February 11, 2021
Evolution of Data Loggers to Continuous Monitoring
Analysts expect the market for data loggers to grow by 7.4% over the next five years. Demand for quick access to real-time data across a variety of industries is fueling this growth.
Learn more about continuous monitoring with data loggers and what this technology can do for you.
What Is a Data Logger?
A data logger is a small electronic device that monitors and records data over time. It uses an internal or external sensor. It carries a digital processor.
After you program and activate the data logger, it will work automatically and autonomously. Data loggers store the data in local memory with a time and date stamp.
Data loggers have a sample rate of once per second or slower. They can provide continuous monitoring for long periods of time because of this low sample rate.
What Can a Data Logger Monitor?
Data loggers can record signal types that include:
Temperature is the most common parameter to measure and record. The global market for temperature data loggers alone was worth more than a billion dollars in 2020.
A data logger can record any physical or electrical property that can be converted to an electrical signal. The signal needs to be within the bandwidth of the data logger.
Some data loggers have fixed input types that include the sensors. Other data loggers have universal inputs with screw terminal connections that let you attach your choice of sensors.
Four to eight channels are the most common for data loggers. A data logger can provide anywhere from a single channel up to more than 100. Most applications don’t need such a large channel count, though.
Data Logger vs Data Acquisition System
Data acquisition systems (DAQ) collect data at faster sample rates than data loggers. DAQ systems create much larger amounts of data than data loggers. This means they need a connection to a network, PC, or other computers to manage and store the data.
DAQ systems are usually more expensive than data loggers.
Accessing Data: The Key to Continuous Monitoring
In the history of monitoring, the development of better ways to access data was critical. Recorded data isn’t useful if you can’t access it easily or in a timely manner. Modern data loggers offer several ways for you to access and analyze your data.
With a stand-alone USB data logger, you can offload the data directly from the USB to a computer.
If bringing a computer to the site or taking the data logger back to the office isn’t practical, you can use a data shuttle. First, you download data from the logger to the shuttle. Then you can transfer the data from the shuttle to your computer when it’s convenient.
Bluetooth data loggers transmit data wirelessly to a mobile device within its range. Bluetooth is especially useful when you need a data logger in an area that is hard to reach or has restricted access.
WiFi and Web-Based
Web-based data loggers provide real-time remote access to your data. They transmit the data using GSM cellular, WiFi, or Ethernet. You don’t need to manually download your data.
With wireless data loggers, you can create a network of sensors that transmit real-time continuous monitoring data to a central location.
Different manufacturers give you various options for accessing your web-based data. You may have access through a secure website. Many systems store the data securely in the cloud.
Evolution of Other Data Logger Technology for Continuous Monitoring
Recording data used to be complicated and expensive. Modern data loggers have made reliable continuous monitoring accessible to a wide range of businesses. Technological improvements have increased performance and lower costs.
More Powerful Sensors
Sensor technology has improved significantly over time. Data loggers take measurements that are more precise than in the past. For example, temperature measurements are commonly accurate to within +/- 0.5ºC.
The most accurate temperature loggers are accurate down to multiple decimal places through resistant temperature detection. Resistant temperature detection uses a piece of wire wrapped around a piece of ceramic or glass. The sensor measures the speed of electrons passing through the wire to give a highly accurate temperature.
Improvements in interchangeable parts and modular interfaces make data loggers very adaptable. You can use the same data logger to record different parameters by changing the sensor attachment. You have more flexibility in data monitoring.
In addition, you can easily replace a sensor if it fails.
Modular sensor probes can also make calibration easier. For regular calibration services, you have to send the entire data logger away. You lose time and money dealing with shipping, assembling and disassembling a replacement device, and uninstalling and reinstalling your original unit.
Some manufacturers can just send you a calibrated replacement probe. You avoid the hassle of sending the entire data logger for calibration. When you receive the new probe, you simply take off the old one and replace it with the calibrated one.
Batteries may not seem like a technological innovation today. However, using them in data loggers has greatly increased the devices’ flexibility and portability. Advances in lithium battery technology let data loggers provide reliable continuous monitoring for longer periods of time.
Data loggers generally don’t consume much power. Battery life can vary, though, depending on the operating conditions. Data loggers usually have a battery life of at least a year.
Some data loggers have batteries you can replace yourself. This saves you the time and expense of shipping the device back to the manufacturer to have the batteries replaced.
Digital Data Storage
Early data loggers used chart recorders. Chart recorders relied on vibrating pens to record changes in the data with lines on paper tape. Digital data storage has made this early form of monitoring obsolete.
Data loggers can now efficiently store the data from continuous monitoring. USB drives and SD cards are just some of the technologies from personal computing that have improved the usefulness of data loggers.
Modern data loggers will alert you if anomalies occur. Alarms are visual and audible.
WiFi compatibility enables additional alerts via SMS, cell phone, fax, or email. You have real-time information even when you’re not onsite.
Taking Advantage of Continuous Monitoring
Continuous monitoring with a data logger has applications across a range of industries. Modern data loggers let you monitor a variety of parameters with easy access to your data.
If you need to replace your outdated loggers or you’re monitoring for the first time, SensoScientific has the devices and support you’re looking for. We design, engineer, and manufacture our transmitters and firmware. You get seamless functionality and a lower price.
Contact us today for more information. Let us demonstrate why our wireless systems are the most advanced and practical on the market.