Product Review: NOVUS TxBlock-USB
If you want a low-cost temperature transmitter, then you need to stick with me today to learn more about the TxBlock-USB from NOVUS Automation.
We have a bunch of product reviews on temp devices, and at first glance, they all look pretty much the same. But a second glance should spot slight differences among them, mostly related to features, time of response, inputs, and so on.
Even though the TxBlock is a fairly basic gadget, we can find interesting features on it, and the cost might make it worth trying.
But before we move on, let me remind you that our product reviews are not advertising content. None of these vendors pay us to do this. We put this info on Visaya so you can learn about specific devices before scaling them out. We wanted to fill those huge gaps in terrible vendor websites. You can read more about why we do product reviews here.
Now let’s move on to our review!
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?
Actually, NOVUS makes two options for this device, the TxBlock-USB and the TxRail-USB. To keep it simple, I’ll stick to the TxBlock-USB. You won’t find many differences between them, and you can check the TxRail-USB out here.
First, you’ll see that the compact TxBlock resembles other versions commonly available from a variety of vendors. You can fit it in different housings to install in your process. You can also install it in a panel, but the TxRail-USB sounds a better option for that.
Guess NOVUS wanted to keep things simple too, because you won’t find a local display on this baby. On the other hand, you can add an external indicator to read the analog signal, so that helps.
What can it do?
It can tell your control system how hot or cold your process runs! Cool, right? Jokes aside, you can fit several common sensor types in the TxBlock. The universal inputs can read data from thermocouple types J, K, T, E, N, R, S, and B. You can also use Pt100, Pt1000, and negative temperature coefficient resistance temperature detectors (NTC RTD). Try saying that last bit three times fast!
If you need a thermocouple in your process, then you should know that this transmitter has cold junction compensation. If you don’t know what that means, then check out our article “Everything you need to know about thermocouple calibration.” You can find more articles on temperature sensors at Visaya, too.
NOVUS says that for accuracy, an RTD sensor can get +-0.1 percent for Pt100 and Pt1000 and +-0.3 degrees Celsius for NTC. And for a thermocouple, the typical accuracy of the millivolt signal hovers around +-0.1 percent.
Plus, you can power the NOVUS TxBlock-USB using 8 to 35 volts of direct current. Since that covers pretty much everything you need to know about its basic working principles, let’s dive into the fancy features.
Why should I care?
On the upside, you can easily set up the NOVUS TxBlock-USB using – you guessed it! – a microUSB cable and your computer. You can download the software for free from NOVUS, which should make some of y’all happy.
On the downside, you don’t have any open protocols like HART, which limits your setup options. You’ll have to get out a handheld to set up your devices.
As a low-budget option, the TxBlock-USB brings a decent range of possibilities. The setup alone stands as a plus for small companies. But as always, you need to analyze your needs and study specs to decide which device will work best for you.