What is a data logger?
A data logger (or datalogger), is an electronic instrument that records measurements (temperature, relative humidity, light intensity, on/off, open/closed, voltage, pressure and events) over time.
Typically, data loggers are small, battery-powered devices that are equipped with a microprocessor, data storage and sensor.
Most data loggers utilize turn-key software on a personal computer to initiate the logger and view the collected data.
Where are data loggers used? Who uses them?
Data loggers are used in remote areas or anywhere you want the convenience of battery power to record measurements.
They are ideal for those involved with field studies, transportation monitoring, HVAC tests, troubleshooting, quality studies, general research, and educational science. Hobbyists can even use data loggers, such as a temperature and humidity data logger or a wind data logger, since they are economically priced and easy-to-use.
Data loggers can be used in a wide variety of applications. Their small size makes data loggers ideal for mounting in out-of-the-way locations.
How does a data logger work?
First, the data logger is connected to a personal computer (ed. note: and now mobile computers!). Then the turn-key data logging software is used to select logging parameters (sampling intervals, start time, etc.) and initiate the logger.
The logger is then disconnected and deployed in the desired location. The logger records each measurement and stores it in memory along with the time and date. The logger is then reconnected to the personal computer and the software is used again to read out the data and see the measurements as a graph, showing the profile over time. The tabular data can be viewed as well, or exported to a spreadsheet for further manipulation. What is a data shuttle?
A data shuttle is a pocket-sized device that can be used to offload/restart multiple data loggers and transport the data back to a personal computer, allowing the loggers to stay in place for continuous monitoring/recording. The shuttle connects to a PC and is used with the turn-key software to readout and view the data.
Why are data loggers replacing so many chart recorders?
That's like asking why CDs replaced record albums! Data loggers incorporate the latest in digital technology which makes them smaller, less expensive, more accurate and more reliable than chart recorders. Further, you get your data in PC format which allows for more convenient data analysis, presentation and storage. Data loggers don't require costly and inconvenient chart supplies because you can view the data on a PC or laptop. Why choose data loggers over other data acquisition systems? Some data acquisition systems require the installation of a DA card in a PC and the connection and wiring of sensors. These systems work well in permanently configured, on-line applications but can be costly and difficult to implement. Data loggers significantly reduce the price per channel for most logging applications and are significantly easier to implement, and can be placed in areas that permanent digital systems cannot reach. What should I look for in a data logger? Ease of use, reliability, accuracy and value.