What Types of Racing Data Loggers Are Available?

Data loggers may seem complicated, but they are essentially simple pieces of equipment. Their job is to record all data such as speed, engine speed (RPM) & driver inputs fed to it as the car travels round the track. This data can be analysed later using software: this can then be used to feed data to a dashboard where alerts can be shown and can even be used to overlay on to video of the track session. The recorded data can either come from the logger’s internal sensors themselves, from external sensors placed on the vehicle, or from the vehicles engine control unit (ECU).What types of racing data loggers are available?Data loggers come in many different forms and specifications; however, they essentially fall into one of three categories: standard, dash and integrated video loggers.Standard data loggers
A standard data logger is the most basic piece of equipment available. They are usually roughly the same size as a small box and will have no in-built display, though this can often be added separately if required. As you move higher up the range into the more commercial world of competitive motor sport, the quality of the product improves and the specifications are significantly better: the environmental sealing of the device is better, and higher quality connectors replace cheaper off the peg ones. At the top of the scale, standard data loggers come with the ultra-reliable auto-sport connectors.Dash Loggers
Dash loggers are display devices with a built in logging facility, which combine the specifications of two separate devices into one functional unit. Because the two devices are combined, the long-term costs are cheaper, although the short-term cost will be more expensive. Combining the functions of the two devices makes sense if you are planning on getting a separate display to supplement or replace your car’s dashboard instrumentation at a later stage anyway. Because dash loggers are more cost-effective, it is often possible to buy a better-built and more professional motorsport unit for little more than a separate logger and screen from the lower end of the market.Manufacturers of data and dash loggers provide a modular range of expansion options so you can build your logging system as your demands (and budget) grow. A popular option is a video overlay device to allow data to be overlaid on to video of your track session in real-time; this really adds another dimension to the analysis of your on track performance.Integrated video loggers
Integrated video loggers are generally the most sophisticated pieces of equipment available and tend to be used in the track-day and club motorsport end of the marketplace. They combine the video overlay function of the separate devices mentioned previously, with the data logging function of standard data loggers.Generally the number of inputs available, ability to communicate with the car’s ECU and existence of pre-calibrated sensors isn’t quite up to the standard of stand-alone loggers or dash loggers, though much depends on the price paid.

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