Comparing Thermal Efficiency of Surfacing Materials

Using the dataTaker DT85 Intelligent Universal Input Data Logger

CHESTERLAND OH—November 8, 2011

CAS DataLoggers recently provided the datalogging solution for a major research organization undertaking a project requiring the team to compare the effects of various surfacing materials used on a series of outdoor water tanks to achieve maximum thermal efficiency, and also how efficient these surfaces were in reducing temperature losses. The temperature in the tanks was to be cycled up to 140°F (60°C) by internal steam coils and then allowed to cool. These temperatures were to be logged at all times with sensors placed at various depths within the tanks. Data collection therefore needed to be simple and unobtrusive. The research team decided that it needed a compact solution offering a large number of inputs, convenient data downloading capability, and featuring SDI-12 compatibility for connection to a weather transmitter.

The organization installed a dataTaker DT85 Intelligent Universal Input Data Logger in a weatherproof enclosure adjacent to the water tanks. The datalogger was then connected to a Vaisala WXT-510 weather transmitter with sensors for wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, ambient temperature and humidity, all necessary to establish what effects the weather had on the internal temperatures of the tanks. Additionally, six thermocouples were mounted in each of the six tanks at differing levels. These 36 thermocouples were connected to the DT85 data logger as was the weather transmitter via the logger’s SDI-12 communication. Should the project suddenly need to expand, the DT85 device allowed for a further 12 temperature sensors to be connected, and for truly demanding project needs, the DT85 data logger was expandable to 300 channels, 600 isolated or 900 single-ended analog inputs using channel expansion modules.

The DT85 intelligent stand-alone datalogger featured a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 48 universal analog sensor channels along with 12 digital channels, 4 high-speed counter inputs, phase encoder inputs, and programmable serial sensor channels. This allowed the logger to connect to most sensors and data measurement devices so that almost any physical value could be scaled and logged, including temperature, voltage, current, 4-20mA loops, resistance, strain gauges, frequency, and more. The logger’s renowned durability ensured years of reliable logging even in extreme conditions thanks to its robust construction. Featuring a clear built-in display, the DT85 made high-precision measurements at an 18-bit resolution across a ±30 V input measurement range and could store up to 10 million data points in user-defined memory with independent control of schedule size and mode so that users could log only as long as needed. The dataTaker data logger also archived data on alarm event, copying directly to USB memory and transferring data via FTP if needed, providing data directly over the internet or a mobile phone network without requiring any polling or specific host software.

The datalogger’s USB memory stick support allowed the researchers easy data and program transfer, which the team found to be especially convenient since their weather transmitter also utilized USB capability. The tanks’ temperature data was collected manually this way each week and archived to a USB memory stick;, with collection continuing over a period of several months before the data was analyzed. The DT85’s powerful communications suite also included RS232 with modem support and an Ethernet port enabling connection to the DT85 locally, remotely or over the Internet, as well as support for multiple SDI-12 sensor networks, Modbus for SCADA systems, FTP and Web interface, and 12V regulated output to power sensors.

Additionally, the dataTaker datalogger’s built-in web and FTP server enabled remote access to logged data, configuration and diagnostics, while Modbus slave and master functionality allowed connection to Modbus sensors and devices and to SCADA systems. The datalogger’s smart serial sensor channels could be interfaced to a variety of sensors including RS232, RS485, RS422 and SDI-12.

User-friendly dEX software was included free with the DT85, utilizing an intuitive graphical interface enabling operators to quickly configure the datalogger and view real-time sensor measurements, calculations and diagnostic information, all in a hassle-free Windows Explorer style interface. The researchers were also able to view their real-time data in mimics, trend charts, or tables, and retrieve historical data for analysis. The research project got off to a quick start since dEX came built-in with no applications to install, ran directly from a web browser, and could be accessed either locally or remotely anywhere that a TCP/IP connection was available including worldwide over the Internet. Users could view dEX using any of the logger’s built-in communications ports including Ethernet, USB and RS-232.

The research organization benefited in several key ways directly following installation of the dataTaker DT85 intelligent datalogger. The DT85 performed the essential sensor integration via SDI-12 with the team’s weather transmitter while simultaneously connecting to 36 thermocouples with the ability to accommodate a dozen more. Additionally, the logger’s USB capability made data collection a snap and was really convenient in tandem with the Vaisala weather transmitter’s USB port. Researchers were quickly able to learn and navigate the dataTaker’s dEX software to view the tanks’ temperature data in real-time as well as access the data from a remote location. All these advanced logging and communications features made the intelligent datalogger a cost-effective solution for the modest research budget.

After months of intensive analysis, the project’s results identified which tanks were the most efficient and hence identified the most effective thermal insulating materials. These findings helped increase the viability of tank storage for many companies as well as promoting development and sales of more efficient surfacing materials.

Check out the DT85 product page here.

For further information on the DT85 Intelligent Universal Input Data Logger, other dataloggers in the highly successful dataTaker line, or to find the ideal solution for your application-specific needs, contact a CAS Data Logger Applications Specialist at (800) 956-4437 or visit the website at

Contact Information:
CAS DataLoggers, Inc.
12628 Chillicothe Road
Chesterland, Ohio 44026
(440) 729-2570
(800) 956-4437


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