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More  Gadgets  Data Recorder

DVD Recorder + TV Camera Make Cheap Data Logger
by David A. Johnson, P.E.

Sometimes recording the results of a test requires as much ingenuity as designing the product. Consider a situation which requires the collection of many different variables over a long period of time. Perhaps you are conducting temperature cycle tests on an electronic circuit and you want to know what changes occur in circuit performance over a 24 hour period.
You could stay up all night and collect the data yourself. You could rent an expensive data logger to record the data or spend days setting up a computer system. However, a more clever solution is available. Why not set up a VCR or better yet, a DVD recorder and a television camera so all the voltmeters, frequency counters, oscilloscopes, thermometers, clocks needed to measure the data are positioned in front of the TV camera.

You could use the built-in timer in the recorder to start and stop the recording when you need to record the data. You could even play actor and step into the scene to point out something or make some general audio comments. Since good recorders can record 8 hours or even days of video, you capture a lot of data.

Later, after the tests are stored on tape or disk, you can use those special fast forward and freeze frame playback features found on most quality recorders to quickly retrieve and study your data. For a fraction of the cost of a fancy data logging system you can rent all the recording power you need from your local video store.


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