The A to Z of Data acquisition and logging

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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 >>


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


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 >>


Robust data file format

At the heart of PicoLog 6 is a robust file system that is resistant to data loss and corruption. If the computer is shut down and rebooted, PicoLog resumes capturing without losing the previously stored data. Data is stored automatically without the need to provide a file name and location – but if you wish to save data to a file, you can, even in mid-capture. This makes it easy to share data with fellow PicoLog users.

The file system can store huge datasets limited only by the size of the hard disk or SSD 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.

Try a demo of the PicoLog 6 software today! 

If you don't yet have a PicoLog data logger, you can still use PicoLog 6 to view saved waveforms and try out its other features with the built-in demo mode. 

You can enable up to three virtual instances of each PicoLog data logger with simulated live data. All the features of the PicoLog 6 software are then available for you to try before you buy.

Download PicoLog 6

Device setup and capture menu

Within the Device setup and capture menu are the Device config, Graph display and Table views. These make it easy to set up and acquire data from a multichannel acquisition system, even with multiple different PicoLog data loggers and hundreds of channels. In the Device config view you can instantly see the status of data loggers, acquisition channel settings and math channel setup. Each detected device is depicted with its enabled channels. Simply move or copy device configurations to set up larger multiple-logger systems, swap out loggers during capture or share configurations.

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 vapor. 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 >>

Disk usage when capturing with PicoLog 6

PicoLog 6 opens up possibilities never before possible with Pico data loggers and oscilloscopes. With sample rates up to 1 kS/s per channel (device-dependent), up to 20 devices connected at once, and a maximum of 16 channels per device (device-dependent), it is possible to capture a great deal of information from your sensors in fine detail. What's not to like?

As it happens, modern-day PCs are very capable at capturing and storing all your long-term captures, and much much more. With hard disk space now in the terabytes, you'd think that the days of managing disk space are over. 

The in-depth article explains everything you need to know about large data captures, and disk usage on your PC.

More information on Disk usage when capturing with PicoLog 6 >>


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 >>

You've just taken delivery of a PT-104 or PicoLog CM3 data logger. Using it with its USB port is easy – just plug it in and run PicoLog 6. But what if you want to locate the device in a remote location away from your computer? This is where the Ethernet port comes in. PicoLog 6 includes a feature to help you set up the Ethernet port.

More information on Ethernet port setup – overview >>

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.



Graph display 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.


With data set sizes captured using PicoLog 6 potentially in the gigabytes, exporting that amount of data for processing in third-party applications becomes impractical. 

Introduced from PicoLog 6.1.16 onwards is the feature to export raw binary data in the HDF5 format

More information on HDF5 file export >>

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.


A PicoLog 6 screenshot showing the alarm configuration dialogue

When configuring an alarm, you can tell PicoLog 6 to trigger an audible alert from your PC, a digital output from a compatible logger or a visual alert on the screen, but you can also run an external application using the "Run application" command line feature.

Very quickly, we can think of many interesting uses and ways to use this command line such as sending alerts via email, SMS messages, perhaps a Skype message and invoking a script or executable file. But you'll soon find yourself in hot water with your IT department, as there are fundamental security concerns over launching email clients and messaging services to automate sending an email alert from the command line, for good reason!

This article explores a simple, secure and completely free way of using the command line to send an email message or notification to your phone, without giving your IT team a heart attack or incurring additional costs.

More information on IFTTT enables PicoLog to send alarm notifications to your phone >>





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 >>

Multiple instruments in PicoLog 6

So you’ve bought a Pico data logger and downloaded PicoLog 6, maybe to measure temperature using a TC-08 as part of design validation of an electronic device you are making. This will give you 8 channels of thermocouple logging which, to be honest, is enough for 60% of applications. What happens if your design grows in size and complexity, with more points to measure: do you buy another logger to use with another PC?

Read this article on expanding the number of instruments in PicoLog. It's easy to do.

More information on Multiple instruments in PicoLog 6 >>


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. 

The annotation can also be edited with this button , including position, user text, and call-out direction.

Annotations can also be permanently deleted with this button

More information on Notes and annotations >>



PicoLog 6.1.18

PicoLog 6.1.18 is released with the following new features:

  • Added support for new PicoScope 4000A devices
  • Allow reduced screen resolution to support smaller 800 x 480 Raspberry Pi screens

A bug was also fixed to correct the scaling value when used with TA180 current probe.

More information on PicoLog 6.1.18 >>

PicoLog Cloud 6.2.0 Beta.16

PicoLog Cloud™ 6.2.0 Beta.16 - update:

We are happy to announce that the beta.16 update of our brand new PicoLog Cloud software is now officially open and readily available to the public.  This release concentrated on optimizing the performance server side, and improving reliability of the source client and as such there were no new features, just lots of bugs fixed and improvements made. Here is the feature list from the last update again:

  • Stream live captures directly to the new PicoLog Cloud
  • Secure and reliable
  • View live and saved captures from a remote computer running PicoLog Cloud, anywhere in the world
  • View live and saved captures on any device (smart phone, tablet, PC) using an internet browser
  • PicoLog Cloud is free to use
  • Works with all current USB PicoLog loggers, and PicoScope real-time oscilloscopes
  • Simple setup, no network setting changes needed
  • Continuous capture, with or without network connection, we improved the reliability when switching from Cloud to offline mode
  • Source client supported in Windows, Linux, macOS and Raspberry Pi OS
  • Sample rate has been limited to 1 sample per second per channel

Recent bug fixes:

  • Fixed a bug where in some configurations, local capture mode would not be able to access the local database
  • Fixed an issue with the RaspberryPi build that caused the installer file to be larger than it needed to be

More information on PicoLog Cloud 6.2.0 Beta.16 >>

PicoLog 6 data logging software

PicoLog 6 is a complete data acquisition software package. It provides a visual, easy-to-use interface allowing you to quickly set up simple or complex acquisitions and 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, Linux and Raspbian for Raspberry Pi
  • 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 and PicoScope oscilloscopes on the same PC

More information on PicoLog 6 data logging software >>



PicoLog data loggers now support Raspberry Pi computers

Pico Technology data loggers work great when USB connected to PCs running Windows, macOS and Linux, and now with support for Raspbian OS on armhf processors, we support Raspberry Pi computers.

Optimized and tested on the new Raspberry Pi 4 on Raspbian Buster, the PicoLog 6 data logging software package provides a visual, easy-to-use interface allowing you to quickly set up simple or complex acquisitions and record, view and analyze data. It's the same fully functioning software that runs on Windows, macOS and Linux.
Coupled with a Raspberry Pi, this new PicoLog 6 package expands the flexibility and opens the door for Pico's data loggers to be used in new and different ways:

  • You can now connect the logger to the Pi and remove the keyboard, mouse and video to make an inexpensive stand-alone logger storing its captured data locally on a Pi SD card
  • Furthermore, connecting your Pi by WiFi or Ethernet, you can internet-enable your Pico logger which you can then access remotely using an open-source VNC server and viewer freely available
  • ...and better still, utilising the Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability on the Raspberry Pi 4B paired with the PoE PiHAT not only eliminates the need for an external power supply and powered USB hub, it also internet-enables your logger at the same time

More information on Raspberry Pi extends data logger capability >>


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. 


View live numerical data in table format

Table view is a useful new feature that allows you to view your data in a spreadsheet format. You can use it to view live data from your current dataset or data from your saved data files.

You can configure table view to show up to four statistical parameters for each channel: last sample, minimum, maximum and average. You can also specify the table update rate.

coiled up thermocouple showing mini type connector at one end and stainless steel cap at the other
k type thermocouple, minature connector

All thermocouples sold by Pico Technology are manufactured to strict industry tolerances, specifically IEC 60584-2:1993 / BS EN 60584-1:2013, to guarantee accuracy for any given thermocouple. This topic provides the IEC colour code, thermocouple material and tolerances for the 3 tolerance classes for Type B, E, J, K, N, R, S and T thermocouples. Temperatures are expressed in degrees Celsius.

More information on Thermocouple tolerances >>



Easy navigation

A simple vertical menu bar on the left of the screen provides permanent access to the main program menus and view modes of PicoLog 6 without pausing capture. 

The permanent vertical navigation bar gives access to the following menus:

  • Device setup and capture menu
  • Saved file browser menu
  • Program settings menu
  • Help menu

More information on Views in PicoLog 6 >>





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 >>