Comparison: AMS Trex Communicator vs. Beamex MC6

Asset Management Product Review

AMS Trex Communicator vs. Beamex MC6

In the last product review of January, we have two competitors in terrific shape for one of the most anticipated fights of the month! The AMS Trex communicator and Beamex MC6

Before you complain about apples and oranges, let me explain the concept here. The idea to do the comparison between the AMS Trex communicator and the MC6 came after I read Emerson’s claim that the Trex brings multiple functions to one device.

After scanning the promotional content, I thought, “What if I do a comparison? A lot of devices on the market offer the same functions or more than the Trex, but maybe the average user doesn’t know that.”

Courtesy of Emerson Automation Solutions and Courtesy of Beamex

So take a seat! The hottest fight of the month is about to start!

Unboxing

The AMS Trex communicator is a mix of tablet and brick. Yeah, I already used that joke, but I like the way it almost rhymes here, so I’m repeating it. It weighs 1.33 kilograms, but our competitor weighs 1.5 kilograms! And if you get the extender case, then that goes up to 2.0 kilograms! The Beamex crew obviously noticed the heft and chose to use kilograms instead of grams for better spin. Trex takes this round.

The Trex has a 5.7 inch color display VGA resistive touchscreen, which means you can leave your gloves on! The MC6 has an almost identical display, so we have nothing conclusive here. I hope Emerson changed the display supplier, because the 475’s display sucks.

Courtesy of Emerson Automation Solutions and Courtesy of Beamex

The AMS Trex communicator’s battery offers you 8 hours of operating time and 3 to 4 hours of recharge time. I thought it was heavy because of the battery, but apparently not. Unimpressed, Emerson. The MC6 has 10 to 16 hours with a recharge of around 4 hours. This round goes to Beamex.

The Trex  has an internal memory of 2 GB that you can extend to 32 GB against – the unknown space of the MC6. I got nothing, literally. Couldn’t find any data on the MC6’s memory. Point to the AMS Trex communicator. Both devices have a simple keypad, but you can configure your devices with the touchscreen, so nobody cares about the keypad.

The enclosure rating of the Trex is only IP54, which boils down to none at all, really. The MC6 stomps the Trex with its rating of IP65.

Protocol support

The MC6 has HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus and PROFIBUS PA already built in, so you can set up field devices or read process information in those protocols. The Trex only has two built-in options, HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus. Another point for the MC6!

You can upgrade both devices and their device description files for your field devices, so we’re even on that score. However, upgrading DDs is easier on the AMS Trex communicator than the MC6. The Beamex manual tells you to go to the website and download the files if you don’t have them. Meh. One more to the Trex!

Loop power

Ah, loop power, the polemic topic of the article. Emerson insists that you don’t need a power supply, just a single cable to power up and connect into HART and FF devices. Oh, really?

Here you have two module options, one to just read the data and the other to power up and read the data. However, you may need to change the cables depending on the option you choose. Then, if you want to power up a FF device, then you have to make like an engineer and cobble something together. Why so difficult, Emerson?

As I said before, you’re gonna lose the red bits, I guarantee.

Courtesy of Emerson Automation Solutions

Here the MC6 shines! First of all, you have more protocols than the Trex, with the HART, FF, and PROFIBUS PA choices. Secondly, the MC6 really does provide power using a single cable. You also don’t need to change the cable to choose HART, FF, or PROFIBUS PA. Last but not least, you can decide if you want to power the devices or not!

Yeah, the MC6 sweeps this round.

User experience

Both devices offer excellent user experiences, with clear navigation and easy function setups! Although if we talk about instrumentation setup and diagnostics, then the Trex brings a better user interface than the MC6.

Courtesy of Emerson Automation Solutions and Courtesy of Beamex

The MC6 has simpler interfaces, a little too simple for my tastes. The Trex interface has the bells and whistles to make it more attractive to me. As always, tastes vary, so you’ll have to decide that one for yourself.

Diagnostics and calibration

The Trex does more than your average handheld, because you can run diagnostics in an FF network! This is great if you have a digital network, allowing you to check if the problem is the device or the network. Plus you can measure the current value of your analog output, which means you can leave the multimeter in the workshop!

The MC6 is above all a calibrator for pressure and temperature devices. Beamex added the communication function as a gift, which we appreciate. The MC6 also has simulations for current, voltage, resistance and other functions. Very handy. And you have pulse counting, switch state sensing, and data logging. Even better!

As you can see, the MC6 comes with great options that eliminate extra devices for common field functions. However, it lacks a network diagnostic, the main weak point here.

Overall, this one comes out kinda appley-orangey. So you’ll have to figure out which device gives you the most options for your applications.

Conclusion

The Trex brings all of Emerson’s vast experience in the instrumentation world. The MC6 brings high-level and wide-ranging functions with all of Beamex’s long experience with calibration. You’ll make a good choice even if you eeny-meeny-miney-mo it. You’ll make a better choice if you sit down with the specs of your process and pick whichever one covers more of them. Just sayin’.

Table of comparison

Here, I made a chart for you so you’re less tempted to eeny-meeny-miney-mo it.

Courtesy of Emerson Automation Solutions and Courtesy of Beamex

Article: Why do we do products reviews and comparisons.

Related tags: Beamex FF FF Communicator field communicator Foundation Fieldbus communicatior handheld HART HART communicator Trex
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Comparison: AMS Trex Communicator vs. Beamex MC6
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