A data logger is an electronic device used to record and monitor environmental conditions. They are commonly used to track temperature, humidity, and pressure. Data loggers are vital tools in settings where meeting and maintaining specific levels of compliance are crucial. These devices are frequently used in the healthcare, food, and aerospace industries. Data loggers have sensors to take readings and typically include an onboard microprocessor that serves as a memory to store the collected data.
Many different models are available from which to choose, each offering certain features. It is important to match the correct data logger to your specific needs.
In this article, we will describe what you need to do to find the right data logger.
Identify your monitoring needs
This should be your first step. Begin by reviewing for what conditions you need to collect data. That can be anything from temperature, humidity, and pressure (as noted above) to CO2 levels, shock, water levels, and current. The next consideration is where to locate the data logger. If you monitor products as they are transported or while in storage, during extreme conditions at an industrial setting, or throughout food processing cycles, your data logger must withstand the harsh environment in which you plan to use it. If your monitoring needs will place a data logger in extreme heat, cold, or outdoors, be sure that the unit you select is built to work under these conditions. You will perhaps need a waterproof or heat-resistant model. For example, here are some different data logger types for different monitoring circumstances.
What type of data logger do you need?
Data loggers are of two basic types: standalone and wireless. A standalone data logger is ideal if you do not have an immediate need for the data. These models can be programmed to record readings in intervals that can span from days to months. When the collecting period ends, the data logger can be removed and the records downloaded directly to a computer for analysis. Wireless data loggers are the best choice if you require continuous monitoring of conditions where even a slight change would trigger the need for correction. These types of data loggers can be programmed to send alerts when – for example – a temperature zone is getting too warm and possibly risking the integrity of sensitive assets in storage.
Establish your budget
When you start researching the types of data loggers that will fit your requirements, you will discover a perhaps surprising range of prices. The best data logger for the job does not have to be the most expensive one, but it usually makes sense to avoid the lowest-priced one. Consider the features of each data logger and narrow your choices based on the elements you need. This doesn’t mean you should strip down to bare bones, no-frills, basic models. But by avoiding bells and whistles that will not enhance the data collected, you will avoid paying for more features than you need. Your budget amount will come from the prices of the remaining models that fit your final criteria.
Plan for the future
Today’s data loggers can include advanced features. This is useful because when deciding which model to purchase, you would be wise to consider future needs. In a warehouse setting, that could mean an expansion of facilities therefore possibly requiring additional data loggers. In some settings, data loggers may need to monitor more than just temperature conditions over the course of time. Possibly additional zones will be created within an area for different environmental conditions, necessitating more data loggers. As you look over the options available to you, consider including models that have the capability of expanding with your business.
Consider continuous monitoring software compatibility
One more consideration to include when shopping for a data logger is the software. With continuous monitoring, the software is a vital factor in providing you with a real-time analysis of information that can be directly downloaded to your computer or handheld device via Wi-Fi. This ability makes it easier for you to create charts and graphs that will improve understanding of the information recorded by the data logger. To access the data, you will need a computer, tablet, or a smartphone that can accept and operate the software. Fortunately, data loggers come equipped with software that is easy to load and manipulate on multiple platforms. This ensures that you can retrieve and analyze the monitoring information collected by your data logger.
One of the most important considerations when purchasing electronic devices is the level of support the manufacturer provides to its customers. The best way to find this out is to visit the company website and look around. You should find clearly posted contact information and very likely a blog section. Search for online reviews of both the data logger products and the customer support provided. From your research, you should acquire a fairly accurate picture of what to expect if you purchase a data logger from a highly-rated manufacturer.
Shopping for a data logger is much the same as shopping for any other type of electronic device. You want good quality at a fair price. Your new data logger should not only fill your current, but also be effective your needs should change in the future.
The data logger should be easy to use, permit easy access to the information collected, and have software that is compatible with the computer system you currently have in place. You also want a data logger that contains all the correct sensors for the specific conditions you want to monitor.
Ultimately, the data logger you select has to accurately and reliably do a job that no human can accomplish. Keeping these points in mind should help you find the perfect data logger for your needs.