Data Logging for Beginners

Data loggers are becoming standard components for many companies as they require accurate and up-to-the-minute data for analytical decision-making. The process of data logging revolves around recording observations, measurements, and events in a systematic manner. The device that helps achieve this organized setup and data accumulation is called a data logger. 

Data loggers enter the picture whenever there is a requirement for automated data reading in a continuous cycle and for protracted periods. These devices might seem intimidating because of their high level of technology, but they are relatively easy to use and offer many advantages and conveniences. 

If you are unfamiliar with data loggers, this article will help you understand the device’s types, features, functions, and more. 

What is a data logger? 

A data logger is a device used to monitor and record data. The device is electronic and assists with continuous data recording over extended durations. The device takes recordings based on its location and the conditions it’s programmed to measure, using either a built-in or an externally attached sensor. 

Primarily data loggers work with digital processors that appear like small portable boxes with wires, batteries, internal memory storage, a programmable module, and sensors. Some of these monitoring devices are capable of establishing a direct connection to PCs and other systems like LCDs and mobile phones. Some data loggers also interface with computers to transmit data via dedicated software provided by the manufacturer. 

Data loggers are instrumental in geotechnical monitoring for small, medium, and large-scale industries. They are flexible devices that can fulfill the real-time data collection needs of the user. They utilize sensors to catch the measurements and display the information on mobile devices. They need little to no manual intervention. 

What types of data do they track? 

Data loggers automatically monitor and maintain a record of a range of environmental parameters, including factors like humidity, air quality, toxin level in the environment, temperature, and shock. Data loggers can simultaneously measure a single parameter or numerous parameters depending on the user’s requirements. They are available in multiple configurations, allowing users to customize based on their needs. 

The values of the measurement depend upon the factors measured. Specialized software can convert these measurements, and many data logger companies offer software along with the device, while many users opt for software separately to meet their needs. 

How accurate are data loggers? 

Data loggers are available in a wide range offering various accuracy levels. While some data loggers might offer essential and precise usable information, you will also find highly specialized devices that provide full-scale and accurate monitoring. Since the data loggers collect the data automatically, they reduce the possibility of errors that can occur when conducting manual readings. 

How long can data loggers record? 

Data loggers offer recording capabilities depending on two basic parameters, power backup of the device and its memory capacity. Some data loggers are designed for primary usage and provide a short recording period, while others are designed for industrial use for long recording durations. 

Battery-operated data loggers can be programmed to record 5 to 160 seconds of statistics in a linear model. Some of these battery-operated devices are ideal for limited recordings per day to conserve their memory and battery life. Other data loggers work with wireless, Bluetooth, and WiFi settings to offer remote data values. These are durable and can be trusted to function for days, weeks, months, and even years. These devices might need periodic checks and reprogramming, but they are ideal for long recording needs. 

How do you retrieve data? 

Retrieving data from data loggers is not a complex process. Once you understand the device’s system and how it works, it is just a matter of a few minutes. You can retrieve data from the primary data loggers by attaching their memory chip to a PC. Many data loggers come with a flash chip or a removable memory card for ease of data extraction. Data retrieval occurs in real-time for data loggers installed in areas with GPRS/GSM service. The user can also opt for a data SIM card to extract the recorded data in their device. 

Data transmission and retrieval are subjective to the data logger you use, the technology associated with it, and its features. Other common ways of data retrieval include direct data download on a laptop or a computer. Many devices also have an option for using a USB pen drive or a data cable to transfer the information to a central PC, network server, or data cloud. 

What can be done with the data? 

From corporate ventures working on redefining their work potential to manufacturing industries actively heading towards a data centric-approach, data accumulation is crucial to the current world. The data accumulated through data loggers help analyze the metric units to make informed decisions. 

We can see an example of this with data collection for creating a sustainable environment and the idea of conscious living practices spreading globally. The need to save the planet necessitates acquiring quality data on the changes of air and sea temperatures and other information for use in environmental studies. These studies help devise plans to promote better living approaches that do not harm the environment.

Another example of data usage gathered via data loggers is evident in the pharmaceutical sector. The medical and pharmaceutical industry was under immense pressure during the pandemic. Data loggers helped the sector maintain a viable environment throughout manufacturing, storing, transportation, and distribution.

The slightest error with data monitoring could cause an economic loss and illness or death should the vaccines and medications lose their potency when exposed to temperatures outside of the acceptable range. Data collected through data loggers assists with monitoring the environment around these products and ensuring that they are safe throughout the cycle. 

Multiple examples highlight how data loggers’ accumulating data is essential for different industries and processes. The significance of these smart devices is increasing as numerous sectors realize their potential in assisting them with data-oriented decision-making to improve the productivity and management of their company. 

Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.