Build Your Own Data Logger

In this 8-part series, we’ll go through the practical skills and knowledge base you need to deploy a custom, Arduino-based data logger in the field.

Through 6.5 hours of instructional, learn-at-your-own-pace videos, Office Hour events, and resources, we cover everything a beginner to Arduino needs to get started, from common terminology and components to programming, and all the way though piloting, testing, deploying, and troubleshooting.

Build Your Own Data Logger is a collaboration between WILDLABS.NET  – a community of conservationists, technologists, engineers, data scientists, entrepreneurs and change makers, and Freaklabs.


Before you begin


What You’ll Need

You’ll need the WildLogger kit ($50 USD). This includes the board, enclosure, temperature and humidity sensor and PIR motion sensors. You’ll also need a USB cable (Mini-B), 3 x AA batteries and a microSD card.

Even if you don’t get the kit, there’s good general information to help you learn more about building your own Arduino-based hardware for deployment.


I don’t know anything about hardware. Is this for me?
Yes! We’re assuming no hardware experience.
I don’t have any programming experience. Is this for me?
You’ll need to be familiar with standard programming principles such as loops, conditional statements, arrays and variables. 
I have experience with Arduino and building custom hardware. Is this for me?
We hope so! We’ll go through ways to make your device more reliable and robust in the field. We’ll cover power optimisation, crimping connectors, choosing waterproof connectors and cable glands, field kits and troubleshooting once you’re in the field.  
How much does it cost?
The course is free. If you want to purchase the WildLogger board and kit, it costs $50 USD. You can purchase it from here.
Do I need to purchase the WildLogger board and kit?
No. You’ll still learn the fundamentals of hardware development, how the Arduino platform works, optimising your device, piloting, testing and deployment, just by watching the videos. This knowledge can be applied to any Arduino-based device, and/or custom development. We’re using WildLogger because it’s specially designed for deployment which means it has features not available on standard Arduino boards. For example, the standard Arduino microcontroller doesn’t have enough memory to run all the functions needed in a data logger so we’ve designed WildLogger using a compatible chip with more memory. We’ve also added an SD card, a dedicated connector for PIR motion sensing, two sensor connectors, and a weatherproof enclosure. We have a limited number of WildLogger boards available. If you want one, you can purchase it here. 
Do I need any special equipment or software?
You’ll need to install Arduino IDE (Integration Development Environment) from here. You can purchase WildLogger from here. You can also follow most of the modules with a standard Arduino such as Arduino Uno, here. We’ll take you through installing and setting everything up. 
I’m on a Mac / Windows / Linux. Is that ok?
Yes. Arduino works on all platforms.
What if I can’t make the live office hours?
Send in your question before the live office hours! We’ll be recording the live event and will make sure your question is covered, so you’ll be able to catch up afterwards via the WILDLABS youtube channel. You can also post your question or problem to the forum.
Is WildLogger open source?
Yes. You can take the designs and make modifications as you like.
Can I deploy WildLogger in the field for my research?
Yes. However, WildLogger and this tutorial series is designed for training, and to get you familiar with Arduino and hardware deployment considerations. We recommend piloting and testing any custom devices as much as possible so you’re confident they’re reliable and you can collect quality data once they’re live in the field. Also let us know how you use it. Although the series will focus on a humidity and temperature sensor, there are many other sensors that can be fitted to it as well.

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