Comparison: Magnetrol PULSAR R96 vs Siemens SITRANS LR200

Level Product Review

Comparison: Magnetrol PULSAR R96 vs Siemens SITRANS LR200

Yo, all good? You’ve been waiting for this, right? We all like the comparisons, and Magnetrol PULSAR R96 against Siemens SITRANS LR200 promises a good fight. So here we go again, comparing two relevant products on the market! As always, only you know what will work best for your process, so consider your needs, wants, and options carefully.

Today we have two free space radar devices. Remember, for the best performance, a free space radar needs a minimum dielectric constant (DC) to work properly. You also need to take into account any extra stuff in your tank besides your product, because some can reflect the signal, creating a fake surface. If this happens, then you may get bad readings. And you need to know the beam angle and the minimum distance you can install your radar from the walls of the tanks.

Foam, vapor, and other things won’t affect the level most of the time, but you may need to analyze the echo curve to see if the radar sees the high surface. If the surface isn’t high, you need to tell the radar to ignore the interference and read only the peak. Yeah, lotta stuff. We’ll go deep on this topic in another article, but not today. Let’s get to our challenge!

On the right, we have the Pulsar R96 from the Magnetrol gang. They’ve traveled a long way in the instrumentation world, so we have high hopes for what they bring. On the left, we have the SITRANS LR200 from Siemens. They also have a lot of experience in the automation market. Let’s put ’em side by side and see how they match up.

But before we do – yes, we’re pitching our newsletter again! Come on, it’s fun! I drew a cartoon that you can only see on the newsletter. So sign up. It won’t hurt, and we won’t spam you.

Now take a seat, grab a water bottle, have a read, and draw your conclusions!

Unboxing

On the Siemens side – well, what can I say? All Siemens level transmitters look the same, which gives the brand consistency, I guess. When you first see the SITRANS LR200, you can’t really tell how to do the local configuration, but it has that ability, I promise.

Courtesy of Magnetrol and Siemens

On the other side, we have a completely different story. The Pulsar R96 has a different design from most of the others on the market. You have two different access points, one for the electrical bits and one for the display. The different design is not really necessary, but I’m okay with it, because it show a little personality from Magnetrol.

Display

The LR200 brings an LCD with bar graphs to represent your level data. Yeah, this feature is pretty standard, but I like it because gives you an easier way to read your measurements.

I mentioned that it looks like you can’t set up the device locally. However, Siemens just approaches it a little differently. Actually, more than a little. You get a “handheld” that looks like a TV remote. Um, why would I want to carry this thing around, especially if it only works for Siemens devices? Pass.

Courtesy of Magnetrol and Siemens

The Pulsar R96 has a standard local LCD, no remote control here. Like the LR200, it also has graphs. And both devices will allow a deep analysis of your echo curves, should you need to do that. The R96 has four local push buttons to navigate your local setup or check a diagnostic.

Yep, both solutions are pretty basic. Fingers crossed that we soon get an innovative setup, like an app, VR glasses, something! Sleep on it, R&D!

Distance and beam angle

The SITRANS LR200 can measure up to 20 meters! That may cover most basic applications, but it’s not much. Moreover, you need a dielectric constant of at least 3. Otherwise, you’ll need a still-pipe or waveguide antenna. As for the beam angle, a 4-inch antenna will have an angle of 29 degrees, and a 6-incher will get 17 degrees.

The Pulsar R96 offers twice the range of the Siemens option, up to 40 meters and a minimum DC of 1.7. Of course, you know the vendor throws out numbers from its best-case scenarios instead of real-world averages, so take those with a grain of salt.

Courtesy of Magnetrol and Siemens

Magnetrol provides a little more detail for your beam angle, if you’re willing to work for it. For example, a 4-inch antenna with a max range of 15 meters has a beam angle of 25 alpha (α) and beam spread of 6.8 meters. But Magnetrol, please give us better tables! Three guys spent more than 10 minutes figuring that out. Seriously!

Materials, process connections, and protocols

Both companies offer choices in materials for their radars. The Siemens radar has different materials for its antenna, flange, and housing, and any of them can withstand temperatures from -40 to 200 degrees Celsius and pressures up to 40 bar g.

As for integration, Siemens goes traditional with analog and TV hookups. Just kidding about the TV bit. I still can’t get over that wacky remote. Anyway, if you have a digital protocol, it’d better be HART or PROFIBUS PA. This model lacks options, but if you really want this device you can find converters on the market. And don’t forget to factor that cost into your decision!

Magnetrol has only a little more leeway in materials for the R96’s antenna, housing, and flanges. You can check this information out in the manual when you scale out the transmitter. Sadly, it comes up just as short in the integration field as the LR200, with analog, HART, and Foundation Fieldbus. Converter, anyone? Yes? No?

Fancy features

Not today. Next topic.

Information and documentation

Haha, my favorite part! (You thought it was the unboxing, didn’t you?) So, what to say about the Siemens website? How about yuck? Yep, I had real trouble finding the information there on my laptop. Let’s not even talk about what happened when I tried my smartphone. And the technical documentation is painfully hard to read.

Courtesy of Magnetrol and Siemens

Magnetrol doesn’t do much better; I had only marginally more luck with my laptop, and forget about anything else. The tech docs are okay to read, although the whole site could use a nicer design. You know me, I’m hard to please.

Conclusion

What do you think? Do you want either of these devices? I’d kinda hoped for more, but like I said, hard to please. One of these may suit your process perfectly. You’ll need to collect your requirements and scale out to find out!

Here, have a table:

Courtesy of Magnetrol and Siemens

And some competition:

Related tags: level level measurement LR200 Magnetrol Product comparison Pulsar R96 Radar radar level measurement Siemens
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