It is an extreme low power data logger shield for Arduino. The circuitry is set up so the Arduino draws no power when the logger is sleeping in-between measurements. This means that the logger can be running for weeks, months and even years on regular batteries. All log data can be stored on an onboard micro SD card. I don’t know the maximum size that can be used, but I have had no problems with a 2Gb micro SD card.
I ran a test and had the data logger running from 31.07.2013 to 14.08.2013 making a measurement of light, temperature and battery status every 30 seconds. This gave me a total of 32.902 measurements from a 7.2V LiPo 900mAh battery. But as the system draws almost no power in sleep mode (0.03uA @ 7.2V) this could easily be 32.000 measurements of a frequency of 1 hour that would amount to something like a 3,5 year running time on a 900mAh battery. From a regular DURACELL 9V battery I got 15.400 measurements.
Why use this shield? The shield is for applications that could stay unattended for weeks and months, -even years before the battery needs replacement. What is unique with this data logger shield is that it takes control over the power input to the Arduino. It cuts power to the Arduino altogether and only awakes Arduino to take a measurement and log it, and then Arduino resets the RTC in effect cutting its own power supply. Other designs are available that does all kinds of tricks with the Atmel chip to conserve power but no matter how good these techniques are, you still have the quiescent current of the onboard voltage regulators and that could be en the range of 5-15mA. A regular Arduino draws about 25mA and with my 900mAh LiPo that would give you something like 36 hours of running time and 4370 measurement (one entry every 30 seconds) With my shield the same unmodified Arduino ran for 14 days giving me 32.000 measurements from the same 900mAh LiPo.
You can find a sample sketch here https://github.com/DeadBugPrototypes/DLS20 to get you started with the shield. The following pins are used by the shield;
Any drawbacks? As it stands the input voltage cannot exceed 10V. But as this device probably would be run using a regular 9V battery or a 7.2V LiPo that should not be a big issue.
Tips: The micro SD card holder is of the flip open type. It might seem to be of the type that you push the card into the slot, but it’s not. To operate you have to open the holder by pushing the top part in the ‘open’ direction. Then align your micro SD card and take note that the notch is aligned with the bottom half. Then flip the lid back over the SD card an lock it by pushing it in the locked position. See the reference pictures.
Getting Started: There are some considerations with how to set up this system and how you should write your sketch (program) for the Arduino. I would recommend that you started by testing the supplied demo sketches that is available at Github
So a good start would be to test the shield like this;
Now you can see how the shield works.
Feel free to use these programs as a start for you data logger. The DLS_ShieldTest_10min works exactly the same way but has a 10 minutes delay (or you can change it from 1 to 59 minutes)
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Electronics hobbyist from Norway