Buyer guide: Emerson 475 and Yokogawa YHC5150X

Asset Management Product Review

Buyer guide: Emerson 475 and Yokogawa YHC5150X

Welcome to our third buyer guide! This time we’ll look at two handhelds on the market, the 475 from Emerson and the YHC5150X from Yokogawa. Let’s check out the features of each device individually, then put them face-to-face so you can decide which one suits you better.

Yokogawa YHC5150X

When we talk about handhelds, Yokogawa doesn’t come to mind right off the bat. However, this crew does have a HART communicator for you. But only HART, nothing else. This could hurt a field service company. Other brands offer FOUNDATION Fieldbus (FF) and HART in one handheld.

At 11.9 by 5.6 by 1.9 inches and almost a kilogram, it falls on the chunky side of the spectrum. Sadly, it doesn’t offer more than the cheapest standard handheld. The nav menu resembles a mix of Windows 95 and MS-DOS. On the bright side, it has a good-sized display with a touchscreen. If you ever need the keypad, then the QWERTY keyboard will make life easier. But since most users prefer the touchscreen, that doesn’t mean much.

Courtesy of Yokogawa

The YHC5150X uses software based on Windows Embedded CE™, as most market options do. It communicates with HART devices using device descriptions (DD). It also has great storage, four gigabytes installed with the option to stack up to 64. The battery takes most of the blame for the device’s heft, but it balances that with long life.

Following the market trend, Yokogawa allows you to upgrade databases and manage libraries. The FC Manager software can update from the internet or from your device. It sounds like you can get these updates with a free program. If that’s true, then that puts it ahead of its competitors.

You can also save configurations and download them to multiple devices. I like this feature, since many handhelds still lack this function. Moreover, it integrates with plant asset management (PAM) software and has an external calibrator. Most people expect these features, but it can affect your point of view.

This video has more information about the YHC5150X:

Emerson 475

Unlike the YHC51510X, the Emerson 475 ranks as a top-of-mind device. Ask a field tech for a handheld to set up HART and FF devices, and you’ll hear 475. So let’s see its features.

The 475 comes as HART only or HART + FF, which means you can set up a variety of devices. You just need the DD installed in the handheld’s library.

The device comes with an IP51 enclosure – meh, but better than nothing, right? – and an SD card to store a gigabyte of DDs with 32 megabytes left. It also has language options, but only for menus and basic functions. If your DD is in English, then it’ll show up in English or half-English. Awkward.

Courtesy of Emerson

It has a touchscreen display, but that has issues. It may develop spots or lines, and inevitably, it’ll lose some of the touchscreen function. That makes it the weakest point on the 475.

It has an easy interface, but for another setup, you’ll have to tinker. You may even need the manual. It also offers a built-in valvelink – which only works with a Fisher positioner. And you’ll need the diagnostics. Gotta cough up more coins for that.

Emerson kept the navigation simple and cool, but updating your library is messy. You have to install its upgrade utility and establish a connection just to remove the SD card to read the files. You may also need to convert your files before installing them. It comes with easy upgrade licenses, but most users would rather send their handhelds to Emerson or a specialist, and those options cost extra too.

As for the keyboard, sure, most people prefer the touchscreen. But when the display starts acting up, you’ll thank your stars you have the keyboard.

The contenders

Now that we’ve presented each contender, it’s time to put them to battle. On the right, we have the top-of-mind handheld, Emerson’s 475! On our left, the challenger YHC5150X from Yokogawa!

Let’s compare their features and see if the 475 can hold its ground against the Yokogawa YHC5150X.

Courtesy of Yokogawa and Emerson

Supported protocol

The first disparity between these handhelds appears on their protocols. Most plants just have one protocol,  but some companies have more than one.

If you just have HART in your plant, then either will work. However, if you have HART and FF, then only the Emerson 475 will do for you. But that means you won’t need to carry two tools to the field.

Display

When it comes to the display, the 475 comes with a colored, anti-glare coating over 240 by 320 pixels and 3.5 inches of a transflective display with touchscreen. But it has problems with spots and lines showing up before the touchscreen stops working properly.

The YHC5150X from Yokogawa offers a colored, 480 by 272 pixel, 4.3-inch transflective display with an anti-glare touchscreen. Haven’t heard of problems with its display, but if you experienced any, please let us know! So at this point we can say that it’s bigger and slightly better than the 475. This round goes to Yokogawa.

I hope we soon see Gorilla Glass or a similar material to upgrade the impact resistance and quality of the display. Cross your fingers and make your offerings, my people. #Innovation

Courtesy of Yokogawa and Emerson

Battery

This is a very important point. Having your battery die out in the field can be frustrating.

Emerson claims that its 475 can support 20 hours of continuous use, 40 hours of typical use, and 80 hours on standby. The fine print on this claim makes me skeptical, though.

Yokogawa’s contender claims 10 hours of continuous use, 20 hours of typical use, and 100 hours on standby. No tiny disclaimers in the manual here, giving me a reason to hope the claim will hold.

Device description update

Both devices use external software for their database updates. Updating the  Emerson 475 is no piece of cake. Most users send their devices back to Emerson for that. Plus, when you install a new DD, you need to convert it first, and sometimes that’ll give you fits too.

The Yokogawa YHC5150X has a lot of procedures that seem vague. If you have an unregistered DD, for example, then do you convert it first or can you install it directly? Not much about it in the manual, and I couldn’t find any videos or tutorials for it online either.

Sad. I’m calling this one a double-KO.

User experience

The Yokogawa YHC5150X has a menu which looks like a mix of Windows 95 and MS-DOS. Do any of you remember these systems? I don’t like it because it reminds me of cheap products. But it’s clear and you always have a menu on the right for more options.

The Emerson 475 has a nice menu tree, but some of the options are not intuitive. You might find them in the manual, but who looks in the manuals these days? Even basic issues such as how to change the polling address or check the upgrade license need a support team.

Let me tell you a little secret. Both devices are Windows based, but you’ll never notice unless you have a firmware problem. So let’s hope you never do.

Conclusion

If you have only HART devices, then you should consider the Yokogawa YHC5150X.  It has an advantage over the 475, since Yokogawa claims that you can update the handheld with a free program. With the Emerson 475 you will probably have to pay for the easy upgrade license. On the other hand, if you want HART and FF, then you only have one option here – the 475.

Related tags: 475 Field communicator Asset Management Buyer Guide devices Emerson Automation Solutions English field communicator Foundation Fieldbus handheld HART Intermediate Plant Asset Management Solutions YHC5150X Yokogawa
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Buyer guide: Emerson 475 and Yokogawa YHC5150X
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