Hardly a day that goes by that we don’t receive an inquiry for a data logger or data acquisition system that goes something like this:
We are looking to add a data logger system to our production line and would like to have a system able to record data in real time. What products of yours can help with our project?
If you’ve been on the receiving end of a question like this you know that it’s impossible to answer without more information. In our business, answers to only four simple questions will lead you to the doorstep of a product or products with a high probability of providing a solution for your application. Here they are:
How many total data logger or data acquisition channels do you need to measure?
We sell data acquisition and data logger solutions that range from a single channel to hundreds. Simply defining up front the number of measurements that you need to make at the same time will greatly narrow product choices.
What’s the full scale voltage range of each channel?
We have products with full scale ranges from 10 millivolts to 1,000 volts and all magnitudes in between. Clarifying the voltage range that you need is a critical step to identify the product that’s right for you.
What’s your required sample rate per channel?
Sample rate defines a digital instrument just as color defines paint. You either need to know how fast you have to sample, or have a good handle on how fast the signals you want to acquire or log change with respect to time.
Will you use a PC to make the measurement, or must the instrument operate stand-alone?
Your answer to this question generally defines if you need a data acquisition or data logger system. The line has blurred recently, but data acquisition systems generally are PC-connected devices that rely on the PC’s monitor and memory to display and store acquired data. On the other hand, data loggers generally imply devices that can function without a connected computer.
Depending upon the complexity of your application we may need a few more details, but the combined answers to these four questions will invariably lead directly to a single or small range or suitable product options for you to consider.