Not so many years ago, if you wanted to record a set of changing data over a given time period, you would need to use a chart recorder. These are mechanical devices that work either with or without electrical power. Although these are still sometimes the best type of device for the job, they have been largely replaced by data logger devices.
A data logger is an electronic device that can either have its own built-in sensors, or that can retrieve data from external sensors. In general, they’re small, battery-powered, and contain a microprocessor. They can be stand-alone devices, either with their own keyboards and displays, or that would hold data in memory for later retrieval via a normal computer. On computers, data may be either displayed by a proprietary program, or by Excel graph or spreadsheet. Newer models can also have wireless capabilities, enabling them to send a constant stream of data back to a base station.
Take a look on the web, and you’ll find a wide range of data loggers, from the very inexpensive to ones that cost thousands of dollars. You’ll find many different vendors, selling devices for just about any type of data that you can imagine.
Many vendors have prominent web-front stores, and sell a very large range of devices. There are devices for use by homeowners, electricians, weather researchers, network technicians, etc. It would seem that there’s something there for pretty much everyone.
Homeowners may be interested in purchasing an energy audit or monitoring device. Several types are available, including one that can measure the power draw of an electrical appliance, and automatically calculate its annual energy cost. There’s also a monitoring kit that enables you to constantly monitor room temperature throughout the house.
Logging devices for industrial or small business use include monitors for HVAC, greenhouses, refrigeration units, or air quality. Air quality monitors can keep a constant check on levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or other gasses. Use these in closed spaces, where there may be a danger that these gasses may accumulate.
Fleet operators, such as taxi cab or trucking companies, may benefit from the automotive logging devices. These are small devices, which can be connected to a vehicle’s OBD-II port. They can monitor engine performance, fuel economy, and how the vehicle is being driven. Some of these devices have wireless capabilities, allowing operators at a base station to see real-time data as vehicles are being driven. Auto mechanics can also make use of OBD-II devices when trying to diagnose engine problems.
For weather researchers, there are several types of monitoring solutions. Some are monitors for specific weather data, such as wind, temperature, humidity, soil moisture content, or rainfall. There are also complete weather monitoring stations, which can monitor multiple types of weather data.
Operators of mines or grain elevators, where combustible gas or dust may be a problem, would want to use an “intrinsically safe” monitoring device. These devices are guaranteed not to produce sparks that could cause an explosion.
When shopping for a monitoring solution, be aware of what’s included in your purchase. Oftentimes, the price of the data logger device doesn’t include the required sensors. So, you’ll need to purchase them separately.
Our qualified technicians have over 30 years of experience in providing instrument calibration services and full service repair. We provide a wide range innovative technical solutions, including data logger, humidity sensors, and pressure transducer.