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Topic: Open Source Data Logger Project Using the Arduino? (Read 82740 times) previous topic - next topic


Feb 07, 2009, 08:04 pm Last Edit: Feb 07, 2009, 08:06 pm by eastcoast Reason: 1

Its been a while since I last accessed this forum, my interest in a open source data logger based on the Arduino had to be placed on the shelf as I was dealing with a lot of other projects, the paying ones had to come first!

I am still dealing with several calls daily with projects where the Ardunio would be an ideal fit.  Basic research applications where they have a zero budget and an open source solution would solve all their problems.

I am thinking about creating a specific website which will act as a central resource for open source data logger projects, allowing the less technical to communicate with us with there project idea's.  Additionally, It might also work as a place for developers to share code between each other and exchange idea's.

I had plans on competitions, prizes, etc to generate interest and give some incentive for everyone to contribute, I have had both positive and negative comments on implementing this.

What do you you all think?  Good or bad idea?

I noticed that this thread has been viewed over 10,000 times!!  It would appear that there is a lot of interest out there.


I was thinking of developing a general purpose sensor interface peripheral
for my ZB1 board (http://tinyurl.com/5lnhtj). The new board would consist of
four channels of instrument amps or op-amps. I would include a reference,
a negative 5V supply and a little prototyping area. The datasheet
would include a detailed op-amp tutorial.

Since the ZB1 can be connected to a backplane other peripherals like an
SD card could easily be added. Also the ZB1 has an XBee so remote logging
is possible.

I would be interested to hear what types of sensors people use and what difficulties
were encountered.

(* jcl *)


Hi All,

I'm new to the forum.  I just want to say that this is a very interesting project.  Lots of monitoring in the geotechnical engineering industry require small loggers in the field.  Leaving a $500 logger out in the middle of no-where is not ideal.  This would be a great application for this project.


Mar 13, 2009, 09:42 pm Last Edit: Mar 13, 2009, 09:44 pm by RyanN Reason: 1
I have a need for a different type of data logger. I want to log incoming ASCII serial data to an SD card. I also want to send commands to the attached instrument. I'm thinking that I can use the Adafruit GPS/SD logger shield, but rather than a GPS, I'll attach my device (an ADCP). I haven't found any simpler or cheaper SD card shields.

I'm in the fortunate position of having plenty of (solar) power available, but I have some other applications where this may not be the case.

This could also be used to add memory to instruments where memory upgrades are either unavailable or expensive using the serial output.

There are devices such as the logomatic from sparkfun which comes close, but I'd like to build this around an arduino. I'd also like to use a FAT16 or even FAT32 formatted card. Unless I'm mistaken (which is probable) this shouldn't be too hard to do, especially with an Atmega328.



Hi! I'm new to this forum, so I apologize if anything I say is out of context.  As a mechanical engineer at a product design company, I'm very interested in a cheap data logger.

Is there a way that we can all put our minds together to create a "Product Requirements" document?  There seems to be a significant amount of knowledge and ideas, and it would great if we can compile them.  I'm not sure if this is the forum to make a collaborative document, but I'm willing to give it a shot!

From my brief skimming of the posts, I think that as requirements we have the following:

1) Completely Open-Source, running off of the Arduino Hardware
2) Portable, to record data "in the field"
3) Able to store data to some sort of mass storage (SD, USB, etc.)
4) Read inputs from a variety of instruments, most importantly:
    - temperature
    - GPS
    - fluid pressure
    - air speed
    - light
    - electrical inputs (voltage, current, etc.)
5) Interface with a GUI/graphing software

I know this is a couple steps back from what some people have done, but it would be nice to have a "common goal" in our collaborative efforts!


Aside from the GUI requirement, I think that pretty much nails it.  At least for myself, I envision this thing being a headless, disconnected entity that does its sensing autonomously, and the user retrieves the data by grabbing the SD card.

I think a solid, reusable library for reading and writing to SD cards is what's really lacking, right now.  There are a few floating around, but nothing's really been well-packaged for use on the Arduino.  Now that the 328 is available, I think that should be a relatively straightforward endeavor.


Mar 29, 2009, 09:44 pm Last Edit: Mar 29, 2009, 09:45 pm by Indianas_Back Reason: 1
Having just purchased a gigalog E datalogger for about 260 euros, I would very much welcome a cheaper version. The sort of stuff I need to log is GPS signals along side, side scan sonar and metal detector signals.  

Having never used a datalogger, the PDF manual I have could have been far better. There are too many abbreviations and a lack of clarity. If you are going to aim for a wider market then the manual will be all important.  

If you have the time, one question, If you are logging a signal from a headphone feed, there are three wires, left and right channel plus the ground. I take it only one of the channels needs logging, but does the ground wire need connecting? :)



I've managed to introduce the Arduino into my workplace.  We make energy monitoring displays, and we use the Arduino to control our automatic test equipment.

The open-source data logger is of interest to me, and I am keen to see it happen.  We currently use dataloggers from Picotech, but you always need the PC running and they are let down by flaky software and the inevitable crashes of windows.  

I'd just like a box that you could connect up like a multichannel multimeter with lots of 4mm "bananna" plugs that will log to data-flash or SD memory, and only needs a dc power supply to make it work.

We've just built a 6 channel relay board that the Arduino plugs straight into, and it also uses a 4051 analogue mulltiplexer to provide 8 additional analogue input channels.  We also buffer the PWM outputs to give us 4 channels of voltage output, one of which feeds through an opto-isolating op-amp to give a +/-10V swing - entirely isolated from the Arduino ground.  A small +/-12V dc/dc converter supplies the isolated power.

The board is proving useful as a common starting point for the automated test equipment system we are building to test our main product.  We've arranged it so that you can plug additional shields on top of the relay board, such as an ethernet shield for remote web control.

The next step is to provide a shield that carries an SD card for cheap data storage.  I'm looking at a 2 memory system consisting of an Atmel 32Mbit data flash and a separate SD card which can be removed and plugged into a PC for data retrieval.  Flash memory and SD cards are now dirt cheap so there is no real excuse these days not to have huge amounts of storage on a simple datalogger.

My interests include solar pV and solar waterheating - so I'm hoping to use the generic design as a solar pV datalogger and controller.

Other interests include low cost wireless and interfacing micros cheaply to the telephone network.  I'd love to have a generic wireless interface that could connect a $2 micro to the web for under $10. That will truly be one step further towards "the internet of things".

As I'm predominantly a hardware engineer, I'd be looking to partner with anyone who would be willing to colaborate on the firmware aspects of the project.



I didn't read all the posts in the thread...
Is this project YOUR project?!?

Or maybe this?

Or maybe you are working to a totally new project? In that case, which is its status?


While I feel that an arduino based logger is still a great idea, especially now that the atmega1280 leaves plenty of pins and memory after you've hooked up the SD card, for our purposes, we have decided to go with a PC104 board running linux. Something like the TS-7800 or an Atom based board. This comes at a substantially increased cost and power consumption, but still within our parameters.


While I feel that an arduino based logger is still a great idea, especially now that the atmega1280 leaves plenty of pins and memory after you've hooked up the SD card, for our purposes, we have decided to go with a PC104 board running linux. Something like the TS-7800 or an Atom based board. This comes at a substantially increased cost and power consumption, but still within our parameters.



I am new to this forum and found this thread while searching for a way to build a data logger. I am very interested in building a data logger out of an arduino board but I am unsure if it is fast enough for the application.

I will be using it to sample and log GPS, accelerometer, and analog data from sensors on a race car. It will have to be able to log these at 5Hz minimum (10Hz prefered). And also possibly have an RS232 serial interface to log serial data from the engine control unit.

Do you that this is possible? Any help would be appreciated.



Feb 18, 2010, 01:23 pm Last Edit: Feb 18, 2010, 01:28 pm by Phlogi Reason: 1
I'm having a similar question like akumbar.

The project I need to work on has specs as following:

- about 30 analog inputs
- resolution of adc: 16bit
- min. 20Hz log rate (not for all the signals, about 15, others slower)
- gps signal over rs-232
- saving to sd memory card

I'm wondering if arduino can handle all this. What would be the limiting elements? Atmega speed? Bus capabilities?

An idea was to connect some adc on the i2c bus and use analog multiplexer, what do you think?

Thanks a lot for your answers.


- about 30 analog inputs

With multi-plexing, yes. The Duemilanove only has 6 analog ports. The Mega has more, but not that many more.

- resolution of adc: 16bit

No. 10bit adc on the Arduinos.


Yes internally it has 10bit, but I could just attach some adc via the i2c bus, right?

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