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Data Logging

Data Logging
Data logging is the use of sensors to measure and record data automatically at regular intervals.

Sensors detect physical quantities and convert them into electrical signals. These signals are sent to an interface box.

Sensors usually produce analogue signals, which need to be converted into digital signals by an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) so that they can be processed by a computer. The ADC is inside the interface box.

Data Logging
The digital data is then sent to a data logger, where it is stored. At regular intervals, the data logger sends a batch of data to a computer to be analysed using formulas and charts. Data logging is used where large amounts of data are required over long or short periods of time. As the measurements are taken automatically by sensors, data logging is often used where it would be dangerous for a human to take measurements, e.g. Seismic activity (vibrations) near a volcano Radioactivity inside a nuclear power station

The temperature inside a kiln

Data Logging
Data logging can also be used where it would be tedious and expensive for a human to take the readings, e.g. recording the heart rate, and blood pressure of a patient lying in a hospital bed

Remote Data Logging


Remote data logging is where the data logger sends the data to a distant place to be recorded and stored.

Remote logging is used where the equipment might be in danger of being destroyed, or it would be difficult or dangerous for a person to retrieve the data from the site.

Remote Data Logging


Examples: Monitoring the gas produced by a volcano

Remote Data Logging


Examples: Checking the movement and stress at an earthquake fault line

Remote Data Logging


Examples: Measuring the flow of lava

Logging Period
The measurements are taken over a period of time, called the logging period.

The choice of logging period depends on what is being measured, the purpose of the data logging, and how much data is required.
For an experiment in which the temperature of water is recorded as it cools, the logging period could be about an hour (the time it takes for the water to completely cool). For the monitoring of seismic waves (vibrations in the Earth) near a volcano, the logging period might be unending, as scientists permanently record volcanic activity in order to predict eruptions.

Logging Interval
The time between measurements is called the logging interval. The choice of logging interval depends on what quantity is being measured, the purpose of the data logging, and how much data is required.

If you are measuring radiation emitted from a galaxy a long way away, you might only require daily measurements.
If you are measuring the energy released from an explosion, you might want a logging interval of a fraction of a second.

Number of Readings
When setting up a data logging experiment, you need to know how many readings to expect from the data logging. The formula is:

Number of Readings = Logging Period Logging Interval

Number of Readings
Example: The electrical energy in a storm was measured every 5 seconds for a period of 2 hours. How many readings were taken? Logging Interval = 5 secs Logging Period = 2 hours Logging Period = 2 x 60 x 60 secs Logging Period = 7200 secs

Number of Readings = Logging Period Logging Interval = 7200 5 = 1440

Advantages of Data Logging


Data logging is much cheaper than using a human to take measurements.

There is no chance of any human error, so data logging is much more accurate than human measurement, as long as the sensors have been calibrated properly.
Data logging can take place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sensors dont need a break. Data logging can take place in inhospitable and dangerous places, where it would not be possible for a human to be, e.g. on Mars, or around the rim of a volcano.

Disadvantages of Data Logging


Sensors must be calibrated properly, otherwise the data they produce will be invalid.

Sensors can break, in which case data will not be captured and recorded until it is replaced or fixed.

Some sensors can be expensive.

The equipment may take a while to set up.

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Objectives
After viewing this presentation, you should Know that data logging is the use of sensors to measure and record data automatically at regular intervals. Be able to explain the role of the sensor, ADC, interface box, data logger and computer. Know about the advantages and disadvantages of data logging. Know about remote data logging and why it is used. Be able to give practical examples of data logging.

Understand logging period and logging interval, and how these are chosen. Be able to calculate the number of readings.

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