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 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. 

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 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 >>

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 >>

You've just taken delivery of a PicoLog 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.

F

G

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.

H

Historical release notes for PicoLog 6

PicoLog 6 for Windows, macOS and Linux was launched in February 2018, with major feature updates and bug fixes released on a monthly schedule. This article documents the historical release notes that include all features added, and major bug fixes that affected customers.

More information on Historical release notes for PicoLog 6 >>

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.

I

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 >>

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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. 

O

P

PicoLog 6.1.7

PicoLog 6.1.7 is released with the following new features, updates and bug fixes:

  • Added independent X and Y axis autoscale control
  • Allows PicoScope 6 or other app to open PicoScope oscilloscopes if they are not being used by PicoLog 6
  • Added support for PicoScope 3000A/B/D oscilloscopes
  • Added support for PicoScope 5000A/B/D oscilloscopes
  • Table configuration is now accessible without capturing data
  • CSV export now supports minimum sampling time 1 ms
  • Cursor changes to a vertical pan cursor when hovering over Y axis
  • It is now possible to delete a channel from the channel edit dialog

The following bugs were fixed:

  • PicoLog 6 in Debian Jessie no longer has space below title bar
  • Tidied up export to PDF - text no longer clips over page border
  • Fixed an issue which duplicated samples when exporting to .CSV with TC-08 data
  • Annotations can now be moved in saved files
  • Fixed an issue with overrange flag at zero volts using PicoLog 1000 
  • Fixed an issue with "false alarms" when no channel data present

More information on PicoLog 6.1.7 >>

PicoLog 6.1.8 Beta

PicoLog 6.1.8 Beta is released with the following new features for testing and support added for additional Pico devices:

  • Add support for the TC-08 terminal board
  • Add "Select all" boxes in Configure Data Table dialog
  • Add support for PicoScope 4224, 4424, 4224-IEPE and 4262 oscilloscopes
  • AC current clamps only allow AC coupling in the channel options

The following bug fixes were also included:

  • Large data files from PicoLog 6.1.4 or earlier now open correctly
  • Fixed an issue with ADC-20 and 24, there are no longer gaps in data with using 660 ms conversion time
  • Channel disconnect alarm no longer triggers from another device
  • Fixed an issue with PicoLog 1012 - gaps in data
  • Fixed an issue which failed to show an error when opening a CSV while exporting it
  • Table Epoch/Unix time no longer shows unnecessary precision

More information on PicoLog 6.1.8 Beta >>

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 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 and PicoScope oscilloscopes on the same PC

More information on PicoLog 6 data logging software >>

Q

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S

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

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.

U

V

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 >>

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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 >>