How to Select Data Loggers and Data Recorders   Image Credit: CHINO Works America Inc. | Dewetron, Inc. | Vaisala   Data loggers and data recorders acquire digital data from sensors and other signals. Typically the device is used in situ or in the field, and stores data over a period of time.     The term data logger is primarily used to describe a device that stores data for subsequent download to a host PC. Data ...
Learn More about Data Loggers and Data Recorders


Q & A on Data Loggers and Data Recorders

We asked our users for their input on Data Loggers and Data Recorders. Here are the results of 372 users familiar with Data Loggers and Data Recorders.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing data logger design?
62 answers
Answers:
Cheap and reliable data storage allowing for finer resolution on long term data monitoring. Cheap high speed USB communications allowing for rapid programming and downloading. The advent of reliable wireless communications potentially eliminating wired connections from base unit to transducers.
~John W, Engineering Consultant, Walla Walla, WA
We've tried the new external (TCP/IP-Lan) storage solutions for actually storing the data, so far it's been very successful, allows us to store data on external source and be reliable (data is stored on local HD if the network fails, then it automatically moves data when network is restored!!).
~GS, Electrician, TN
Current and kWh monitoring - made available with lower power and more accurate CTs. Better Software - easier to use & more feature rich. Use of wired and wireless and Ethernet connectivity.
~John D, Engineer, Kennett Square, PA
See More Answers
Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative data loggers?
53 answers
Answers:

IBA corp has been our most recent purchase, so far we have as of yet to find its parallel in data acquisition. The best feature is the free analysis tool that comes with it; we can zoom in on data all the way to the individual data points, store data both as continuous data and by product ID.

~GS, Electrician, TN

Veriteq's new loggers are great and Ellab's software is easy to use. GE's RF units are a good design idea with poor quality design.

~Technical Support/Services, Raleigh, NC
For the things I do, I keep returning to Campbell Scientific even after checking out others.
~Tom W, Engineering Consultant, Henrico, VA
See More Answers

Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used data loggers for?
82 answers
Answers:
Electrical power system balancing, high pressure/tensile load testing of oil field casing, life cycle testing of fiber optic cables, energy consumption analysis, standard life/fatigue testing, etc. (it is the "etc." where the more interesting challenges lie!)
~Charlie W, Engineering Consultant, Panama, Panama
Determining system/equipment operations and energy use before and after implementing energy efficiency upgrades in a variety of industrial settings including: refrigeration systems, compressed air systems, hydraulic systems, pumping systems, HVAC systems etc.
~John W, Engineering Consultant, Walla Walla, WA

Because Colombia is a mountainous country, one of the factors that affect tire performance is the temperature in the flange area caused by the excessive use of brakes. We use loggers to record and evaluate tires temperature to the working conditions different routes of the trucks.

~Technical Support, FL
See More Answers
Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that data loggers have been used for.
30 answers
Answers:
Monitoring position of a valve or damper by logging its control signal. Monitoring a Variable Frequency Drive output frequency by logging a VFD output signal.
~John W, Engineering Consultant, Walla Walla, WA
Measurement of methane concentrations and pressures in capped landfill sites, electric fence voltage and status monitoring, measuring parameters to evaluate a cloud seeding trial.
~Engineering, Other, MAGILL, Australia
I designed a network of pressure transducers to do an extensive pressure DP and flow survey on an Atomizing air system for a 190MW GE combustion turbine generator to troubleshoot a high speed Atlas-Copco compressor complete with customized web page interface and real time trending to Cimplicity HMI and Excel spreadsheet download.
~John L, Senior Combustion Turbine Technician, Hendersonville, NC
See More Answers
Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of data loggers?
21 answers
Answers:
When connecting a logger to monitor a control signal (ie a motor operated valve or damper) ensure the input impedance of the logger is high enough such that the control signal to the valve is not affected.
~John W, Engineering Consultant, Walla Walla, WA
Several times I have seen months of data lost simply because the data logger's user did not spot check its output even a couple of times a month.
~Tom W, Engineering Consultant, Henrico, VA

Mistakes are using data loggers with wrong temp. range which makes data incorrect. Resolution and efficiency.

~John Joseph M, Engineer, Manila, Philippines
See More Answers

FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
59 answers
Answers:

More datapoints, faster scan time.  Would be nice if the price were lower, each unit and license is fairly expensive, well worth it, but hard to justify to accounting.  Since our last purchase they have added lots more features that we haven't yet explored, so I wouldn't classify myself as an expert on their systems, but I absolutely love the ones we have at this point in time.

~GS, Electrician, TN

Wireless or GSM transmission, Low power consumption, Power backup, Intelligent central server software for controlling a number of loggers remotely, Enable activation of circuits through relays or active electronics.

~Fernando M, Project Manager, Madrid, Spain

Scalable, low power consumption, TCP/IP enabled, flexible programmability. Multiple counter and analog inputs, sampling rates up to 1/30 second, SD or other removable card for memory and program files

~Engineering, Other, MAGILL, Australia
See More Answers
Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of data loggers?
32 answers
Answers:

If you have more than one system that's being monitored, be sure to get the files synchronized.  Our systems run on different PC's and the PC times aren't synchronized; This can lead to some false assumptions if you don't take that into account.

~GS, Electrician, TN

Check software and the ability to integrate the hardware with homemade software, Check simultaneous data view and the ability to download while system is still logging, Check idiot proof operation, Check if external power is used, that the data logger moves to battery when power fails.  Long life battery.

~Ron W, Q&R and Product Eng., Israel
Ensure transducer output (ie 1-10 V, 4-20 mAmp, 1-333 mVDC) matches with the base unit expected input. Use shielded communications wiring to connect transducers, electromagnetic noise from motors and starters will give erroneous data. Do not install CTs on output of a VFD. For accurate current readings install CTs on the input of the VFD.
~John W, Engineering Consultant, Walla Walla, WA
See More Answers

Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using data loggers?
33 answers
Answers:
Check for good customer service. Make sure ample battery backup. Ensure base unit is protected from environment. Logging multiple externally powered signals on one base unit can result in "crosstalk" on the loggers common.
~John W, Engineering Consultant, Walla Walla, WA

Full connectivity, open software for drivers and control soft. Do not be impressed by sampling frequency if you will measure mere day-to-day signals.

~Fernando M, Project Manager, Madrid, Spain
Ask for advice on what you want the product for and be honest about the real reason for having one. It is easy to waste money on features that you may never use.
~Clifton P, Aircraft Engineer, Christ Church, Barbados
See More Answers

Related eNewsletters
See More

Also on GlobalSpec...
  • Receive email updates on new products and suppliers of interest to you
  • Online, interactive conferences / trade shows featuring latest news and industry trends
  • CR4
    Q&A and discussion for the engineering, scientific, and technical community
  • Engineering and scientific news from hundreds of sources
  • Industrial manufacturers and distributors