HART is the standard for process instruments, with more than twice as many installed devices as its main alternative. Well over 35 million HART devices have been installed since the protocol was developed. Every instrument engineer and technician must have HART knowledge as part of their core skill set. Meriam, a Scott Fetzer Co., has just released a new HART communicator, the MFC5150x.
"We developed the 5150 to make the customer's job easier," says John Balogh, Meriam's engineering manager. "This will be the first Class 1, Division 1, intrinsically safe device able to read the complete library of HART device descriptions (DD) directly, with no translation. That's over 1200 devices, and more than 2.4 Gb of data contained directly in the communicator."
The device is supplied with a fast 1-GHz processor, 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of flash memory. It is capable of supporting up to an 8-GB SD card, which gives it the ability to store every existing DD file, "and then some," Balogh quips. "So there is no need to manage which DDs are stored on your device, or to suddenly have to go back to the shop because the one DD you need isn't on the communicator you have.
"We built the 5150 on HART Communication Foundation's SDC-625 infrastructure for reading DDs directly," Balogh says. "This enables communication to take place with any registered or unregistered HART device, ensuring that the HART transmitter will connect to the 5150 regardless of brand or model.
"And because the 5150 reads DD files directly, customers don't have to wait for DD files to be translated into data a communicator can read," Balogh says. "Typically, a translation can take anywhere from three months to three years, if ever. Reading a DD directly really helps the customer have confidence that the communicator will work right out of the box and for years to come with no problems."
The unit has a 4.3-inch, wide-viewing-angle touchscreen for what Balogh says is excellent anti-glare viewing, and can be used in darkness or in bright sunlight. The full QWERTY keyboard and intuitive international icons similar to those of a smartphone make all the functions easily navigated. No stylus is required for the touchscreen.
The 5150 has contextual help and can play video, so that instructional videos can be loaded onto the device for use in the field. There are hyperlinked menu paths for fast navigation via a single touch, and there are teachable, device-specific shortcuts.
The communicator is supplied with a 9400-mAh rechargeable battery, which provides for more than 10 hours of continuous use and over 200 hours in standby mode. The device has an "instant-on" feature. The extended battery life and instant-on means that the 5150 is capable of getting through an entire shift without having to be recharged. When it does need recharging, it sits on the supplied cradle, which has an integral USB connection to the customer's PC.
The 5150 is rated IP54 for ingress protection and has overmolded bumpers for impact protection. It is not necessary to purchase an aftermarket protective boot for the 5150. The handle is only eight inches in circumference with the smallest point where the operator's hand will rest the most. It is designed to be ergonomically easy to hold and use.
Through the supplied charging cradle, the 5150 has USB connectivity, so it can be updated over the Internet without a subscription fee. Multiple languages and TAB access to multiple panes are supported.
"The MFC5150x HART Communicator is our latest addition to our product line of intrinsically safe communicators and calibrators," Balogh says.
To learn more visit www.meriam.com or call 216/281-1100.