Smart Data Logger with Low Power Consumption

Introduction

The purpose of this case study is to elucidate the development process of a Smart Environmental Data Logger manufactured by us for a startup client.  The device was a smart temperature and humidity data logger with associated data analysis software. Apart from customizing the device to operate at very low power levels, we also succeeded in improving its measurement accuracy to 40% over previous levels. And this was entirely achieved keeping its cost lower than that of the closest competitors’ products.

Background

The owner of the startup with which we were to work had over seven years of prior experience working in the same industry. The owner had undertaken an intense market survey for the device in question and worked deeply on the target features so as to prove to be a tough competition for other players in the same niche. The product was slated to target logistics service providers, the food industry & pharmaceutical sector. The prime functionality of the device was to record ambient temperature and humidity values in real time. The readings so taken were to be stored in memory for analysis using appropriate software.

Our target was to design the device at a lower price than its competitors maintaining a high level of measurement precision.

Proposed Solution

The problem underwent significant brainstorming with the client. Finally, from our end, it was put forward that the device should be built with medium density low power microcontroller. Our goal was to lower the device’s power usage to a bare minimum, thus enabling it to be used on a single charge for one whole year. This we aimed to achieve by interfacing the required components with a microcontroller and drive system on the lowest possible power consumption.

The client accepted our proposal, and we started work on the device.

Journey and Learnings

The solution to the problem was arrived at by including capacitive humidity sensors, thermistors and USB Bridge interfaced with a microcontroller system. Initially, the power consumption of the device far exceeded the level we aimed to confine it to. Our target current consumption was 4uA and we succeeded in lowering it to 130uA on our first attempt.

The prime challenge here was to get the microcontroller system to work in low power mode. This required the utilization of numerous datasheets and reference manuals. The final solution was arrived at by separating the entire system into individual modules. Each module was configured separately to operate in a low power state. After the desired power levels were achieved, the separate modules were integrated and reconfigured to work in accordance with our desired specifications.

Summary

The software necessary for the operation of the system was developed by a third-party manufacturer working with us in tandem. We have been commissioned to develop a total of eight different models based upon the same business logic; of these four are already developed and the remaining four are in progress. Each model incorporates separate features as differentiating factors. After completion of the product design, we are currently engaged in manufacturing the working models. We also make sure that the client is provided with the necessary support throughout the entire product life-cycle from the design phase to manufacturing, testing, and delivery, as well as after-sales support.

The journey has proved to be a fulfilling one for us. In case you too have a requirement for developing an electronic device with low-power requisite, feel free to drop us a line.