How-To Choose a Data Acquisition Unit

Data Acquisition Unit commonly known as Data loggers are any devices that can be used to store data from sensing its environment. This includes many data acquisition devices such as blackbox, control units, plug-in boards or serial communication systems which use a computer as a real time data recording system. Until recently, most data logger manufacturers consider a data acquisition units a stand alone device that can read various types of electrical signals and store the data in internal memory for later download to a computer. However, with today’s technology, data loggers are just like a personal computer having remote access, real-time upload and download, and easy to use graphical user interface (GUI).
The advantage of data loggers is that they can operate independently of a computer, unlike many other types of data acquisition units. Data loggers are available in various shapes, sizes and functions. The range includes simple economical single-ended channel, differential channel to more powerful programmable devices capable of handling hundreds of inputs. Their interface may be 9-wire serial, RS485, CAN2.0, and wireless interface which includes wifi, zigbee, gms, sms, gprs, etc.

How-To Choose a Data Acquisition Unit
When choosing a data acquisition unit the following parameters should be considered:

  • Number of Inputs: Input various from 1 to hundreds. Digital and/or Analog.
  • Speed and Memory: sampling rates is determine by the sensor, memory, and CPU speed. For example. If an application requires sample rates of 2 per second and the test must last one hour, the data logger must be able to store 7200 samples(2 sample/sec x 1 hour x 3600 seconds/hour).
  • Operating in Real Time: display the data being collected in real time on a computer. Certain data loggers such as Kreatit Design also support this feature.
  • Easy acess to data: Accessing data by remote login, rs232, internet, sms are all possible with the right data acquisition unit. Database csv, MySQL , ms access, Oracle.
  • Power: Most data logger require plug-in adapter or battery operated. Kreatit Design offer solar pwered with battery backup which is perfect for remote data collection such as weather stations.
  • Sizes: In many applications space is a limitation. In those cases the size of the data logger may be a critical selection parameter. Weather proof case suitable for most outdoors conditions.
  • Price: Price are generally reasonable and doesn’t vary drastically from manufacturer to manufacturer. Add-on such as solar panels, sensors, waterproof, etc..
  • Support: Most manufacturer offer good customer support but when dealing with Data Acquisiton Units you want technical support. Be careful of companies with lack of technical support. You paid for quanlity so you deserve quality technical support and but just customer support. Check out Kreatit Design.

Buying a Data Acquisition Unit is really easy. Just do the right amount of research. This will keep you from making costly mistakes in your purchase. Double check with someone who has experience in purchasing supplies like this if you are unsure about something.