configuration, visualization, and more. Last but not least, the device allows data encryption, password protection up to 4 levels, and 50 users. Beyond that, you have Honeywell’s Extended Security System (ESS) and password network synchronization.
The Minitrend GR is a mini only in size! It has a huge list of functions. We can’t even cover everything here, so I tried to hit the most relevant points. Let me know if I missed any! You can read more here.