In the world of PC based data acquisition, data loss is always a concern. Despite precautions, hard drives crash and power failures happen. However, there are some simple steps that you can take to minimize data loss.
In locations where power outages are common, you might consider an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Make sure that your data acquisition device, your PC and any power supplies, providing excitation to your sensors, are all connected to the UPS.
To minimize data loss resulting from a hard drive crash, periodically back up data to a network drive or removable storage media (a USB flash drive, SD memory card, etc.).
With storage capacity becoming less of a concern due to ever expanding hard drives, consider increasing your sample rate. If you’re only acquiring a sample every 5 minutes and you experience a glitch 9 minutes into the recording, you’ll be left with a single data point.
Finally, look for software with built in safeguards. Take WinDaq data acquisition software, for example. WinDaq includes a feature called Crashguard. Crashguard automatically creates side files that allow WinDaq to close gracefully in the event of a power failure or crash. As a result, data acquired up to moment that communication with the instrument is lost, can be easily recovered.
Don’t be caught off guard!