Hart Communicator vs. Laptop Software


Thread Starter


Does anyone have info on the software to install on a laptop rather than having to purchase a Hart smart communicator?
Engineering assistant or AMS software from Rosemount/Emerson Process can be used for manage and cofigure Rosemount HART supported transmitter. This software is installed on a PC and communicates with HART transmitter using serial RS-232 to HART converter (also from Rosemount). If compared with HART communicator, using AMS software we can access advance parameters that can't be accessed by HART communicator.
I think there are a few software applications out there. Apart from the software you need a HART interface as well.

Are you going to use this in a workshop or in the field? If you will use it in the field, a laptop is not a good solution. Often there is no place to put it, and it is too heavy to hold with one hand. Most laptops are not rugged enough for field use: shock, splash, and dust. Hazardous area may be another issue.

In my personal opinion you should make sure the software (or handheld) you use is based on "Enhanced EDDL" technology (IEC 61804-3) international standard for device integration so that you can work with all HART devices: past, present, and future. It is robust and secure. On a laptop you may get external access to information through OPC. EDDL ensures consistent display of devices and greater ease of use and ensures investment protection by eliminate device version conflicts and dependencies on operating system version or service packs. It makes keeping system current with new device versions easy - simple file copy - and it requires no license key.

One option is to use SIEMENS SIMATIC PDM software available from MACTek http://www.mactekcorp.com/products.htm among other distributors; cost is about US $600. You will also need a HART serial interface for your laptop, if you don't have one already.


Chris Turcotte
Magnetrol International

Issac Issachar

Siemens' PDM software runs on Windows. It uses a HART modem that runs on either a serial port or a USB port. The cables from the HART modem connect to the instrument loop just like the HART handheld communicators.

Siemens sells various PDM versions, priced according to the number of 'points' that can be configured in a single session. I've used the single point version.

PDM is totally Siemensesque in its implementation, meaning the Germans expect everyone to attend a 2 week school to learn how the Germans think things should work, and it is NOT clear to casual observer, even those of use with decades of instrumetation background, how to proceed in PDM.

Once one machetes through the jungle of the connection ordeal, the HART configuration is pretty straightforward, assuming you know your instrumentation and its terminology.

Be sure to follow the installation instructions to the T. You can accomplish at least a half hour's work while the installation process chugs along. Read the requirements for hard disk space; PDM is merely a small component of some other gargantuan Siemens program, and PDM requires installation of the whole mess, even though little, if any of the other is used.

And Siemens uses its notorious floppy disk protection key, which is the main reason I buy the single point version, so I can minimize my loss when a laptop crashes and I can't recover the Siemens key.

All those drawbacks given, I still use PDM, because it's a fraction of the price of a handheld, (I can afford to have 2 licensed copies on a couple PCs), I don't do hazardous area work where a laptop is banned (and a HART handheld could be used), and I get to save, file and print configurations for the record.


Jeffrey Dobos

Our company, ProComSol, Ltd, makes the DevCom2000 HART Configurator Software that runs on the PC. With a HART modem (our HM-USB, or others), the PC becomes a HART communicator. It uses the Device Description (DD) of the connected HART transmitter, so has complete access to all of the device parameters, including Methods. The interface is Windows Explorer style, so is easy and intuitive. A complete package, including HART Modem is under $1000 USD. Contact us at [email protected] for more information or go to our website, http://www.procomsol.com