What is a Data Logger? Selecting the Right One for an Application

A data logger is a battery-powered device used for recording and storing information. Various data loggers are designed to record information related to the environment in which the logger is positioned, thereby enabling users to obtain a record of events that occur over a specified time.

A sensor in combination with a microprocessor should be equipped inside the logger to enable the data logging device to achieve its purpose. Various types of data loggers and sensors are available in the market with the ability to accommodate a broad range of requirements for industries across the globe.

Data loggers can be engineered to record parameters such as temperature, pressure, humidity, current, shock, motion, or CO2 levels. In many instances, it is highly crucial to monitor levels and fluctuations of such parameters to ensure efficiency or safety, based on the application.

How to Select the Right Data Logger?

MadgeTech’s technical sales and customer support teams address this question every day for customers, assisting them in finding the perfect solution for their requirements and applications. The first thing to do while selecting a data logger is to find an answer to the following question: “What does one need to get done, or what problem one is trying to solve?”

From here, there are various factors to be taken into account to guarantee that the chosen data loggers or systems are the ideal solution for each customer. Finding answers to some of the following questions will lead to that determination:

  • Is a customer looking to solve a short-term problem or in need of a tool to handle long-term future growth?
  • How many inputs are required per device?
  • How frequently do readings need to be taken?
  • How much data does the data logger need to store?
  • What type of signal or input has to be monitored?
  • What type of environment will the device be exposed to?
  • What range of values has to be monitored?
  • How will a customer communicate with the data logger?
  • How long will the logger need to be deployed?
  • Are there space limitations in the location to be considered?
  • What data requirements should be met for this application?

Input Parameter Types

MadgeTech offers data loggers and systems with the ability to monitor various input types; certain devices are designed to monitor a combination of inputs such as humidity and temperature at the same time. MadgeTech develops data loggers with the potential to measure several different combinations of the following parameters:

  • Temperature/intrinsically safe
  • Pressure/intrinsically safe
  • Humidity/intrinsically safe
  • Current/voltage
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Motion/motor
  • Bridge/strain
  • pH level
  • Water level
  • Moisture
  • Shock/vibration
  • Pulse/event/state
  • Wind

Sensor Types and Ranges

Each data logger is equipped with either remote or ambient sensors or a combination of both. Data loggers can measure a specified range of values, for instance, certain loggers are designed to measure extremely high temperatures, and some are ideally suited to measure ultra-low temperatures. Every data logger will have a predefined measurement range and accuracy value that it is capable of. While choosing a data logger, it is vital to make sure that the selected device matches the measurement range required for a customer’s application. MadgeTech’s product line applies the following variations of sensors and probes:

  • Ambient probes/sensors
  • Thermocouple probes
  • RTD probes
  • Thermistor probes
  • Anemometers
  • pH probes
  • Motion detection
  • Infrared

Number of Channels or Inputs

Data loggers with single- or multi-channel capability are available. At present, MadgeTech provides data loggers with nearly 16 channels in a single device.

Form Factor and Size

As device accessibility is usually an essential factor, MadgeTech provides data loggers of all sizes and shapes, varying from mini loggers sufficiently small to fit through the opening and neck of a soda bottle, to larger devices mounted to large vehicles or cargo.

Data Logger Enclosure Material

The material used to make the data logger is mainly dependent on the application it is intended for. MadgeTech develops various data loggers out of food-grade stainless steel to fulfill stringent regulatory demands and to endure the harshest environments. Other data loggers are built of ABS Plastic for applications that are conducive to the lightweight portability without the harsh elements. It is vital to gain insights into the ingress protection (IP) rating of each device and how that is linked to a customer’s application. MadgeTech also provides a range of waterproof enclosures to increase logger capabilities for specific applications.

Memory Capacity and Reading Rate

The data storage required on a logger is associated with the length of logger deployment and the frequency of the recorded readings, which is known as the reading rate. In case the application mandates a high reading rate, more memory will be necessary. In instances which necessitate a longer duration of data logger deployment, that should also be taken into account. For example, if the logger is required to record for five days at a preset reading rate, it would need higher memory capacity than a logger that has to be deployed for two days at the same reading rate. It is vital to take the memory capacity and these factors into account while choosing the right data logger for a particular application.

Real-Time Data and Wireless Data Loggers

Various applications mandate or would immensely benefit from real-time data that is made available to the customer. MadgeTech has come up with an entire line of wireless data loggers with the ability to achieve that. Data loggers that are deployed to record and are retrieved and downloaded subsequently are known as stand-alone data loggers. Although such data loggers are perfect for several applications, in the case of applications that mandate a more instant, remote level of real-time data access, MadgeTech offers the software tools and the devices to deliver that. Wireless data loggers can function as stand-alone data loggers, or stream the data back to a central PC in real-time to be monitored based on the requirements. This capability is available only on specific MadgeTech wireless data logger models.

With MadgeTech offering the diverse selection of data loggers and systems, it is always advisable to consult with the company’s knowledgeable staff to make sure that the customers get the ideal solution for their needs with the best results.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by MadgeTech, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit MadgeTech, Inc.

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