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!


WILDLABS AWARDS 2024 - FinDrop: Accessible Acoustic Monitoring for Mesophotic Marine Environments

Hello everyone! I am honored to introduce our interdisciplinary team, which has experienced exponential growth over the past year, comprising individuals such as @...

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Congrats @MattyD797 and team!!! We do a lot of work in the underwater bioacoustic realm and your tool certainly seems like it would be a great instrumental addition to the community. Look forward to learning more about your project!


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DIY VHF receivers?

Hi everyone. Looking for an affordable DIY VHF receiver option. I'm working with an engineer to develop an automated audio playback system that will play pre-recorded sounds from...

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Hi Brandon,

I agree and think VHF will always have better range than UHF. Given how commonly it's used in wildlife tracking, it also makes perfect sense to use it if possible. The trade-off for us was to go for lower cost and higher availability parts. This is particularly a problem for VHF receivers, as you mentioned in your original message. But, SDR is good option potentially for VHF (and UHF), especially given the success of MOTUS. 

Range of our 433MHz UHF tags was usually around 250m (up to 500m) LOS, using an external antenna and a high transmission power. We also used high gain, omnidriectional antennas on the receiver end. Tags were triggered by an accelerometer threshold so that they'd save a bit of power whilst animals were resting. 

More than happy to discuss further and help if I can. 



Hi Brandon,

This is hard for me to write, because I don't have good news for you.  You can find many receivers and transmitters for 433MHz that are used for remote control, such as wireless doorbells, garage door openers, lost model locators, etc.  These are extremely cheap, a couple of dollars literally.  While this tech can be modified to operate with wildlife tags (around 150MHz), we are talking about hacking RF, not to be approached lightly.

If you really need to DIY, I see 2 options: migrate to 433MHz and build/rebuild all your kit (tags, collars, receivers, locators).  Commercial solutions are cheap and available, the work remaining is not much above handyman level.  But it is work, and not just work but also testing.

The other option is to remain with 150MHz (although you can make your own tags) and modify an aviation receiver (it lets you listen in to aircraft talking to each other or to the airport).  These receivers operate at 130MHz, which puts it in spitting range of 150MHz wildlife tags (this matters).  This is the option I'd go for, just because I know it can be done, and I have less sense than curiosity.

You mention you're working with an engineer, here are a couple of pointers:

  • with an SDR (the "digital USB receivers" you mention) you can scan some bandwidth to detect radio pulses. I'm only familiar with the Lotek coded VHF transmitters but they can be received as in the Motus Sensorgnomes. I can point you at the code used there, it does involve a good amount of digital signal filtering/analysis code. One issue with the SDRs is that they're pretty power hungry so you need to plan on more solar panel and battery than you may like, e.g. even rPi Zero + SDR is probably >300mA. Another issue can be interference in that SDRs have a very wideband front-end and so TV, radio, and other stuff can desensitize the front-end.
  • there are integrated receivers (ICs) that can be tuned to 150Mhz and can detect VHF transmissions, it's easy for non-coded ones, a bit more involved for coded ones. Specifically, the Semtech sx1231 or sx1276 series are widely available (often called Hope RF69 or RF96, which are modules with those chips). You need someone comfortable writing a customized driver that uses OOK mode or RSSI detection. The other issue is that while there are many suitable boards available for 433/868/915Mhz (e.g. Adafruit, Sparkfun, LilyGo, and many others) you most likely won't find one for 150Mhz. However, for RX-only the matching isn't so super important if you have a good antenna and the signal isn't crazy weak. From a power point of view these can sip power so you can run one on an 18650 for days and a small 1W-5W solar panel is most likely all you need.

Hope this helps...

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Finding a Data Logger 

Hi!  I am struggling to find a data logger that works for my needs and am wondering if it is easier to build one, or if someone might have any suggestions for where to look....

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If it's a standard Arduino Uno, you can use the Software Serial library to emulate the serial ports you need. Otherwise you can use the ATMega1284P and the MightyCore core files which opens things up to two hardware serial ports (UARTs) as well as software serial. Or you can use the ATMega4809 with MegaCoreX which will give you up to 4 hardware serial ports (1 for debug and up to 3 for peripherals).  These are all usable within the Arduino environment. 

Good luck with your project!


Thank you all for this advice! I'll be looking into all of these options. I really appreciate you all taking the time to think about this.

I ran out of time to pull this together for my current research trip, but I hope to be able to implement it for my summer field season.

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Jupyter Notebook: Aquatic Computer Vision

Dive Into Underwater Computer Vision Exploration OceanLabs Seychelles is excited to share a Jupyter notebook tailored for those intrigued by the...

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This is quite interesting. Would love to see if we could improve this code using custom models and alternative ways of processing the video stream. 

This definitely seems like the community to do it. I was looking at the thread about wolf detection and it seems like people here are no strangers to image classification. A little overwhelming to be quite honest 😂

While it would be incredible to have a powerful model that was capable of auto-classifying everything right away and storing all the detected creatures & correlated sensor data straight into a database - I wonder if in remote cases where power (and therefore cpu bandwidth), data storage, and network connectivity is at a premium if it would be more valuable to just be able to highlight moments of interest for lab analysis later? OR if you do you have cellular connection, you could download just those moments of interest and not hours and hours of footage? 

Am working on similar AI challenge at the moment. Hoping to translate my workflow to wolves in future if needed. 

We all are little overstretched but it there is no pressing deadlines, it should be possible to explore building efficient model for object detection and looking at suitable hardware for running these model on the edge. 



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Recycled & DIY Remote Monitoring Buoy

Hello everybody, My name is Brett Smith, and I wanted share an open source remote monitoring buoy we have been working on in Seychelles as part of our company named "...

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Hello fellow Brett. Cool project. You mentioned a waterseal testing process. Is there documentation on that?

I dont have anything written up but I can tell what parts we used and how we tested.

Its pretty straightforward, we used this M10 Enclosure Vent from Blue Robotics:


Along with this nipple adapter:

Then you can use any cheap hand held break pump to connect to your enclosure. You can pump a small vacuum in and make sure the pressure holds.

Here's a tutorial video from blue robotics:


Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help out.

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Best Temperature/ Humidity Dataloggers

I'm after getting 20-25 temperature and humidity dataloggers for deployment in the field. I've considered iButtons and other single-use devices but would rather invest in...

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Experience with SeeedStudio T1000 as tracker and data logger.  

Hi Everyone. Recently, I got a chance to work work the SeeedStudio T1000 tracker and I made a tracker and data logger with it. It comes with a LoRa module to transmit the...

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ooh very cool Salman! Amazing how much tracking devices have come down in price over the years and LoRa/LoRawan is just such a perfect fit for GPS data. Thanks heaps for sharing.

All the best,


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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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Have you considered Arduinos?

UPDATE: The Banana Pi didnt work out for us as it was not possible to track back all the components and ensure that they were responsibly sourced. The Rock board did work for us and we were able to port our system onto this. We will be rolling out units using this over the summer. It also looks like Raspberry Pis are coming back on line and we were able to secure a bulk order for deliver mid-summer

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Solar panels in the tropics

We are deploying automated systems in the topics and hope to use solar panels, but this closed canopy in most places I'm seeing this as a challenge.Past the obvious: 'find a...

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Hi Tom,

I'm with Akiba, you have to test.  A collaborator has deployed solar-augmented kit in secondary jungle and some of them got enough light, and others didn't, so it can work.  The open circuit voltage of solar panels doesn't change a whole lot in dim light, but the current drops drastically.  So you would choose an oversize panel of the same voltage (or a bit higher).


I've been intrigued by this topic. Thinking about ways you could use drones or some kind of launcher to deploy panels above the canopy. Sadly I live in the great white north so I have no way of testing any concepts. Maybe even some kind of solar balloon that could float above the canopy. Interesting design problem.

Hey Tom,
Since the output is dependent on a couple of factors such as the solar irradiance of the place, shading from the canopy, the type of solar panels (mono, poly or amorphous) and orientation of the panels, etc, I'd suggest you use a software to simulate the different parameters to get an almost accurate estimation of the output. You can try PVsyst- it has a free month trial (I haven't used it before but I hear it's great) or any other PV software :)

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Junior Electrical Engineer (Hardware)

As the FieldKit hardware ecosystem grows, Conservify is seeking a Junior Electrical Engineer to assist with testing, troubleshooting, prototype development, and developing production test fixtures for our growing...

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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.

You can try Frank G.. He's a fantastically innovative engineer who founded and rubs the Maker's Space at Barstow College in Barstow, Calif. Frank is very familiar with complexities, needs, and budgets of field-based conservation. His email address is: [email protected].

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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. 


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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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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.



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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  

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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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.


Module 8: In the Field

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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