X3 Data Logging Features

Configuring an environmental data logger has traditionally been a complex task requiring intricate programming software. Users were tasked with indicating all connected sensors’ communication protocols, sensor addresses, measurement commands, data format, and power requirements. However, with NexSens X3 data loggers, this process is simplified through sensor detection. Using a built-in sensor library, X3 data loggers can recognize connected sensors and store their information in internal memory, such as the make and model, parameters, and the port to which it is connected. Once a sensor is detected, the logger provides power to the sensor and gathers measurements at a user-specified interval.

The X3 data logger includes (3) sensor ports that communicate with environmental sensors via the SDI-12, RS-485, and RS-232 digital communication protocols. Using these protocols, the logger interfaces with sensors through SDI-12, Modbus-RTU, NMEA0183, and a General Serial Interface (GSI). Sensor scripts not included in the base library can be created using script generator tools in the NexSens CONNECT software. Any sensors communicating via the mentioned sensor interfaces are compatible with NexSens X-Series data loggers.

Users will use the CONNECT software to enable the necessary scripts for sensor detection. Once enabled, the logger provides power to all sensor ports and saves information regarding each connected sensor. The sensor information and subsequent data are stored in its internal memory and transmitted to the WQData LIVE web data center in real-time.

Figure 1: Sensor connection to one of three sensor ports on the X3 Environmental Data Logger.

Figure 2: Sensor connection to one of three sensor ports on the X3-SUB Submersible Data Logger.


Important Considerations

  1. During sensor detection, only the enabled sensor scripts are processed.
    1. Learn how to enable sensor scripts here.
  2. Only one RS-232 sensor can be connected to a single port.
  3. Multiple SDI-12 and RS-485 sensors can be applied to a single port; however, each must have a unique sensor address.
  4. Most sensors require at least 12VDC power. During sensor detection, ensure the logger is connected to an adequate power source.
  5. New sensor detections will erase any prior logger programming. Thus, any previously detected sensors that are physically disconnected or are experiencing communication disruptions at the time of a new detection will not be identified.
  6. Port P0 will always use continuous power. Utilize this port for continuously powered sensors, such as rain gauges, weather stations, flow monitors, etc.


When to Run a Sensor Detection

Sensor detections can be performed in three separate ways:

  1. If a logger has not been programmed, it automatically begins a sensor detection when power is applied or cycled.
  2. WQData LIVE provides a remote sensor detection option, which is outlined here.
  3. In most instances, the NexSens CONNECT software will provide the safest and most efficient way to perform sensor detection. The sensor detection process via the CONNECT software is outlined here.

Sensor detections should be performed in a controlled environment before a scheduled deployment date. The new programming should be thoroughly examined to ensure all sensors and parameters are shown, they output in the correct units, and the values are within the expected ranges. Systems should be tested for multiple hours before deployment to confirm functionality. NexSens strongly discourages using the remote WQData LIVE sensor detection process while the unit is in the field; however, the remote command is helpful in a controlled environment.


Buzzer Pattern Indicator

X3 Data Loggers include a built-in buzzer that outputs a distinctive pattern. The buzzer relays to the user the current processes being performed by the data logger. Upon power connection, the logger will beep once, indicating the system is powered. During a sensor detection, the logger will beep once every 3 seconds. Once the sensor detection is complete, the logger will continue this pattern as it gathers the first reading from the sensors. After collecting the measurements, the logger will automatically begin communicating with WQData LIVE. A “double-beep” pattern will be heard, which indicates the logger is setting up the cellular connection. When the connection has been established or if the connection failed, the logger will output two or three short beeps, respectively. If the connection is successful, the “double-beep” pattern will continue until all data is transmitted to the web.

EventBeep TypeStatus
Applying powerOne short beepSystem boot successful
Sensor detection/readingOne short beep every 3 secondsLogger currently taking a reading or detecting sensors
Telemetry connection attemptDouble-beep every 3 secondsLogger attempting to establish network connection
Telemetry connection successfulTwo short beepsNetwork connection established
Telemetry connection failedThree short beepsNo signal/network connection failed