Test and Measurement Forum

USB - TC-08

Which product is right for your exact requirements

USB - TC-08

Postby HKalahari » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:17 pm

I'm undertaking research in Southern Africa in July this year and am looking for an instrument that can measure soil temperature and (if possible) soil moisture at a number of depths. I'm looking for an automated system that can be left in situ for up to 6 months and continuously record these data at regular intervals (every couple of hours or so) and can then be downloaded onto a PC. I need something that would be waterproof and could withstand a desert enviroment for a few months. I've looked at the USB-TC-08 which looks ideal but not sure about it's robustness. Would be grateful if you could advise please?
Thanks
HKalahari
 

Re: USB - TC-08

Postby Pico Stuart » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:33 pm

Dear Helen,

Thank you for your inquiry with regard to a data logging solution that would suit your requirements.

The data logger you mentioned namely the TC-08 is a PC based device and needs a PC permanently connected in order to facilitate logging.

One option that would suit your requirements is possibly the enviromon system.

The EnviroMon system is designed for long-term recording of data from a number oflocations. It offers the following features:
Permanent retention of recorded data on your PC
Wide range of data display and analysis options
Easy-to-use software
Telephone-style connections for easy installation
Modular system for easy upgrades
A wide range of options to report alarm conditions
Support for remote data download (modem, GSM etc.)

The equipment
An EnviroMon system consists of the following items:
Computer
Logger
Multiple converters
Alarm options

The EnviroMon PC application performs the following tasks:
System configuration
Long-term data storage
Display, analysis and printing of recorded data
The computer can communicate with loggers using each of the following methods:
Direct connection to a local logger
Telephone modem to a logger on a remote site
Radio link, for short-range connection to sites not serviced by telephone
GSM telephone, for remote or mobile applications
The logger stores data continuously, even when the computer is turned off or disconnected, or the mains (line) power fails.
The logger connects to a number of converters that take measurements. The converters can be up to 400 metres away from the logger, and are connected using a single, low-cost,
The EnviroMon PC application performs the following tasks:
System configuration
Long-term data storage
Display, analysis and printing of recorded data
The computer can communicate with loggers using each of the following methods:
Direct connection to a local logger
Telephone modem to a logger on a remote site
Radio link, for short-range connection to sites not serviced by telephone
GSM telephone, for remote or mobile applications
The logger stores data continuously, even when the computer is turned off or disconnected, or the mains (line) power fails. The logger connects to a number of converters that take measurements. The converters can be up to 400 metres away from the logger, and are connected using a single, low-cost,telephone cable that forms a 'network' between the logger and the converters.

What do you want to measure?

EnviroMon takes readings from a number of sensors distributed around a site. These sensors are connected to converters that transform the analogue signals from the
sensor into digital signals, which can then be transmitted reliably and accurately to the logger. The type of sensor and converter that you require depends on what you wish to measure.

Temperature
EnviroMon provides full support for two different temperature measuring techniques.
It can also work with other techniques if required.
Precision thermistors are inexpensive and highly accurate (0.3 °C) , but only over a limited temperature range, for example -40 °C to 30 °C or 0 °C to 70 °C. Thermocouples work over a wide range, and are available in a wide variety of
probes from a large number of suppliers. Connectors are standardised, so thermocouples from different suppliers are interchangeable.

Thermistors
The standard EL015 temperature sensor is a precision thermistor sealed in a stainless
steel cylinder. The sensor is fitted with a 5-metre cable and a connector which plugs straight into an EL001 temperature converter. Each EL001 can accept three sensor
inputs. The sensor cable can be extended to a maximum of about 100 metres, introducing an error of less than 0.3 °C in the temperature measurement.
At temperatures below 0 °C, the cable may become brittle and must not be flexed. At temperatures over 70 °C, the cable may become soft and easily damaged. The EL015 temperature sensor has an accuracy of 0.2 °C over the range 0 °C to 30
°C and 0.3 °C over the range to -30 °C to +70 °C. Outside this range, we recommend the use of Type K sensors.

Thermocouples
The 4-channel EL041 thermocouple converter is designed to be used with any type of thermocouple with a miniature thermocouple connector across a wide range of temperatures (the range depends on the thermocouple used). The EL041 can also be used to measure ±60 mV signals. When extending thermocouple cables, it is essential to use thermocouple extension cable and connectors of the same type.

We do not have a sensor specifically developed for moisture however a converter with a 4-20mA function will allow you the ability to log your moisture parameter an example sensor you could use is detailed in the following link:-

http://www.ictinternational.com.au/mp406-420.htm
(please note Pico has no affiliation with this product I have placed the link in order to assist you with your query)

Remote data collection
It is possible to access logger data remotely using either a radio modem or a telephone modem.

Radio modem
One computer can maintain radio modem links to several remote loggers. Because EnviroMon requires very little power, the remote loggers can easily operate using a
battery that is kept charged using a solar panel. The logger has built-in power-saving features to turn off the radio modem when it is not required.

Equipment placement
Each EnviroMon converter turns sensor inputs into digital signals, which can be transmitted quite long distances through the network cable. Converters should be no more than 400 metres from the logger. The logger can therefore be placed wherever information is required, for example in an office area, and the converters can be placed near where parameters are to be measured.

Although the logger needs a supply it draws very little current so It could be powered by a solar panel with battery.

Hope this helps, If you require further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kindest regards,

Stuart
Technical Specialist
Pico Stuart
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