Comparison: VEGAPULS WL S 61 vs. Micropilot FMR10

Level Product Review

VEGAPULS WL S 61 vs. Micropilot FMR10

Ding ding ding, let’s get in the ring! Got a new bout today – not the fight of the year but definitely a promising match, VEGAPULS WL S 61 vs. Micropilot FMR10!

Courtesy of VEGA and Courtesy of Endress+Hauser

The contenders:

We have two new challengers in the lightweight (low-cost, in our world) division: the Micropilot FMR10 from Endress+Hauser and the VEGAPULS WL S 61 from VEGA! Let’s see how these devices match up!

Marketing:

Yes, marketing. We’re breaking it all down today, from features to customer experience!

VEGA is all “we love radar,” but frankly, I’m not feeling it. I’ve had a lot of problems with radar devices, so I don’t love them as much. VEGA has a stellar marketing crew, though. Good campaign, and the microsite they set up helps a lot when you want more information!

The YouTube vids have two dudes doing crazy things with the devices to prove their abilities. I caught myself thinking, “How does it work without power cables?” It’s not wireless with an internal power supply, but I almost believed it was!

On the other side, we have Endress+Hauser with the Micropilot FMR10. E+H went traditional with its marketing, and I found information difficult to find on the site, which damaged my user experience. We here at Visaya Solutions have a responsive website and they don’t! Furthermore, they don’t seem to offer anything on the mobile side, either.

While they have a couple of nice videos launching the radar, I didn’t see a microsite or landing page to promote the devices. #wearesellingadvertisingspace

Design and specification:

As I said before, we don’t have the fight of the year here. Sadly the features for both feel very copy and paste. We’ll talk about them anyway, in the interests of a full review.

Let’s start with the design. The VEGAPULS WL S 61 – does anyone here mind if I just say the PULS? No? Great! – doesn’t bring anything to the table, in my point of view. Just a plain black instrument that you’ll forget the second you install it. Just kidding. The Micropilot FMR10 wins this round by sporting two colors! Woohoo!

Courtesy of VEGA and Courtesy of Endress+Hauser

The FMR10 is 140 millimeters tall and 75 in diameter, and the PULS is 243 millimeters tall and 93 in diameter. What conclusion can we draw here? None at all! If you don’t have a lot of space the size might matter, but in most cases it won’t make a difference.

Both transmitters are loop-powered, with a minimum of 10 volts for the FMR10 and 12 for the PULS. They both have ranges of 8 meters and accuracy of 5 millimeters. However, the FMR10 supports a process pressure up to 3 bar and a emission range of 12 degrees. The PULS only goes up to 2 bar and 10 degrees. Another round goes to Endress+Hauser!

Configuration and diagnostics:

Both companies had the brilliant idea to bring Bluetooth to the instrumentation world, so kudos to them! It helps a lot if you can use your smartphone or tablet in the field. If you can’t, then you’ll need to splash more cash for access. Not a problem for either of these two!

You have the SmartBlue app from Endress+Hauser and the Vegatools from VEGA, and you can find both apps in the App Store and Google Play. The guys from Vega lose a point in the creativity department for their name, but eh.

I tested both apps using my 128 GB iPhone 7. The Vegatools app felt really slow most of the time; they should optimize it for better performance. Also, they used a lot of colors, too many for my taste. Still, I liked the demo mode, and the app at least does what it should.

The SmartBlue from Endress+Hauser has a clean design, and I have trouble understanding how they have such a nice app and such a clunky website. The SmartBlue also performs better than the Vegatools, maybe because it lacks all the colors and buttons. But sometimes I got lost in the navigation, especially for turning off the demo mode!

Courtesy of VEGA and Courtesy of Endress+Hauser

One more important point: communication. The FMR10 reaches 25 meters and the PULS 25 as well. However, the PULS user password only has four digits, while the FMR10 lets you define your own password, giving you more security. Looks like a draw here!

Local display

Neither of them have displays, so next topic! Yup, true story. Both companies offer display options, but you have to buy them separately. Double KO here!

Final round

Both transmitters give you low-cost alternatives to your old ultrasonic that’ll improve your process, and you have pros and cos in both devices.

I suggest you look beyond the features to the local support. Why? Because  the best device can get you out there swinging, but bad support can knock you out!

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Related tags: Endress+Hauser free space radar level level measurement low cost radars Vega
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