Product Review: VEGAPULS WL 61
Of all the ways to measure level, most of the time a radar level transmitter isn’t the cheapest option. This tech has a lot of benefits compared to its competitors, but it’s still relatively new to the market. That and the price often make buyers hesitate.
But vendors have begun to offer low-cost radars to tip the balance. Now, you can apply a radar level transmitter in a simple application for a good price. And many of them have new options for set up that make the user experience easier than before.
Today, the gang from VEGA brings the VEGAPULS WL 61 to Visaya for a review! Let’s check out its features and weigh the pros and cons so you can consider this device for your plant!
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 VEGAPULS WL 61 is a cousin to the VEGAPULS WL S61, which we reviewed here. They differ mostly in measuring range and output protocol. But we’re here to talk about the WL 61, so let’s get to it.
Design – come on. In case you missed it, we did say its a “low-cost” radar level transmitter. No, it doesn’t have a local display, either. If you need one, then you can buy an external like the VEGADIS 82 or something similar.
However, if your display has Bluetooth, then it can connect to that! Of course, the WL S61 has Bluetooth integrated, so you don’t need an external display there. Why on the S61 and not the 61? Mystery.
Granted, you don’t need Bluetooth; you can set up using HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus (FF), or PROFIBUS PA. This feature alone puts the WL 61 a step above some of its competitors. Not naming names, but you’ll see for yourself if you keep researching.
The WL 61 has a limited range of materials, even though it can fit a wide range of applications. Don’t forget, “low-cost” option! You can get the wetted parts in Valor PBT or PP, process seal in FPM, and connection cable insulated in PUL. On the VEGA website, you can learn more, if you want to poke around in those.
What can it do?
This radar level transmitter works in a K-band of 26 gigahertz and fits in a variety of applications. On the official site, VEGA has some examples – vacuum tanks, pump stations, sludge tanks, and many others.
It has a range of 15 meters with an accuracy of +-2 millimetres. Furthermore, it can shrug off temps from -40 to 80 degrees Celsius and pressures from -1 to 2 bar.
You get several options of threaded and flange connections for its simple installation, so you’ll surely find one to fit your needs. If not, then talk to the rep. Who knows? Somebody might have something special in the back.
Why should I care?
Because you can replace your old ultrasonic with exciting new technology for fairly cheap, right?
You can also use VEGA Tools, an app for Android or iOS, to easily set up this device – if you buy the remote display. Otherwise, you have to stick with the handheld. But you can still download the app and use the demo to experience how to set up a field device using Bluetooth.
Last but not least, the VEGAPULS WL 61 has several approvals for hazardous areas, according to ATEX and IEC, and a protection rating of IP68.
The VEGAPULS WL 61 offers a lot of advanced tech for a simple radar level transmitter. With its wide range of applications, Bluetooth setup, and three field protocols, this gadget outpaces many competitors on the market.
Note: I’ve received a message from the Marketing Manager of the UK saying that VEGAPULS WL 61 has Bluetooth built-in outside USA. Now, if you are outside the USA, it’s clear that you can have this feature built-in! However, you don’t find this information on the website or documentation, and we have the screenshot from the support answering that the device does not have Bluetooth built-in! Then…It’s not our fault; we are users just like you guys.
I didn’t find a video about the VEGAPULS WL 61, but you can see how the Bluetooth feature works: