Recently whilst pondering my various bags of loot (see earlier post on one man’s trash…) I decided to have a go at setting up some of the data loggers I found.
At first I thought I’d have trouble as the hand held units appeared to have batteries still installed… Ten years in a storage room with installed batteries… Wiping a cold sweat (brought on by dread) from my brow I removed the compartment lid and inspected the state of play… Not a single crystal of Copper Sulphate in sight! Score!
The devices are made by Data Harvest and the series are the “EasySense” and “EcoLog” units as far as I can tell, I’m not enirely sure the handheld units are EcoLog or EcoLog plus… I need to investigate it further, it’s not as plainly labelled as I’d hoped. Data Harvest are (pleasingly) still around but their website does not list the kind of data loggers I pulled from the skip.
The boxes I opened had two different kinds of loggers contained within. One was a more portable unit (presumably for students or field workers) and the other kind seemed to be something that you’d set up in the lab and would be the exclusive dominion of the man in charge. I successfully set up both kits and even went as far as modifying one of the units so that it would accept an external battery feed (something which I felt was important to my proposed workshop atmospheric monitoring station) and now meant that it could be turned on and off remotely.
I’d like to be able to find some more sensors online but I doubt they’re overly easy to come by. The EasySense unit has six inputs but I have only two temperature probes… Who knows maybe I can find some diagrams online and make my own.
Obviously this stuff is somewhat out-dated so in order to connect it to a computer I needed some old(er) equipment to run the software on (it came on floppies) so I dug out my trusty grey Toshiba 320 CDT which runs Windows 95 and configured the COM port to accept incoming data. The package is typically ‘educational’ but it runs quite well. Occasionally it got itself into a twist over opening the desired COM port but a restart solved this as I couldn’t remember how to un-screw this on a Windows 95 system.
After some befuddlement over how to enable “live” monitoring mode on the EcoLog (a device that has very few buttons – it’s got one) I concluded that I was right to have ignored my jeering colleagues and brought all the old manuals home with me as well as the hardware. On consulting the manual the EcoLog fired up happily and began presenting data to the logging software. The resolution of the sensors supplied in the kits is quite satisfyingly precise, I poked one of the temperature probes out of the door to the workshop and monitored what was going on outside compared to what was going on inside.
Above we can see the EasySense Advanced unit with two temperature probes attached feeding data via serial to the logging software.
Satisfied that the EasySense was functioning correctly I moved onto the smaller units.
I discovered that the EcoLog units had some onboard sensors (depending on if they’re EcoLog or EcoLog+) which can run simultaneously alongside the external sensors which plug into the top of the unit via a 3.5mm jack style connection. The additional sensors give the unit a potential total of seven measurements however I think (sadly) mine are just the bog standard EcoLog. The EcoLog+ boasts onboard light units, external light units, onboard temperature, external temperature, sound level, barometric pressure and humidity. I am yet to determine exactly what it is I own as the packaging of the EcoLog and EcoLog+ seems to be identical and the software is somewhat cryptic… I’m hopful that I’m just being dumb and I have the plus kind.
Here’s the EgoLog unit displaying four different readings (again) via the serial interface
After ascertaining that they worked at all I added the mod below which will allow me to supply the unit with power remotely…
The board is quite neat but sadly doesn’t leave much room for me to detach components. I don’t see why they decided to mount the sound level microphone on the back of the board this way, I’d have had it on the front with everything else. I was tempted to try and de-solder it and move it but I didn’t want to break the thing. Ultimately I’d like to move the position of the onboard microphone and I’d like to move the mode toggle switch / status indicator LED to a more convenient location, that way the entire unit could be mounted in a Stevenson Screen type enclosure near the workshop.
I’m sure there’s much more to the scope of these devices but I only played with them for an evening. If I learn anything new I will add it to this post!
If anyone needs the installer for the logging software send me a message and I’ll image the floppies I used.