How to Build a Simple Arduino Data Logger

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We just fired up a new collaborative project, and some of the academics from the other university suggested that the blog was something of a spaghetti monster, and that they had a hard time navigating through it all.  So I whipped up a short summary page which brings together the latest datalogger build instructions, which are normally distributed through three years of worth of blog posts:

 

How to Build an Arduino Data Logger

 

There's probably nothing new there for this crowd, but it's worth noting that since the beginning of the project, we've accumulated more than 700 months of operational time with these little guys, and about half of that is in underwater. We have only had one housing failure, and that was from using the wrong epoxy.

 

If anyone wants to see these loggers in action, I've also posted a short video clip from one of our recent deployments on the Year in review post which might be of interest to people doing underwater projects.

 

Cheers!

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -

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Sounds pretty cool.

 

277,232,917 -1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

Measure twice, cry, go back to the hardware store

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Added a bare-bones version of the logger that uses a screw terminal shield to break out the pins:

 

https://edwardmallon.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/arduino-data-logger-2017-build-update/

 

these replace the breadboard units I was using for bookshelf tests

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -

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Woo hooo! We are published:

A Flexible Arduino-Based Logging Platform for Long-Term Monitoring in Harsh Environments
http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/18/2/530

 

 

Sensors is open access, so the PDF is free for all to download.  

And a big thank you to folks in this and other forums, who've helped us develop this project over the last 4 years. 

 

Cheers!

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 20, 2018 - 01:13 AM
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A visiting researcher dropped by our humble basement workshop with questions about the physical skill level their students would need to have if they added our DIY data loggers to their environmental curriculum.  I figured the easiest way to cover that was to simply build one, while they recorded the process.  

 

The result of that 3 hour session is now available on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL79ZjHgoYtfzvDKPADJH7HPYDFFlxSLXt&disable_polymer=true

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -

Last Edited: Wed. Jun 20, 2018 - 05:05 PM
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While the logger core is generic, the surface deployments tend to use the 4" housing (which is easy to build) while the underwater deployments (~ half of the current fleet)  use the 2" body style. Usually those deployments are too deep to record with our little point & shoot camera, but we recently did an install in a coastal outflow that was shallow enough to capture a clip of the method we use to anchor the sensors in place.

In this video:  https://youtu.be/yrrKCdw234k

we are placing the anchor in the fresh water, with extension rods to move the actual sensor into the zone where saline water (the silty brown layer) in intruding into the system.

Like the housings, all the pieces of the deployment system are made from zip ties and cheap plumbing parts that anyone can buy at the hardware store.

 

 

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -

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Any interst in:

https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?SearchText=arduino+datalogger

 

It leads to pcb's with the size and price of a postage stamp. ATMEGA on one side, uSD on the other side. Like in:

OpenLog

That "openlog" silk screen might also lead to an easy search.

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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The openlog alone cost more than all of the components for our complete build
https://thecavepearlproject.org/...

 

and I rarely see anyone quoting sleep currents for it - probably because the SD is always on.  With separate modules & SD power switching, we usually see sleep currents in the 0.02-0.03 mA range. Also you still need an RTC, and there's no way anyone doing serious logging would live with the drift from a DS1307 over a mult year deployment. So most of those "combination" boards on ebay are non starters. Then theres the issue of pins, with display screens, analog thermistors, I2C & onewire sensors, we really need all the I/O pins we can get on some of our builds.  To be honest, I've been waiting for a chinese cloner make a decent single board logger based on our work, but they keep mixing bad parts for loggers that you'd be lucky to get 5 months out of...

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -

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This is a follow-up to our post about using Nokia 5110 screens on three unused analog lines with shift-out​.  That saved me from messing with the hardware SPI bus which we reserve for the SD cards.  A secondary benefit is that the code is really lean, on the order of about 250 bytes for the default font after the compile if you already have EEprom.h in the build anyway.  The font, however takes up about 500 bytes, and I wanted the smallest possible footprint so that we could add live data output to loggers that are already compile near the memory limits.  As it turns out, stuffing those fonts into the internal EEprom was pretty easy to do: Using the Arduino’s Internal EEprom to Store Calibration Data & LCD Screen Fonts

 

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -

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I think we've finally settled on a "standard" display screen to use with our loggers:

 

Adding the SSD1306 OLED Screen to an Arduino Logger (without a library)
 

This is the third in our series about using shift-out and unused analog lines to drive SPI displays. The primary reason to use this method is to save power in data logging applications that need to run for years at a time. When you drive the pin-power line down the screen is completely disabled and draws no current.

 

 

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -

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I finally completed the set of logger build tutorials on Youtube,  to go with the screw terminal logger posted in 2017:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist...

 

Even if the logger is not your thing, you might find it interesting how I mount sensors on waterproof cables.

 

Part 8: Epoxy the sensors & build waterproof connectors
https://youtu.be/EKNNDPGr1Aw

- The Cave Pearl Project: Developing Arduino based underwater data loggers and sensors -