Data Loggers

Data Loggers are devices which record and store the digital information available within the vehicle’s electronics systems.

Modern Data Loggers typically also have multiple responsibilities and functions within the vehicle’s electronics systems, not only just as the place to store information.

Typically designed as the central controlling device in an electrical system, the data logger generally act as the communications hub between all of the various other devices in a modern motorsport electronics system and also as the main connection point for engineers and the user of the car for typical ‘routine’ use.

Good data loggers typically feature a number of analogue & digital inputs, which allow for chassis systems sensors, buttons & switches to be wired directly into the electronics systems of the car. They will also then feature a number networking connections and ports, for communications methods such as CAN Bus, Serial RS 232 & Ethernet which allow the user to firstly communicate with the device with their laptop and then also for all of the other devices and systems in the car to communicate with each other.

The Data Logger will typically feature an internal data card for all of the various systems and data channel values to be stored on whilst the car is being operated on track for the user to then download to their laptop after the session and visualised in the data analysis software.

Some systems then also allow the user to create their own ‘maths ‘ or virtual channels based off of other sensor or data values etc. to be displayed and or logged along side other sensor values.
More advanced devices will also allow the user to control other devices, such as; dash displays, CAN Key Pads and LED light panels from within the electronics calibration of the data logger itself.

The quality and functionality of a data logger is often controlled by the electronics manufacturers via hardware or software upgrades.
When selecting a data logger a number of specifications need to be considered depending on your intended use, typically consisting of: type and number of sensor inputs, controllable outputs, type and number of communications connections, input sampling rate, data bandwidth, logging capacity, number of maths channels.

Typically, when designing a data system and selecting your required data logger, you would create a specifications which details the amount of network communications required, the number of sensors which will need to be connected to the device and at what sampling rate these sensors will need to be logged at and then use this information to select your required data logger.