What is a Data Logger?

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You may already be familiar with the OpenScope MZ, an a IoT-ready instrumentation device and WaveForms Live. But you might not have been aware of the highly useful feature that is the Data Logger!

Where to find the Data Logger in WaveForms Live.

From the Openscope MZ Data Logger introduction post:

A Data Logger is designed to read data over a long period of time and log it to some sort of storage location. The Data Logger on the OpenScope MZ logs data from the oscilloscope channels, and offers the option to stream the data to the plot (as shown below), log to the OpenScope MZ’s SD card, or both.

One thing that makes the OpenScope MZ so unique, is its portability and on-board WiFi. The hardware can be hooked up to an external power supply, and WaveForms Live can even be set up to work from your tablet or mobile phone (for both iOS and Android)!

Since a lot of Data Logger applications involve unattended or remote location monitoring, the ability to transport the hardware just about anywhere and monitor it from your mobile device is invaluable. Below are some application ideas from the official Wikipedia page on Data Loggers.

  • Unattended weather station recording (such as wind speed / direction, temperaturerelative humiditysolar radiation).
  • Unattended hydrographic recording (such as water level, water depth, water flow, water pH, water conductivity).
  • Unattended soil moisture level recording.
  • Unattended gas pressure recording.
  • Offshore buoys for recording a variety of environmental conditions.
  • Road traffic counting.
  • Measure temperatures (humidity, etc.) of perishables during shipments: Cold chain.[1]
  • Measure variations in light intensity.
  • Process monitoring for maintenance and troubleshooting applications.
  • Process monitoring to verify warranty conditions
  • Wildlife research with pop-up archival tags
  • Measure vibration and handling shock (drop height) environment of distribution packaging.[2]
  • Tank level monitoring.
  • Deformation monitoring of any object with geodetic or geotechnical sensors controlled by an automatic deformation monitoring system.
  • Environmental monitoring.
  • Vehicle Testing (including crash testing)
  • Motor Racing
  • Monitoring of relay status in railway signalling.
  • For science education enabling ‘measurement’, ‘scientific investigation’ and an appreciation of ‘change’
  • Record trend data at regular intervals in veterinary vital signs monitoring.
  • Load profile recording for energy consumption management.
  • Temperature, humidity and power use for heating and air conditioning efficiency studies.
  • Water level monitoring for groundwater studies.
  • Digital electronic bus sniffer for debug and validation

Additionally the OpenScope MZ is ideal for IoT, which makes remote or automous applications even simpler.  It can be used as a device to instrument your application through measurement and connecting to the internet, as well as a development tool (similar to the Wi-Fire board) to understand the low-level basics of connectivity.

When it comes to using any Data Logger, it is important to know the sample rate of your hardware. The OpenScope MZ itself is capable of a sample rate of 50kS/s, which is an important specification when it comes to Data Loggers. Maximum sample rate in practice depends on a variety of factors, including the speed of the WiFi, the USB, and the SD card you are using.  If you are exceeding the capabilities of your SD card, WaveForms Live will tell you. You can find a list of recommended SD cards for reaching the highest sample rates on the WaveForms Live FAQ.

Remember the faster you sample, the faster you’re collecting data, so if you don’t need the resolution, it’s better to sample at a slower rate.

If you have any questions about the Data Logger or Openscope MZ, check out the wiki and/or the Digilent Forum.

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I enjoy creative writing, engineering, thinking, building, exploring and sharing with people. Huge aficionado of spending time thinking about things that “don’t matter.” I am very interested in unconstrained creativity. I love cross-discipline ideas and all of their integration into complete original systems. And I like things that do things.

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