Due to the increasing number of energy kiosks, it has become a high priority for the e.quinox team to obtain regular updates to track the performance and capacity of the equipment installed in Rwanda and Tanzania. Because most commercial solutions cost thousands of pounds to implement and maintain they are incompatible with the aims and ideals of e.quinox. The Data Logger project was thus started in 2010 to provide a bespoke, cost effective and flexible solution that could grow and adapt to the increasing requirements posed by the growing scale and number of energy kiosks. With two units already installed in Rwanda, the team is currently developing a next generation system to further reduce costs, improve the design and move towards becoming an open source alternative available to external organisations that share our aims and interests.
When deployed at one of our sites in Africa, the Datalogger system collects data from various sensors and transmits the information to our servers in London using a standard GSM/3G connection. These units gather information about the local environment such as temperature, light and humidity as well as power generation and consumption within the kiosk at each stage of the electrical system. This system also allows the team in London to download, visualise and analyse the data received through a graphical web interface.
During the summer expedition 2012, it became apparent that the system needed a redesign. It is currently far too complicated which makes debugging very difficult (especially in the field) and can add problems which members may not know how to fix. Our proposed design will be a much more generic one board system aimed at sensing in a wider range of places. This will include several voltage and current sensors (not aimed at a specific point) and some common digital inputs with the possibility of adding multiple other sensors as well. Data collected will be stored in an SD card and also uploaded to an internet server via a MBed microcontroller.