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I am in need of a device that can poll and record the temperature of an area automatically such that I can get the information on to my computer somehow.

I am thinking of buying an NTE7225 temperature sensor or something similar, and hooking it up to a cheap microcontroller.

Where I am stuck is how to store the information so that I can retrieve it later.

I would need to store the information for days, preferably indefinitely until removed, but as long as it is powered on would be the next best one. The amount of data would be minimal, one temperature reading and timestamp every n minutes.

The accuracy of the data would preferably be as accurate as the sensor is reporting (but that may be naive).

The only two methods I can think of would be to:

  1. Buy an SDCard port of some sort and write an SDCard driver to put the information on to the card
  2. Use a USB port that exposes itself as a mass storage device with a file on it with the information in it. This has the added downside of being volatile.

Are there any other good ways to do this? I can probably do it with a plug computer or raspberry pi, but I’d like to see if I can do it more minimally.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's probably worth adding how much data you'd like to store. \$\endgroup\$ – PeterJ Aug 14 '13 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Store it how long? How accurately? How many? How durably? How frequently? Retrieve it how? \$\endgroup\$ – Phil Frost Aug 14 '13 at 1:06
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Minimal, eh?

For the maximally minimal experience, you can do all of this inside a microcontroller. Choose one that can rewrite its own flash memory, and measure its own temperature. I'd suggest MSP430, but lots of microcontrollers meet these specs.

Then it's just a matter of a loop that measures temperature and records it to the micro's flash memory then sleeps for a few minutes.

You can extract the data by reading the flash memory with a debugger, or choose a micro with a UART and write code to dump it out serially with an FTDI cable or such.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome, this is the route I am going to go down. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Aug 15 '13 at 0:07
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I would use I2C or SPI, for both the sensor and an EEPROM in which to store the sensor data. A 10-pin MCU can give you access to both devices (8-pin if you use I2C)and a UART with which to talk to a computer (probably through a FT232 chip) for retrieval and reconfiguration.

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Why not skip building all the smarts and get it ready made?

http://www.lascarelectronics.com/temperaturedatalogger.php?datalogger=402

This device will log the data and it can be download into a .csv file format. There are heaps of other modes out there if you're only interested in ambient temperature. I only mention this one because I've tried it before. If you want to measure temperature of a surface or a device, there may be a solution for that.

If you want to build for development's sake then a Raspberry Pi may be the way to go for a flexible solution. The SE Pi site would be able to help you out then.

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If all you want is to read a temperature, then you can avoid microcontroller and connect temperature sensore directly to COM port, as shown here and here.

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