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Build Your Own Data Logger Community / Feed

Welcome to the official group forum for our virtual course, Build Your Own Data Logger. This is your space to engage with course instructors Akiba and Jacinta from Freaklabs, find help and resources for each module, collaborate and chat with your fellow course participants, and share your progress on your own Data Logger project!

discussion

Looking for Electronic Design Consultancy in California

Hi, We are looking for an affordable electronic design consultancy with experience in outdoor IoT that could help us to improve our design and create a fabricated board for a...

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Hi, Synapse is a good option if you're looking for professionalism & speed, they're in San Francisco (and Seattle). It's a sister company to the one I work for in the UK so I could put you in touch with the right people if you're interested.

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discussion

Global shortage of Raspberry Pis - What are the alternatives

So, there is a global shortage of Raspberry Pis, the open source micro-computer that has been popular amongst open hardware designers and hobbyists alike. Like...

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Hi @tom_august this is a very important topic given the global shortages we are seeing. I tend to use really low power micros rather than Pis for my stuff if I can, but I'd be very interested to hear about alternatives. I take it you are doing some reasonably heavy processing given the need for 4Bs? I have a few old 3s you are welcome to. A great list from @PshemekZ there. I don't know much about these: 

But didn't see them in the list. 

 @Freaklabs will likey have some ideas too. Looking forward to hearing more.

Cheers,

Rob

Unfortunately not much to add. I think there was an assumption that Raspberry Pi's would always be available and it's turning out that it's unfortunately not the case. I'm guilty of this for standard chips. I didn't think there'd be such a huge shortage that spread across so many chip families which left us scrambling.  I'm sure the supply crunch will ease up soon so the RasPi shortage should ease. It should be considered thought that should something happen to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, there's a possibility that the production could end. Since Raspberry Pi's are not open source, this would be devastating to many projects that rely on them. 

As for porting to another platform, I guess the question would be which platform to bet on for the Raspberry Pi alternate and possibly eventual successor. It would probably need to be open source, widely available, and have enough community around it to support itself. Nothing immediately comes to mind (Jetson possibly but not open source and subject to whims of nVidia).

And perhaps this could turn into a community project to come up with an open platform that conservation communities can standardize on where availability could also be guaranteed. There's a lot of exciting things happening with the RISC-V architecture, which could be a good candiate.

As an update from us, we are playing around with two alternatives:

  • Banana PI BPI-M5 M5 4GB 4 x 2GHz 
  • Radxa Rock 4 SE 

I'll update once we have results!

 

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discussion

Build Your Own Data Logger

Good DayI was wondering if I could build a Data Logger for collecting data such as hourly consumption, leak and burst alerts from water meters? Thanks.

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HI Wayne. 

Sure. The main thing is selecting and interfacing the sensors that you'd need. If you had a water meter that fed out the data, then you could just timestamp it and log it to the microSD card. Otherwise, for the data you're looking for, it's likely you'd need a water flow sensor and water pressure sensor. Flow would let you know the rate of water flow in a pipe, ie: usage. Pressure would allow you to detect if a leak occurs (slight decrease in average water pressure over time) or burst (sudden large decrease in water pressure). 

At the moment, we're not actively selling the WildLogger since the chip shortage made inventory more precious. But if you email, we can arrange one if you were curious to try the course. 

Akiba 

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discussion

Water leakage in aquatic tags at deeper depths

Hi FolksDoes anyone have experience building their own aquatic tags? We are building a GPS-LoRa telemetry system. Although all the functions are working properly, we are having...

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I'll add -  avoid fast curing resins/epoxies for, at least, two reasons: 

1. The exothermic reaction between the two compounds can cause sensor issues (ie: heat).

2. Air bubbles will form (and cure) more easily in fast curing compounds.

Thanks Thomas!! We do use slow curing resins with no heat generation

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discussion

Rainforest SigFox available for use

Hi EveryoneJust FYI that right now we now have a SigFox gateway running to create an IoT network at the Los Amigos field station in lowland Peruvian Amazon.  Amazing forest,...

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Hi Roland,

This is really amazing, great to hear about your set-up! I'm just wondering what the overall cost was to set up this system? Just thinking in terms of setting up something similar in other parks and what they should expect with regard to price. Would also be great to hear about the overall effort, e.g., hours/team members required. It would be great to have this act as a blueprint for other organizations/research stations wishing to deploy a similar system within their respective national parks/areas/etc.! 

Hi Rolland,

Interested too, but why did you choose SigFox (a private network) rather than LoRa (open network)? 

Sigfox currently has some financial troubles that, don't know what it will become in the long term.

Hi Everyone,

We chose sigfox becuase it seems to have better range and is plug-play, whereas LoRa requires more custom programming and updating.  Getting a gateway cost us $2000 for a year's lease + deposit. We covered solar power.  There are also some 'minigateways' you can purchase but I don't know how they compare in range (plan to test).  So far we are happy with the performance, in that it has worked consistency with no outages  (once we stabilized the power supply).  I think the annual costs are about $10 per tag.  We are working on a paper that will describe this in more detail.  So far just using for tracking tags but also looking at a trap sensor.

cheers

Roland

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discussion

Avian nest box monitoring 

Hi. I’m hoping there’s a guru out there who can advise on tech for monitoring conditions inside avian nest boxes? Links to data loggers and endoscopes they’ve used successfully...

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Maybe this is a starting point. Any idea if this product would work inside the box. Kestrel DROP D3 Wireless Temperature, Humidity & Pressure Data Logger https://amzn.eu/d/5VdQwtA  

I'd be interested in any camera monitoring setups that can be used inside a nest box. Most camera traps are too bulky for this purpose. All the devices I've looked at either need a wired connection or a wifi network to transmit images. I want one that can store all info to an SD card and preferably be solar powered. Obviously infrared or starlight sensitivity. Sound recording would be a bonus for some bird monitoring I want to do.

Done lots of this over the years and it depends on the species really. If you want incubation behaviour  and hence success or otherwise using temperature then the Thermocron IButton DS1921G is perfect. The new Blue Maestro is an option I became aware of this year but I haven't tested at scale.

In terms of cameras and endoscopes I've tailored many off the shelf products and built a few from scratch. When I get chance I'll have a look around and see what is still available.

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Link

How To Use An Arduino – Beginners Guide

For anyone interested in WILDLABS' Build Your Own Data Logger course, this beginner's guide to Arduino may be a valuable resource! This page also includes links to other relevant resources on Arduino language and getting started with Arduino software for the first time.

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article

Module 8: In the Field

Akiba
Welcome to the eighth and final module of our Build Your Own Data Logger virtual course. We’ve built, coded and tested our data logger. Now we’re taking it into the field. 

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Module 6: Ruggedising Devices

Akiba
Welcome to the sixth module of our Build Your Own Data Logger virtual course. In these videos, we’ll discuss ways to protect devices from water, dust and animals. Then we assemble the WildLogger using cable glands so...

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Module 7: Testing and Piloting

Akiba
Welcome to the seventh module of our Build Your Own Data Logger virtual course. In this module, we take our fully assembled system into the lab, sandbox and pilot test environments. 

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discussion

Module 5: Optimising your application

Hi everyone,  Module 5 is now available! Please use...

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Hurray !, we were waiting impatiently for it, now we can put our babys to sleep and let them only work what is necessary!
I've started to see a bit of the content, and as always, it's exceeding my expectations.
Congratulations on your excellent work!

Thanks a lot for the new module!
It now keeps logging and logging and logging....

Greetings from Austria,
Robin

Glad to hear it's working! We're now working on the last couple modules which is more mechanical and assembly. Hoping to get those out soon. We're feeling a bit of pandemic fatigue so progress is slower than usual. Ha ha ha.

Akiba

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Module 5: Optimising Your Application

Akiba
Welcome to the fifth module of our Build Your Own Data Logger virtual course. In these videos, we’ll optimise our data logger application, and add the finishing touches to application code so it’s ready for deployment. 

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discussion

Wildlogger for freshwater monitoring

Hi Akiba, Jacinta, and wildlogger group. We're proposing to trial Wildloggers for monitoring freshwater [streams], starting with water temperature and dissolved...

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Hi Nigel.

At the moment, I don't know of any other groups doing water monitoring. @JAL is doing a cave monitoring project. The DS18B20 is a nice sensor. It was the original sensor I was going to use for the Wildlogger kit before switching to the DHT11. One thing is that you may need to test how waterproof it actually is. When I took them apart, there was just a heat shrink tubing seal to the DS18B20 with exposed pins inside the stainless steel tube.  
I haven't had the chance to play with a DO sensor yet, but definitely hoping for more info once you deploy. It sounds like a fascinating project.

Akiba

Hi Nigel,

Are you interested in attended or unattended monitoring?  You can take inspiration from openctd, also the cave pearl project which has a few variants.  IMO the atlas instruments are probably the safest way to go.  Water quality sensors are frightfully expensive, and even Atlas sensors are spendy in my book.

I heard there was a chap calibrating DS18B20 units (NIST traceable) for USD20 or so, that would partially remove the accuracy issue (the 18B20 is accurate to 0.5degC only).  The 18B20 can come already waterproofed which is convenient.

 

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discussion

BLE connection problems

Hello Akiba and Jacinta, I am doing connection tests of the Wildlogger through the BLE HM-10 module and I have a problem for which I can not find a solution I have connected the...

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Hi Jose.

I somehow missed this post. I can't fully understand the issue you're running into. Can you post the code you're using? Also if you can, perhaps a rough diagram of how you're interfacing the BLE HM-10 to the Wildlogger? It sounds like you somehow have it connected to the USB dongle interface? And then the other side of the Bluetooth connection is connected to the PC? It sounds like an interesting application.

Thanks.

Akiba

Hi Akiba,
It seems to me that I have not explained myself well, as it is a somewhat special topic, if you think I will answer you in private. These days I'm a bit busy, but I hope I can answer you soon
Best regards,

Hi JAL. 

No problem. Feel free to email directly or private message through Wildlabs on the specifics. No rush either. I think it's interesting that there seems to be interest in adding a BLE interface to the system. It's the second time hearing about it :)

Akiba

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discussion

Mid Course Check-In

Hey Everyone, We're halfway through the course, whoop!  Congratulations on making it this far.  We've covered a lot, and though the...

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Hi Egil. 
I think we're seeing the benefits of dropping the whole series binge watch style versus trickling them out on a schedule. I think we all learned a lot on how to manage a workshop series like this. Ha ha ha. Future ones will be more compact and released as a set. That said, this first one is important because it sets the foundation of concepts that future series will build on. Almost all conservation technology revolves around data collection in some form so the data logger concepts will keep on popping up in more sophisticated devices as well, but with fancier bells and whistles :)

 Akiba

I think this whole series is a very valuable tool and will open up a vast amount of possibilities for people to collect data for their projects, so useful to have such a workshop here all in one place.

Thanks! We think it will be useful, especially if it can serve as a building block for courses with more sophisticated devices. I think it will be really interesting to see where this goes and what comes kinds of devices and projects come out of it.

Akiba

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discussion

Power saving

Hi Akiba and Jacinta, wonderful course!!! further to my previous email, we're testing batteries and for some reason I can't get more than 24-hrs with 3x AA...

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Hi Nigel. 

it makes sense that the batteries don't last long. Since we haven't discussed the power management part of the code, you're in active mode the whole time. The power drain will be high and you won't get more than a day or two of battery life. 

What you need is to disable any peripherals you're using and put the Wildlogger into powerdown (aka sleep) mode. Then use the real time clock to wake your system up periodically to take measurements, say every hour. That's actually going to be what we do in module 5 which I'm actually working on right before I took a break to check the interwebz. 

With the right power management, you should be able to keep the system going for a month or longer depending on the power draw of the sensors you want to use. With the DHT11, PIR, and SD card, we estimate around 2.5 months but that depends on the power draw of the SD card. 

If you can have some patience,we'll be working on and finishing out module 5 soon. We'll let you know when it's available. In the meantime, if you need to deploy soon, I recommend you check out the Low Power library for Arduino and look at the examples. 

Hope that helps.

Akiba

 

Hi Akiba,

Yes, that does help. Nice to know we can expect 1-month using 3x AA 2100mAh batteries.

I had a quick look at the arduino.cc site for power management - it's all there, but looking forward to your advice/videos.

I'll move onto adapting our code for the DS18B20 temp sensor and Dissolved oxygen sensor [will soon post another thread for that]. No urgent rush to deploy yet, until code for these sensors is running ok.

Best Regards,

Nigel

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discussion

Module 4: Tying It All Together

Hi everyone,  Module 4 is now available! Please use this...

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Hi JAL. 

Oh, it looks great! I like the enclosure, too. I think you have more than enoug juice to power the device for a year. Ha ha ha. Although it's still upcoming, the low power mode will mean the total current draw of the Wildlogger with an SD card and DHT11 would be around 0.6mA if I'm not mistaken. 

Thanks for starting this thread. I'm also interested in how other people will use the Wildlogger. When this is over, we'll have other short articles or videos on different applications you can do with it. 

Good luck with the cave logging! Please keep us updated on how it goes :)

Akiba

Yes, the power bank looks like a nuclear power plant for such a small consumption! ;-), but the reason for this mount is that I plan to use it on other devices. I like to use standard 18650 batteries, rechargeable, and that I can easily replace in case of failure. I also like its versatility to use different number of batteries, according to the needs

Thanks !

PD: I can't wait to put my device to sleep!

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discussion

Possible command line uses

Hi !, I am already in the testing phase of my light data logger and I am trying to use the cmd utility to modify a parameter of the light sensor in real time. Specifically, it...

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Hi Akiba
Very useful the indications you gave me, now the double values that I introduce are shown in the same way.
Likewise, the main problem I had is that the value that I entered in setALSinterruptThreshold, did not match the value that I obtained in getALSinterruptThreshold. Luckily the relationship between these two quantities corresponds to a linear function, and I have been able to solve it by applying a correction factor
The problem I have now is that the modifications that I make with cmd, once I disconnect the serial monitor, are not kept in the program, and it returns to the initial configuration by default
For this reason, my question now is, is there any way that these modifications are permanently maintained in the program, or are they only useful for testing in real time?
Greetings,

Ha ha ha. That's for the next series which will be the intermediate course. It includes writing metadata and configuration settings to the EEPROM. But if you want to move ahead on your own, try checking the Arduino EEPROM library and look at the examples. That's how you create your configuration settings as well as metadata.

Akiba

Okay Akiba, I leave it in the drawer of pending things, if I have some time I would like to try it. Count on me for the next course!
Greetings !

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discussion

Battery status monitoring no longer working

Hi, Just loaded and run the Module 4-1 code and found that the battery status monitoring is not working as expected.  When I loaded and (first) ran the Module 3.3 code the...

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Hi Phil.

I checked and there's no problem with your code. It looks like it's a hardware issue. I'll be sending out a replacement board to you. Can you confirm your address via DM, just so that I can make sure I don't send it to the wrong place?

Thanks

Akiba

Hi Phil.

A replacement board was just sent out to you. Thanks for your help with the pictures and the patience :)

Akiba

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article

Module 4: Tying It All Together

Akiba
Welcome to the fourth module of our Build Your Own Data Logger virtual course. In these videos, we'll tie everything we've learned so far together by creating our functional data logger application. 

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discussion

WildLogger Add-On Board Requests

Hi everyone.  We've gotten a couple of requests for add-on boards for the Wildlogger for specific applications. Although we can't guarantee we can handle all...

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Hi Akiba,
Yes, the TSL2591 has an interrupt pin and there are also a couple of example applications in the Adafruit and TSL2591MI libraries. I am doing tests making the connections with Dupont cables in the I2C connector of the Wildlogger, and for the interruption I will use the corresponding pin of the PIR connector
The connections do not concern me since, once the prototype has been tested and defined, my idea would be to make the maximum of welded connections to avoid failures
I'm still in the design phase, I already have the hardware quite defined, and now I have to enter with the most difficult part, the software, which for me is where I have the most difficulty
I have been gathering the elements to prepare the cake, and now is the time to enter the kitchen, I will not deny that I am excited and terrified at the same time
I'm already telling you ...
Regards !

Hi JAL.

Excellent! I'm glad you've already started on it and Dupont wires should be no problem. Let us know how it goes and if you have software issues, feel free to post them in this forum. Good luck and please take pictures of the modified Wildlogger and also the deployment. It sounds like an amazing application!

Akiba 

I appreciate your encouragement !

Don't hesitate that I will keep you informed of the progress that I am making

Happy weekend !

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discussion

Carly's video blog journey

Welcome to my vlog (video blog) for the Build Your Own Datalogger course. I hope they bring you joy, some humor, and confidence that no one's getting everything right the...

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Hi Carly. 

The videos are wonderful! They're hilarious and also let me know areas we can improve on :)

Akiba

Round 2 vlog video is up!

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discussion

Module 3.3: Measuring Battery Status

Hi everyone,  As you're aware, Module 3 has turned into a bit of a monster. To get all the information to you in a digestable format, we've broken it into six...

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Hi JAL.

I'm glad you're enjoying the WildLogger! What you're doing fits exactly the purpose of this course. It's demystifying the art of customizing research equipment. For the WildLogger, if you will be using it to collect scientific grade data, I recommend to upgrade the board to use an external analog reference. There's already a footprint and we will add that to the shop this week. It's a cheap part but will stabilize the ADC reference vs temperature and also has 0.1% accuracy so that you will get more accurate ADC readings across temperature. I think we're targeting $1 for that part so it's a cheap upgrade. Currently the power supply is used as the ADC reference to keep costs down which is accurate to around +/-1.5%. 

In regards to the power supply and power requirements, the battery input needs to have a voltage of between 3.6V and 5.0V. A single cell lithium-ion or lithium-ion-polymer battery would be fine at a nominal voltage of 3.6V and full voltage of 4.2V. 

in sleep mode with an average SD card that implements power savings modes (like SanDisk), it consumes around 0.8 mA. If you're calculating battery life, you can use that as a theoretical maximum battery life, ie: if you use a 2000 mAHr battery, you would get  2500 hour battery life or ~100 days max. We usually divide by 2 or 3 to get a realistic battery life. 

We'll also be making some bonus sensors and training materials specifically for the WildLogger so people can extend it to different applications. We'll announce that soon, likely once we're caught up on the video creation. Also do let us know if you have requests for sensors, displays, etc. 

Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

Akiba

 

 

Hi Akiba,
Oh, your answer is great!
My idea is to build a DL that allows,

  • Light registration, with time stamp, when it exceeds a certain threshold (To control the human presence in the cave) The card only has to record when this threshold is exceeded to save energy
  • Periodic record of temperature and humidity
  • Data recording on SD
  • Autonomy of at least 4 months

I have tried some sensors and I think I will use the TSL2591 because it has a very low detection threshold (0.18 uLux) and has an interrupt pin. I've already been testing some sample libraries, and I think it would be ideal
For temperature and humidity I am hesitating between using the DHT11 or the BME280
Perfect the external reference of the ADC if it serves to have more accurate readings
My idea is to use a power bank with 3 or 4 18650 Lipo batteries and built-in BCP, and to be able to disconnect the device when it detects that the power supply is less than 3.2V
Is the Sandisk card you mention a normal one, or of an industrial type like the one you presented in the corresponding module?
My best wishes,

Oh that sounds like a fascinating application. I've actually just started a thread for Wildlogger add-on board requests. The TSL25911 sounds do-able and also it looks like one useful thing would be to put together some adapter cables to other popular modular systems like the Adafruit Stemma and Seeed Grove. Let's discuss this in the other thread. 

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