Data Logging vs. Data Acquisition: Are They the Same?

data acquisition system what is it

In today’s world, the words “data logging” and “data acquisition” are often used interchangeably. However, these two are actually different from each other.

What is data logging and data acquisition?

When we say “data logger”, also known as data logger or data recorder, this refers to an electronic device that gathers data over a period of time. It makes use of sensors and are usually based on a digital processor. Generally, these devices are quite small and portable. They are powered by a battery and they have microprocessors and internal memory for storage of data. There are also data recorders which make use of software in order to be activated as well as in order to view and analyze the gathered information. Most data loggers, however, can be used without another device besides itself. This sets them apart from data acquisition systems.

The following are some of the uses of data loggers:

  • Road traffic counting
  • Tank level monitoring
  • Measuring humidity or temperature
  • Measuring soil moisture level
  • Monitoring the environment

On the other hand, data acquisition systems or DAQ is an information system used to gather, store and distribute data. It is mostly used on computers in both commercial and industrial electronics as well as in environmental and scientific fields. DAQ systems are used to collect, analyze and measure physical phenomena from a real and physical world through signals. These gathered signals are then converted into digital values which can be manipulated on computers. Unlike data loggers, DAQs are not stand-alone devices.

uses of data loggers

Some uses for data acquisition systems are as follows:

  • Measuring light
  • Measuring temperature
  • Measuring pressure

Although the two devices can be considered as close cousins, they used to be very different in some features such as the following:

  • Data loggers were battery powered while DAQs were not.
  • Data loggers had higher resolution compared to data acquisition systems.
  • Data loggers used their own memory in recording.
  • Data loggers typically operated at slower sample rates.
  • Data loggers are stand-alone devices whereas data acquisition systems must remain tethered to a computer in order to collect data.

However, most of these differences have actually been fading away in the last twenty years or so. Of course, this is not surprising considering the advancement of technology. Since the two are quite similar in many ways, it is understandable for manufacturers to develop some data loggers or DAQs which are overlapping when it comes to features and function.

Basically, a data logger is a data acquisition system but a data acquisition is not a data logger. Most probably in the future, these two will become one.

Several data acquisition companies have emerged with their very own unique models of DAQs and data loggers, you may want to pay a visit to Daqifi website to check out some of their data acquisition products. They have been known to revolutionize the data acquisition world with the intention of providing their customers a great data acquisition experience. What’s great is that they have incorporated innovative and useful features in their products that will surely benefit its users.