By Rich Merritt, Senior Technical Editor
ONCE UPON a time, most data acquisition (DAQ) devices, remote terminal units (RTUs), recorders and data loggers came with RS232 ports, so they could be plugged easily into new-fangled industrial computers and PCs. Today, new data acquisition devices are sporting wireless connections, Ethernet ports and built-in Web servers, so they don’t have to connect directly to computers.
Instead of directly connecting to PCs, modern data acquisition equipment connects in roundabout fashion, linking up through various networks, including the Internet. A web server and an Internet connection allow data from the device to be viewed from anywhere in the world by anyone with the proper access.
A glance through the data acquisition and recorder products in this month’s roundup reveals a plethora of web-enabled devices. Most still offer standard connections, such as Modbus and RS232; in fact, Modbus is quietly sneaking up on the interface scene. When a device manufacturer adds an Ethernet port and a web server to bring a product into the 21st Century, many times Modbus gets added as well.
Though we list only a few wireless products in this roundup, note that wireless communications can be added to virtually any intelligent device as a plug-in. Therefore, almost any product in this roundup can also be wireless.
To support a built-in web server, data acquisition devices must have built-in intelligence to process data and provide information to put onto the web page, such as real-time readings, trends over time, alarms and historical data. With such intelligence in the field, some DAQ devices also can perform local control.
If you see “more info at controlglobal.com” in a product’s description, it means there’s more information about the product on our web site. Go to controlglobal.com, scroll down to Site Highlights, and click on the roundup section. Then, select the data acquisition roundup from the list of product roundups you’ll find there.
Recorders and Data Acquisition
Logger Monitors Over Web
MW100 for standalone data logging applications has web-enabled Ethernet connectivity for shared real-time trend monitoring using a web browser. No special software is needed for configuration and data monitoring. Suitable for harsh industrial environments, it can withstand temperature extremes and high vibration, and provides high levels of noise immunity and channel-to-channel input isolation. Yokogawa; 800/258-2552; www.yokogawa.com/us
Transmitter Networks Readdings
The iBTHX transmitter monitors and records barometric pressure, temperature, relative humidity and dew point, and makes data available for viewing over an Ethernet network or the Internet with a web browser. It serves active web pages to display real-time readings; display barometric pressure, temperature and humidity charts; or log data in standard data formats for use in a spreadsheet or data acquisition program such as Excel or Visual Basic. Newport Electronics; 714/540-4914 ext. 358; www.newportUS.com
Wireless Conditioner Goes 300 ft.
CellMite Model 4329 wireless, intelligent, digital signal conditioner connects directly to a standard strain gauge, load cell, extensometer or pressure sensor, and provides an analog output and wireless communication up to 300 ft. It can accommodate up to 16 units in a wireless serial network configuration, or directly connect to a PC with RS232 or USB ports. Electro Standards Laboratories; 401/943-1164; www.ElectroStandards.com
Recorder Makes 5,400+ Measurements
The battery-powered OM-CP-RFRTDTemp101A temperature recorder and wireless transmitter can measure and record up to 5,461 measurements. When enabled, the wireless transmitter sends readings back to the host computer, and logs them to the device’s memory for added data security. A slide switch turns the transmitter on or off without affecting its operation, or it can be started, stopped and configured directly from a PC. Omega Engineering; 203/359-7815; www.omega.com
Station Controls via Satellite
Mini-Sat field station remotely monitors and controls pump stations, gates or valves via satellite communications and the Internet. Users can be notified of any changes via e-mail or pager, or the changes can be viewed on the Internet. Only an unobstructed view of the sky is needed for communication. The station requires no infrastructure. Automata; 800/994-0380; www.automata-inc.com
Video Recorders Talk on Web
Sirec D video recorders can communicate via Modbus over Ethernet, or use RS232 and RS485 ports. All have embedded web servers, allowing full visualization of the recorder over Ethernet, using only a browser on the network. Various software packages are available as options for configuration, online display, evaluation, and archiving. Siemens Energy & Automation; 215/646-7400 x2592; www.siemens.com
Web Logging w/o Software
IntelliLogger monitors remote site equipment from a standard web browser. Users can view current and historical profiles, actuate remote control functions, and download and clear data, all without custom or proprietary software. The data logger also can send alarms and data via email, as well as notices and alarms via SMS and pager. Logic Beach; 619/698-3300; www.logicbeach.com
Controller Does DAQ