Open Source Data Logger

29806Published On Aug 12,2016 12:55 PMshare6

[UPDATE] Data logger design has been revised after testing with the first prototype I assembled.

This is an open source data logger design that is in its prototype stage. I started designing arduino-based data acquisition devices as an answer to the problem of expensive lab data acquisition systems used in most high school and university science labs in the USA. The Open Source Physics Laboratory data acquisition system version 2.0 I designed in 2012 received the first award and low cost award at American Association of Physics Teachers Apparatus Competition in 2013. It was based on Arduino UNO. This particular version I am prototyping now is definitely a different approach to the problem and it can be used for general data logging or as a platform for any electronics projects.

Unlike my other current design with almost completely surface-mount components and lots of capabilities (pictures 1 and 2), this new design exclusively uses thru-hole components and various breakout boards that are widely available cheaply on ebay.com or other electronic component outlets. The goal of this design is to make the data logger extremely cheap yet the very easy to assemble by beginners, i.e. science teachers, students and DIY hobbyists. Assembling the more capable logger design is not feasible to beginners.

Modules such as Arduino Nano clone, breakout boards for real time clocks, Micro SD card, DC-DC step-up converters, analog-to-digital converters, Inertial measurement units, etc. are extremely cheap, in most cases, a whole breakout board (say Arduino Nano clone) is cheaper than the main component (ATMEGA328P-AU), if you purchase the component from a US vendor, even at moderate quantity. So if I design a circuit board to host these components and help beginners construct a data logger from these components, many more people will be interested in trying, than trying the more capable logger with all surface-mount components.

At the same time, ebay parts are not the best of all parts. I have had issues with some parts I purchased off ebay. If someone unfortunately soldered one a defective component to the logger, it will be very frustrating indeed possibly to the point that he decides to stop trying electronics altogether. So to prevent such problem (always happens), I designed a testing board. After assembling the testing board, one will be able to plug in the Arduino Nano clone to test all the pins (I had some that had pins that didn't work), real time clocks, MicroSD card, etc. without permanently soldering them to the logger board so that they know all parts are in good order before assembling.

This is definitely a different type of design for manufacturing, if you consider this design may get"manufactured"one or two at a time by novices.

As this project moves towards completion, I will add bill of materials, testing code to test out the components and pictures and videos of assembling and testing with some sample projects.

Acquire components

Assemble testing board

Test your components

Assemble data logger

Use the data logger for something fun!

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Liudr
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