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Friday, April 12, 2024

Data Loggers: How They Work

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Data loggers are crucial devices in many regulated industries. They enable sampling, recording, and verifying a variety of measurements of environmental conditions. Data loggers are the primary means by which environmental compliance can be controlled and proven to regulatory authorities.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the mechanics of data loggers and explain how they work and what makes them such an important tool in today’s world.

What Is A Data Logger?

A data logger is a portable, battery-operated device that records and monitors the  environmental conditions of a particular setting. It uses either built-in sensors or external probes to gather the data. A tiny microprocessor within the data logger provides memory for the data to be stored.

Data loggers are durable, permitting them to spend long periods in harsh conditions. This is one of the their most valuable traits, because they can be used in places that would otherwise be dangerous for a human to manually collect the same data.

Plus, with digital technology, a data logger is far more accurate than a human using analog devices to take the same measurements. The data collected can be downloaded for analysis directly to a laptop or desktop computer or through wifi to a tablet or smartphone.

Data loggers can also be set to send alerts to key individuals if environmental conditions threaten the compliance conditions, and that alert if impending non-compliance can trigger human intervention.

What Are The Advantages of Using A Data Logger?

A data logger offers significant advantages, including that they don’t require a computer to function. Another advantage is that data loggers are available in many different sizes and shapes to accommodate the application they will be used in. Plus, higher-end data loggers have many more functions that permit them to do several other tasks.

The Different Types of Data Loggers

Aside from data loggers coming in single-channel or multi-channel models, five specific types of environmental conditions can be monitored by a data logger. Each has its own specifically designed model, although there are data loggers that can record multiple conditions. Data loggers can monitor temperature, humidity, pressure, voltage, and current.


A temperature data logger measures both high and low temperatures and liquid temperatures.


A humidity data logger gathers information on relative humidity, water vapor concentration, and dew point measurements.


A pressure data logger measures the atmospheric and water pressure of gases and liquids.


A voltage data logger adapts to any voltage measurement from pressure to torque to load to force.


A current data logger monitors the AC and DC levels of building equipment.

Where Are Data Loggers Used?

Data loggers have many different applications. When you consider that they are used to monitor temperature, humidity, pressure, voltage, current, pH levels, CO2 levels, and pulse, it makes sense that a data logger is useful in a variety of industries.

They are often used to verify the temperature and humidity levels in both storage and transportation operations. They collect information on building maintenance related to ventilation, heating, and air conditioning for energy efficiency. A data logger can monitor agricultural growing conditions, the storage conditions of vaccines in medical facilities, and food temperature. That is just a sampling of the capabilities of a data logger.

How Long Do Data Loggers Record?

Two distinct factors impact the amount of data that can be recorded and stored. The memory capacity of the data logger and the sample rate impact the length of time that a data logger will be operational.

An example is if a data logger could store 10,000 samples, and the sample rate is set at two per minute, the data logger will be able to collect data for 5,000 minutes or 3.5 days. This is also dependent on battery life and the application of the data logger.

How Is The Data Retrieved?

Data loggers provide a varitiy of ways to collect recorded data. It is common to connect the data logger to a desktop or laptop computer to download the records. Another retrieval method is to connect a tablet or smartphone to the data logger via wifi and download from there.

Or the data logger can be connected directly to a printer and the information printed out. The ease of data retrieval makes a data logger a logical solution in today’s high-tech world, where access to information is vital and timely.

Data Loggers Vs. Chart Recorders

Data loggers are more economical and accurate than chart recorders. Data loggers can record far more information than chart recorders and are more flexible. Data loggers come in a variety of input types, some that provide combined inputs, and the information gathered by a data logger can be quickly downloaded and analyzed.

For long-term data acquisition, a data logger is far superior to a chart recorder and does not rely on paper and ink to mark measurements. Although chart recorders do excel in certain settings, a data logger is the better choice for regulated industries requiring accurate, fast results from a monitoring device.

Final Thoughts

A data logger is an amazing piece of equipment. It uses internal sensors or external probes to measure several different environmental conditions and does so without fail. They are reliable, durable, and accurate. The portability of data loggers permits them to be used in settings where measuring conditions may not have previously been possible and produces the information required to prove compliance in regulated industries.

Data loggers record a lot of information on a microprocessor and store that data to be collected in a variety of convenient ways. For a tool that tracks conditions, you can’t go wrong with having a digital data logger keep an eye on things.


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