Acclima Solar DataSnap SDI-12 Data Logger User Manuel

This manual is for the Acclima Solar DataSnap SDI-12 Data Recorder (data logger). It addresses supported soil moisture sensors, minimum system requirements, installation, software, how to view data, and much more.

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Table of Contents

Acclima Solar DataSnap SDI-12 Data Logger

Introduction

The Acclima Solar DataSnap is a simple-to-use data recorder (data logger). It provides the ability to read and log soil moisture sensor data from a variety of SDI-12 sensors.  Convenient, fast data collection is supported through a micro-USB thumb drive.  Alternatively, the Solar DataSnap can be attached via USB directly to a Windows PC laptop to which the data can be downloaded and viewed from the SnapView software.  Each Solar DataSnap supports up to 10 SDI-12 soil water content sensors.

The Solar DataSnap handles all timing requirements of the SDI-12 communications protocol, making it possible to take SDI-12 sensor readings using a simple terminal program such as HyperTerminal or PuTTy. 

Solar DataSnap Hardware Features

  • Data logging
  • USB to SDI-12 Bridge
  • Supports charging of lithium-ion battery cell through solar or USB connection
  • Short circuit protection
  • Acclima SnapView software provided
  • Compatible with terminal software applications like HyperTerminal or PuTTy
  • Simple configuration. The Solar DataSnap collects up to five data points from the SDI-12 “M!” command from every sensor every interval.

SnapView Software Features

  • Automatically synchronizes all connected DataSnaps
  • Manual reading of sensors
  • Supports connecting to an unlimited number of DataSnaps
  • Setup wizard for simple DataSnap configuration

What is included?

  • DataSnap motherboard and processor
  • 1 pluggable terminal block for the SDI-12 connection
  • USB cable, type A to micro
  • 18650 lithium-ion battery cell
  • Solar panel attached to a NEMA weather resistant polycarbonate enclosure
  • One and ¼” male terminal adapter with lock nut and 45° PVC elbow

Supported Soil Moisture Sensors

The Acclima Solar DataSnap will support all SDI-12 sensors that are compatible with versions 1.0 through 1.4 of the SDI-12 Protocol Specification, including all Acclima SDI-12 sensors.  However, the Solar DataSnap only reads and records the first five data points of the SDI-12 M! command.  The Solar DataSnap’s internal data recording functions do not support reading or recording of any other data points.

The Solar DataSnap is limited to 500mA.  Some sensors with higher power requirements may require an external power connection.

The Acclima SnapView software supports all SDI-12 soil moisture sensor types.

Description of Solar Data Snap

Acclima.com Solar DataSnap Description Diagram

Connections

The Solar DataSnap has the following connections:

USB

After software installation, the included USB cable can be used to connect to a PC or a micro-USB spin thumb drive can be plugged in to automatically download the csv data files for a spreadsheet program.

SDI-12

The terminal block can be unplugged from the DataSnap while wiring sensors together. Multiple sensors can be wired in parallel to the same SDI-12 port.

Solar Power Port

This connection from the Solar Panel provides 5-10 volts for the battery cell charging circuit. 

Note: Turn the On/Off Switch to ‘ON’ at the beginning of a data collection cycle. Turn to ‘OFF’ when storing the logger in the Winter.

Status Lights

The Solar DataSnap utilized 4 status LEDs as follows:

Charging LED 

The green charging LED will illuminate when the charging circuit is active.  This will occur with voltage applied from the Solar Panel, or when plugged into a USB power source.

USB LED

The green USB LED will illuminate when there is an active USB connection.  This occurs when connected to a computer with proper drivers installed, or it occurs when a USB Thumb drive is plugged in and in use.  The light will be on solid to show a valid connection has been established and will blink when there is activity over the USB connection.  When using a USB charger, the USB light will not turn on, because there is no valid usable USB connection present.  However, the charging light will come on to indicate that power is being drawn from the USB charger to charge the battery.

When using a thumb drive:

Plug in the USB thumb drive firmly into the micro-USB port.  Wait a second to allow the USB connection to stabilize and link to the drive.  The USB light should then come on and blink to indicate data flow to the thumb drive.  When the LED turns off and stays off, the thumb drive can be removed.

Error LED

The red error LED on the Solar DataSnap performs the same function as on the original DataSnap – reporting communication errors and short circuit errors. 

SDI-12 LED

The green SDI-12 LED will be off when the SDI-12 port is not active.  When the port is active, the LED will turn on and will blink when there is communications traffic over the SDI-12 bus.

Power ON Battery Test

When turned on, the green USB and SDI-12 LEDs will flash together to indicate power is present.  If the battery voltage is low, the red error LED will flash once.

A Word About Operating Temperature

The Acclima Solar DataSnap has physical limitations on what temperature range it will fully operate in.  If it will be used in freezing weather (≤0°C or ≤ 32°F) for extended periods of time, the end-user should plan to periodically have the lithium-ion 18650 battery swapped out for a fully charged replacement because the battery charging circuit is disabled at 0°C and 32°F.  The battery will still run the data logger for the duration of the remaining charge, but it will not get recharged at or below those temperatures. Note: When recharging backup batteries in a desktop charger, care should be taken to allow the batteries to warm up to room temperature before recharging them or the battery could be permanently damaged.

Similarly, if the temperature inside the enclosure exceeds 50°C or 122°F the battery will stop charging.

SnapView Software & Driver Installation

The SnapView software must be installed prior to connecting the Data Snap to the computer. The Data Snap requires a Windows™ driver to be installed before use. The driver is installed during the installation of the SnapView software.

Once the software is installed, connect the Data Snap to the computer via a USB cable. Windows™ will automatically detect the new Data Snap hardware and will attempt to find the appropriate driver. This driver installation process will only occur once per Data Snap. Each new Data Snap will follow the same process.

IMPORTANT NOTE! Be sure to install the SnapView software before connecting the DataSnap to your PC’s USB port!

Where to Find the Free Download

The SnapView software can be downloaded from the Solar DataSnap product page.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows 7™, Windows 8™, or Windows 10™ operating systems
  • 50 MB hard drive space
  • Available USB port
Figure 2 - Acclima SnapView Solar DataSnap Manual
Figure 2

Installing the driver on Windows™

When the Data Snap is first connected to the computer, it will automatically be detected and the installation of the driver will begin.

Windows™ will then search for the driver in its pre-configured driver folders. This will happen because the driver was installed to this location when the SnapView software was installed.

Figure 3 - Acclima.com Solar Data Logger Manual
Figure 3

Once the driver is found and installed, the Data Snap will be assigned to a port and will be available for use. In Figure 3, the DataSnap has been assigned to a port. The driver is now installed and ready for use. Click the ‘Finish’ button.

Figure 4 - Acclima Soil Moisture Water Sensor Solar Data Logger Device Driver
Figure 4

Installing the driver on Windows™

When the Data Snap is first connected to the computer, it will automatically be detected and the installation of the driver will begin.

Windows™ will then search for the driver in its pre-configured driver folders. This will happen because the driver was installed to this location when the SnapView software was installed.

Acclima Device Driver Installation Screen
Figure 3

Once the driver is found and installed, the Data Snap will be assigned to a port and will be available for use. In Figure 3, the DataSnap has been assigned to a port. The driver is now installed and ready for use. Click the ‘Finish’ button.

Figure 4

To view more details about the port, open the ‘Device Manger’ in the Control Panel. The Data Snap is visible in the Device Manager under the ‘Ports (COM & LPT)’ heading. The Device Manager only shows ports that are active. When the Data Snap is disconnected from the computer, it will no longer be visible in the Device Manager.

Using Acclima SnapView Software

The Acclima SnapView software provides four important functions:

  1. DataSnap configuration – configuring a DataSnap for operation
  2. Automatic data synchronization – data retrieval from all connected DataSnaps
  3. Manual sensor reading – user-initiated soil moisture sensor readings
  4. Data analysis – synchronized sensor data analysis

The DataSnap can communicate with and read any type of SDI-12 soil water content sensor. It is not limited to Acclima sensors or probes. The DataSnap must be configured to know which sensors to read. This is easily done in the ‘Configuration’ section of the SnapView software. To add sensors, go to the ‘Sensors’ screen and click ‘Add Acclima Sensors’ or the ‘Add a Single Sensor’ at the bottom of the screen.

The SDI-12 protocol does not provide a way to search for multiple connected sensors. Therefore, only one sensor can be connected to the DataSnap when adding a sensor. This is only true for non-Acclima sensors and requires the use of the ‘Add a Single Sensor’ option.

Acclima has engineered a more efficient and intelligent way to configure multiple Acclima sensors simultaneously. This significantly simplifies the configuration process and is done using the ‘Add Acclima Sensors’ option.

The process for adding sensors to a DataSnap is as follows:

Add Acclima Sensors

To add one or more Acclima sensors to the DataSnap:

  • Wire each Acclima sensor to the DataSnap as described in the ‘Wiring Sensors to the SDI-12 Port’ section below
  • Click the ‘Add Acclima Sensors’ button
  • Each Acclima sensor is automatically detected and added to the DataSnap. Each newly added sensor is configured with a set of default properties that can be changed at any time. This is addressed later in this document.

Add non-Acclima Sensors

Each non-Acclima sensor must be added individually to the DataSnap. To add a non-Acclima sensor to the DataSnap:

  • Physically disconnect the wires of all existing sensors from the DataSnap
  • Wire the new sensor to the DataSnap as described in the ‘Wiring Sensors to the SDI-12 Port’ section below
  • Click the ‘Add a Single Sensor’ button
  • The sensor is detected automatically and added to the DataSnap. The newly added sensor is configured with a set of default properties. These can be changed at any time.
  • Repeat the above steps for each non-Acclima sensor

The DataSnap does not support duplicate serial numbers. If there are multiple sensors with the same serial number, the sensor that was configured last will be used.

Modifying Sensor Settings

Each sensor has its own unique set of reading descriptions which can be modified. This includes a descriptive sensor name and descriptive names for each of the five sensor readings. To modify sensor settings, click on the sensor in the ‘Configured Sensors’ list. The details for the selected sensor will display. Make any desired changes and click the ‘Save’ button.

When a sensor is added, its reading descriptions are automatically set based on the defaults for this type of sensor. These default reading descriptions can be modified or removed using the ‘Manage Reading Descriptions’ screen in the Tools menu. If there are no defaults for a particular sensor type, SnapView can automatically create them. This occurs the first time a user enters reading descriptions on the ‘Sensor Details’ window and clicks ‘Save’. For more details, see the ‘Using Acclima SnapView Software’ section later in this document.

There may be times when it is necessary to remove a configured sensor since it is no longer needed or to make room for a new sensor. This is easily done by clicking the ‘Remove Sensor from DataSnap’ button at the top of the ‘Sensor Details’ window. This does not remove any data from the PC, it only removes it from the configuration on the DataSnap.

Selecting Acclima Moisture Sensor Locations

Soil moisture sensors should be located in the region of interest where soil moisture measurements are desired.  Acclima sensors measure the average volumetric water content over the length of the sensor rods.  Sensors can be buried in any orientation and will produce average readings as follows:

  • Flat and Horizontal: Provides a moisture reading at a discrete depth.  This orientation is frequently used when monitoring plants with shallow roots such as turf, or when multiple sensors are used to create a soil moisture profile vs. depth.
  • Vertical: Provides an average moisture reading over a depth of about 6 inches.  Often used when monitoring deeper root systems such as trees.
  • Edge-Horizontal or diagonal: Provides an average moisture reading over a variable depth from 1 to 6 inches.

When selecting a site for sensor placement, consider the following environmental factors:

  • Non-permeable surfaces such as rocks and roads can generate runoff and cause variation in moisture content nearby.
  • Depressions and the base of slopes tend to collect excess moisture.
  • Peaks of slopes, south or west facing hillsides, and areas where reflected light is focused tend to dry out more quickly.
  • If monitoring plant conditions, the sensor must be buried among the roots of the plant of interest. Otherwise, the effects of transpiration will not be measured.

Physically Installing Acclima Moisture Sensors

The Acclima Soil Moisture sensors report soil moisture as a percentage of the total volume measured.  This means that the measured volume of soil should be free of foreign objects or variations that may alter the measurement made by the sensor. Consider the following conditions:

  • Avoid placing the sensor near rocks or other similar objects
  • Small roots near the sensor are acceptable. Avoid large woody roots
  • Do not create air pockets or voids near the sensor rods during installation
  • Compact the soil firmly around the sensor rods. Attempt to duplicate the original compaction before the sensor was installed so that the moisture reading will be representative of the surrounding soil.  (Lighter compaction means more air in the soil which means lower water content by volume since the water is displaced by air).

Wiring Sensors to the SDI-12 Port

SDI-12 sensors communicate and draw power from the same wires.  They share the connection to the Solar DataSnap with all other sensors connected to the same Solar DataSnap.  This type of a connection is sometimes called ‘parallel’ or ‘bussed’.  Sensors can be spliced or connected together at a single common point or as taps into a longer run of wire. 

Upon wiring completion:                                           

  • every sensor red wire has electrical contact with the red ‘Power’ terminal 
  • every sensor white wire has electrical contact with the white ‘Com’ terminal
  • every sensor blue wire has electrical contact with the blue ‘Data’ terminal          

Consider the following points when wiring sensors:

  • The maximum wire length from a sensor to the Solar DataSnap is 200 feet.
  • For convenience, the green terminal block can be removed from the SDI-12 port while wires are connected to it. Simply pull on the block to remove it from the inside of the Solar DataSnap. To connect the terminal block, insert it back into the Solar DataSnap with the screws facing right.
  • One to two sensors can easily be wired directly into the green terminal block as shown in Figure 5. To do this, insert all red wires into the topmost portion of the terminal block and tighten the screw to secure them in place. Repeat the procedure for the white wires in the middle portion of the block and the blue wires in the bottom portion of the block.
5 - Acclima SDI-12 Soil Moisture Sensor Ports
Figure 5 - Five SDI-12 Ports

Upon wiring completion:                                           

  • every sensor red wire has electrical contact with the red ‘Power’ terminal 
  • every sensor white wire has electrical contact with the white ‘Com’ terminal
  • every sensor blue wire has electrical contact with the blue ‘Data’ terminal          

Consider the following points when wiring sensors:

  • The maximum wire length from a sensor to the Solar DataSnap is 200 feet.
  • For convenience, the green terminal block can be removed from the SDI-12 port while wires are connected to it. Simply pull on the block to remove it from the inside of the Solar DataSnap. To connect the terminal block, insert it back into the Solar DataSnap with the screws facing right.
  • One to two sensors can easily be wired directly into the green terminal block as shown in Figure 5 above. To do this, insert all red wires into the topmost portion of the terminal block and tighten the screw to secure them in place. Repeat the procedure for the white wires in the middle portion of the block and the blue wires in the bottom portion of the block.
6 - Acclima.com SDI-12 Basic Wiring Diagram
Figure 6 – Basic Wiring Diagram
  • When connecting up to 10 sensors to one Solar DataSnap, a wire splice may be necessary. This can be done by connecting all the red sensor wires to a separate, single wire and then connecting the single new wire to the terminal block in the appropriate position. Follow the same procedure to connect the white and blue wires. The wiring should look like Figure 5. When the block is connected to the Solar DataSnap, the location of the colored wires must match the colors on the DataSnap.

Configuration

Config Button AcclimaA DataSnap must be configured prior to its first use. The SnapView software guides you through the configuration process in a few simple steps. To access the Configuration screen, click on the ‘Config’ button at the top of the screen. This will display the Configuration wizard.

The SDI-12 protocol requires that a sensor be given a specific address. All communication with a sensor is based on this address. When a sensor is added to a DataSnap, the sensor’s address is stored in the DataSnap. This is how the DataSnap knows which sensors to read. It is important to understand that if a DataSnap has been configured and is then connected to a different set of sensors, the configuration must be changed accordingly. If this is not done, data from two sensors may become merged and there will be no way to know which reading came from which sensor.  This can occur when a sensor from the original set and a sensor from the new set share the same address. The DataSnap reads sensors by address (an SDI-12 limitation) and returns data for the serial number of the configured sensor. The DataSnap does not know that the sensor is not what was originally configured. Performing a sensor validation can assist with this.

System Configuration Acclima SnapView
Figure 7 – Configuration

For a DataSnap to automatically take sensor readings or allow a user to read sensors manually, it must be configured. The most important step is to tell the DataSnap what sensors to read. This requires that the sensors be connected to the DataSnap during the configuration process. It is also important to provide a name for the DataSnap and to define how frequently it will take automatic readings. DataSnap configuration settings are stored on the DataSnap and are retained even when power is removed.  The configuration wizard is divided into four steps:

  • Connect
  • System Configuration
  • Sensors
  • Validation

Connecting to a DataSnap

The initial configuration screen shows all DataSnaps that are currently connected to the computer. To begin configuring a DataSnap, click the ‘Connect’ button next to the desired DataSnap.  The name of the connected DataSnap will appear on left side of the screen and the ‘Next’ button is enabled.  Use the ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ buttons to move through the configuration steps. All configuration operations will be performed on the connected DataSnap.

Click the ‘Refresh List” button to scan the computer for DataSnaps and update the connection list.

System Configuration Settings

The system configuration screen allows modification of several DataSnap settings and operations. They are:

  • Name – This is the descriptive name for the DataSnap. This is how the DataSnap will be identified throughout the SnapView software. The DataSnap’s unique system id is also shown but it cannot be changed.
  • Interval – This is the number of minutes between automatic sensor readings. Figure 9 shows a DataSnap named ‘South 40’ that is configured to take a new set of readings every 15 minutes. This interval is measured from the beginning of the previous cycle to the beginning of the subsequent cycle. For example, if the first automatic reading cycle begins at 10am and takes one minute to complete. The second automatic reading cycle will begin at 10:15am.
  • SDI-12 Idle Power – This option allows the configuration to keep bus power on constantly if needed by a third-party sensor. Acclima sensors don’t need this, so it is preferable to keep this set to ‘OFF’ unless it is absolutely needed.
  • Status Logging – A new feature was included in the Solar DataSnap and added to the DataSnap that allows monitoring of the conditions under which the unit is operating. A new Flag was added to the CONFIG command that was not previously present.  When upgrading from an older version, this flag will default to OFF.  All versions of the Solar DataSnap will include this feature.
    • Example command line: CONFIG STATUS_LOG=ON
      • When the STATUS_LOG flag is set to ON, the logger will measure and record local status information at the end of every sensor measurement interval.
    •  Data includes:
      • Total Logging Time (units = milliseconds, resolution = 1) – This it the time elapse while reading sensors this last interval.
      • Battery or Input Voltage (units = Volt, resolution = 0.1)
      • Box Temperature (units = degrees C, resolution = 0.1) – Solar DataSnap only.
      • SDI-12 Current (units = mA, resolution = 0.1) – Solar DataSnap only.
      • Average SDI-12 Measurement Current FUTURE – Currently not supported by any device.
  • System Time – This sets the system time on the DataSnap. The DataSnap’s current time will be displayed. Click the ‘Synchronize’ button to set the time on the DataSnap to the same time as the connected PC. See Figure 8.
8 - Configure SnapView Time
Figure 8 - System Time

Advanced Options – Click on ‘Advanced Options’ to display additional operations.

  • Purge Logs – This will delete all logs in the memory of the DataSnap. It will not remove any logs stored on the PC.
  • Factory Reset – This will delete all configuration and logs on the DataSnap, thus restoring it to its original factory settings.
  •  
Figure 9 - System Configuration

Always click the ‘Save’ button to save the changes to the Name and Interval settings.

Adding Soil Moisture Sensors Acclima SnapView
Figure 10 - Adding Soil Moisture Sensors

Validating Soil Moisture Sensors

Sensor validation provides a simple way to verify that all configured sensors are correctly wired into the DataSnap and match the DataSnap’s configuration.

Connect all sensors to the DataSnap and click the ‘Validate’ button. The DataSnap will attempt to find and validate each of it configured sensors. Sensors that are found and match the DataSnap configuration are annotated with a green check mark. Sensors that are not found or do not match the configuration show a red X and an error description. See Figure 11.

Soil Moisture Meter Validation Acclima SnapView
Figure 11 - Soil Moisture Sensor Validation

Validating Sensors

Sensor validation is the final step in the configuration process. It provides a simple way to verify that all configured sensors are correctly wired into the DataSnap and match the DataSnap’s configuration.

Connect all sensors to the DataSnap and click the ‘Validate’ button. The DataSnap will attempt to find and validate each of it configured sensors. Sensors that are found and match the DataSnap configuration are annotated with a green check mark. Sensors that are not found or do not match the configuration show a red X and an error description. See Figure 17.

Soil Moisture Meter Validation Acclima SnapView
Figure 13 - Sensor Validation

Automatic Data Synchronization

The SnapView software regularly attempts to synchronize with all connected DataSnaps. This occurs in the background and is therefore no user interaction is required. During synchronization, a green status icon is displayed in the upper right corner of the screen. Hovering the mouse over the icon displays the number of logs that still need to be retrieved from the DataSnap as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12 - Synchronization

If one or more DataSnaps are connected via a USB port, the SnapView software will automatically find each DataSnap, connect to it and retrieve all of its configuration and sensor readings. This data is saved on the PC and is available for analysis in SnapView.

While the SnapView software is downloading sensor readings from a connected DataSnap, user actions such as reading sensors and saving a new configuration to that DataSnap are still allowed.  If these interruptions occur, the download will be temporarily suspended for up to 1 minute before automatically resuming again. While the synchronization is interrupted, the green status icon will stop spinning.

Read Sensors Manually

Each DataSnap can accommodate up to 10 sensors. The connected sensors can be manually read at any time. Prior to reading any sensor, the sensor must be connected to and configured on the DataSnap. This is a one-time process and is covered in detail in the ‘Configuration’ section. Manual readings do not occur automatically and are not saved for historical analysis.

Reading Sensors

Click the ‘Read’ button at the top of the screen. A list of all connected DataSnaps and their configured sensors is displayed as seen in Figure 13. By default, each DataSnap and each sensor is selected. This is denoted by a check mark next to the name. Each time the ‘Read’ button is clicked, all selected (ie: checked) sensors will be read and the data displayed. To select or deselect all sensors on a DataSnap, click the checkmark next to the DataSnap’s name. To expand/collapse the list of sensors, click the gray circle or click the DataSnap’s name. Individual sensors can be selected/deselected by clicking the checkmark next to the sensor name.

Figure 13 - Initial Read Sensor Screen
  • Click the ‘Read’ button to read each selected sensor. The sensor’s name, serial number, reading time and measurement data is displayed. If a configured sensor is not attached to the DataSnap, an error is displayed. Notice in Figure 14, the sensor named ‘2” Deep’ had an error.
  • To prematurely terminate the read, click the ‘Cancel’ button. The ‘Cancel’ button is only displayed while sensors are being read.
  • Click the ‘Refresh List’ button to scan the computer for DataSnaps and update the list.
Figure 14 – Read Sensors

Copying Sensor Data

Click the ‘Copy’ button to copy all sensor data to the Windows™ clipboard in a comma delimited list, one line per sensor. This allows the sensor data to be easily pasted into any Windows™ application.

View Graphs

Sensor readings for all sensors can be viewed visually through the ‘Graph’ screen. To see the ‘Graph’ screen, click on the ‘Graph’ button at the top of the screen. The graph view allows access to the historical data of each DataSnap that has ever been connected to this PC. It does not require a DataSnap to be connected.

Figure 15 – Data in Graph View

The Graph view has three main sections.

  • Sensor Reading list – list of sensors and their individual readings
  • Time bar – provides an easy way to specify date ranges in the main graph
  • Main graph – displays the selected sensor readings in the specified date range.

Graphing Sensor Data

Click the ‘Graph’ button at the top of the screen.

  • Select one or more sensor readings – Each DataSnap is displayed in a tree at the left of the screen. Clicking a DataSnap reveals its list of sensors. Clicking a sensor reveals its available readings. Click the checkbox to the left of each desired reading to display its data on the graph. A maximum of 14 readings can be shown on the graph. To widen the sensor list, hover the cursor over the vertical border between the sensor list and the main graph. The cursor will change to a horizontal arrow. Click the left mouse and while holding down the left mouse button, drag to the right.
  • Specify the date range – The time bar at the top of the screen shows a range of selectable dates. See Figure 18.
Figure 16 – Date/Time Selection

The time bar allows for quick and easy filtering of data by date. The selectable areas in the time bar expand and contract based on the screen size but can be adjust manually as well. Within the time bar is a range selection window that defines the date range that is displayed in the main graph area. This is shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17 – Time Bar Selection Window

The date range can be adjusted by dragging the gray rectangles on the right and left boundaries of the range selection window. Dragging the left most range indicator to the left will change the displayed start date in the main graph to an earlier date. Dragging it to the right will change the displayed start date in the main graph to a later date. The right most range indicator behaves similarly and effects the end date on the main graph. The selected date range is displayed immediately below the range selection window.

To maintain the same number of days in the date range but to see a different range, simply click anywhere in the selection window and drag it to the right or left.

To select a single day, click on the date in the blue region at the top of the time bar Acclima Time Bar. As an example, Figure 18 shows that Thursday January 19, 2012 has been selected. To select multiple full days, left click on a date and while holding down the left mouse button, drag to another date and release the button. The selection range will be highlighted in yellow as the mouse is dragged. The selection window will now change to the range that was selected. As an example, Figure 18 shows how the time bar would look while clicking ‘Wed, 18’ and dragging to ‘Fri, 20’. Once the mouse is released, the range selection window will move and the main graph will display data for the three selected days.

Figure 18 - Selecting Multiple Days in the Time Bar

If the sensor’s data spans a wide range of dates, it may be difficult to set the dates of the range selection window. To modify the size of each time unit in the time bar, click and drag either end of the yellow scrollbar at the bottom of the time bar. The time units will change according to the size of the scrollbar. Figures 19 and 20 show two possible scenarios.

Figure 19 - Time Bar Scrollbar Showing Months
Figure 20 - Time Bar Scrollbar Showing Days

To view a different date range in the time bar, click the ‘Graph’ menu at the top of the screen.

  • Main Graph – Each selected sensor reading will be displayed as a separate series in a unique color on the graph. If no data is displayed on the graph, it is likely because the date range specified in the time bar, falls outside the actual reading dates. To see details for specific readings, move the mouse around the graph. A gray vertical line will span all the visible series and a gray circle will be displayed at the intersection of the line and each series. The circle highlights the reading that is closest to the time indicated by the vertical bar. The highlighted readings are displayed in a legend to the right of the graph.

Gather Data from Micro USB Thumb Drive

The Solar DataSnap supports data collection using a USB thumb drive.  Unfortunately, at this present time the SnapView Software does not support importing from external files, so data gathered in this way cannot at present be used in conjunction with the SnapView Software.

To use a thumb drive to gather data

Plug in the USB thumb drive firmly into the micro-USB port.  Wait a second to allow the USB connection to stabilize and link to the drive.  The USB light should then come on and blink to indicate data flow to the thumb drive.  When the LED turns off and stays off, the data has been gathered and the thumb drive can be removed.  Do not remove the drive while in the middle of the process!  File fragmentation and data loss will occur.

Data is stored to the following folder\file structure.  If the folders or files do not exist, then the Solar DataSnap will create them.  In this example, Solar DataSnaps serial numbers 112233, 445566, 778899 have been synchronized with the thumb drive.

Bold: = Drive letter
Italics\ = folders
Standard text = files

F:
       Acclima\
          DataSnap\
              Data\
                 112233\

                           112233_Data.csv
                           112233_Errors.csv
                           112233_StatusLogs.csv
                           112233_SyncPos.bin
                           112233_SystemInfo.csv
                445566\
                           445566_Data.csv
                           445566_Errors.csv
                           445566_StatusLogs.csv
                           445566_SyncPos.bin
                           445566_SystemInfo.csv
              778899\
                           778899_Data.csv
                           778899_Errors.csv
                           778899_StatusLogs.csv
                           778899_SyncPos.bin
                           778899_SystemInfo.csv
            Updates\
                           ACEFW_46_0_3_4.WAF

When synchronizing a second time with the Solar DataSnap, it is preferable to use the same thumb drive without deleting the data.  The Solar DataSnap will make note of what log data is already on the thumb drive and will then append any new data to the same files.  This applies to Data, Error, and Status Logs files.  System Info files will be overwritten with current system information (which includes configuration and status information).

Update files may be placed in the Updates folder on a thumb drive to upgrade the Solar DataSnap to a new version.  The Solar DataSnap will examine the upgrade file and will only proceed with the upgrade if the file is a valid update and is a newer version than the firmware that already exists in the Solar DataSnap.  This update method is secure and safe, and not subject to errors such as loading the wrong file onto the drive (it will just skip over it).  It should be noted that the file must use the .WAF file extension (case sensitive!) to be considered and examined as a possible update candidate.

View and Working with Data

Sensor readings can be viewed in a spreadsheet format in the ‘Data’ screen. Click on the ‘Data’ button to access the ‘Data’ screen. The data view allows access to the historical data of each DataSnap that has ever been connected to this PC. It does not require a DataSnap to be connected.

Select one or more sensors from the list to see the data in the grid.

Different types of sensors will have different types of data in each of the five readings therefore the column headers are named generically. To see the description of each of the sensor’s readings, click the sensor in the list at the left.  The node will expand to show the description of each reading. Errors can be viewed by selecting the ‘Errors’ in the list to the left. Errors are displayed in a separate grid. When both grids are displayed, the grid size can be adjusted. To do this, hover the cursor over the horizontal border between the grids. The cursor will change to a vertical arrow. Click the left mouse and while holding down the left mouse button, drag up or down.

In Figure 21, two sensors have been selected. Those sensors are named ‘2” Deep’ and ‘4” Deep’. Their data is displayed in the grid to the right, sorted chronologically. The ‘2” Deep’ sensor has been expanded to show the names of its readings. The errors have also been selected and are displayed.

Figure 21 – Data in Grid View

Options

There are several different operations that can be performed within the data screen. These are accessed via the options bar. They include:

  • Save – save all the data in the grid to a comma delimited file.
  • Copy – copy each selected row of data to the Windows™ clipboard. Click on any row in the grid to select it. To select multiple rows, hold down the Ctrl button on the keyboard and click on additional rows.
  • Refresh – refresh the grid to show any new data readings.
  • Delete – delete the selected rows

Sorting Data

To sort data in each column, click anywhere on the black column header. The data will now be sorted by that column heading. Clicking the header again will sort the column in the reverse order.

Filtering Data

A filter may be applied to limit the amount of data displayed. Each column can be filtered and multiple columns may be filtered at the same time. To specify a filter for a column, click on funnel shaped icon  in the header of the column. If the icon is white, no filter has been applied. If the icon is yellow, a filter has been applied. 

In Figure 22, a filter has been applied for the ‘Name’ and ‘Reading 1’ columns but not the ‘Reading 2’ column.

Figure 22 – Grid Filter Indicator

When the filter icon is clicked, the column filter window is displayed as shown in Figure 23.

25 - Acclima Data Logger SDI12-min
Figure 23 – Filter Window for the Time Column

The filter window displays a list of items that are available for display. Each item can be selected or not selected as desired. If an item is selected, it will be displayed in the grid. If it is not selected, it will be hidden in the grid. To select all items, click the ‘Select All’ option near the top of the filter window. Clicking the ‘Select All’ option a second time will deselect all items.

The list of items is dependent on the data in the column. Other custom filter criteria can be specified for complex scenarios. These are defined in the lower half of the filter window. These options allow range-based filtering. For instance, a filter could be set that displays all times between January 15, 2012 and January 18, 2012.

To remove the filter, click the ‘Clear Filter’ button.

Exporting Soil Moisture Sensor Data

Soil moisture sensor readings can be saved to a file in the Data screen. However, to export data on a larger scale, it is best to use the ‘Export’ screen. To see the ‘Export’ screen, click on the ‘Export’ button at the top of the screen. This will display the Export screen. This allows the option to export sensor data into other programs allowing greater flexibility and analysis of the data. You can export any of the data into other programs such as Microsoft ExcelTM.

Figure 24 - Data Export

Instructions for Exporting Sensor Data

  • Click the ‘Export’ button near the top of the screen.
  • Click the DataSnap that contains the desired sensor data. This reveals its list of sensors.
  • Select one or more sensors by clicking on the square checkbox next to the desired sensors.
  • To export a subset of data for the selected sensors, click the square next to the ‘Export Data Within a Specified Date Range’ option. Select the beginning and ending dates and times.
  • Specify the destination and name for the exported data file. The file will be in a comma delimited (.csv) format.
  • Click the ‘Export’ button to begin.

As an example, in Figure 24, two sensors have been selected. The first selected sensor is named ‘1” Deep’ and is associated with the DataSnap named ‘Lab Experiment’. The second selected sensor is named ‘Unnamed Sensor: 6003176’ and is associated with the DataSnap named ‘Field Test’.  Only data between 5am on January 16, 2012 and 9:30pm on January 23, 2012 will be exported. The output file will be named myDataSnapExport.csv and will be saved in the ‘C:\data\’ folder.

Tools

The tools menu contains several features. They include:

  • Delete Sensor Data – This allows deletion of historical sensor configuration and log data from the PC. It does not remove any data from the DataSnap.
  • Manage Reading Descriptions – Modify or delete the default readings descriptions for a sensor. Defaults can only be added from within the ‘Sensor Details’ window in the configuration screen. Readings are unique to a particular type of sensor. If a sensor has default readings defined, they will automatically be used when a sensor of that type is added.
  • Upgrade Firmware – The functionality and feature set of a DataSnap is called ‘firmware’. Occasionally, Acclima engineers fix problems or enhance the functionality of the DataSnap. These changes can be applied to the DataSnap by using the ‘Upgrade Firmware’ option. Firmware upgrade files have a .WAF extension.
  • Theme – This allows the user to change the look of the application.

Waveform Capture and Graphing in SnapView for Advanced Users

Acclima TDT and TDR sensors all use time-domain analysis of an electromagnetic wave propagated along the waveguide to derive measurement data.  Some scientists or advanced users may wish to do their own analysis of waveform data, and so the Waveforms feature was added to the SnapView software to provide access to sensor waveforms.  To access this new feature, the SnapView software and connected logging devices (DataSnap and Solar DataSnap) may need to be upgraded.

  • Acclima sensors that have “Waveform Capture” printed on the label will support fast waveform capture – providing full resolution waveform data in only a few seconds of download time. Older Acclima sensors can also provide waveform data, but only one data point at a time.  On these sensors, full resolution waveforms may take 15 minutes to gather, during which time the sensor cannot be disturbed.  Reducing resolution and span of the waveform data can dramatically speed up the waveform gathering time for these sensors.

Upgrading/Installing Your SnapView Software and the Firmware of DataSnap Data Logger

To run the Waveform Capture module in the SnapView software you will need to download and run the latest version of SnapView for Windows®.   As of this writing, the latest version of SnapView is 1.4.1.  The software can be downloaded here

When the Waveforms view activates, the SnapView software will begin scanning all connected loggers and sensors to find devices that can support Waveform Capture.  The software will prompt you to upgrade the logger firmware if Waveform Capture is not supported by the current logger firmware.

Figure 25 – Firmware Upgrade Prompt

The necessary firmware updates for the DataSnap (as of this writing version ACFW_19­_2_2_7.WAF)  and for the Solar DataSnap (as of this writing ACEFW_46_0_3_4.WAF) which are included in SnapView software version 1.4.1 (or later) installation.  Click the “DataSnap Firmware Upgrade” button to proceed to the upgrade screen.

Figure 26 – Select Firmware

When selecting the firmware, a window with a list of available upgrades will appear.  Select the most recent version.

Figure 27 – Select DataSnap and Begin Upgrade

Once you have selected the proper firmware and clicked ‘Open’, left click the ‘Begin Upgrade’ button.  You will then see a status bar for a few seconds while it progresses to 100%.  A message box will then appear indicating that the upgrade was successful.

Opening the Waveform Capture Module in SnapView

To open the waveform capture module in SnapView, click the ‘Waveform’ icon. 

Figure 28 – Open Waveform Module
  • This action will automatically connect the SnapView software to the USB-cable-attached Solar DataSnap or DataSnap data logger and will open the waveform capture module listing sensors configured to the data logger. 
  • If the PC goes to sleep, afterward you may not see the active sensors listed on the left and may need to click the ‘Refresh’ button.
  • If connected sensors do not appear on the list, they may not be configured yet. Click the ‘Config’ button, click ‘Connect’, and then go through the process of adding sensors to your DataSnap.
  • Note: If you left click the ‘Refresh List’ button the software will look for any newly connected and configured sensors attached to the DataSnap. If the desired new soil moisture sensor is immediately shown, you may left click the Stop’ button to stop the list from refreshing further.
  • Select one sensor in the list by clicking on it. Any sensor in the list that is highlighted white, that sensor is currently connected and configured to the SDI-12 data logger.  If the sensor is subdued in light blue, that is an indication that the sensor is not actively connected or communicating with the DataSnap, or that the sensor does not support waveform capture.
Figure 29 – Refresh List

Capturing a Sensor Waveform

With the sensor selected, left click the ‘Get Waveform’ button to start the waveform graphing. A maximum of 12 waveforms can be displayed at the same time.

Waveform Capture enabled sensors

Figure 30 – Get Waveform

If you pull a waveform using an Acclima TDR that has “Waveform Capture” printed on the label, the entire waveform at full resolution should show up within several seconds of clicking the ‘Get Waveform’ button.

Older Soil Water Content Sensors

If you are using an older Acclima soil moisture sensor without the designation of being able to capture a waveform, you can still collect a waveform by selecting that sensor in the list and left clicking ‘Get Waveform’ button. The capture will begin, but due to the older design of the sensor it may take approximately 15 minutes to generate the graph.   If you find that the capture is taking too long, you can cancel the capture by left clicking the ‘Stop’ button.

You are also given options to adjust the data that is collected to speed up the collection process.

Figure 31 – Getting Waveforms From Older Sensors

The start time, stop time, and resolution of the gathered data (in picoseconds) can be adjusted by moving the sliders or by entering the desired value in the boxes provided. All times are in 5 picosecond steps.

Once the desired parameters have been entered, click the ‘Get Waveform’ button to begin the process.

A waveform graph will then will begin to be generated similarly to the picture below, (time can vary from a few seconds to 15 minutes depending on whether you are getting a waveform from a sensor labeled with “Waveform Capture” or not):

Figure 32 – Waveform Graphs

The Legend

The waveform line will be color coded to the sensor from which the waveform was taken with the serial number and timestamp legend. Subsequent waveforms taken from different sensors will show up with different color codes and an extended legend.

Figure 33 – Waveform Legend

Deleting a Waveform

The minus within the colored (e.g., red) box in the legend can be used to delete the waveform when left-clicked with the mouse.

Zooming

The user can left click drag a square from upper left to lower right direction over a section of the waveform that needs closer inspection. A zoomed-in presentation of that waveform section will appear after releasing the left mouse button.  To reset the graph to the full view mode just left click the ‘Reset zoom’ (magnifying glass icon).

The X, Y axis can be lengthened or shortened with the mouse pointer by hovering the mouse pointer over the end of the X or Y scroll bar until a double ended arrow appears.

⇳ or ⬄

Pressing and holding the left mouse button at that point will grab the end of the scroll bar to allow lengthening and shortening of the scroll bar which zooms in and zooms out. Left clicking the ‘Reset zoom’ (magnifying glass icon) will return the graph to full view.

Saving to CSV File

A waveform or several waveforms can be exported to a CSV file by left clicking the ‘Save to CSV’ file.

At this point the save dialog box will appear and you will have the ability to choose the folder in which to save the waveform information. You will also be able to change the name from the default. The default file name is ‘WaveformCollection_YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.csv’, where YYYY is the year, MM is the month, DD is the day of the month, HH is the hour of the day in 24-hour format, MM is the minute, and SS is seconds – all indicating the date and time that the ‘Save to CSV’ button was pressed.

Loading from a CSV File

A waveform graph can be loaded from a CSV file by left clicking the ‘Load from CSV’ button.

An open file dialog file will appear allowing you to navigate to the desired CSV file. Once selected, left click ‘Open’.  The waveform(s) in the csv file will then be added to the current collection of waveforms already on display, up to a maximum of 12 waveforms.  If the csv file contains more than 12 waveforms, manual deletion of row data may be required by the user to display waveforms further down the list.

The load function supports two CSV formats:

  1. CSV waveform files saved by the SnapView Software.
  2. CSV waveform files saved by the Acclima SDI-12 Reader (RD1200)

Technical Specifications of the Solar DataSnap

Physical Characteristics

NEMA rated weather-resistant polycarbonate enclosure

Length:                           6.5” (16.5 cm)
Width:                             6.5” (16.5 cm)
Height:                           .75” (12 cm)

Environmental

Operating Temperature: -10 to +50°C (+14 to +122°F) Note: This limitation comes from the lithium-ion cell.

Note: The Acclima Solar DataSnap has physical limitations on what temperature range it will fully operate in.  If it will be used in freezing weather (< 1°C or < 33°F) for extended periods of time, the end-user should plan to periodically have the lithium-ion 18650 battery swapped out for a fully charged replacement because the battery charging circuit is disabled at 0°C and 32°F.  The battery will still run the data logger for the duration of the remaining charge but will not get recharged at or below those temperatures. When recharging backup batteries in a desktop charger, care should be taken to allow the batteries to warm up to room temperature before recharging them or the battery could be permanently damaged.

Similarly, if the temperature inside the enclosure exceeds 50°C or 122°F the battery will stop charging.

Humidity:                         0 to 90% RH, non-condensing

Electrical Specification

USB Port
Input Voltage:                  5VDC, ±0.5V
Input Current:                  500mA Max

Solar or External Supply Input
                                        5-10 VDC

SDI-12 Output
Signal Voltage:                 Typically 0-5VDC
Power Output Voltage:     12VDC
Short Circuit Current:        500mA ±20% 

 

Contact sales@acclima.com with questions.

Acclima, Inc.
1763 West Marcon Lane, Ste. 175
Meridian, ID 83642 USA

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