Data Logging: What is Data Logger, Its Applications, and How it Works?


When it comes to collecting and storing data over a period of time, many organizations use data loggers to analyze specific trends. Data logging is the process of recording events or measurements to monitor real-time data.

This process is used to track all the interactions through which data is stored, accessed, or modified on a storage device or application. The industrial applications and scientific experiments that need to collect information more quickly and accurately than manual processes utilize data logging technology to collect the information.

The data is collected through sensors which is then saved and analyzed. The device used for data logging is known as a data logger. Now let’s find out what data logger is, how it works, and why it is used.

What is Data Logger?

A data logger is an electronic device or recorder that automatically records and monitors real-time data such as voltage, temperature, and current. This small and low-priced device is used for analyzing environmental parameters over time. The collected data is used for measuring, documenting, analyzing, and validating conditions. A data logger has an in-built sensor that collects the information while a computer chip stores it. For the analysis purpose, the stored information is transferred to a computer from the data logger. Data loggers can record millions of data points over extended periods. This recording instrument can work for days, weeks, or even years for collecting temperatures, sound frequencies, vibrations, times, pH levels, electrical currents, pressure, or other similar data.

A data logger or a data recorder can either use software for showing data or a stand-alone device that may connect directly to your PC or Mobile Phone for displaying data. It is a computer program that looks like a small box with batteries, wires, internal memory storage, sensors, and a programmable module. It can be work as a single-unit, stand-alone device, or a multi-channel data collection instrument that comprises one or more sensors. The data loggers are of four main types- stand-alone USB data loggers, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled data loggers, web-based systems, and wireless sensors (data nodes).

How does a data logger work?

A Data Logger consists of a microprocessor, an internal memory for data storage, and a sensor for collecting data. Unlike data acquisition devices, data loggers work independently of a computer. This battery-powered device can either interface with a computer and use software or operate as a stand-alone device with wireless connectivity. The device can store data on a memory card or Flash drive. However, the advanced data loggers are capable of communicating wirelessly and can send the data automatically over Ethernet.

The sensors in the data loggers collect data at regular intervals which are stored in its internal non-volatile memory. The stored data can be retrieved remotely by the users over their mobile devices. The user can set an alert level for monitoring so that if the logged data goes beyond that alert level, an email or SMS emergency alert is sent to the user. This helps in taking the right steps at the right time to prevent any mishap or accident. As compared to manual data logging performed by constant human observation, using an electronic data logger gives greater accuracy. Taking periodic manual readings can be time-consuming, as well as prone to human errors. But using efficient data loggers helps in performing the same task more efficiently.

Why a Data Logger is used?

The applications that require recoding continuous readings of an instrument need a data logger. This device can automatically collect real-time data from the sensors and display it over the mobile device.  If extended recording time is more important than high-speed recording then using a data logger is a better choice than a data acquisition system. As compared to DAQ systems, data loggers are cost-effective and can be used for a wide variety of applications.

The applications that need monitoring factors like temperature, humidity, or voltage over an extended period utilize data loggers. For instance, a data logger can be used to monitor the temperature of food in a storage facility or can provide building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning data to check energy usage. It is also widely used in the agricultural industry to monitor temperature and humidity levels.

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