Data loggers are amazing devices. They can measure and track such environmental conditions as temperature, humidity, and pressure in harsh settings and without the need for constant monitoring by humans. Data loggers have proven to be valuable in the tracking of conditions where sensitive assets are being stored and delivered. But what should you know about them before you consider adding a few data loggers to your inventory? In this article, we will break down seven key factors that should be part of your consideration process.
1 – Accuracy
Not only do you want the sensors of the data logger to be able to provide accurate readings, but the resolution of the device is also an important consideration. The resolution relates to the capacity of the onboard microprocessor and how many values it can measure and store. As an example, a 12-bit microprocessor can detect 4,100 specific values. As for the sensors, accuracy should have a +/- 2-degree margin of error. This won’t be a significant issue when measuring most environmental conditions. However, for such products as vaccines or transplant organs, the humidity in a cleanroom, or a jet engine’s fuel pressure, a lesser margin of error would be best.
2 – Cost
When you start shopping for data loggers you are going to encounter a vast selection with various price points (here are some data logger examples). You will have to determine what type of conditions you are monitoring and how precise those measurements have to be for your requirements. This means that you probably won’t need the most expensive data logger and should skip the cheapest price unit as well. Before setting a budget, you will want to factor in such things as ease of use, and the long-term viability, and the type of conditions the data logger will be monitoring. With all of these considerations included, you will be better able to narrow down the choices to the best models to fit your needs.
3 – Durability
Data loggers are interesting little devices. They are typically well-constructed and can put up with a fair deal of abuse. This is of particular importance if you plan to operate one in a harsh environment. This is why you need to determine the setting where you intend to place the device to record conditions. You can’t use a data logger that is meant for use in a cold storage unit in an underwater setting for example. You also have to consider if the sensors you require will be external or internal to meet the needs of where you plan to use them. Fortunately, there are data loggers made to withstand high-pressure, underwater, high-moisture, high-heat, or cold conditions.
4 – Ease Of Data Offloading
It’s all well and good to find the perfect data logger for your needs but it also has to permit you to easily access the data being collected. Otherwise, the unit will be useless to you. There are various methods of retrieving the recorded data and the best choice for you is the one that works best for the computer system you already have in place. Data loggers have either a USB or mini-USB data port where you can conduct direct downloads to a computer. Others can connect to a LAN (local area network) so that you can access the stored data via a WiFi signal. There are even models that will sync records to the Cloud for later access from a remote location.
5 – Power Source
Data loggers need some type of power to operate and it needs to be from a reliable source of energy. While some models can be plugged into a normal wall outlet, the majority of the designs of these devices permit them to be put in places where no power source is readily available. This means you will have to resort to using batteries. Considering the ongoing advancements in technology, smaller, cheaper batteries are common as are those that are longer-lasting. Data loggers normally are used in settings where data must be collected over long periods to ensure compliance and safety. The setting will dictate what power source is best for your siltation.
6 – Software Capabilities
We’ve outlined the importance of being able to easily offload the data collected by a data logger, but what do you do with it after that? Ordinarily, there would be software programs included with the unit that allows you to analyze the information in many different ways. This can mean reports, charts, and all kinds of visual tools that can show you trends, identify issues, and generally inform you about the values being recorded by the data logger. But to be able to utilize the software, you will need compatibility and programs that are as easy to use as the data is to offload to your computer or handheld device. The easier the software is to use, the more likely you will use it.
7 – Support
Probably one of the most crucial considerations related to data loggers is the customer support service made available by the manufacturer of the product. Although your average data logger is designed to be user-friendly, it is not unusual for questions or issues to develop that require the assistance of a professional support team. The best advice here is to stick to products that are made by reputable companies with years of experience in the industry. Visit the company website, read reviews on customer service, and whatever else you can find to help you decide on which brand will be your best choice.
A data logger is a hard-working tool that is kept in abnormal conditions and is expected to perform well in the collection of various pieces of data related to the environmental conditions being monitored. It is because of the importance of that collected information that you need to have a reliable, easy-to-use, and durable product. To find the best choice for your requirements, follow the suggestions noted above and you should be able to find the best data logger solution for the collection of data you require.