Data loggers are nowadays used by Environmental consultants, energy auditors, building managers, research scientists, engineers for recording data in many applications. We will know in detail about data loggers, its anatomy, working principle, advantages and applications.
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It is an electronic instrument that records measurements at set intervals over a period of time. Data loggers are of various types depending on the measurements that it records. The measurement may include air temperature, Light intensity, Soil moisture, Leaf wetness, Relative humidity, Water temperature, Wind speed and direction, Differential pressure, Dissolved oxygen, AC/DC current and voltage, Rainfall and has many applications.
Data loggers are typically small in size. It is equipped with an internal microprocessor, data storage, sensors and battery.
Data loggers can be used outdoors, indoors, underwater, or anywhere depending upon the applications.
Data loggers are capable of recording data up to a month at a time without user interference.
A data logger is a stand-alone device which does not require frequent user maintenance. Once placed, it records the required parameter value over a period of time. One such data logger is shown in the figure below.
Anatomy of Data Logger
Actually, data logger consists two parts: data logger which does the logging and sensors which measure the parameters. When people use the term data logger then they are pointing to both above parts data logger plus sensor.
Data Logger Working
First of all physical quantity such as temperature, pressure, etc. is sensed by the sensors and then it is conditioned and converted into digital form using Analog to digital converter. Microprocessor process this data and stores to the storage device like a memory card with a time stamp. Now, this data can be accessed by the user using USB cable or GSM cellular, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet communications.
Advantages of data loggers
1. Data loggers help in continuous monitoring of conditions without having to be on site.
2. Data loggers have low cost.
3. Due to the low cost of Data loggers, multiple loggers can be deployed to reduce project length and enhancing the volume of data available for analysis.
4. Data loggers can be deployed for long periods of time because of long battery life.
5. Data loggers remotely placed helps in saving time and money because less travelling is needed to download data from these data loggers.
6. The Data loggers can be placed at such places where a user cannot stop for a long time.
7. Data loggers are easy to use. You just need to configure the sampling frequency and start/stop Times using data logger’s software.
8. Data loggers have high reliability. They are rugged devices designed to withstand a wide range of environmental conditions like salt water, humidity, refrigeration, strong winds, pressure, temperature and constant sunlight.
9. Data loggers collect data at some time interval. So particular value is stored at a particular time instant.
Data logging Applications
These are some applications where data loggers are used.
1. Used in tracking building electricity usage to understand energy profiles and manage peak demand.
2. Monitoring of indoor air quality
3. Used to verify energy cost savings to determine ROI of new equipment
4. Equipment monitoring for efficient operation and check for leaks.
5. Track room occupancy and light use patterns
6. Used to gather essential data for more effective stormwater management
7. Used for long-term climate change studies
8. Used to perform ecological studies that provide a detailed picture of the habitat
9. Perform soil studies to understand the effects of climate on soil quality
10. Used for performing detailed water quality studies