A data logger is used to acquire and record data over time. This data pertains to sensor measurements. This electronic device runs with the help of numerous analog and digital inputs that are being monitored and the result of these inputs is acquired on the memory, usually in the form of SD Card or Hard Drive of the data logger. Data logger can either be attached to a computer whereby it can help in viewing and analyzing the data logged. Secondly it can also serve its purpose as a standalone machine having its own interface such as a screen or keypad. They are generally handy and portable given their compact shape and size. Run through a battery, data loggers have microprocessors, sensors and internal memory equipped within them. The life of battery depends on a number of factors like model and sample rate. Generally speaking if the sample rate is high the battery life is low.
There are many uses and applications of serial data logger. For instance to measure and monitor physical environmental trends like temperature, tension and pressure in aircraft flight testing or automotive and in-vehicle testing data logger can be used. For keeping quality control checks by monitoring physical environment factors in industries like food processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing and food storage data loggers can be handy. Apart from this, in construction of mega structures like bridges, towers, skyscrapers, steel frame buildings and launch pads, it is vital to measure and monitor strain. Data loggers are used to do it. Other applications of data loggers include conducting wild life research, educational purpose such as investigating change or doing groundwater studies. Even for monitoring deformation data loggers can be used. For conducting hydrographic recording such as water depth, its pH level, flow, conductivity, data loggers are used. At meteorological stations environmental factors like wind speed, humidity, temperature and radiation can be recorded via data loggers.
Apart from data loggers, there are other means of data acquisition as well such as chart recorders and data acquisition systems. In comparison with these methods, data loggers are more economical, flexible and accessible with more varied input types. Another important feature of data logger is that it can collect data repeatedly on 24-hour base.
When purchasing a data logger there are a number of factors to be considered such as compatibility with input signals, number of inputs attached with the device, size, memory, speed and option of real time collection of data.
There are different types of data loggers. These include miniature single input data loggers which cost very less and are often used in the transportation industry. Fixed input data loggers limited number of inputs which are specific in purpose. Handheld multi channel data loggers are portable and are commonly used in laboratory. A modular data logger can be configured and expanded with the use of modules that can be plugged in.
In the yester years, serial data logger was expensive to purchase but today as the technology is becoming better, it is becoming cheaper and more affordable. Hence data loggers have indeed simplified data logging.
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