The A to Z of Data acquisition and logging

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A

Alarms

Maybe you’re measuring the temperature of a microbiological culture in an incubator, or strain on a concrete bridge in high winds; you’ll need to be informed when a reading exceeds acceptable tolerances. In PicoLog 6, you can set up an alarm to alert users when a parameter goes out of range. This can be configured to play a sound, display visual alerts on the screen, run a specified application such as an email or SMS client, and automatically annotate the capture graph to mark when the alarm happened and its duration.

More information on Alarms >>

B

Instead of using a single file to save your data, PicoLog 6 is continuously backing up the capture data to a robust database structure, protecting your data from corruption and further data loss. There is no need to save data to a file until the end of the capture, or when you want to share your data with a colleague. 

C

Channels and axes settings

The Channel and Axes settings menu is visible in both the Device settings and Capture graph views. Once a channel is enabled and settings confirmed, you can view its connection status at a glance, along with alarm condition and current live measurement. In this menu, you can also configure alarms and view graph annotations and capture info.

More information on Channels and axes settings >>

When adding an alarm in PicoLog 6, you can choose from three methods of defining an alarm condition: threshold, channel disconnection and custom expression editor. 

A custom expression for alarms in PicoLog 6 requires a Boolean output (true or false), which you can define using any combination of a wide range of arithmetic, Boolean, relational, statistical and trigonometric operators and constants.

More information on Custom expression for alarms >>

D

Robust data file format

At the heart of PicoLog 6 is the file system which stores live capture data directly to a robust database, rather than to a single file that is prone to data loss and corruption. If the computer is shut down and rebooted, PicoLog will only lose the data during the outage and the file system will begin saving capture once again without corruption of the data. You no longer need to set up a file to save to before the capture is complete. You can also save mid-capture if you wish to share the data collected so far with a fellow PicoLog user.

The file system also allows for virtually no limit on the size of dataset you can capture – only the size of the hard disk on your computer!

Another major step forward is native support for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, various Linux distributions (64-bit only) and macOS. The new .picolog file format is compatible across all operating systems. Since anyone can download and install PicoLog 6 for free, you can share saved .picolog files with co-workers, customers and suppliers for offline post-analysis.

Device settings view

The Device settings view provides a visually smart way to set up a multichannel acquisition system with multiple different PicoLog data loggers. You can instantly see the status of data loggers and acquisition channel settings. An image of the device appears for each device detected, showing which channels are enabled. 

From this screen you can view and adjust settings such as adding graph axes, per-channel scaling factor, alarms, notes, graph annotations, channel naming and color, sample mode and sample interval. 

The dew point is the temperature at which air is saturated with water vapour. If the temperature goes below the dew point, water will be begin to condense on solid surfaces, including dust or salt in the atmosphere causing fog to form.

More information on Dew point formula >>

E

When configuring input channels for an external sensor, it is often necessary to convert the output voltage signal from a sensor into the correct value and appropriate units for the sensor. For example, for a pressure sensor with a 1 V per 200 mbar output signal, you would need to multiply the input by 200 and set custom units of "mbar", or divide the input by 5 and set units of "bar".

The equation editor for channel scaling function in PicoLog 6 requires a numerical output, which you can define using any combination of a wide range of arithmetic, Boolean, relational, statistical and trigonometric operators and constants.

More information on Equation editor for channel scaling >>

Exporting data

When you’re ready to export the data, you have several options. First, save the .picolog file and close the acquisition. You can save files with custom search tags to make them easier to categorize and locate later.

Exporting large datasets to CSV can often be troublesome due to file size limitations, so PicoLog 6 includes a suite of export options to narrow down the size of the whole dataset. These include downsampling, selecting channels to export or even restricting the export region to the zoomed area on screen.

Want to export a screen shot? PicoLog 6 includes a feature to export the graph as a PDF: again, select either the entire capture or the zoomed area of interest. The export to PDF format also includes options to include alarm trigger history, annotations, channel configuration and capture notes, for a complete capture report.

F

G

Graph view

Viewing your data in a graph is fundamental to data acquisition applications. The PicoLog 6 graph view makes it easy to view captures, zoom and pan through large datasets, record alarm history and display when alarms occurred. It also allows you to annotate the graph with your notes and observations.

Adding additional graph axes is also essential for multi-channel logging applications where measurement units are different for every channel, or when the channels are measuring values at opposite ends of the range. For example, simultaneously measuring an internal furnace temperature of over 1000 °C and the ambient temperature at the same time requires two axes so that the detail of both is visible. You can view up to four axes with different ranges at a time.

H

Humidity is the quantity of water vapor in the atmosphere. It is often expressed as relative humidity, which is expressed as a percentage of the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. Relative humidity also depends on temperature and pressure.

Pico offers DrDAQ with a PP163 relative humidity external sensor as a neat, low-cost solution for monitoring humidity of benign indoor environments. Combining this with a DD100 external temperature sensor makes it ideal for monitoring server rooms, greenhouses, warehouse and storage rooms, offices and laboratories.

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M

Math channels

Some applications require the recording and graphing of a calculated parameter containing data from one or more measurement channels. PicoLog 6 is equipped with an equation editor to perform simple calculations such as A–B, or more complex functions such as log, sqrt, abs, round, min, max, mean and median.

Math channels are treated like any normal channel, so you can perform functions like alarms, graphing and annotations on them. 

More information on Math channels in PicoLog 6 >>

N

Notes & annotations window

Notes and annotations

Capture notes describe the entire dataset. They are typically used to record setup conditions and make general observations as the capture progresses.

Annotations refer to specific points that you select on the graph.  Click the Add annotation button  to add a note and specify the direction of the callout.

Another really useful feature is that annotation history is recorded and listed in chronological order in the annotation pane. Clicking the Show in graph button  zooms into the event in the graph display. Annotations provide a useful way of leaving prompts, questions and discussion topics when sharing .picolog files with colleagues. 

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P

PicoLog 6.1.5

The following bugs were fixed in PicoLog 6.1.5:

  • A couple of issues reported by customers or automatic error reporting

PicoLog 6.1.4 for Windows, macOS and Linux adds the following new features:

  • Added a new feature to view live numerical data in table format
  • Enhanced navigation menu
  • Greatly improved performance of saving and loading very large files
  • Allow comma decimal separator in CSV output
  • Double clicking an annotation in the graph opens its annotation edit dialog
  • Data can now be exported to a file while data capture is running
  • It is now possible to view device configuration for saved files

The following bugs were also fixed in PicoLog 6.1.4:

  • DrDAQ and PicoLog 1000 channels swap if streaming buffer overflows
  • Digital data error on ADC-24
  • Fixed a bug where data continues to be written to file after cancelling CSV export
  • Fixed a bug where data export to CSV took too long
  • PT-104 and PicoLog CM3 Ethernet enumeration from both drivers was blocked
  • PicoLog CM3 over ethernet was not disconnecting
  • When viewing graph, alarm triggers were split into multiple 1 second triggers
  • Annotations are now sorted chronologically rather than order they were added
  • In the file browser, simplified config files load/save
  • Sample interval consists of conversion time of 10 ms per channel instead of total conversion time plus 10 ms
  • Copy to clipboard can fail on Linux
  • High RAM usage when capturing data for long periods of time
  • Missing full stop in Data Saving dialog
  • ADC-24 gaps in data with high sample rate

More information on PicoLog 6.1.5 >>

PicoLog 6 data logging software

PicoLog 6 is a complete data acquisition software package. It provides a visual, easy-to-use interface for users to quickly set up simple or complex acquisitions, record, view and analyze data.

  • Real-time data collection and display
  • Visual logger and channel setup for easy configuration and viewing
  • Available for Windows 7, 8 and 10 (32 and 64-bit), macOS and Linux
  • Virtually unlimited logging capacity to PC
  • Robust database format minimizes data loss and corruption
  • Simple and complex programmable alarms
  • ​Channels can be scaled using lookup table or equation
  • Up to 4 independent graph axes
  • Data can be exported as CSV, clipboard image and PDF
  • Supports multiple different PicoLog data loggers on the same PC

More information on PicoLog 6 data logging software >>

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PicoLog 6 – straightforward from the start

Designed from the ground up to be intuitive from the outset, PicoLog 6 allows you to set up the logger and start recording with just a few clicks of the mouse, whatever your level of data logging experience.

From here, starting a capture is simple: plug in the logger, add a channel, press Record, and you’re logging! PicoLog 6 also includes a number of additional features to cater for more advanced data logging needs. 

T

Download the trial PicoLog 6 software today! 

With a Pico data logger connected, PicoLog 6 detects and collects data from them. However, when no data logger is connected, PicoLog 6 can be used to view previously saved waveforms, and can also be used in a built-in demo mode. 

Enabling demo units allows the use of up to three virtual instances of each Pico data logger family with simulated live data. The full functionality of the PicoLog 6 software is available for you to try before you buy.

Click here to visit the PicoLog 6 download page

U

V

PicoLog 6 views 

A simple menu bar on the left of the screen provides permanent access to the view modes of PicoLog 6 without pausing capture:

  • Device settings
  • Capture graph
  • Saved file manager
  • Software settings
  • Help and support

W

X

Y

Z

Zoom and panning controls

When searching through datasets for events or trends, it's important to be able to navigate the data and pinpoint a data range to take a closer look. At Pico we feel it is essential to have zooming controls in easy reach at all times in the graph view: zoom in, zoom out, zoom selection and pan. In addition, mouse, touchpad and touchscreen gesture controls present a faster and smarter way to examine your data in detail.

More information on Zoom and panning controls >>