Data Acquisition

What is Data Acquisition?

Data Acquisition is simply gathering signals from various sources (i.e. sensor) and digitised the signal for storage, analysis and representation about a system or process. It is a core tool to the understanding, control and management of such systems and processes. data acquisition

What is Data Logging?

Data logging Data logging is when acquired data is stored or logged for later use or analysis. Its simplest form could be to write a mesaurement down on a piece of paper.

Function of a Data Logger

A Data logger automatically collects data over time from sensors, instruments and devices in a factory,
laboratory and in the field and usually follow the following steps:
  • Read sensors and report real-time values
  • Store data
  • Process data(Calculations, Events and Alarms)
  • Data transfer(Automatically or manually)

A Data logger is a data acquisition system but not vice versa. A data acquisition system is not necessarily a data logger.
Data logger usually exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Slower sampling speed
  • Stand-alone
  • Extended recording time with built in Real Time clock for timestamping
  • Typically has lower power consumption operates from DC source, solar and battery powered
  • Some form of built-in memory
  • Reliable and robust

What is a sensor?

data sensors

Sensors produce an electrical output that is proportional to the quantity of the parameter being sensed. Electrical output from sensors can be:

  • Voltage
  • Current
  • Resistance
  • Frequency
  • Binary states or pulses (counts)
  • Serial data – RS232, RS422, RS485, SDI12 and etc
  • Parallel data – BCD, Grey Code, phase encoder
Commercial sensors:
  • Temperature, humidity
  • Pressure, force, mass, weight
  • Velocity, acceleration, vibration
  • Strain, stress, distortion, fatigue
  • Flow, level, pH, wind speed
  • Length, thickness, displacement
  • State, pulse, counter
  • and many more...

Why Collect Information?

To look back on past events and identify areas of interest and most of all saving cost and time. These events could assist in improving the following:

  • Efficiency
  • Performance
  • Accuracy
  • Reliability
  • Energy consumption
  • Quality Assurance
  • etc.

Stand-Alone or PC based?

Dedicated data loggers have many inherent advantages over PC based alternatives for the bulk of data acquisition tasks. These include low power operation, standby power sources and security of data in the event of power or communications failure. Being specifically designed for the task, errors due to influences such as poor noise immunity and unstable operating systems are minimised. A dedicated data logger supporting anything from thermocouples to strain gauge sensors, will process and return data to a PC in real time.

Evolution in Data Acquisition

Data Acquisition technology continues to evolve, with high speed data interfaces and networking forcing major change to previous practices. Sensitive low level signals can now be left in the field, with just the desired data being returned to a remote computer for analysis. This is the function of a dataTaker data logger, providing the functionality and speed to process, consolidate and log data for later downloading. A series of data loggers interconnected by a network allows data gathering closer to sensors, for improved signal quality and reduced installation cost.

A Simple Decision

So why choose data logger over other data acquisition systems? Most data acquisition systems require installation of a DA card in a PC and the connection and wiring of the sensors. These systems work well in permanenty configured, on-line applications but is difficult to implement and can be costly. Data loggers significantly reduce the cost for most logging applications and are much easier to implement, and can be placed in areas that digital systems can not reach. The simple alternative, dataTaker data loggers stand alone solid state data loggers that operate anywhere, independent of your computer. they store data in the format you choose, compatible with your computer and your software systems. dataTaker data loggers are flexible and any one of our data loggers can easily be configured to gather data in almost any environment you choose. There are dataTakers in rain forests, down mines and in the upper atmosphere. In cars, in boats and planes. on farms, in factories and laboratories. dataTaker is truly universal.

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