Serial Data Logger

with PIC microcontroller

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Recently I started work on a couple of projects that required digitizing and storing a constant stream of measurements from a sensor. Initially my plan was to interface the microcontroller to a flash memory card and to store the data on the card. While I was torturing my aging brain with the difference between MMC, RS-MMC, MMC plus, and microSD, a couple of neurons randomly firing in desperation came up with this alternative - forget about using a memory card, store the data on a computer:
Data logger configuration

The obvious disadvantage is that a computer is needed, which makes the setup less portable. But there are significant advantages too:
  • large amounts of data can be stored;
  • data can be easily monitored in real time;
  • information can be directly uploaded to the Internet;
  • the diagram above looks way cooler with a computer in it (compare to this).

How it works
The sensor can be almost anything - I'm working on a light recording project, where the sensor is just a photoresistor; also I'm building a magnetometer with a more complex sensor. Whatever the sensor, the data logger amplifies the signal, encodes it and shoots it over to the computer for prorcessing and storage via standard serial interface.

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