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What is a Data Logger?

What is a Data Logger?

A data logger (sometimes spelled "Datalogger") is an electronic instrument that records digital or analog measurements over time. Some data loggers are small, battery-powered devices, equipped with a microprocessor, data storage and even a sensor. Others are general purpose devices that are designed to connect to a wide range of voltges and sensor types.


The terms data logging and data acquisition are often used interchangeably. However, in a historical context they are quite different. A data logger is a data acquisition system, but a data acquisition system is not necessarily a data logger.


Data Logger Basics

  • Data loggers typically have slower sample rates than data acquisition sytems. A maximum sample rate of 5 Hz may be considered to be very fast for a data logger, yet very slow for a typical data acquisition system.
  • Data loggers imply stand-alone operation, while the typical data acquisition system must remain tethered to a computer to acquire data. This stand-alone aspect of data loggers implies on-board memory that is used to store acquired data. Sometimes this memory is very large to accommodate many days, or even months of unattended recording. This memory may be battery backed Static_Random_Access_Memory, flash_memory or EEPROM. Older data loggers used physical forms of memory such as paper tape or paper disks - these were usually known as "chart_recorders".
  • Given the extended recording times of data loggers, they typically feature a time- and date-stamping mechanism to ensure that each recorded data value is associated with a date and time of acquisition. As such, data loggers typically employ built-in real time clocks.
  • The unattended nature of data logger applications implies the need to operate from a DC power source, such as a battery. Solar power may be used to supplement these power sources.
  • Sometime dataloggers are connected to communication devices such as modems, cellular phones or satellite terminals to enable the remote collection of recorded data or alarming of certain parameters (such as an abnormal water level).


Examples of Data Logger Applications

  • Unattended weather station recording (such was wind speed / direction, temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation).
  • Unattended hyrographic recording (such as water level, water depth,water flow, water pH, water conductivity).
  • Unattended Soil Moisture level recording.
  • Unattended Gas pressure recording.
  • Road traffic counting.


MicroDAQ.com, The Data Logger Store

MicroDAQ.com, The Data Logger Store is an online distributor of over 30+ different manufacturers of data loggers including Onset Computer, ACR Systems, Testo, Dent Instruments, LogTag, Graphtec, MadgeTech, Lascar Electronics and Measurement Computing and many more. Check out our full line of Data Loggers.