Product Review: KOBOLD NGR guided radar level transmitter

Before we discuss the KOBOLD NGR, we need to discuss a much more important topic – your level of expectations. Get it? Okay, okay, I’ll stop – for now.

Have you heard of KOBOLD? Saying “no” here doesn’t disqualify this company in any way. Vendors have different strategies regarding segments, countries, sales channels, and such, so you can’t know everybody. A bucket full of measuring devices always gets our attention, though, so we’ll check some of these devices out. If you already use a KOBOLD product, drop a comment below.

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Today we have the NGR, a guided radar level transmitter. Let’s take a look at its features and figure it out where to deploy it. Stick with me and if you have any questions, just drop us a line!

Disclaimer: This product review examines only features, not performance. If you’ve used this device, feel free to share your experience in the comments. This content serves the purpose of providing information if you want a new device.

Whatcha got there?

As a low-cost guided radar, the NGR has most of the basic features to run in many processes. While the sensor size will depend on your application, the transmitter itself is rather dainty.

image of KOBOLD NGR
Courtesy of Kobold

Apparently the technical manual is rather dainty too, as I couldn’t find it on the website. Of course, the user experience on most automation sites leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Y’all need to step up on that, vendors!

Anyway, you can set it up on the local display, which has a membrane with four buttons for navigation through the device menu. As far as I can tell, it has no digital protocol, so this may be the only way to set it up.

What can it do?

Oh my goodness, can you guess? Yes, the NGR can measure level! But only liquids within a fairly short range, with a probe length of 200 to 2000 millimeters.

It works using time-domain reflectometry (TDR) technology. The principle itself works following the time-of-flight concept. (We hit this idea in a couple articles here on Visaya.)

The device emits a pulse that the surface of the liquid reflects. The NGR calculates the level by measuring the amount of time it takes for the pulse to return. It allows continuous level measurement or switch level indication.

Sadly, you can select only analog, voltage, or switching outputs. Sure, it’s a low-cost device but no digital at all? Come on, KOBOLD. You don’t have to have a bundle of protocols, but how about HART at least?

Why should I care?

We won’t find fancy features here, but we can go deeper into the details about the NGR. You can use it in temps from -20 to 100 degrees Celsius and pressures from -1 to 10 bar.

Image of KOBOLD NGR
Courtesy of Kobold

If you get the mono probe, then you need a dielectric constant higher than or equal to 5. But with the coaxial tube, you only need a value equal to or higher than 1.8. And it comes with several materials for wetted parts and two types of process connection.

As for the performance, KOBOLD claims a sensor accuracy of around five millimeters. Plenty of processes can work with this margin, but if you need higher accuracy, KOBOLD has other models. For that matter, a bunch of vendors over on the right do too.

Conclusion

In general, the NGR sticks to the basics to provide a low price. If you can live with that accuracy and don’t mind setting up locally, then you might want to study this one. On the other hand, if you need better accuracy or want to set up remotely, then look at the other options in KOBOLD’s portfolio or our device page. Happy hunting!

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